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32 Manila barangay officials on drug watchlist, 1 killed last week

TARGETED. Barangay officials are not new victims of the drug war, with one already killed in October 2016.

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Police District announced on Monday, May 30, they have 32 barangay officials on their drug watchlist.

One of them, Angelito Sarmiento, chairman of Barangay 751, Zone 81, was slain inside his home by unidentified gunmen on May 26, Friday last week. (READ: In the PH drug war, it’s likely EJK when…)

Only last October, Manila City Mayor Estrada bared that he already had his own “narco-list” of city officials who are either drug users or in cahoots with drug traffickers.

In his announcement, Estrada said “a few” at the barangay level have already been confirmed to be on drugs.

Manila Police District chief Joel Coronel, according to the press statement, confirmed that Sarmiento was on the MPD’s drug list of barangay officials involved in drugs. Coronel also said he suspected that his death was drug-related.

“We have been following up leads and it all points to illegal drugs. Na-involved siya sa drug pushing and it appears binalikan siya,” the MPD chief said. (He was involved in drug pushing and it appears they got back at him.)

Coronel said they have already identified the gunman but refused to reveal his name so as not to jeopardize their follow-up operations. Rappler sought the comment of Coronel regarding the slay of Sarmiento, but he has yet to reply.

Sarmiento is not the first barangay official slain in connection with the illegal trade.

In October 2016, Barangay 648 Chairman Faiz Macabato was killed while policemen were serving an arrest warrant on his brother who was also a drug suspect. He "fought back" according to the cops. (READ: Where the drug war began)

Sarmiento and Macabato are only two among the thousands who have been killed ever since President Rodrigo Duterte declared his war on drugs.

In November 2016, Estrada ordered the 896 barangay chairmen of Manila to submit themselves to drug testing, the results of which would soon be released by the Manila Barangay Bureau and Manila Health Department. –