Palace: PRRD to get to the bottom of PNP-PDEA shootout

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte will get to the bottom of the alleged “misencounter” between operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) near a mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City last Wednesday

In a press briefing in Negros Oriental, Roque the President expressed sadness and concern over the incident that took place between two groups of government forces.

The President has expressed both sadness and concern why the tragedy happened among government forces, and assured he will get to the bottom of the incident, he said.

Roque expressed confidence that parallel investigations by the ad hoc joint PNP-PDEA team and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will shed light on the incident. “We are confident that with the PNP and the PDEA forming an investigation panel and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordering to conduct its own parallel investigation, we will know the truth behind this incident and justice will be done,” he added.

Based on reports from Batasan Police Station 6, the alleged mis-encounter between PNP and PDEA took place while both camps were conducting drug buy-bust operations. The incident claimed the lives of at least two policemen and two others from the PDEA group.

Roque also assured the government continues to probe deaths in police drug war operations and prosecute perpetrators if deemed necessary.

At the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Wednesday, Guevarra said preliminary findings from the DOJ-led drug war review panel showed that a number of police officers did not follow protocols in drug war operations.

“Our initial and preliminary findings confirm that in many of these cases, law enforcement agents asserted that the subject of anti-drug operations resisted arrest or attempted to draw a weapon and fight back. Yet no full examination of the weapon recovered was conducted, no verification of its ownership undertaken, no request for ballistic examination or paraffin test was pursued until its completion,” he said.

Guevarra said the investigation also showed that scores of police have been recommended for administrative and criminal action.

Roque said Guevarra’s admission proves that the Duterte administration is in “discharge of the state obligation to investigate and prosecute violations of the right to life.”

“The statement of the Secretary of Justice proves that we are serious in our obligation to investigate and prosecute because we face the truth that it’s possible there are some law enforcement officers that need to prosecuted under the law),” he said.

Roque said Guevarra’s “transparency” is part of the administration’s commitment to strengthen its domestic accountability mechanisms.