ALMOST SIX months after the alleged misencounter between national police and anti-drug forces, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) “hopes” to submit its final report on the probe by the end of the month.   

“The NBI hopes to submit its final report to the DoJ (Department of Justice) by the end of this month,” Mr. Guevarra said in a Viber group message to reporters on Sunday.   

“The NBI has almost completed its investigation and is waiting for just one remaining critical report,” he added.   

Mr. Guevarra said the NBI is still waiting for the result of the digital forensic examination of the mobile phones of police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives involved in the shootout before it concludes its investigation.   

“A lot of material evidence is expected to be mined from these devices,” he said.   

He explained that the process took so long due to “the tedious process of obtaining cyber warrants,” and because “forensic investigators have had to examine meticulously an average of 22,000 pages of text messages, call logs, videos, and pictures per mobile phone.”   

On Feb. 24, 2021, the national police and PDEA operatives were to carry out an anti-drug operation along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, which instead led to a shootout between the two forces. Two policemen, one PDEA agent, and one informant died in the gunfight.  

On May 14, the anti-drug operation of the two forces in a Quezon City mall again almost led to a shootout.   

Three days after, national police chief Guillermo T. Eleazar said they have crafted unified guidelines and protocols with PDEA to establish better communication and coordination, especially during anti-illegal drug operations. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago