“Shit happens.”

This was the remark of the former chief of Philippine National Police (PNP), Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, on the death of a three-year old girl in a drug buy-bust operation in Rizal.

“Sino ba may gusto, ikaw ba pulis ka gusto mong may batang matamaan? Never, kasi ikaw may anak ka rin. Hindi mo gustong may mangyaring ganun pero shit happens during operations,” Dela Rosa  said in a Senate forum.

Police conducted a drug raid on June 29, targeting Renato Ulpina and another suspect.

According to them, Ulpina used his daughter Kateleen Myca Ulpina as a human shield during the shootout. However, the witness and the victim’s family denied the statement.

death-in-a-buy-bust-operation
Death in a drug buy-bust operation in Rodriguez, Rizal (Image soruce: Inquirer.net)

All in all, the incident killed four including Ulpina, Katheleen, another drug suspect, and Senior Master Sergeant Conrad Cobigao, who acted as poseur-buyer.

Dela Rosa, a neophyte senator, said he expected the family of the suspects to claim that the police were responsible for the deaths in such operations.

“Ganun naman talaga ‘yan palagi na kineclaim palagi ng namatayan na hindi lumaban,” he said.

Then, he asked how Cabigao died.

“Bakit may namatay na pulis? Paano namatay ‘yung pulis? Binaril niya sarili niya?” Dela Rosa said. 

After that, he suggested that the Senate may conduct an investigation regarding the matter to improve the rules of engagement.

He said, “Pwede in aid of legislation. Hopefully, we can legislate some amendments or improvements sa batas para maiwasan ang ganung pangyayari. Tignan natin.”

Also, he added, “Gagawa ba tayo ng batas na kapag nalaman mo na may bata sa loob ‘wag ka pumasok dahil baka matamaan ‘yung bata?”

He defended the policemen saying that they always ensure that they would not cause harm to innocent civilians, but things go wrong sometimes in an imperfect world.

“Aaminin ko sa inyo, merong nangyayari na talagang in the course of operation, honest to goodness, na talagang naging collateral damage dahil nga hindi perfect ang operational enviroment,” he said.

Despite that, Dela Rosa said that those police officers who were found abusing their power are now charged in court. 

“Meron din talagang sinadya. Alam natin yung mga kasong sinadya and they are now facing cases, kinasuhan ‘yan,” he said.

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