By Aaron Recuenco
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has ordered the review of all operations that led to a shootout with cops following the questionable operation that led to the death of the son of the mayor of Sariaya, Quezon.
Albayalde’s order is directed to the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) which is an independent unit that reviews all police operations to determine if there are negligence or deliberate misconduct in law enforcement operations.
“We are investigating it. In fact, the investigation does not only cover the incident in Tayabas (Quezon) but also in the whole region, in the whole country,” said Albayalde.
The official was reacting to criticisms that the Tayabas operation possibly reflect how some erring policemen would either plant evidence or makeup police reports to justify wrongdoings in the conduct of police operations.
It was recalled that the chief of police of Tayabas, Supt. Mark Joseph Laygo, and at least two other cops were ordered relieved following the alleged questionable operation on Mach 14 that left the son of Sariaya Mayor Marcelo Gayeta.
The operation stemmed from an alleged report of two motorcycle riders who engaged in indiscriminate firing in a gasoline station in Tayabas town.
The cops reportedly responded but they were allegedly engaged into a shootout by the motorcycle riders. It was found out later that one of those slain is Christian Gayeta, son of the Sariaya town mayor.
Chief Supt. Edward Carranza, director of the CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) regional police, said that he immediately ordered for a review of the police operation after the mayor complained and sought assistance from the National Bureau of Investigation.
“When I reviewed the report, I noticed that there was something wrong since the immediate reaction of people being pursued by cops is to evade. Based on the report that I received, the suspects allegedly fired at the policemen,” Carranza told the Manila Bulletin.
At the course of the probe, some of the cops reportedly admitted that the crime scene was set up to make it appear that there was an encounter.
Aside from Laygo and his two men, the incident resulted in the relief of Senior Supt. Osmundo de Guzman for command responsibility as director of Quezon police.
“Laygo and his men are standing by their earlier claim that there was an encounter,” said Carranza.
Albayalde, for his part, said it is up to the IAS to take action on any irregularities that they would observe in the review of police operations.