Cops under probe over PDEA agents killing
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.