Malacañang explained that President Duterte wanted the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to be the only body that should probe the deadly shootout between members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ease concerns of victims about an unfair investigation.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Duterte met with PNP chief Debold Sinas, PDEA Director-General Wilkins Villanueva, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, NBI Director Antonio Pagatpat in Malacañang on Friday evening to talk about the incident.
In an interview with State-run PTV-4 Saturday, Roque said he explained to those in the meeting that he made the decision to ensure that there will be a fair investigation.
“Gusto ng Presidente na magkaroon ng impartial na investigation (The President wants to have an impartial investigation),” he said.
“Para rin sa peace of mind ng mga biktima na patas ang imbestigasyon (This is also for the peace of mind of the victims that the investigation will be fair),” he added.
On Friday, Roque said President Duterte ordered the joint panel formed by the PNP and the PDEA to discontinue their ongoing investigation.
Two cops, a PDEA agent, and an informant were killed in what the authorities described as a “misencounter” near a mall in Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on Feb. 24. Initial reports revealed that members of the Quezon City Police District were conducting a buy-bust operation but were unaware that they were transacting with PDEA agents.
According to NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin, the NBI had already sent a forensics team to the crime scene. He added that the bureau will comb through surveillance footage and video clips taken by civilians.