Trader slain by fake Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agents

Aaron N. Aquino

AN investigation have confirmed that the gunmen who killed a businessman in Tondo, Manila last May 24 wore fake Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency uniformed to mislead the public and investigators into believing they were real PDEA agents.

PDEA chair, Director General Aaron N. Aquino said that they confirmed the matter following an investigation they conducted in the aftermath of a video showing the killers who attacked Melchor Almazan, an owner of a trucking company from Caloocan City.

Aquino said that a video of the incident circulating on social media showed four male suspects on board two motorcycles shooting at the driver of an SUV who later turned out to be Almazan. The gunmen were seen wearing green polo shirts similar to the old PDEA tactical uniform, he said.

According to Aquino, real PDEA agents now sport a new set of tactical uniform entirely different from those worn by perpetrators in the said video.

“This modus is clearly an attempt by rogue individuals to taint the image of PDEA and put our agents in a bad light,” the PDEA chief said, citing other previous incidents where perpetrators of crimes were seen wearing clothes resembling tactical uniforms worn by PDEA agents during legitimate anti-drug operations.

“They are fake PDEA agents,” he said in referring to the criminals caught on CCTV cameras wearing PDEA-like T-shirts.

Aquino said that in 2018, two similar incidents involving “fake” PDEA agents were reported.

One took place on February 4, 2018 when a CCTV camera caught several persons wearing PDEA green shirts as they forcibly grabbed alleged drug suspects in Barangay Ususan, Taguig City.

On February 24, 2018, an individual posing as PDEA agent was also arrested together with his companion, after a shootout in Parañaque City.

“Under my watch, I will not tolerate any PDEA agent who shall take advantage of their badge and drag the name of the agency in unscrupulous activities. They do not have any excuse to get involved in any illegal activity,” the PDEA chief said. Alfred Dalizon

The PDEA leadership has denied any role in the assassination of the 48-year old Almazan saying that the four suspects-two wearing green t-shirts with PDEA at the back; the other two are wearing black t-shirts and bull caps with PDEA-are not connected in anyway with the Agency.

“Obviously, the suspects are merely pretending to be agents of PDEA to confuse Investigators. PDEA has a signature uniform including shirts, pants, belts and shoes, and are far different from what the suspects used during the ambush,” Aquino said.

Aquino however assured that they will cooperate with other law enforcement agencies investigating the incident.

CCTV footage showed the motorcycle-riding gunmen wearing shirts stamped with the word “PDEA” as they trailed the SUV of Almazan  along Rodriguez Extension in Tondo on Friday last week.  At least three gunmen were seen attacking the hapless victim before one of them opened the victim’s front door and stole some of his belongings.

One of the gunmen was seen threatening to shoot anybody who will come to the rescue of the Almazan. The video showed the motorcycle-riding assassins casually tailing their target before firing at him on will in the presence of shocked passersby.