DOJ indicts PDEA agents over Commonwealth shootout

June 3, 2022 Hector Lawas 79 views

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally filed homicide charges against agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court in connection with the “bloody” misencounter with police anti-illegal drugs operatives in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City last year.

“The Information for the homicide case was already filed with the RTC QC Branch 83,” the Office of the Prosecutor General said in a message.

Three suspects were charged for the death of P/Cpl. Eric Elvin Garado.

This was after probable cause was established against the PDEA agents during the preliminary investigation conducted by DOJ prosecutors.

They posted a bail of P120,000 each at the sala of QC Regional Trial Court Branch 83, Presiding Judge Ralph Lee, where the charges of homicide filed against them were raffled.

A staff of Judge Lee told People’s Tonight that the case was assigned to their sala on May 23, and warrants of arrest against the accused were immediately issued.

However, the arrest warrants were not served anymore after the three accused posted bail immediately for their temporary release.

In February 2021, PDEA and PNP operatives shot it out over “botched” anti-drugs operations near a mall on Commonwealth Avenue.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has intervened in the investigation and directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to be the sole agency to do an independent and impartial probe.

DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra also ordered the NBI to prioritize the investigation into the Commonwealth shootout.

In the resolution, the DOJ likewise recommended the immediate indictment of four police officers for direct assault in connection with the injuries sustained by PDEA agents.

However, the DOJ junked the homicide case filed against an involved PDEA agent concerning the death of P/Cpl. Lauro de Guzman on the ground that the firearm and caliber used to shoot the policeman was never identified.

For the death of PDEA agent Rankin Gano, the DOJ also dismissed the murder case against another police officer for “insufficiency” of evidence.

The other complaints about attempted homicide, falsification of official documents, robbery, conniving to or consenting to evasion, arbitrary detention, sedition, and violation of the Anti-Torture Act were dismissed by the DOJ for lack of evidence. By Hector Lawas and Cory Martinez