MANILA (UPDATE) - Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and now Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Monday said PNP leaders should "show no mercy" towards their uniformed personnel who shot to death his neighbors after a heated argument.
A viral video earlier showed Police Senior Master Sgt. Jonel Nuezca shooting mother and son - Sonya Gregorio, 52 at Frank Anthony Gregorio, 25 - multiple times after a verbal tussle over the victims' use of improvised firecrackers in their hometown Paniqui in Tarlac.
"If what’s on video tells the whole story, I enjoin the PNP leadership to show no mercy," Lacson told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
"They should spare no effort to make sure that he rots in jail. He’s the last policeman that they need in the force," he said.
Lacson noted that Nuezca, who is assigned to the Parañaque City Crime laboratory, was not on duty when the incident happened.
"As a policy recommendation, policemen should turn in their issued firearms to their unit’s armorer or supply officer when on off-duty status," the police chief-turned-senator said.
"That said, they should not be issued a Permit to Carry Firearm Outside Residence for their personal firearm while still in the active service," he said.
"In other jurisdictions, surrendering officially issued firearms while off duty is a standard practice by police officers."
LEADERSHIP PLAYS A MAJOR ROLE
Lacson underscored that "leadership" affects the behavior of police police personnel.
"I would say, based on my own experience, leadership plays a major role in the behavior and attitude of the rank and file," he said, without specifying if he was referring to the PNP leadership or the President, who is considered as the commander-in-chief.
"Never too late for the PNP to consider applying this policy especially when self-discipline is not exactly a virtue among some policemen," he said, without naming police officials.
President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly defended policemen who killed civilians, and even soldiers who were chasing after terrorists in Sulu.
Duterte had also defended current PNP chief Debold Sinas after the former Metro Manila police chief drew public ire for holding a "mañanita" birthday celebration at the height of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, when public gatherings were prohibited to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Nuezca has surrendered to authorities Sunday evening, and is detained in the Paniqui Municipal Police Office while investigations continue.
Paniqui Police chief Lt. Col. Noriel Rombaoa reminded police to observe maximum tolerance when calling out citizens who may be violating policies against the use of firecrackers during the holiday season.
"Sa mga kasamahan po natin sa pulisya dapat self-control kasi nga maximum tolerance tayo, tayo ang may armas," Rombaoa said.
(To our fellow police, we should exercise self-control and maximum tolerance because we are armed.)
"Kung merong umaagrabiyado sa atin merong right forum po riyan. Puwede nating kasuhan, not to the point na gagamitin natin ang baril natin," he said.
(If there are people who provoke us, there is a right forum for that. We can file cases against them, and not reach the point of using our firearms.)