A PARAÑAQUE City policeman on detail with the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory shot and killed a 52-year-old woman and her son at the height of their heated argument over a “right-of-way” in Paniqui, Tarlac past 5 p.m. last Sunday.
Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca, 46, who had unergone SOCO training at the PNP Crime Lab, fled after shooting Sonya Gregorio and her son Frank Anthony, 25, repeatedly in the head and body and later surrendered to the local police, said Philippine National Police chief General Debold M. Sinas.
An initial investigation showed that prior to the incident whose video has already gone viral, the victims were at their house in Purok 2, Barangay Cabayaoasan in Paniqui municipality when the policeman arrived and confronted them.
The suspect then suddenly shot the victims several times with a pistol killing both on the spot. After the killing, the suspect fled on board a motorcycle without plate number but later yielded to the local police and surrendered the fatal weapon.
Paniqui Municipal Police Station commander Lieutenant Colonel Noriel Rombaoa said that they are looking into an old grudge between the Nuezca and Gregorio families which is said to have emanated from a land dispute regarding right-of-way.
The suspect will be facing a double murder case and administrative charges for grave misconduct.
SINAS ANGERED, SADDENED
Gen. Sinas said he was “angry and saddened” after seeing the video of the killing. “I was angry and saddened that our policeman committed such a crime. Itong pulis na ito ay mukhang nag-init ang ulo after makita na nagaaway ang pamilya niya at at kalabang pamilya. Good thing is that he surrendered to the Paniqui police,” he said.
The PNP chief said he has ordered the Tarlac Police Provincial Office director to properly supervise the investigation of the case and the filing of criminal charges against the accused.
The incident also prompted him to order a new study on anger management in the police force. “Siguro hindi na-manage ang anger niya kaya we have to do something here. We are also telling our commanders to please remind their people to hold their temper in check para hindi na maulit ang pangyayaring ito,” he said.
Gen. Sinas said that he has consulted a PNP neuro-psychiatrist about the matter and its possible effect on the force.
He said that a record check showed that Nuesca has been the subject of a number of criminal and administrative charges which were all dismissed due to lack of evidence and witnesses.
In 2019, the accused figured in two homicide cases which were all dismissed. He also faced a grave misconduct case for non-appearance in court duties in 2016; two other cases of less grave misconduct in 2013 which were all resolved already, either dismissed or he already had served the penalties.
Gen. Sinas however defended his men from bearing firearms even when off-duty and in civilian clothes since they are mandated to respond to calls for assistance 24/7. However, he said that cops are strictly barred from displaying their firearms in public or tucking them at their waists while in civvies.
PNP Crime Laboratory director Brigadier Gen. Steve B. Ludan said that the accused isamong the policemen who underwent SOCO seminar in line with the program of Gen. Sinas to have one SOCO Team per city and help the Crime Lab respond to calls for assistance in investigating criminal cases.
The PNP chief also said that Nuezca did not hide and immediately surrendered with his gun after the killing. “It shows his character. Nung humupa na ang galit, he surrendered. That shows na haharapin niya ang kaso,” he said.
He also urged the public to let the investigators do their job. “Hindi ko alam kung bakit niya nagawa yun but just wait for the charges to be filed. We let the investigation go on, just wait on what triggered it,” he added.
The Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Tarlac on Monday indicted the policeman who shot dead a mother and son before the Paniqui, Tarlac.
Charges were filed before the Tarlac regional trial court against Nuezca for two counts of murder. Double murder is a non-bailable offense.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed the finding of probable cause during inquest proceedings against Nuezca.
“Upon inquest, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Tarlac has found probable cause to indict respondent Jonel Nuezca for two counts of murder,” Guevarra said in a message. With Hector Lawas