MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP)-Internal Affairs Service (IAS) will lead the investigation into the “collateral damage” incurred in an anti-drug operation in Rodriguez, Rizal that resulted in the death of four persons, including a three-year-old girl.
“I have directed the IAS to take the lead and expedite the conduct of the investigation because it was the Regional Investigation Division of Region 4A leading the investigation,” PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde told reporters during the press briefing on Tuesday.
The move, according to Albayalde, is to expedite the conduct of the probe amid a public uproar over the incident.
Albayalde said that they are currently waiting for the results of the ballistics examination on all the firearms of the policemen to determine which among them was fired and eventually hit the child.
The IAS is generally tasked to run after erring policemen and investigate lapses and commission of irregularities by policemen in the conduct of their duties.
The PNP earlier welcomed the Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) call for a full investigation on the incident.
PNP spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac said such investigation would help them determine all circumstances surrounding “that fateful encounter that claimed four human lives”.
“That is precisely the reason why all police operatives who were involved in that operation had been placed on administrative relief to preclude undue influence in the inquiry,” Banac told reporters when sought for a comment.
Banac, meanwhile, responded by saying that those proven to kill intentionally will be subject to laws, “while on the side of the law, must observe rigid rules of engagement”.
“From Day 1 of this national campaign against illegal drugs, government has declared war versus drug syndicates and all those involved in the illegal drug trade,” he added.
Last June 29, a three-year-old Myka Ulpina was caught in a crossfire during police operations against suspected drug pushers in Rodriguez, Rizal.
Ulpina was among the four fatalities during the operations, along with Senior M/Sgt. Conrad Cabigao, the girl’s father Renato Ulpina, and an unidentified companion.
Meanwhile, Col. Resty Damaso, chief of police of Rodriguez, Rizal and 19 other cops were relieved from their posts following the operation.
The 20 policemen have been placed under the personnel and holding unit of the Rizal Provincial Police Office while investigation is ongoing. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA – northboundasia.com