President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to be the sole agency to investigate the recent shooting incident involving operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), with the PNP and PDEA required to stop their own probes.
“The President has decided to task NBI as the only agency that can probe the recent shootout between police and PDEA in Quezon City,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a video message partly in Filipino.
The separate investigations by the joint panel formed to probe the supposed misencounter will no longer proceed, Roque said.
The joint panel created by PNP and PDEA will discontinue their investigations. Only NBI, the President said, can continue the investigation,” he said.
In a press statement, Roque said Duterte’s latest directive was meant to “ensure impartiality on the Quezon City shootout incident.”
Roque’s announcement came a day after he assured the public that Duterte would get to the bottom of the shooting incident between PNP and PDEA.
At least two policemen were killed while at least three PDEA agents were wounded in the shootout near Ever Gotesco mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on Wednesday.
Both the PNP and PDEA were conducting legitimate anti-drug operations in the area where the shooting incident happened.
The Quezon City Police District special operations unit personnel were conducting a drug buy-bust when they found out that they were transacting with PDEA agents, resulting in a shootout at a fast-food chain parking area beside the Ever Gotesco mall around 5:45 p.m. of Wednesday.
An ad hoc joint PNP-PDEA team was then formed to shed light on the incident.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday also directed the NBI to conduct a parallel investigation on the shooting.
Sought for comment, the PNP said it will comply with Duterte’s order.
“The PNP readily submits to the instructions of the President,” PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said in a press statement.
PDEA, meanwhile, declined to further comment on the issue. SOVEREIGNPH