MANILA — Only the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) can investigate the matter of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shootout that left four persons dead, orders President Rodrigo Duterte.
In the same vein, the president also ordered both the PDEA and the PNP to cease their joint probe.
“This is to ensure impartiality on the Quezon City shootout incident,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says.
Having lost two policemen, a PDEA agent, and an informant, in the shootout both agencies earlier agreed to conduct a joint probe with the NBI doing its parallel inquiry. With the president’s order, the NBI will do it on its own.
What is known so far?
That operatives of the PDEA and the PNP clashed Wednesday outside the Ever Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City;
That said encounter was first described as a “misencounter” but both PDEA director-general Wilkins Villanueva and PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas dismissed the term;
That both leadership, Villanueva and Sinas, have asserted there was coordination between their personnel, that they expected the supposed joint investigation to unravel more facts, and that conclusions could not be drawn just as yet without seeing the big picture;
That the possibility that the drug ring might have played them, although it was too early to dwell on it, as it had happened in the past, was what they were trying to avoid;
That both leaders did not disclose who the target of the operation was; neither did they mention any whereabouts of the drug bust money, the actual drugs in the operation, nor had there been any exchange that occurred;
That both agency heads affirmed the legitimacy of their respective operations and assured the public there would be no cover-ups as all angles will be looked into; and
That they have deflected questions from reporters and urged the public to let the investigation run its course.
Initial reports say
An earlier police report, that Sinas rejected, indicated that the Quezon City police conducted a buy-bust operation, but were unaware that they were transacting with PDEA agents. It added that PDEA agents first fired at police, which left cops with no option but to fight back.
Meanwhile, a separate investigation into the incident is set on Monday at the House of Representatives. (JSM/JuanManila)