Military mourns death of mentally challenged ex-soldier, calls for 'sobriety'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 23 2020 06:58 PM

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Thursday expressed sadness following the killing of a mentally-challenged ex-soldier by a policeman in a Quezon City on Wednesday, as it called for "sobriety" amid public uproar over the incident.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo sent their condolences to the family of Winston Ragos, 34, who was shot dead at Barangay Pasong Putik after an altercation with cops. He initially approached police trainees in a lockdown checkpoint and was then confronted by Police MSgt. Daniel Florendo Jr. who shot him dead as he reached for a supposed firearm inside a sling bag.

"We express sadness on the incident and we commiserate with the family of the late soldier," Arevalo said.

The military official said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, a former AFP chief, assured of a "thorough and impartial investigation" into the incident with Philippine National Police chief Gen. Archie Gamboa.

"AFP Chief Gen. Felimon Santos, Jr. calls for sobriety. Let us not exacerbate the situation," Arevalo said.

Arevalo said the AFP agrees that the action taken by policeman concerned was his “judgement call.”

"But as to whether he made the right judgement and whether his actions are appropriate are his alone and does not reflect the PNP as an organization," he said.

Amid the AFP and PNP's operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Arevalo said the incident should not cause animosity between the two organizations. 

"Suffice it to say that there is going to be an investigation and appropriate criminal and administrative charges will be filed and penalties will be meted as may be warranted," he said.

Arevalo confirmed Ragos was a retired Philippine Army given a certificate of disability discharge (CDD) after suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder in 2017. 

"As such, he [was] receiving pension and other entitlements having served the military as an enlisted personnel for 7 years," the official said.

Ragos, whose last unit assignment was in the 31st Infantry Batallion under 9th Infantry Divison, might have acquired his condition in a heavy firefight in 2010 when the detachment he was manning was attacked by enemy forces and was nearly subdued, said Arevalo.

The incident is being investigated by the Quezon City Police District's crime investigation and detection unit and its internal affairs service, Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, head of Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield, said earlier.