MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to be the sole agency to investigate the recent shooting incident involving operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“Nag-desisyon po ang ating Presidente na tanging NBI lang po ang magi-imbestiga doon sa putukan na nangyari sa panig ng kapulisan at ng PDEA diyan po sa Quezon City (The President has decided to task NBI as the only agency that can probe the recent shootout between police and PDEA in Quezon City),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a video message.
The separate investigations by the joint panel formed to probe the supposed misencounter will no longer proceed, Roque said.
“‘Yung binuo pong joint panel na binuo po ng PNP at ng PDEA ay hindi na po magtutuloy sa kanilang imbestigasyon. Tanging NBI lang po, sang-ayon sa ating Presidente ang magtutuloy ng imbestigasyon (The joint panel created by PNP and PDEA will discontinue their investigations. Only NBI, the President said, can continue the investigation),” he said.
In a press statement, Roque said Duterte’s latest directive was meant to “ensure impartiality on the Quezon City shootout incident.”
Roque’s announcement came a day after he assured the public that Duterte would get to the bottom of the shooting incident between PNP and PDEA.
At least two policemen were killed while at least three PDEA agents were wounded in the shootout near Ever Gotesco mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on Wednesday.
Both the PNP and PDEA were conducting legitimate anti-drug operations in the area where the shooting incident happened.
The Quezon City Police District special operations unit personnel were conducting a drug buy-bust when they found out that they were transacting with PDEA agents, resulting in a shootout at a fast-food chain parking area beside the Ever Gotesco mall around 5:45 p.m. of Wednesday.
An ad hoc joint PNP-PDEA team was formed to shed light on the incident.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday also directed the NBI to conduct a parallel investigation on the shooting.
On Thursday, Roque said Duterte had expressed “both sadness and concern” over the incident.
Sought for comment, the PNP said it will comply with Duterte’s order.
“The PNP readily submits to the instructions of the President,” PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said in a press statement.
PDEA, meanwhile, declined to further comment on the issue.
“There is nothing to comment on. Utos na po ni PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) ‘yan (That is PRRD’s order),” PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon told reporters.(with reports from Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)