MANILA — Officers of the country's 220,000-strong police force are "by and large professional," Malacañang said Tuesday in defense of the organization after another policeman was caught on video shooting his neighbor dead over alleged personal grudge.
Police Master Sgt. Hensie Zinampan was caught in a now-viral video grabbing victim Lilybeth Valdez, 52, by the hair before shooting her in Barangay Greater Fairview, Quezon City on Monday.
The incident spawned criticism of alleged police brutality and impunity on social media. The hashtag #PulisAngTerorista topped Philippine Twitter trends at around 3 p.m.
"Definitely, that is not the rule. That is the exception to the rule. Wala po tayong magagawa, sa kahit anong organisasyon may paisa-isang bugok," Palace spokesman Harry Roque said, when asked why police violence persists.
(We cannot do anything, in any organization there are rotten ones members.)
"Our policemen are by and large professional," he said in a press briefing.
Suspect Zinampan was supposedly under the influence of alcohol at the time of the shooting and had quarreled with Valdez months before.
Last December, he posted on Facebook that he was "proud to be a good cop." He said most policemen perform their duties "with honor and integrity to protect and serve the people."
He made the post at the height of public rage after another policeman, Staff Sgt. Jonel Nuezca, shot pointblank his unarmed female neighbor and her son in Tarlac province in broad daylight.
Referring to the two policemen, Roque said, "Ito po'y mga bugok."
(These are rotten ones.)
"Pero (but) please, we have hundreds of thousands in the ranks of our policemen, and we hear of 1 or 2 cases of this nature. Hindi po totoo na malawakang, maraming bugok sa kapulisan," said the Palace spokesman.
"Propesyunal po sila dahil sa Day 1 ng kanilang training, ipinasok na po sa kanilang isip na bilang mga tagapagpatupad ng batas, sila mismo ang dapat sumunod sa batas, so we have respect for the professionalism of our policemen."
(It's not true that there are widespread, many rotten officers in the police. They are professional because since Day 1 of their training, it was ingrained in their minds that as law enforcers, they should follow the law, so we have respect for the professionalism of our policemen.)
The PNP leads President Rodrigo Duterte's signature anti-narcotics drive, for which police have faced accusations of excessive use of force and falsely claiming that slain drug pushers had fought back. Government has repeatedly denied irregularities in the drug war.
During Duterte's term, the PNP also courted controversy for alleged evidence-planting, corruption, and violation of health protocols, among others.
Video courtesy of PTV