Groups call for end to police brutality, impunity

Published December 21, 2020, 3:17 PM

by Raymund Antonio and Jeffrey Damicog

Progressive and human rights groups on Monday called for an end to police brutality, killings, and impunity in light of the deaths of two civilians in Paniqui, Tarlac at the hands of a police officer during a heated argument.

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said that police brutality and abuse must end and it must start with President Duterte telling the police to stop the spate of killings in the country.

“Impunity. When the police think they can do anything, including shoot unarmed civilians at point-blank, and when they show us how human life has very little value nowadays,” he said in a Twitter post.

The President, he added, must not condone the killings, the planting of evidence, the filing of trumped-up charges against activists, and the cover-up of these crimes.

“The killings in Tarlac are not isolated incidents but are part of a pattern of abuse and impunity among the police,” he posted. “From the drug war, war on critics, to quarantine enforcement, we reap the horrors today.”

He used the hashtags #StopTheKillingsPH and #EndPoliceBrutality.

A video showing Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca, 46, shooting Sonya Gregorio, 52, and her son Frank Anthony Gregorio, 25, to death during an altercation went viral on social media.

Nuezca, who is assigned to Parañaque City, surrendered to authorities in Pangasinan. He has been turned over to Paniqui Police and is facing a double murder case.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay called on the killing of the Gregorios as “a dangerous and chilling effect of impunity that reigns in the Philippines.”

Other progressive groups like Anakbayan, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and Bayan Muna condemned the incident and demanded justice for the victims.

An organization of lawyers blamed the country’s leadership over the brutal killing.

“When those who swear to execute the laws goads and inspires law enforcers because of guarantees of impunity and even a pat on the back, you create monsters in our midst ready to go berserk anytime, anywhere for a variety of reasons and circumstances,” National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia said in a statement.

“And then they cry due process for denying due process to others,” he lamented.