By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Wednesday rejected the plea of Senator Risa Hontiveros to conduct a massive investigation on the alleged ‘misencounter’ between operatives of Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Quezon City recently.
In a statement, Dela said he believes that seeking justice for the recent ‘misencounter’ takes precedence over the need to amend or add to the policies involving law enforcement units.
Dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, confirmed Tuesday that the probe of the higher chamber will push through in due time as he expressed that there is nothing wrong with accommodating President Rodrigo Duterte’s request for the said hearing to be deferred as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is completing its investigation.
“Yes, in due time. There is nothing wrong with giving in to the request of a co-equal branch of government, particularly the Malacañang, to enable our resource persons to concentrate on the investigation being conducted by the NBI,” the senator said.
Recently Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution No. 667, in aid of legislation, urging the Dela Rosa’s panel to investigate current law enforcement procedures and protocols to avoid another ‘misencounter.’
“May kinalaman ba ang ibang opisyal ng PNP o ng PDEA sa kalakal ng ilegal na droga? Saang banda ito naging misencounter? We must find out now. We need to know if the incident was a simple ‘misencounter’ caused by gross negligence, or if it resulted from deliberate unlawful acts committed by either the police officers or the PDEA agents involved,” Hontiveros said.
“May pagkakasala ba sa batas ang operasyong ginawa ng ilan sa mga opisyal natin? Hindi kaya lantarang nagbebenta talaga ang ilan sa kanila ng ilegal na droga? We, in the Senate, are well within our rights to investigate this further, especially that the details are still murky,” the senator added.
In PSR No. 667, the senator cited National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., who had said his office would investigate if a “sell-bust” really occurred, as such an operation is not allowed.
However, the former Chief of the Philippine National Police and architect of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs emphasized that attaining justice shall take precedence over the legislative’s policy formulation mandate.
“After all, the truth can more likely be achieved via cooperation and not competition. It is my humble opinion that the attainment of justice must take precedence over policy formulations. The latter can wait but the former cannot be denied,” the former top cop said.
Dela Rosa’s comment came after a colleague at the senate expressed that the higher chamber should assert its right to probe the misencounter.
“We seek to be enlightened in this proceeding but one thing is for sure, there were fatal casualties and we do not want that to ever happen again—most especially between our own government forces. Hopefully, after our hearing, we would be able to determine if there is a need to amend or revise our laws concerning our law enforcement authorities,” Dela Rosa said in a statement a day after the incident.
The misencounter of the PNP and PDEA on February 24 in front of a mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City led to the death of two police officers, one PDEA operative and a PDEA informant. (AI/MTVN)