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ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police have confirmed that the two cops slain in a firefight with members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Counter-Intelligence Task Force (CITF) in Zamboanga City were involved in illegal drugs.

It said the duo – PO3 Ronald Bernardo and PO2 Maria Oliver Olaso, were killed after they engaged undercover policemen during a sting operation on August 18 in the village of Ayala. Task force agents were trying to arrest the duo when the policemen reportedly engaged the arresting team, backed by police commandos, in a shootout.

“Counter-Intelligence Task Force conducted surveillance on the reports the two subject police officers were involved in illegal drugs and upon confirmation operating team CITF initiated the buy-bust operation which resulted to the death of the subject police officers,” said Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, a regional police spokeswoman.

She said police investigators recovered suspected shabu and weapons and money from the slain cops and from their alleged safe house nearby.

But former village chieftain Alex Macapili told E-Media Television that he was with Bernardo and Olaso and they just conducted an anti-illegal drug operation in the area when they ran into a group of policemen on their way home. And afterwards, policemen started shooting at them, said Macapili, who was able to ran to a safe place at the first burst of gunfire.

In the same report, E-Media said Macapili was the subject of a search warrant after police received information that he was keeping illegal weapons in his house. Macapili has gone missing and is believed to be hiding.

The operation coincided with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to kill policemen involved in illegal drugs and offered P5 million rewards for each rogue cop killed.

The families of the slain policemen did not release any statement on the accusations against Bernardo and Olaso, who were members of the anti-illegal drugs unit of the police station in Ayala. (Mindanao Examiner)


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