Five personnel from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) were killed while two others were wounded following an ambush incident in Barangay Malna, Kapai, Lanao del Sur on Friday noon.
A police report identified the fatalities as Kenneth Tabulo, Kristine Mae Torlao, Lores Joy Amar, Binzo Dipolla and Diobel Pacinio while those wounded were PDEA agent Rachel Gentapanan and non-uniformed personnel of Tagoloan Municipal Police Station Normina Dicay.
The report said the seven victims were on board a van enroute to Marawi City when the still unidentified suspects fired on them. They came from a program for drug surrenderers at Tagoloan police station.
Personnel from the Tagoloan and Kapai municipal police stations immediately responded to the incident and conducted hot pursuit against the suspects.
Authorities are still conducting an investigation on the incident.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino condemned the killing of PDEA agents and vowed that justice will be served.
“We strongly condemn the cowardly and atrocious killing of our six agents in Lanao. This is unacceptable. This act of inhumanity will not just pass as another common incident. We will use all our resources to put these animals in jail and we will intensify our campaign against their illegal operations. Their deaths will not be in vain,” Aquino said in a statement.
“We assure the families of our fallen agents that we will urgently conduct an investigation to identify the shameless criminals who committed this crime. This [incident] has strengthened us to continue our crusade, rather than bow to the threats of these illegal drug syndicates,” he added.
The PDEA chief also extended condolences to the bereaved families of the fallen PDEA agents.
“Kami po ay taos-pusong nakikiramay sa pamilya ng mga kasamahan nating nabiktima ng karahasang ito. Lalo lamang pong pagpapatunay ito na ang ating ginagawang pagbabantay kontra droga ay nararamdaman ng mga kriminal na ito,” Aquino added. — RSJ, GMA News