Cops un­der probe over PDEA agents killing

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Nation -

AT LEAST four po­lice per­son­nel were re­lieved and placed un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion over their al­leged neg­li­gence dur­ing an am­bush that led to the killing of five Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency (PDEA) op­er­a­tives in Lanao de Sur on Oc­to­ber 5.

“All of those po­lice­men are now in his (re­gional po­lice di­rec­tor) cus­tody. They were all re­lieved from their posts pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, although hindi sa atin masabi ng RD (re­gional di­rec­tor) doon kung ta­la­gang ini­wan in­ten­tion­ally ‘yung mga PDEA agents,” said Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) Chief Os­car Al­bay­alde on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 8.

“Ini­tially kasi ang sabi n’ya is nauna kasi sila (then) na over­take (nung mga sus­pects) ‘yung grupo ng PDEA at nung nagka­putukan, hindi sila mak­a­ba­lik. Ba­si­cally, ang mga bit­bit nila ay mga short firearms lang kaya hindi sila makalapit doon sa en­counter site,” he added.

(The po­lice­men ini­tially said that they were ahead when the as­sailants over­took the ve­hi­cle of the PDEA agents, and they could not go back. They were also car­ry­ing just short firearms, that’s why they could not go near the en­counter site.)

Ken­neth Tab­ulo, Kris­tine Mae Tor­lao, Lores Joy Amar, Binzo Dipolla and Dio­bel Pacinio were all killed when uniden­ti­fied gun­men fired upon them while travers­ing along Barangay Malna in Ka­pai.

Two oth­ers were wounded in the in­ci­dent.

Au­thor­i­ties said the vic­tims were on board a van headed for Marawi City af­ter at­tend­ing a pro­gram for drug sur­ren­der­ers in Tagoloan, Lanao del Sur, when they were am­bushed.

Al­bay­alde said there is a high prob­a­bil­ity that the am­bush was re­lated to the government’s in­ten­si­fied cam­paign against il­le­gal drugs.

He said part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­ing con­ducted by the po­lice is the pos­si­ble in­volve­ment of narco-politi­cians.

“Meron silang mga per­sons of in­ter­est dito. Meron silang grupo na bin­a­ban­tayan (They have per­sons of in­ter­est here. They’re mon­i­tor­ing a par­tic­u­lar group),” said Al­bay­alde.

The PDEA has been the government’s lead agency on its war on drugs since Oc­to­ber 2017 when it re­placed the PNP af­ter sev­eral po­lice per­son­nel were in­volved in ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties dur­ing its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

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