• 16-year-old student died in buy-bust operation along with the targeted suspect
  • Police chief said the suspects fired the first shot
  • Families of slain suspects deny their links to drugs, to press charges against the police

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the intense crackdown on illegal drugs, two suspects were killed in a buy-bust operation in Baguio City after allegedly shooting it out with the police.

Killed in the sting was Richter Baykin, a 16-year-old student of Pines City National High School, and Genard “Nash” Palomique, a suspect under the city’s drugs watchlist.

According to police chief Sr. Supt. George Daskeo, the operatives defended themselves after the suspects fired the first shot.

“Lumaban sila kasi under threat na sila [They fought back because they were under threat],” he told ABS-CBN.

However, families of the suspects denied their involvement in the drug trade.

“Wala naman po siyang iligal na ginagawa. Nagtataka kami bakit siya nagkaroon ng baril. Na-set up lang siya, [He has done anything illegal. We are also puzzled why he has a gun. He was set up],” Palomique’s wife said.

On the other hand, the slain student’s father vowed to press charges against the police.

“Kung sino man ‘yung pulis na yumari sa anak ko pasensyahan na lang tayo. Magfa-file ako ng kaso, hindi tama ang ginagawa nila. Ang bata ng anak ko bakit dinamay nila, [To the police who killed my child, sorry in advance. I will file a case, what they did was not right. My child was so young yet they killed him],” Regie Baykin said.

The public-backed war on drugs has so far netted tens of thousands of surrenderees and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of suspects.

However, some have also condemned the campaign; calling it anti-poor and prejudicial.