Palace saddened by death of 3-yr-old girl in Rizal drug raid

Published July 5, 2019, 6:47 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang expressed grief over the death of a three-year-old girl in an anti-illegal drugs operation, but also pointed out that accidents could really happen in such incidents.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after a drug buy-bust operation in Rodriguez, Rizal went awry with the death of a three-year-old girl.

According to the police, the drug suspect used his daughter as a human shield during the shootout. The victim’s family denied this.

In an interview, Panelo said that while it was unfortunate that the girl died in the operation, this proved that drug suspects were, indeed, prone to violently resist arrest.

“We’re very sad that a three-year-old passed away. Naging parang collateral damage ang dating niyan (She became collateral damage),” he said.

“And yet, may patay na police ah? How will you explain kung may patay na police? Ibig sabihin naglalaban talaga, nagkaroon ng barilan, so caught in the crossfire yung bata (But a police officer also died, right? How will you explain that? It means that they really fight back and the child was caught in the crossfire),” he added.

“We’re sad that a minor became a casualty. But since it was a police operation and even a member of the police force is a fatality, then ibig sabihin talagang legit, naglabanan talaga (it means that they really resist arrest),” he continued.
Panelo then said that accidents could really happen, no matter how careful the police were in conducting their operations.

“I’m sure the police, the authorities careful in what they are doing. But kahit ka pa careful kung baga nasa gitna, nagkakabarilin tapos pumasok ka (no matter how careful you are but when you got caught in a crossfire)… Accidents happen,” he said.

The Palace official said that a probe was necessary to determine if someone should be held responsible for what happened.

“We have to conduct an investigation on that. I’m sure General Albayalde (Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde) is conducting a probe on that,” Panelo said.

Bato defended

Meanwhile, Panelo also defended the statement of Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa who drew flak from his own colleagues in the Senate for saying that “sh*t happens” in operations like the Rodriguez, Rizal incident.

In a press briefing, the former PNP chief said that, while no one wanted a child to die in such manner, but “sh*t happens during operations.”

While Dela Rosa was criticized for his remarks, Panelo came to the senator’s defense, saying that it may have been just an expression.

“No. Expression lang yun ni Senator Bato (That was just Senator Dela Rosa’s expression),” he said.

“Kasi ‘pag when you say ‘shit’ diba it means na masamang mangyari. Kumbaga mabaho, or what (Because when you say ‘shit’ it means something’s bad, right)?” he added.

However, Panelo said this did not justify the death of the three-year-old girl.

“I’m not saying justified that’s why sabi ko nga (like I said) we have to, I think the PNP chief is investigating, probing it kung bakit may nagkamali sa ginawa nila (what went wrong),” he said.

“We don’t know yet. So let’s wait for the investigation,” he added.