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Hide and seek: Drug peddlers go digital, using “kabayo” as police go “borderless” to chase them


BACOLOD CITY – Suspected drug peddlers here are blending digital and traditional methods to outsmart the police that is, in turn, also adapting to the quickening pace of drug distribution.

“They innovate, we adapt, too,” local chief, Police Col. Henry Biñas told DNX in the heels of what they see as a “big arrest” of suspected high-value target Arlene Laya-og Arnaiz in Village 1 here.

Biñas said he has ordered a cross-over policy, which means vatious operatives from the 10 stations in the city can cross each other’s boundaries to make anti-drug arrests faster.


Arnaiz’ arrest was an example.

Police from Station 8, based in Pahanocoy village in the southern part here, arrested her in Village 1, which is under Station 2’s operational area covering several villages in the northern part of the city.

Biñas said crossing over operational boundaries makes it faster for policemen to arrest a suspected target. “Coordination is key,” he added.

The PNP has divided operational areas here into 10 with the same number of police stations and a total of more than 500 personnel.

The adjustment is necessary, Biñas said as drug peddlers have also evolved their operations in the face of the government’s intensified anti-drug operations.


Biñas said some high-value targets have shifted their base of operations outside the city but continue to run it using mobile phones and a network of “kabayos (horses)” or couriers who distribute it here to street-level peddlers.

This explains why Arnaiz is highly mobile, renting different houses in different operational areas of the police.

“If they operate without boundaries, why should we hamper our operations with boundaries?” Biñas asked in explaining his “no-borders” policy.

Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.



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