The Philippine National Police (PNP) announced Friday that it will adhere to the directive of President Duterte to let the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) handle the probe of the bloody shootout between cops and anti-narcotics agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Quezon City last Wednesday, Feb. 24.
“The PNP readily submits to the instructions of the President,” Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana, PNP spokesperson, briefly told reporters Friday, Feb. 26, after he was asked for a reaction on the issue.
This, after Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque revealed that Duterte instructed the NBI to take charge of the investigation on a shootout between members of the Quezon City Police District and PDEA in an apparent bungled anti-illegal drug operation near Ever Gotesco mall on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. The incident left four people dead.
Roque also said that Duterte wants the joint investigation task group created by the PNP and PDEA dissolved.
The shootout was described by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) as a “sell-bust,” the opposite of the more common tactic “buy-bust” that is being used in legitimate operations. Sell-bust is an illegal operation where law enforcers are the ones acting to sell illegal drugs to their targets.
Major Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said this practice is deemed illegal since law enforcers should have no stock of illegal drugs in their possession to bait their targets.
With both parties claiming they conducted a buy-bust operation and not a sell-bust, a joint investigation team was created by the PNP and the PDEA to determine the truth behind the failed operation.
But Roque said Duterte has picked the NBI as the lone agency that would handle the matter for the sake of impartiality.
Two policemen, a PDEA agent, and a PDEA informant were killed in the firefight. Meanwhile, 10 cops and seven PDEA agents were taken to Camp Crame in Quezon City for an investigation.