Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa defended Tuesday 11 cops involved in a shooting incident in Mandaluyong that left 2 civilians dead and 2 others injured.
Speaking to reporters, the PNP chief said the cops fired their guns in the performance of their duties.
"Kahit na pumalpak 'yung mga pulis ko sa Mandaluyong, maipagmamayabang ko pa din na nangyare 'yun because of the performance of their duties. Nangyare yun dahil pumunta sila, rumesponde sila. 'Yun nga lang nagoyo sila sa mali na report at pagdating doon, putukan na," Dela Rosa said.
Last week, police fired at a white van that was supposed to take an injured woman to a hospital.
The involved officials said the village guards (barangay tanod) were already firing at the vehicle when they arrived, and told them that it was the getaway vehicle of a gunman.
"Kawawa sila. Trabaho lang 'yun. Dumating sila nagpuputukan na. Kapag gabi, hindi mo talaga malaman kung may pumuputok mula sa sasakyan, but still, pumalpak sila," Dela Rosa said.
"They did not act with ill intent. They acted with regularity in the performance of their duty. Pumalpak nga lang," he added.
The police chief said it was a tough call for his men because they would also be criticized if they did not act on the report of the village guards.
"What if totoo 'yung report nung mga tanod? Ang pulis ngayon dahil kabado, ayaw sumali. Lalabas na tanga mga pulis... Damned if you do, damned if you don't," Dela Rosa said.
"Malungkot ako sa kinahihinatnan nila. Hanapan ko pa rin ng paraan para matulungan but kailangan makasuhan sila para matuto," he said.
Mandaluyong Police Chief Moises Villaceran and 10 of his men were relieved from their posts after the incident, and are being investigated for lapses.
The National Capital Region Police Office said the incident may have been an "overkill."
"Based on what we know, it is. Thirty-six spent shells is a lot without an active shooter sa Adventure," Superintendent Kimberly Molitas, spokesperson of the National Capital Region Police Office, said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.
Despite sympathizing with his men, Dela Rosa said they will still have to face investigations and will not be spared from charges should lapses be established.
"Hindi namin kino-condone...inaaksyunan namin. The mere fact na kinulong ni Gen. (Oscar) Albayalde 'yung mga pulis, ininquest, that's an indicator na we're doing our job," Dela Rosa said.
The police chief said the PNP needs to train its forces to ensure that they will master basic skills and protocol such as verifying tips.
"Magdasal na lang kami na sana mabalik na sa amin 'yung training ng pulis," he said.
Police training is being handled by the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), which is under the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Last year, Dela Rosa told senators that policy needs to be amended to allow the PNP to train its own men.
"[That is] another challenge we want the Senate to address - the control of PNP over training of personnel. We would like to inform you na PNP lang ang police agency sa mundo na hindi nagte-train sa kanyang police," Dela Rosa said in a Senate hearing last year.