PNP Chief backs police response to Mandaluyong shooting

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PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa said it is his moral obligation to help policemen embattled while doing their job.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 2) — The head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said while he condemns the botched operation in the Mandaluyong shooting, the police response to a supposed crime was expected.

PNP Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa told CNN Philippines' News Night that the ten policemen involved still performed their duties.

"On my part naman, kino-condemn ko 'yung kapalpakan noong operation, pero di ko kino-condemn 'yung pagre-react nila doon sa crime scene dahil may tawag eh. There's still regularity in the performance of duty. Pumalpak nga lang," he said.

[Translation: On my part, I condemn the failure of police operations. But I don't condemn how the police reacted to the crime scene, because there was a need. There's still regularity in the performance of duty. It just failed.]

 

The police responded to reports from barangay security personnel that a gunman from an earlier shooting in Barangay Additional Hills escaped in a white van. A police team led by Senior Inspector Maria Cristina Vasquez fired upon the vehicle along Shaw Boulevard.

The incident left two dead — Jonalyn Ambaon, a victim of the prior shooting, and Jomar Hayaun, a passenger.

Vasquez has not yet surrendered to authorities, while the nine are under police custody. All police officials as well the three barangay tanod were charged with homicide on Monday.

Dela Rosa clarified that while they will provide legal assistance to those charged, it does not mean the police will cover up the botched operation.

"Kailangan talagang pananagutan nila 'yan dahil may dalawang buhay na nasawi," he said.

[Translation: They have to answer for their actions because two people were killed.]

He added it is his moral obligation to help policemen facing charges.

Going after the tanod

Dela Rosa said the police did not prioritize apprehending the tanod, who reportedly fired at the Mitsubishi Adventure that was rushing a shooting victim to the hospital.

"Maiintindihan natin 'yung sitwasyon na 'yun sa pulis. Hindi sila naka-focus doon sa tanod, naka-focus sila doon sa alleged na reported na armado sa loob ng sasakyan. Nandoon 'yung threat. Hindi nila ni-consider 'yung tanod as threat," he explained.

[Translation: I understand the situation of the police. They were not able to focus on the watchers, they were focused on the alleged, reported armed men in the vehicle. That was the threat. The watchers were not.]

Earlier, Dela Rosa ordered the arrest of community watchmen who carry firearms.

READ: PNP Chief orders arrest of all armed barangay tanod

Under Executive Order 546, the PNP can deputize the tanods as "force multipliers," while a 2008 memorandum from PNP's handling agency, the National Police Commission, allows the barangay officials to be deputized as members of the Police Auxiliary Unit (PAU). PAU members have the opportunity to carry firearms, provided they follow training, uniform, and gun registry guidelines.

But Metro Manila police chief Director Oscar Albayalde and Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos earlier said barangay tanods are not allowed to carry guns while on duty.

Gilbert Gulpo, one of the tanod, is still at large.