President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday night met with Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Wilkins Villanueva following the supposed misencounter between the two agencies’ operatives earlier this week.
In an announcement aired over state-run PTV-4 on Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte has assured Sinas and Villanueva that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) would conduct a fair probe into the recent shootout involving PNP and PDEA personnel.
“The President explained why he had directed the National Bureau of Investigation or NBI to lead the investigation. The President wants an impartial investigation,” Roque, who also attended the meeting, said in Filipino.
The meeting, he said, was also attended by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, NBI Deputy Director Antonio Pagatpat, and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
Duterte designated the NBI to be the sole agency to investigate the shootout to give those involved in the incident some peace of mind, Roque said.
“The President’s fresh directive was meant to stop people from raising doubts and to give victims peace of mind that the investigation would be fair,” he said.
On Wednesday night, personnel of the Quezon City Police District special operations conducted a drug buy-bust operation at a fast-food chain parking lot when they found out they were transacting with PDEA agents.
The botched undercover drug bust led to a gunfight that killed two policemen, a PDEA agent, and a PDEA informant.
Four PDEA agents were wounded in the shootout.
Before Duterte’s latest order, an ad hoc joint PNP-PDEA team was formed to investigate the shooting incident.
Upon the President’s directive, the ad hoc joint panel’s investigation will no longer proceed.