Hontiveros seeks probe on 'trigger-happy' police over Sulu shooting, Ragos death

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2020 07:35 PM

Hontiveros seeks probe on 'trigger-happy' police over Sulu shooting, Ragos death 1
Sen. Risa Hontiveros presides over a public hearing in the Senate on January 28, 2020. Albert Calvelo, Senate PRIB

MANILA - Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Thursday urged the Senate to investigate two incidents where police gunned down former and current military officials, saying these have led to a decrease in trust in the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In Senate Resolution No. 460, Hontiveros cited the police shooting of 4 soldiers in Jolo town, Sulu on Monday while the Army intelligence operatives were going after terrorists, and the case of a former military official who was suffering from mental illness shot dead in Quezon City in April. 

"Hindi puwedeng trigger-happy ang ating kapulisan," the senator said in a statement.

The incidents show a "disturbing pattern of police behavior," she said.

"Extensive reform has to be done to restore the public's trust in our institutions," said Hontiveros, whose late husband was a police officer. 

"Dapat maintindihan ng kapulisan na ang mga pagpatay na ito ay nakakadagdag lang ng takot sa mga tao, at mas lalong nakakabawas ng tiwala," she said.

(The police should understand that these killings fuel people's fear and diminish trust.)

Military officials have decried the killing of 4 soldiers near a checkpoint in Sulu, noting that around 9 policemen fired at the intelligence operatives before fleeing the scene. 

Police claimed the soldiers drew their guns and called it a "misencounter, but the Army said they were unarmed, with its commanding general calling the shooting a "rubout."

Opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan earlier issued a similar appeal for the Senate to look into the police-linked killing.

"This incident is disturbing because it appears that the police are quick in pulling the trigger without careful judgment. If they can do this to their fellow uniformed men, how much more to the ordinary civilians who are unarmed and defenseless?" Pangilinan said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former police chief, earlier urged Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay to "temper" his emotions over the death of his men, saying terrorists and other enemies of the state could "exploit" the issue.

Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa, also a former police chief, told reporters that his committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs would tackle the issue once Hontiveros' resolution is referred to the panel.