No such thing as sell-bust

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MONTHS after “engaging in an encounter” resulting in the death of four intelligence officers of the Philippine Army, cops have taken the center stage again – this time against operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

But unlike the ending of the June incident, the supposed encounter between PDEA and members of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) saw the cops at the losing end as two QCPD personnel were killed, while another was wounded. At the other end, PDEA had one casualty and three of their operatives injured.

Interestingly, the bad reputation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) seemed getting worse especially after netizens hinted at the QCPD on an alleged sell-bust operation. 

Oops, sell bust? I spent hours doing research on sell-bust and found nothing.

I also had a lengthy talk with former journo, now lawyer Berteni Causing, from whom I asked the legality of sell-bust. According to Berteni, or Toto as fellow journos call him, the Supreme Court has ruled the legality of buy bust operation but no such thing as sell bust.

Even with the legality of buy-bust operation in anti-drug stings, Toto [who has handled quite a long list of drug cases against police officers] hinted at the procedure as vulnerable to corruption, and at times even used to legalize dubious activities of ninja cops or those who are selling seized illegal drugs.

He went further by saying that in the drug cases he handled in various courts, he claims to have discovered that policemen are actually using a template in the statements they are presenting during the hearings where they are often caught flat footed and lying under oath – thus the dismissal of the cases.

Going back to the PDEA-PNP bloody encounter, Toto somehow sees the lack of proper coordination as the reason behind the mess that resulted in the death of two police officers and injuring four others. He said that the QCPD Special Operations Unit could have missed one essential part before operating – if indeed what they are up to is a legitimate operation.

Citing the procedural manual, Toto said that a legitimate operation should have coordination with the PDEA central desk, the police sub-station covering the place of operation and the barangay which has jurisdiction of the area.

Toto underscored the need for proper coordination to prevent incidents like what had just happened at the Gotesco Mall in Quezon City.

At the extreme end is PDEA, through its spokesperson Derrick Carreon, who issued a statement which reads: “Sirs and ma’ams nakikiusap po kami to allow us time to obtain clear details on the incident po. Sa ngayon isa lang po ang malinaw… na ang PDEA Special Enforcement Service ay nandoon on a legitimate operation po. Yun lang po ang alam namin at this point.”

My take: PDEA is after ninja cops.

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