Press conference on PNP, PDEA misencounter ends with more questions than answers

Published February 25, 2021, 9:19 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

An hour-long joint press conference hosted by the the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) following a deadly “misencounter” on Commonwealth Ave. in Quezon City has ended with more questions than answers.


This came as both PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva and PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas on Thursday maintained that they could not “divulge” any other details regarding the incident yet as investigation is still ongoing.

“As far as yung operation is concerned, ‘yan yung focus ng inquiry natin (that’s the focus of our inquiry). So as of now, wala kaming pwedeng maibigay kung ano ang (we cannot give details on)…how it happened,” Villanueva said.

“Because we are collecting all the pieces of evidence needed for us to find out how it started and how it escalated,” Villanueva added in mixed English and Filipino.

For his part, Sinas will also not tell any details as the police “will not preempt the findings.” 

“That’s why we have discussed and laid down ang [the] agreement. So as of now, kung ano po ang nangyari, hindi po namin nakuha yung picture (we cannot get the picture of what happened),” the PNP chief added.

As such, reporters resorted to raising various scenarios that might have caused the encounter, which PDEA and PNP considered as possible.

These included the possibility that a drug syndicate toyed with the law enforcers so they would end up fighting against each other. Villanueva said it already happened to them before.

“Before napag-laruan na kami… Dito, hindi pa namin pwedeng sabihin naglaro sila dito sa amin. Kaya nga kasi ini-imbestigahan namin ito (We were already toyed before. But here, we cannot say yet if someone toyed with us. That’s why we’re investigating it),” he said.

“Masyadong maaga para sabihin nating pinaglaruan agad tayo pero possible na pinag-laruan tayo (It’s still early to tell that we were toyed. But it’s possible). Pero ‘yon ang focus of this investigation, lahat na ng aspect ‘yan (but the focus of the investigation will be on all the aspects), on the rules of engagement, firefight, on proper coordination,” he added.

Since both PNP and PDEA said that they were there for a buy-bust operation, reporters asked if which side was actually posing as drug sellers. But Villanueva insisted there was none.

“Kaya nga eto, sandali, sino ba buy bust natin? [Kasi] Buy bust [kami] pareho. [So], paano nangyari? (So our question to each other is, who should be the target of our buy bust since we were both buying? How it happened?)” he said.

Instead, the PDEA chief asked the public to send him tips or items gathered in the crime scene to shed light on the incident.

“Pagbigyan nyo muna kami ng oras, i-forensic muna namin yung cellphones na andyaan. Bibigyan namin kayo ng totoo at tunay na kwento (Please give us time. We will put the cellphones from our agents under forensic exam. We will give you the real story),” Villanueva added.

Two police officers, one PDEA agent and one drug informant were killed Wednesday evening after the two anti-narcotics teams exchanged fires in an apparent “misencounter” during a supposed buy bust operation at a parking lot on a fastfood restaurant along Commonwealth Ave., Quezon City.