Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Camarines Sur agent Enrico Barba was brutally murdered this week. PDEA officials suspect it to be the work of drug syndicates and vow to pursue justice for their fallen comrade.
“We will not be moved by this incident as we will escalate our effort to give justice to our fallen comrade, a good father to his children and a loving husband to his wife. We will remain steadfast,” PDEA Regional Office-5 said in a statement.
Barba previously served as Assistant Provincial Officer of PDEA-Camarines Norte. He was reported missing on Monday, around midnight. Just the day before, he had met with a supposed tipster in Daet, Camarines Norte.
According to PDEA, Barba’s meeting with the informant was relayed to Provincial Officer Agent Vidal Bacolod who then reported the meet-up to the regional director.
However, at around 8 p.m. Monday night, Barba’s body had been found in the town of Lupi. He was lying in a concrete canal, his face towards the sky. His hands and mouth were both wrapped in packaging tape.
According to the report received by the PDEA regional office, Barba suffered from several gunshot wounds to his face and body. The initial autopsy indicated that he had contusions on his body and suffered from trauma in the head.
Police recovered from the crime scene a 9-mm pistol and a deformed slug from an unknown caliber of firearm.
From the pocket of Barba’s shorts, police found a small cardboard which read “Wag tularan, tulak ako.”
“Definitely it is the works of drug syndicates. Barba was captured and tortured to their content. We strongly condemn the act and guarantee that the one who did this will get what he deserves,” PDEA OIC Director Irish Calaguas said.
Calaguas said that the public needs to get involved in the fight against illegal drugs.
“This is the time na baguhin natin ang mindset natin na ang laban ng illegal na droga ay hindi lamang laban ng gobyerno lalong-lalo na ang binabangga namin ay organized, napakaraming pera na mga sindikato (This is the time to change our mindset that the war on drugs is not only the job of the government, it should be every Filipino’s concern. Most especially because the criminals we are fighting are organized and rich syndicates),” she said.
“Kahit tatlo pang President (Rodrigo) Duterte ang mamuno sa atin, kung hindi tutulong ang lahat ng Filipino, hindi tayo mananalo (Even if we elect three President Dutertes, if we lack support of all Filipinos, we cannot win the war against drugs),” Calaguas added.
Last year, President Duterte issued an executive order to institutionalize the country’s efforts against illegal drugs and adopts a whole-of-nation approach.
Both the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation have launched a probe into Barba’s murder.