Senate to uncover ‘what went wrong’ in PDEA, PNP operation — Recto

Published February 26, 2021, 9:20 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is confident that the committee led by Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa will be able to uncover what transpired in the controversial “misencounter” between anti-drug operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) last Wednesday.

Senator Ralph Recto
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO)

“The Senate has the power and the prerogative to investigate the PDEA-PNP shootout. And with two ex-PNP chiefs in the chamber, I have no doubt that it will be able to uncover the truth,” Recto said in a statement, referring to Dela Rosa and Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who both led the country’s police force.

“People are demanding answers on why a supposedly coordinated operation ended up as a circular firing squad.  And it seems that the one institution trusted by the people who can shed a powerful light on the incident, in a manner that is fast, fearless and fair, is the Senate,” he further said.

“I am confident that the De La Rosa Committee can piece together a seconds-from-disaster timeline of what went wrong,” he added.

Recto said the incident should be investigated as he noted of “alarming cases of friendly fire casualties of late”. He recalled the killing of four Philippine Army troops in another misencounter with policemen in Jolo, Sulu in June last year.

The Senate leader also asked Dela Rosa to inquire on how the authorities handled civilians who witnessed and were caught in the crossfire, as well as the “the SOP (standard operating procedure) medical assistance extended to individuals like them who have likely suffered psychological trauma.”

Dela Rosa said that the Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee will conduct a hearing on Tuesday, March 2, regarding the fatal shootout between government forces in Quezon City.

Four were killed — two from the PDEA, two from the PNP — in what both maintained was a “legitimate” buy-bust operation.

Officials were mum about what transpired before the incident, saying they would still be investigating it.