Cop dies 'fighting back' vs fellow police in Quezon

MANILA, Philippines – A suspected narco-cop was shot dead by fellow policemen after he allegedly fought back to evade arrest on Thursday, August 9.

How did he die? Police Officer II (PO2) Ian Rey Abitona was shot dead by fellow cops from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Counterintelligence Task Force (CITF) and agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in a buy-bust operation in Infanta, Quezon.

Abitona apparently sensed that he was dealing with fellow law enforcers so he allegedly "[drew] his issued firearm and fired towards the operating elements." (READ: Half of Filipinos don't believe cops' 'nanlaban' line – SWS survey)

"A brief exchange of fire happened that resulted [in] the death of subject officer," the police report states.

Why was the operation carried out? Police said the buy-bust was prompted by information that Abitona was a shabu (methamphetamine) dealer, and also a protector of those involved in the drug trade.

Police added that Abitona allegedly killed civilian assets who failed to "recycle" or resell drugs seized in illegal operations.

Counterintelligence operatives said Abitona was on the watchlist of the Quezon Police Provincial Office.

But before that, he used to be an anti-drug and intelligence officer, then later placed on police station desk duty in Infanta. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.