Ten policemen and seven agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), who were directly involved in the bloody buy-bust in Quezon City on Wednesday, have been restricted at Camp Crame to give their side on the ‘misencounter’ that led to the death of four cops and anti-narcotics agents and the wounding of four others.
Gen. Debold Sinas, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the 17 PNP and PDEA personnel are now under custodial investigation of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) at Camp Crame where members of the Board of Inquiry is conducting its investigation.
“All of them have direct involvement in that operation and both of them are already in the CIDG being investigated by the joint investigation team,” said Sinas in a press briefing at Camp Crame with PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva.
In yesterday’s press briefing, both the PNP and the PDEA could not yet give specific account of the entire operation, saying they are still piecing together all the information based on the testimony of policemen and PDEA agents, and as well other pieces of evidence that would be gathered.
“We collated all the cellphones of both parties to determine when and how it started. The cellphones will be subjected to analytical investigation,” said Villanueva, for his part.
“We are also gathering all the pieces of evidence which include the testimony of policemen and PDEA agents, CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) and testimony of witnesses. We are looking at all the angles here for us to know all the facts of what really happened,” he added.
But both Sinas and Villanueva said that the operations conducted by their men were legitimate. They said the purpose of the investigation is to identify the possible lapses in the coordination and rules of engagement.
Villanueva, on the other hand, said that part of the investigation is to determine if drug syndicates tapped erring policemen or errant PDEA agents to set up a misencounter between the two anti-narcotics forces.
Both Sinas and Villanueva appealed for patience and asked the public to wait for the outcome of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) investigation instead of believing stories that would surface, especially in social media, that include a sell-bust and missing P1.5 million. The BOI is composed of PNP and PDEA members.
“We will do whatever is needed to come up with what is the truth on what really happened. We will help in the joint BOI and we dedicate the result of the investigation to the policemen and the PDEA agent who died in this operation,” said Villanueva.
“This unfortunate incident will not destroy the coordination and the trust and confidence with our partners in PDEA. There will be changes but the operations against illegal drugs will continue,” said Sinas, for his part.