Palace: 'Buang' cop can't plead insanity in Tarlac twin slay

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 22 2020 04:21 PM | Updated as of Dec 22 2020 05:18 PM

Palace: 'Buang' cop can't plead insanity in Tarlac twin slay 1
Human rights advocates call for justice in a protest in Quezon City on Dec. 21, 2020 against the killing of Sonia Gregorio and Frank Anthony Gregorio by Police Senior Master Sgt. Jonel Nuezca in Paniqui, Tarlac on Sunday. The grizzly killing of the Gregorios by Nuezca was caught in a now viral video, with the policeman now under custody of the Paniqui police facing 2 counts of murder and dismissal from the service. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The off-duty policeman who shot dead a woman and her son cannot claim that insanity drove him to commit the crime, Malacañang said on Tuesday, even as it called the officer "buang" or crazy.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque commented on the mental state of Police Senior Master Sgt. Jonel Nuezca in relation to revived calls to end killings and police brutality following Sunday's brutal incident that happened in Tarlac.

"Bagamat marami tayong mga kalaban na sinasabing ito'y ebidensya na mayroon talagang state-sponsored killing, ano ba namang state-sponsored d'yan? Eh, buang naman talaga iyong pulis na 'yon," Roque said in an online press briefing. 

(Although we have enemies saying that this is evidence of state-sponsored killings, what is state-sponsored there? That policeman is really crazy.)

"Ginawa po niya iyang double murder na iyan hindi dahil siya ay pulis; dahil siya po'y buang at binabalewala ang batas," added Roque, a lawyer. 

(He did that double murder not because he is a policeman, but because he is crazy and shuns the law.)

Duterte on Monday night described Nuezca, a policeman assigned at the Paranaque City police crime laboratory, as “may sakit sa utak” or having mental illness.

Both the President and his spokesman are not psychiatrists, and have not presented proof nor medical diagnosis that Nuezca has mental illness.

Video courtesy of PTV

Despite branding Nuezca as crazy, Roque said the policeman cannot use insanity plea as defense in court because it should be proven that he had no concept of right and wrong.

"Siguro alam naman niya na talagang mali na gamitin ang baril ng gobyerno para patayin ang isang kalaban niya sa isang property dispute. Hindi po niya magagamit iyong depensa," Roque said. 

(Perhaps he knows that it is wrong to use a service firearm to kill his opponent in a property dispute. He cannot use that as a defense.)

"Crazy" does not equate to "insanity," a defense that must be proven by an accused in court, said former Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te. 

"It is defined as a 'complete deprivation of freedom, intelligence, and will' at the time of the felony, meaning that the capacity to form a criminal intent is completely impaired, thus removing the element of criminal intent that is essential to a felony under Article 3," Te said on Twitter.

"When an exempting circumstance like insanity is proven, there is a felony but no felon. Spinning the act as an insane act does not mean that the cop shouldn't be charged for two counts of murder because there is still civil liability that must be determined," he added. 

Te said insanity "does not warrant an administrative or non-judicial exoneration. It is an exempting circumstance that must be proven in court."

Nuezca was indicted on Monday afternoon for two counts of murder.

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