The incident prompted PDEA to conduct a probe after one of the victims, Ferdinand Rigo, a former policeman and alleged leader of the illegal drug group, turned out to be the husband of a PDEA intelligence officer in Bicol, said Jeamary Buendia, acting PDEA information officer.
Buendia, in a phone interview, confirmed a police report that Ferdinand Rigo was the husband of PDEA Intelligence Officer 2 (IO2) Judith J. Rigo.
The name of Rigo’s wife was discovered after police operatives recovered classified documents about 'Oplan Tokhang' from the service vehicle of Ferdinand.
Tokhang is an anti-illegal drug campaign jointly conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and PDEA.
Documents seized included a validated list of “drug personalities” and drug-affected villages.
Also among those recovered was a designation order of Judith, wife of the slain drug peddler.
When asked if the victims of the Guinobatan shootout were included in PDEA's illegal drug watch list, Buendia declined to answer for lack of authority from her superiors to issue classified reports.
Buendia, however, assured that the investigation would be thorough and include the “possible involvement of the PDEA officer in her husband’s illegal drug deals”.
Meanwhile, Sr. Insp. Maria Luisa Calubaquib, spokesperson of Police Regional Office (PRO) 5, said that aside from Rigo, also slain in the Guinobatan shooting was Private First Class Joel Coderes, 26, assigned at the 31st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Juban, Sorsogon.
She identified the third and fourth cohorts of Rigo who were slain, as live-in partners Valdemar Olaguer, 36, and Crisanta de Castro, 29, both from Barangay Mauraro, Guinobatan.
The four drug suspects died before reaching the Josefina Belmonte Duran Memorial District Hospital in Ligao City, added Calubaquib.
She said another suspected drug pusher was slain Thursday night by a combined team of law enforcers in a buy-bust operation in the neighboring Albay town of Camalig.
Calubaquib identified the slain as Emerson Llanza Jr., alias “Kulot.”
Llanza, 29, was killed after allegedly resisting arrest at the operation in Barangay Del Rosario, Camalig, she said.
He sustained several gunshot wounds and was declared dead at the Camalig Municipal Health Unit.
Recovered from him were a .38-caliber gun and a plastic sachet of shabu. (By Mar Arguelles and Jorge Hallare)