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Senate panel defers probe into PNP-PDEA shootout

Senate panel defers probe into PNP-PDEA shootout

The Senate will not push through with its scheduled inquiry this week into the fatal shootout between police personnel and Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA) agents in Quezon City.

The Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, chaired by former police chief now Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, was supposed to conduct the inquiry on Tuesday, March 2.

However, the committee issued a notice on the cancellation of the inquiry for the time being.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III also confirmed in a Sunday interview with Dobol B TV the postponement of the Senate panel inquiry into the incident.

"Nagkaroon lang naman ng misinterpretation diyan. Ang itinawag ko kay Senator Dela Rosa na itawag na hearing ay 'yung Senate Bill 3," he said.

"Hindi ko naman pinaiimbestigahan ang insidente. Pagdating sa Palasyo, parang iimbestigahan ang insidente," he added.

Malacañang on Saturday said President Rodrigo Duterte would ask Congress to delay its investigation into the shootout to allow the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to do its probe first.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said this idea came out in a discussion during Duterte's meeting with officials of the Philippine National Police and the PDEA on Friday night, two days after the deadly shootout.

"To ask Congress to delay its probe so NBI can proceed with its investigation first," Roque said in a text message sent to GMA News Online when asked about what transpired during the said meeting.

Duterte on Friday ordered the NBI, which is under the Department of Justice, to look into the events that led to the shootout.

The House Committee on Dangerous Drugs was also supposed to conduct its own inquiry into the incident on Monday, March 1.

However, the panel temporarily suspended its probe following Duterte's order to the NBI, committee chairman Surigao del Norte 2nd District Representative Robert Ace Barbers said on Saturday.

An initial report by the NBI indicated that two PDEA agents and an informant were killed in the shootout during a supposed anti-drug operation. Two bemedaled police officers for the Quezon City Police were also killed.

A report by investigators from the Quezon City Police District Station 6 in the Batasan area said the policemen conducted a buy-bust operation at the area "with complete coordination and necessary papers."

The report said the QCPD officers later learned that they were transacting with PDEA agents.

Both the PNP and the PDEA said their teams were on legitimate buy-bust operations and coordinated with each other prior to the shooting incident. —KG, GMA News