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PDEA, PNP wary of releasing info on Commonwealth shootout

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Thursday were wary of releasing information on the deadly shootout between policemen and anti-drug agents on Wednesday.

In a joint press conference, PDEA chief Wilkins Villanueva appealed to the public to wait and let both agencies release information once the investigation is over.

“[R]ight now hindi puwedeng mag-away ang pulis at PDEA dahil sa sitwasyon ngayon,” he said.

“Right now, because of sa mga namatay, ngayon dapat mas lalong humigpit ang relasyon ng pulis at ng PDEA dahil hindi natin alam baka yung sindikato ay pinanood lang tayo at pinag-aaway lang tayo pareho. At hindi namin ‘yan puwede payagan,” he added.

Villanueva and PNP chief Police General Debold Sinas refused to give any details despite repeated questions from reporters saying they do not want to preempt the investigation being conducted by the joint PNP-PDEA Board of Inquiry.

Two policemen, one PDEA agent, and one informant died during the buy-bust operation at a fast food joint beside the Ever Gotesco Mall on Commonwealth Avenue.

When asked which of the two agencies were conducting the buy-bust operation, Villanueva said that was what they were investigating.

“‘Yun nga, what we are trying to find out. Sino dito ang buy-bust. But right not we cannot tell whether both of us or one of us are doing the buy-bust and one of us are not doing the same buy-bust,” Villanueva said.

“But we cannot tell that. Because we do not have the evidence that will prove that right now,” he added.

PDEA and the PNP previously insisted that both operations were legitimate, a claim that Surigao del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers said was “highly questionable.”

“Right now we are mourning, so we cannot speculate on what really happened because really, eh, talagang barilan ito. And both parties are thinking that they are doing the same thing. So ito yun. Hintayin lang natin,” he said.

Sinas expressed support and echoed Villanueva’s remarks.

“[I]f we will side with our people baka mamaya 'yung mga tao namin sa baba, mag-initan, magkabarilan. So that’s why we are here to present ng solid relationship namin,” Sinas said.

He also said the incident will not affect the relationship of the PNP and PDEA.

“Very unfortunate incident na talagang it happened. That’s why we have to investigate properly,” he said.

“Ayaw namin magbigay kaagad ng report only to find out mali pala and masaktan na yung sa kabila… without first going with the available facts and available evidence na nakikita,” he added.—AOL, GMA News