Eleazar: Unified guidelines to be issued to avoid 'misencounters' in anti-drug ops

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2021 12:28 PM | Updated as of May 18 2021 01:44 PM

MANILA - Law enforcement agencies will be coming up with unified guidelines to prevent misencounters during anti-drug operations, the chief of the Philippine National Police said Tuesday.

“Maglalabas kami ng unified operation guidelines. Ang basic lang naman doon siguraduhin na ang operatiba ng PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) at PNP ay hindi dapat sila mag-operate sa isang lugar, sa isang panahon, pati na rin NBI (National Bureau of Investigation),” said Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.

(We will come up with unified operation guidelines. The basic thing there is to ensure that they don’t operate at the same time, in the same place, even the NBI.)

Eleazar said he and PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva discussed the matter Friday to identify operational problems after agents of the Quezon City Police District and PDEA conducted anti-drug operations at the same time in a mall in Fairview, Quezon City on Friday.

This came a few months after an incident in February where PDEA agents and police officers were caught in a shootout, leaving four dead. 

In their discussion, Eleazar said that for the Quezon City Police District, where there are 16 police stations, operations will be limited to areas under a certain station. PDEA will not approve the PNP’s request for coordination if they plan to hold a similar operation in the same area, he said.

“Sa lahat ng operation namin hindi pwedeng gumalaw nang walang approval ng PDEA. So once ibinigay namin 'yung impormasyon na 'yun na mag-ooperate kami, hands off na sila doon. In the same manner, kung meron silang gagawing operation ang gagawin lang nila 'wag nila kaming bigyan ng approval na mag-operate doon," he said. 

(We need to have the approval of PDEA in all our anti-drug operations. So we provide them the information and PDEA will keep its hands off the area. In the same manner, they will not give us approval if they plan to operate in the same area.)

Eleazar said the move is to prevent another misencounter like the February incident, where an ensuing shootout left dead 2 police officers, a PDEA agent and an informant.

The incident on Friday, meanwhile, was resolved immediately without bloodshed.

“'Yung pangyayari na wala namang namatay wala namang problema doon kasi wala naman violation sa mga operation nila it so happened lang na meron silang panahong operation na nagkataon na nasa isang lugar at 'yun ang hindi dapat mangyari sa mga susunod pa,” he said.

(There were no violations in their operations, but it just so happened that they were in the same place at the same time and that is what we're trying to avoid.)

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Eleazar said they would also come up with joint coordination together with their counterpart from PDEA to lay down the same guidelines nationwide.

“Ang bottomline dito, hindi dapat na magkaroon ng operatiba nila at kami sa isang lugar sa isang panahon,” he pointed out.

(The bottomline here is that there should be no PNP and PDEA operatives operating in the same area at the same time.)

Meanwhile, Eleazar said they would soon require police stations who have been issued with body cameras to use it during operations.

“Sa mga sususnod na mga araw asahan natin pina-plantsa na natin 'yan at kami ay magsisimula nang gamitin ito, only of course on those stations na meron nang body camera,” he said.

(We are ironing this out, we will soon use the body cameras, only of course on those stations where these were already provided.)

The PNP currently has 3,000 body cameras which can be used by only "hundreds" out of 1,500 police stations nationwide.

The Supreme Court earlier said it was considering a proposal requiring law enforcers to wear body cameras to prevent abuses in the service of warrants after 9 activists were killed in a series of police operations last March.

“Ang request namin at least man lang sa service of search warrant sa mga lugar kung saan may body cam na magamit natin ito and we're just awaiting for protocol. And even without that protocol po, maglalabas kami sa mga susunod na linggo na gamitin na ito ng mga pulis na naisyuhan na,” he said.