Police chief launches probe into drug bust death of girl aged three

drug den shootout, three-year-old girl killed
It is alleged the girl was used as a human shield by her father during the drug bust.

Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde has ordered an investigation into a drug bust that led to the shooting of a three-year-old girl.

The child, identified as Myka, was caught in crossfire between police officers and her father during a raid in Rodriguez, Rizal, last Sunday (June 30). 

Officers have reported that her father, Renato “Kato” Ulpina used her as a “human shield”.

Among those who killed during the bust were Ulpina, an as-yet unidentified suspect, and Police Master Sergeant Conrado Cabigao.

General Albayalde said today (Wednesday, July 3) that he has ordered regional Police Director Brigadier General Edward Carranza to investigate the incident.

Officers have reported that Ulpina and the other suspect fired shots at Sgt. Cabigao, which led to the in the drug den.

Gen. Albayalde also said that Ulpina was a member of a criminal gang involved in gun for hire.

“In any firefight, especially when police are being shot at, of course the police will retaliate and they could not see their target,” he said.

Human rights groups have expressed dismay that Myka has become the latest — and possibly youngest — casualty of President Duterte’s war on drugs.

A statement issued by New-York based Human Rights Watch, for example, said: “Most of those killed in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, including the children like Myka, lived in impoverished urban areas. The drug war has also damaged countless Filipino children who continue to grapple with the psychological, emotional, social, and economic impact of the of their loved ones.” 

The UN’s children’s agency, UNICEF, has previously condemned the death of four-year-old Skyler Abatayo in 2018 and Danica May Garcia, five, in 2016.

According to the Philippine National Police, 6,600 suspects have been killed in about 153,000 police operations since the drug war was launched in July 2016.

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