A dismissed policeman was killed in a shootout with police operatives in Dumaguete during a buy-bust operation at about 9:50 p.m. Tuesday at Bishop E.P. Surban Street in the city.
Dumaguete City chief of police, Supt. Jonathan Pineda, said yesterday they had a hard time catching Roderick Maquinta, 36, a former member of the Philippine National Police Batch 2007, and resident of Candau-ay in Dumaguete, because he was skilful and knowledgeable, being formerly assigned with the intelligence unit of the city police.
He was also considered as a high value target.
The police said that, with the use of a confidential agent, the drug transaction was consummated, but Maquinta noticed that he was dealing with a police officer, and this prompted him to pull out a gun and try to shoot it out with the operatives.
Recovered from the crime scene were three big elongated heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu granules, three small elongated plastic sachets containing shabu, a .45 caliber pistol with magazine containing six live ammunition, pocket weighing scale, a wallet containing P10,671.25 in cash, three empty shells of a 9mm pistol, one deformed slug for a 9mm, and other personal belongings of the suspect, such as a watch, belt, and a cellphone.
Negros Oriental police director, Senior Supt. Edwin Portento, said everything was coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. He said the safety of the operatives had been compromised, prompting one of the junior police officers to shoot the suspect.
Portento said Maquinta was thrown out of the Negros Oriental PNP in 2011, and was assigned to police stations in Cebu, like Dalaguete and Alegria, and then went AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave) until his dismissal in 2013.
Even if Portento believes it was a legitimate operation, he still directed the Provincial Inspectorate Office to conduct a mandatory investigation to dispel apprehensions about the possibility of an extrajudicial killing.
Records show that, Maquinta was dismissed for using a government-issued phone in an illegal drug transaction.
Meanwhile, in a New Year's call at the regional command, Portento said the PNP has a list of policemen suspected of having used illegal drugs but this needs verification.
He said the recent random drug testing at the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office showed negative results for use of prohibited drugs among its personnel.
Reacting to the incident, Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Remollo said it was a good sign that the police was doing a crackdown first on bad elements within their ranks, or even former comrades.
However, he cautioned the police to make sure that what they are doing are within the bounds of the law.*JG
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