MANILA — Malacañang on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed justice over a deadly shootout between operatives of the police force and the anti-narcotics agency— two groups he had tasked to lead his crackdown on illegal drugs.
Two policemen were killed while 4 others—a police officer and 3 operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency—were wounded in what a top police official described as a "misencounter" near a mall on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on Wednesday night.
“The President of course expressed both sadness and concern bakit nangyari nga ito na kapwa tao ng gobyerno e nagkaputukan,” said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
“Ang inassure niya… we will get to the bottom of this incident. Magkakaroon po ng impartial investigation at justice will be done. Iyon po ang naging pahayag kahapon ni Presidente,” he said in a televised briefing.
(The President of course expressed both sadness and concern over why government personnel exchange gunfire. He assured we will get to the bottom of this incident. There will be an impartial investigation and justice will be done. That was the statement of the President yesterday.)
The gunfight happened on a busy thoroughfare dotted with stores, restaurants, and a pedestrian overpass. Shoppers at a mall, diners at a fast food restaurant, and people just passing scampered to safety as the shootout occurred.
Video courtesy of PTV
Videos obtained by ABS-CBN News show that multiple gunshots rang out as civilians ran and sought safety while police officers closed in near the scene.
A man could be heard shouting, "Tigilin n'yo! (Stop that)," after 2 gunshots were fired. It was followed by "Itong tropa namin (This is our troop)."
In another video, several motorcycle riders stopped at a junction after being caught in the crossfire. They can be seen running away after hearing the series of gunshots.
Initial police report revealed that members of the Quezon City Police District conducted a buy-bust operation but were unaware the people they were transacting with were PDEA agents.
To find out the truth behind the incident, the PNP and PDEA will set up a board of inquiry.
The National Bureau of Investigation will also look into the deadly clash.