Senators seek fair probe into killing of autistic boy in Valenzuela police raid

Published May 26, 2021, 9:10 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Two senators are calling for swift and impartial justice be served to the family of an 18-year old with special needs who was supposedly killed in a scuffle in Valenzuela City last May 23.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the victim, Edwin Arnigo, a person with autism, was reportedly shot in a gun scuffle during a raid on a cockfighting site. Arnigo’s mother, however, said that her son is afraid of the police and it is impossible for him to go near them.

Gatchalian said he hopes the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) would get to the bottom of the issue as they conduct their respective probe.

He said it is crucial to immediately solve the conflicting narratives from both the police and the victim’s family.

“Nakakalungkot na ang isang kabataang may special needs naman ang naging biktima ng operasyon ng mga pulis, sa pagkakataong ito ay isang tupada (It’s saddening that another young man with special needs is now the latest victim in a police operation, this time inside an illegal cockfighting site),” Gatchalian said.

“Hindi katanggap-tanggap ang sinapit ni Edwin at kailangan nating tiyakin na matapos ang mga imbestigasyon, mananagot ang dapat managot at maiiwasan na natin ang mga ganitong uri ng insidente (What happened to Edwin is highly unacceptable and we need to see the end of this investigation, to hold whoever is responsible so we can prevent this kind of incident in the future),” he stressed.

Detained Senator Leila de Lima said the contradicting claims of the police and the victim’s family about Arnigo’s death make it “much more necessary to swiftly and thoroughly investigate this recent incident to shed light on the issue and ensure that justice would be served.”

De Lima recalled the killing of a retired Army soldier who was killed at a police quarantine checkpoint in Quezon City in April last year. The soldier was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Let’s not forget the shooting of a retired army veteran who had PTSD last year, including the thousands of victims who reportedly fought back in Duterte’s bloody and miserable war on drugs, which ‘normalized’ the killing of innocent people,” De Lima said.

The senator said it is necessary to shed light on the recent incident because of the recurring narrative of “nanlaban” or suspects having resisted arrest have been repeatedly used as a justification for deaths during the conduct of police operations.

“The PNP should observe proper operational procedures to ensure that they are the ones protecting, instead of killing the people and fulfill their obligation with respect to human rights,” De Lima stressed.