HOUSE Assistant Majority Leader and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Niña Taduran on Tuesday called for an end to impunity as she strongly condemned the cold-blooded murder of a mother and her son by a policeman in Paniqui, Tarlac.
“Ang pagdadala ng baril ng mga pulis kahit off-duty ay isang malaking responsibilidad – it is their duty to themselves and to the people around them to practice gun safety rules and to keep their fingers off the trigger unless extremely necessary. If there’s no threat, don’t use your gun. Hindi ‘yan pang-power trip,” Taduran stressed.
A policeman assigned in Parañaque City, Senior Master Sgt. Jonel Nuezca, abruptly shot Sonya Gregorio, 52, and her son Frank Anthony Gregorio, 25, after an argument in Paniqui, Tarlac, which stemmed from a loud sound created by a PVC cannon (boga) of the victim.
Taduran insisted that the Philippine National Police (PNP) should regularly evaluate all cops especially those who have several cases filed against them.
Former Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez said PNP Chief Debold Sinas should immediately reform the PNP or resign, stressing command responsibility is very important.
“Failure of leadership is not acceptable. Lives are at risk. The credibility of the police force is in ruins. Reform the PNP or resign,” Alvarez, a Davao del Norte congressman, stressed.
“Pursuant to this aim, let us also demand that command responsibility be implemented in our police force led by PNP Chief Debold Sinas. If the Chief cannot effectively lead PNP and guide its personnel towards serving and protecting the Filipino people, he should not be PNP Chief at all,” Alvarez explained.
Deputy Speaker for Good Governance and Moral Uprightness and Citizens Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Rep. Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva said the shooting incident is a glaring picture of the “state where the worsening culture of impunity and injustice in the country have already brought us.”
“The brazen and senseless shooting of a mother and son by a policeman in Tarlac must be a sudden prick to our consciousness which might have become accustomed to incidences of killings in the country. It should be a stern warning that justice must be served for every fall of life – particularly if brutal cold-blooded killing. Or else, we make the culture of impunity larger each day that we let injustice get away.
The Tarlac incident should be a foreshadowing of what is ahead of us if abuse of power and wanton disregard of the sanctity of life will not be stopped now,” said Villanueva, founder of Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide (JIL Church).
In only barely a month, Villanueva said several brutal killings have already transpired considering the fact that the country is in the midst of a pandemic.
Villanueva recalled “the Laguna mayor slain inside the municipal hall, the Manila judge shot dead by a clerk inside a court’s chamber, the killing of a journalist by gunmen in motorcycle in Pangasinan, a lawyer shot dead in Cebu, the daily deaths made pursuit to the war against drugs – just to name a few – have all made it to the headlines indicating a dissipating regard for the value of human life.”
“However, what makes the Tarlac incident more painful is that the perpetrator of the crime is a law enforcer who should be the most trusted person in protecting and saving lives,” Villanueva lamented.
“It is necessary that the government must make sure that justice is served in these senseless killings and put an end to the burgeoning state of impunity and injustice in the country. In the face of this erosion of morality if not sanity, mere rhetoric and less-than-what-is-needed actions are only a waste of effort and time.
Worse, it only makes perpetrators of crimes more callous and undeterred. As long as there is no fear of God on the part of law enforcers, there can never be good governance for Fear of GOD is the beginning of Wisdom! (Proverbs 9:10),” Villanueva ended.
Taduran also expressed belief that the investigation of cases of erring policemen shouldn’t stop at the office of the Internal Affairs Service of the PNP.
She said that there should be cross-checking to know if the case has been properly evaluated and investigated.
“Notwithstanding the dismissal of the case, a police officer charged with grave misconduct should not be immediately readmitted to active duty status until after a thorough review of his record and upon undergoing psychiatric evaluation,” Taduran added.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said “the incident also highlights the need for the leadership of the Philippine National Police to remind its ranks on the proper and responsible use of their weapons and that they should, as much as possible, apply non-violent means at all times.”
“Police officers must be reminded that force and firearms may only be used if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result,” Velasco said.
Parañaque City Rep. Joy Tambunting said “I call for justice on behalf of the victims of this tragic killing. The perpetrator must suffer the penalties as provided by for by law. I call on the PNP and our law enforcement agencies to investigate this case closely and work to ensure government firearms are not used for such atrocities. This is an absolute tragedy. My sincere condolences to the families of Sonya and Frank. May they rest in peace.”
“In the pursuit of preventing tragedies like this in the future, I am in support of the necessary measures that need to be taken in order to ensure justice. This includes the implementation of body cameras in order to ensure transparency in the implementation of justice. This includes more extensive sensitivity training in dealing with volatile situations. Any instance where the loss of an innocent life occurs by the hands of those who swore to protect is one life to many,” said Tambunting.