MANILA - The Philippine National Police on Sunday admitted continuing "operational lapses" in the agency as it urged witnesses to come forward following the death of a teen in an anti-drug operation in Laguna.
Johndy Maglinte, 16, and a companion, Antonio Dalit, had supposedly retaliated with force when police officers were handing out arrest warrants in Barangay Canlalay, Biñan City last Wednesday.
Dalit was killed first, and Maglinte was shot after witnessing this, according to the Commission on Human Rights, citing a statement from the live-in partner of the minor's mother Cristina Maglinte.
"It boils down pa rin dun sa may operational lapses pa rin tayo. Di naman kami pinanghihinaan ng loob. Sa mga ganitong pagkakataon lalo dapat ipakita ng PNP yung resolve namin na maimbestigahan ito," PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Sunday.
(It boils down to the fact that we still have operational lapses. We're not discouraged. In these times, the PNP should all the more show our resolve to investigate this.)
The PNP and the CHR are conducting their separate probes on the incident.
"Itong nagresultang encounter, kahit anong edad naman 'yan, 'pag meron talagang kasalanan, pwedeng hulihin siya. At pag ikaw ay nalagay sa bingit ng alanganin at iyong kaligtasan ay nakasalalay, di naman kailangang alamin kung bata o matanda ang magbibigay sa'yo ng panganib o bingit ng kamatayan."
(This encounter, whatever age, if they violated the law, they could be arrested. If you're on the brink of death, you don't need to know if it's a child or an adult who's threatening your life.)
Reports that the boy was "handcuffed and facing down into the mud" remain "hearsay" until witnesses come forward, Eleazar said.
He added that he was open to talking to witnesses and connect them with investigators.
"Nakakalungkot talaga at nakakagalit. Pero hindi naman lingid sa atin na nagagamit ng masasamang loob ang ilan sa ating mga kabataan sa krimen," he said.
(It's sad and maddening but there are criminals who use children in their operations.)
"Yung sinasabi na nakadapa daw, may posas, wala naman tayong ebidensiyang ganun. 'Yun ay narinig lamang sa reporter. Ang reporter naman, 'di umano,' puro ganun naman tayo, puro hearsay lahat yun."
(They say that the child was lying face down and handcuffed. We have no evidence of that, it was just heard from a reporter. And reporters said 'allegedly,' that's all hearsay.)
Ten Laguna police officers tagged in the anti-drug operation have been placed under restrictive custody.