MANILA – A man gunned down early Sunday morning for shooting at cops who were serving a warrant on his rented house in Barangay Pag-asa, Quezon City was a “high-value target” long engaged in illegal drug dealing in Region 2, the QCPD said.
Two other men who allegedly shot it out with the QC policemen were also killed with the primary target, identified as Johnny de Leon, 53, native of Santiago City, Isabela. One of his companions was identified as Arnold Manipon, 61 native of Cabanatuan. Their unidentified cohort, estimated to be aged 30-35, was wearing a yellow t-shirt and blue jeans. All men were residents of No. 15, Unit-H, Rd 1, Brgy. Bagong Pag-asa.
Elements of the QCPD’s district special operation unit (DSOU) were supposed to serve a warrant on de Leon for violation of R.A. 10591(The Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition) after a report that he was keeping loose firearms and ammunition in his residence.
As the policemen were about to enter de Leon’s rented house, however, he shot at them, hitting the bullet-proof vest of PO1 Vennette Laddoc. The police team hit back, killing de Leon and his companions.
Police tagged de Leon as a drug lord in Region 2 particularly in Isabela province, adding that he had gone to QC to lie low.
The regional intelligence office of the PNP in Region 2 had informed the QCPD that charges had been filed against de Leon, but that he had eluded these because of his connections.
In a report to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Oscar Albayalde, the QCPD chief, Chief Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, said the search warrant was served about 5:18 a.m., Sunday at No.15. Unit H. Road 1, Brgy. Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City.
Joint operatives of DSOU under Supt. Rogarth Campo and the Regional Intelligence Division of Police Regional Office 2 (PRO 2) under Supt Remus Medina went to de Leon’s hideout.
Eleazar said the DSOU had obtained the Search Warrant after the Regional Director of PRO-2, Supt. Robert Quenery, coordinated with the District Director of QCPD regarding reports on the whereabouts of one of the HVTs’ of PRO-2 reportedly hiding in Quezon City.
Surveillance operation was conducted by combined operatives of PRO-2 RID and QCPD-DSOU, which confirmed the presence of the drug suspect together with armed individuals in Brgy. Bagong Pag-asa.
Police, meanwhile, recovered from de Leon’s unit six sachets of shabu, one cal. 38 revolver Smith and Wesson loaded with one fired cartridge case, one misfired and three live ammunitions, one cal. 45 Armscor pistol loaded with three live ammunition and three cartridge cases, one 9mm pistol loaded with four live ammunition and orange Ford Ranger with Licensed Plate ABB-2626.
According to reports, De Leon was a High Value Target drug personality of Police Regional Office 2 and was also a High Value Target Level 3 of PDEA Regional Office 2. De Leon was also connected to businessmen who financed his criminal activities and was allegedly protected by a retired high ranking police official.
He also allegedly had connections with some court employees in Region 2 who gave information on cases involving him and his downline pushers. A city prosecutor friend allegedly dismissed cases connected to him and his cohorts. These allegations are all being investigated.
In October 2010, he ran for Brgy. Captain but lost. He survived an ambush by his competitors in the illegal drug trade sometime in 2011. After the ambush, he left Santiago City but his drug trade continued to flourish through his sub-groups and relatives in Tuguegarao and Aparri in Cagayan, and also in Nueva Viscaya, Quirino, Tuguegarao, Apari and lately, in Bulacan.
In 2012, PDEA, MIG, 305th Brigade Philippine Army, Police Regional Office 2 and Isabela Provincial Police Office personnel conducted a saturation drive in the seven barangays with the highest drug affectation in Region 2, and almost 40 were arrested. Some of the houses searched with warrants included De Leon’s house and his mother’s.
A high school dropout who had no visible job or legitimate business, De Leon had a P1.2 million standing deposit in one of his bank accounts, but had amassed as much as P5.6 million in 2016, owned a house and lot in Isabela and a 2014 3.2 liter Ford Ranger pick-up, police said. He was also renting the townhouse in Brgy. Pag-asa, Quezon City, for P35,000 per month.
PCSupt Eleazar said, “It is a result of good coordination among the PNP Units. Law enforcement has no boundaries. Malawak ang Quezon City at posibleng may mga nagtatago talaga dito who are wanted persons or may nagawang kasalanan sa mga bayan bayan nila, but QCPD is always available to assist other law enforcement units, at ayaw naming may mga ganoong tao na nagtatago dito sa Quezon City.”