Verzosa: Parañaque shootout worst blot
MANILA, Philippines — Since taking over the helm of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Director General Jesus Verzosa has been besieged by several controversies, but he considers the December shootout between police and alleged robbers in Parañaque City as the worst.
He called the shootout a bigger problem than the so-called “euro generals” scandal because civilians died in the crossfire. A total of 16 people were killed during the December 5 gunbattle — nine robbery suspects and seven civilians, including a seven-year-old girl.
The “euro generals” refers to the apprehension of then newly-retired PNP comptroller Eliseo dela Paz by customs officials in Moscow for carrying an undeclared €105,000 (around P6.9 million).
A Senate investigation into the incident uncovered many violations of government travel regulations.
The police also came under fire for blocking media access to blotters. Verzosa later lifted the restriction.
“Pinaka-batik, ang nakikita ko dito yung sa Parañaque [The biggest spot on my record is the incident in Parañaque],” Verzosa told reporters, as he delivered his report on his first 100 days in office.
While the killing of the nine suspects effectively neutralized a bank robbery syndicate in Metro Manila, Verzosa said it was “ironic” that it also resulted in civilian casualties.
“Doon sa napakagandang accomplishment na nabahiran ng isang unfortunate incident dahil may nadamaya na sibilyan [It was a very good accomplishment that was tainted by an unfortunate incident because there were civilian casualties]. It’s ironic, we neutralized a syndicate, nagkaroon tayo ng, siguro, makikita lapses, nagkaroon ng apekto sa mamamayan [maybe lapses were seen, and this affected the people],” he said.
Referring to the Moscow incident, he said: “What was recommended [for charges] was only General Dela Paz, but this one [Parañaque shootout], there were alleged lapses on the part of the operating elements.”
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