Duterte orders NBI to solely probe into PNP-PDEA shootout

Duterte orders NBI to solely probe into PNP-PDEA shootout
Funeral attendants carry a body bag containing one of the victims in the alleged misencounter between operatives of the PNP and PDEA while a pool of inter-agency investigators gather evidence in the crime scene at a fastfood chain along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on Wednesday night, Jan. 24, 2020.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — (Updated 4:34 p.m.) President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to be the sole body to investigate the shootout between members of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency which left four dead.

Malacañang also said that Duterte has ordered the PNP and the PDEA to stop their joint probe on the shootout that killed two police officers, a PDEA agent and an informant dead.

“This is to ensure impartiality on the Quezon City shootout incident,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Parallel probes were supposed to be conducted by the joint PNP-PDEA panel and the NBI.

Personnel of the PDEA and the PNP clashed last Wednesday outside Ever Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City in what was initially described as a “misencounter.” The leadership of both law enforcement agencies have since dropped this tag.

PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas and PDEA Director General Wilkins VIllanueva have asserted that there was coordination between their personnel, but said that it was too early in their joint investigation to draw any conclusions.

Sinas and Villanueva faced the media in a news conference Thursday night, but deflected questions from reporters, urging the public to let the investigation run its course first.

The two leaders said they could not disclose who the target of the operation was. They were also unable to answer where the drug bust money and the actual drugs went during the operation, or if an exchange even occurred in the first place.

While asserting the legitimacy of the operation, both Sinas and Villanueva assured that they would not “cover for [their] people” and that they will “look at all angles.”

An earlier police report that has since been rejected by Sinas himself said 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.

A separate investigation into the incident at the House of Representatives is set on Monday. — Xave Gregorio with a report from Franco Luna.




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