PDEA looks into involvement of pols, cops in ambush-slay of anti-drug agents
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Director General Aaron Aquino said on Monday that the agency is looking into whether local politicians and police had a hand in the ambush of PDEA agents in Kapai, Lanao del Sur.
Aquino told Radyo Inquirer that they have identified certain politicians as persons of interest, including a city councilor from Marawi, but there is no solid evidence yet.
“Well no’ng una, ‘yan ang focus namin, ‘yong nahuli namin, later on parang wala kaming makita. Pero it doesn’t mean na hindi na sila persons of interest, tintignan pa rin namin,” he said.
(At first, that is our focus, it appears that there is no link in the person we arrested. But it doesn’t mean that they are no longer persons of interest, we will still look into it.)
However, the assailants, whom Aquino said they would charge in court within the week, are relatives of local politicians.
“‘Yung tinutukoy ko kasi dito, it’s a different group, a local drug group na somehow, ka-relative nila ‘yong mga local officials. So ‘yong mismong relatives ng mga local officials ang bumira doon sa mga tao ko,” he explained.
(What we are pertaining here is a different group, a local drug group that is somehow related to the local officials. So, it was the relatives of the local officials that attacked my men.)
“In the coming days, pa-file na namin sila ng kaso, more or less sampu na ito na grupong nang-ambush, and later on, if we see some strong evidence that will link itong mga local officials na ito, then isasabay na rin namin,” Aquino pointed out.
(We will file a case against them, more of less 10 groups involved in the ambush, and later on if we see a solid evidence against these local officials, we will file a case against them as well.)
The PDEA chief said that they are also looking at the involvement of the local police, although he said that PDEA and the Philippine National Police (PNP) issued conflicting views on the issue.
“Nag-request kami ng National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct parallel investigation also para non-partisan, kasi nga medyo ‘don hindi kami nagtutugma ng PNP pagdating ‘don sa mga security escorts,” Aquino said.
(We requested the NBI to conduct a parallel investigation so that this will be non-partisan, because the PDEA doesn’t seem to jive with the PNP in the aspect of the security escorts.)
“Sabi naman nila, so far wala silang makitang lapses na ginawa ng kapulisan, pero may nakikita kami na somehow parang may kinalaman sila sa ambush na ito,” he noted.
(They, however, said the PDEA did not see any lapses in the conduct of investigation of the PNP but we somehow see a link of their involvement in the ambush.)
Five PDEA agents aboard a white Toyota Fortuner were killed in Barangay Malna in Kapai on Friday noon, after attending a program former drug users and pushers in the nearby Tagoloan town.
Aquino said that as per the accounts of survivors — a PDEA agent and a police officer from Tagoloan — police escorts sped off left them behind minutes before the ambush.
PDEA has previously clarified that they did not make any request for a police escort, and it was the local police who volunteered to do so.
The five police personnel who escorted the PDEA agents have already been disarmed and relieved, according to PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde. /jpv
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