Boy, 4, mom wounded in drug bust that turned into hostage situation
Updated @ 12:20 a.m., July 14, 2019
SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna, Philippines — A 4-year-old boy and his mother were wounded in the crossfire between the police and a suspected drug pusher, who reportedly held the two hostage before the officers shot him dead in Lipa City, Batangas province, on Thursday.
The incident had similarities with the June 29 shootout in Rodriguez, Rizal province, where 3-year-old Myca Ulpina was killed with a bullet to her neck as authorities pursued her father, Renato, in an antidrug operation.
Batangas police said the suspect in Thursday’s operation also used a “human shield” in an attempt to escape.
Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police chief, said he would lead a Senate inquiry into Ulpina’s death, which he described as an “unfortunate incident” after apologizing for his earlier remark that “shit happens” during police operations.
In an interview on Saturday, Batangas police chief Col. Edwin Quilates rejected comparisons with the Rizal shootout, saying his men exercised caution in handling the situation, hence the hostages were saved.
He said bullets “grazed” the mother in the back and the child in his arm.
The mother, whose name was not mentioned in the police report, has executed an affidavit saying the bullets that hit her and her child were fired by the suspect—reportedly her nephew—and not by the police.
Quilates said the July 11 buy-bust operation by Tanauan City police targeted Christopher Javier in Barangay Poblacion 1.
Tanauan police chief Jack Angog said Javier, upon sensing the entrapment, fled on his motorbike toward Santo Tomas town, where he later entered a motel at Barangay San Miguel and briefly met with a woman believed to be his girlfriend.
Angog said they would have waited for Javier to turn himself in but he instead fled to a relative’s home at Barangay Inosluban in Lipa City.
Police said Javier used his aunt and her child as shields as officers tried to convince him to surrender. “The woman was also pleading with him,” Angog said.
Quilates said Javier fired shots as he dragged the mother, who was then carrying her child, and hit Police Master Sergeant Dante Robles. The officer was unharmed as he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
The standoff lasted for about 15 minutes, Angog said.
Quilates said the policemen took their chance and fired at Javier when he unintentionally released the hostages.
Javier was brought to Metro Lipa Medical Center but was declared dead on arrival.
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