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How much more until the killings stop?

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IN A video circulating online, a police officer was seen ending a heated confrontation by shooting two unarmed civilians—Sonya Gregorio, 52, and Frank Anthony Gregorio, 25—at close range on Sunday afternoon in Barangay Cabayaoasan, Paniqui, Tarlac.

The suspect was identified as PSMS Jonel Nuezca, a Philippine National Police officer in active service assigned in the Parañaque City Crime Laboratory. Reports say that Nuezca has since already surrendered to the police for proper disposition and further investigation.

Such brazen, senseless killing deserves our strongest condemnation. While investigations continue to ascertain the reason for the altercation, no one deserves to be deprived of their life at whim.

The police force is expected to be disciplined, discerning, and professional.

The PNP ought to live by their motto of “To Serve and Protect.” Each and every police is expected to protect our rights. As such, it is unacceptable when they are the ones being at the forefront of perpetuating such human rights violations.

This incident reechoes our call to the government urging for the conduct of widespread investigations on every allegation of arbitrary killing.  The government cannot claim adherence to human rights principles and allow impunity to worsen by not making sure perpetrators are held to account. We are interested in knowing the truth behind these deaths because there is a demand for justice.

Promises made by the government to uplift the human rights condition in the country must translate into the improvements of the situation on the ground. We have seen deaths after deaths. How much more until the killings stop?

The government, after all, holds the primary obligation to protect and promote our rights, most especially our right to life. We should never take human rights violations lightly and continue to demand for justice and accountability.

At the same time, we appeal to the public to put in mind the best interest of the child also seen in the video. Vilifying the minor publicly, even posting the child’s name and photos, may inflict irreparable trauma that might worsen this situation. Let proper interventions deal with the child’s situation separately.

CHR, through our concerned regional office, shall also be investigating this incident.

(Commission on Human Rights statement on the killing of two unarmed civilians in Tarlac, 21 Dec. 2020)

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