MANILA – The police chief of Bato town in Catanduanes has been relieved after making controversial comments over a fellow police officer's shooting of a mother and her son in Tarlac province during an argument.
Bicol police chief Police Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bustamante said Tuesday that Bato police chief Police Capt. Ariel Buraga was relieved upon the request of the town’s mayor, Juan Rodolfo.
Buraga drew criticism online on Tuesday after saying in a now deleted Facebook post that people should learn to respect cops, following the shooting of 55-year-old Sonia Gregorio and her 25-year-old son Frank Anthony.
The victims died at the hands of Police Senior Master Sgt. Jonel Nuezca in Paniqui, Tarlac, an incident that was caught on video and went viral on social media.
In a Twitter post early Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he would “run over” the police officer who said the Tarlac shooting “will teach people, even if they have white hair, to respect police,” though he did not name Buraga.
Nuezca shot his neighbors in front of his daughter after an alleged altercation over the use of an improvised canon on Sunday.
Sen. Imee Marcos, meanwhile, said Nuezca's immediate superiors should also be investigated.
Nuezca's previous cases of homicide, grave misconduct, and a refusal to undergo drug testing should not have been overlooked, Marcos said in a statement.
"His immediate superiors must be automatically included in the investigation," the senator said.
"Clear lapses are being committed in the psychological and drug tests for police personnel, as well as the periodic review of their behavior," she said.
Investigations should also show who Nuezca's "padrinos" (sponsors) are, Marcos said.
"Sino mga padrino nito? (Who are this guy’s sponsors?) The guy is clearly inured to shooting people like target practice, using his service firearm," said Marcos, daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos whose repressive regime was marked by killings, human rights violations, and the plunder of state coffers.
She noted that the killer cop "could even be a regular hitman."
– Reports from Jeff Canoy and Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News