MANILA, Philippines - The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) on Tuesday defended its operatives who fatally shot alleged criminal group leader Ivan Padilla in a predawn encounter in Makati City on Monday.
"We have to take into consideration the safety of the operatives. Clear na ba iyong area o baka may magpapaputok pa doon," Senior Superintendent Rommel Miranda, NCRPO spokesman, said as he denied accusations that the operatives intentionally delayed bringing Padilla to the hospital after the shootout.
Miranda said that the shootout on General Luna Street in Makati City happened between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m..
He said the shootout lasted for at least 5 minutes.
An ABS-CBN News footage after the shootout showed Padilla hurt, but still alive. The suspect was able to tell the media that he was hit in the head.
The footage also showed a police mobile unit rushing Padilla to the hospital.
Miranda said the police mobile unit arrived at the hospital at 5:50 a.m. and Padilla was declared dead around 6 a.m..
Miranda said that despite Padilla's condition, the police operatives had to secure the area to assure their own safety, as well as the safety of the residents living around the site of the encounter.
He insisted that they see nothing wrong with the operatives' decision to prioritize their own safety and of the civilians, saying that it was part of the police's standard operating procedures.
3 cohorts identified
Police, meanwhile, identified 3 more suspected members of the Padilla Gang.
The suspects were named as Ronald Duenas, Erwin Keana Peredo and Anthony Padua.
The NCRPO said that the 3 suspects were involved with Padilla in a number of robbery cases.
It said that aside from car theft, the Padilla Gang is also involved in a series of robberies in a condominium building in Makati City.
It added that the last scores of the group took place in March and April of this year.
Padilla's killing came almost a week after the arrest of his gangmates, Dale Alimagno and Glen del Castillo.
A certain Mark Inducil, who was allegedly with Padilla at the time of the shootout, was also arrested.
Miranda told ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda" in an interview that the group also had pretty girls from well-to-do families as members.
He said the group uses the girls as "access" to their potential victims.
"Sa ibang kaso, ang mga babae ginagamit para maging kaibigan ang mga potential victims. A-attend sa mga bar, mga party. Kakaibiganin ang potential na victim hanggang sa magkaroon ng access sa mga bahay (In some cases, they use the girls to befriend potential victims. They go to bars, parties and make friends with potential victims until they gain access to their homes)," he said. -- Reports from Gretchen Malalad and Alex Santos, ABS-CBN News