The Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Thursday both agreed that big-time drug syndicates could have meddled in their operation that led to last Wednesday’s shootout between their respective operatives.
Elements of the Quezon City Police District’s District Special Operations Unit (QCPD-DSOU) and the PDEA’s Special Enforcement Service (PDEA-SES) figured in a shooting incident at a mall in Quezon City that resulted in the deaths of two cops and one PDEA agent and one civilian informant.
Both sides claimed their respective operation was legitimate.
“This is one of the saddest days in law enforcement history,” PDEA Director General Undersecretary Wilkins Villanueva said in the joint PNP-PDEA press briefing held in Camp Crame.
Villanueva floated the meddling of drug lords and drug syndicates in the incident and that they may have paid off anti-drugs operatives to sabotage the sting.
“That’s one angle we are looking at. That has happened in the past,” he noted.
“Now more than ever, there must be a tighter relationship between PDEA and the police. For all we know, the drug syndicates are watching us and really hoping we fight each other,” he added.
The PDEA chief likewise pointed out that the unrelenting campaign against illegal drugs may have already created a dent in the production and distribution in the country and it is possible drug lords are already paying off law enforcers to protect their operations from the inside.
“Once syndicates do that, it means we are already hurting them. They are desperate. But we will not stop going after them,” stressed Villanueva.
PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas, on the other hand, assured that the police will not cease working side-by-side with the government’s anti-narcotics body.
“The anti-drug operations will continue. We will not let one incident deter this,” the cop stated.
“If our respective personnel will blame each other, then all our anti-drugs efforts will go to waste,” he added.
Villanueva floated the meddling of drug lords and drug syndicates in the incident and that they may have paid off anti-drug operatives to sabotage the sting.
A board of inquiry has already been formed by the PNP and PDEA with the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) as the lead investigating body.
Both officials said they are in no rush to conclude the probe to ensure that no stone is left unturned to unearth the truth.
“All the spot reports that came out are not recognized. Those were not based on what actually happened. We will wait for the conclusion of the inquiry,” Villanueva said.
“My name is at stake here. I will not let my 19 years of drug law enforcement experience go to waste. Give us time to do the investigation. I will not fail you,” he added.
Sinas, meanwhile, disclosed that all QCPD personnel with direct involvement in the botched operation are now under restrictive custody of the CIDG.
“All evidence gathered is also kept at the CIDG and are now being processed by the Crime Laboratory,” he noted.
The National Bureau of Investigation, as ordered by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara, will also be conducting an independent probe on the incident.