Hontiveros wants CHR, PNP to probe death of ex-soldier in Quezon City
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros has asked the human rights sector and the police to investigate the death of a retired soldier, who was shot by a Quezon City policeman despite the victim appearing to have a mental illness.
Hontiveros said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that law enforcement agencies do not have an excuse especially since the victim, identified as Retired Army Col. Winston Ragos, was supposedly coping with a mental condition.
Ragos was shot by Police Mst. Sgt. Daniel Florendo near a quarantine control point in Pasong Putik, Quezon City on Tuesday after the former soldier appeared to draw his “firearm” from his sling bag. However, onlookers told officers that Ragos was suffering from “war shock”, and insisted that the victim did not carry any firearm.
“There is never an excuse for brutality and violence, especially towards persons with mental illness and the powerless,” Hontiveros said. “I am urging the Commission and Human Rights and the Philippine National Police to immediately conduct a full investigation into this incident.”
“COVID-19 ang kalaban natin, hindi ang kapwa natin mga Pilipino,” she added.
There is NEVER an excuse for brutality and violence, especially towards persons with mental illness and the…
According to reports, police officers asked Ragos to return home as the enhanced community quarantine over Luzon and other areas have mandated people to stay at home except for necessary activities. However, Ragos shouted, apparently reasoning out that he was a former member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Videos of the incident have been shared on social media, showing residents of the area who know Ragos pleading to police officers to stay calm. They explained that he was suffering from mental ailments — possibly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his former job.
Ragos tried to hand over his bag, but police officers took precautions and shot him after turning his back. Authorities claimed that they recovered a .38 caliber revolver from the sling bag.
Due to the numerous violations of the quarantine rules, PNP and AFP personnel have been deployed to various sites to ensure that people stay home. However, it has prompted concerns from different sectors, as it opens possible avenues for human rights abuses.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said that the incident shows the militarist mindset of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration despite the health crisis going on.
“This incident highlights the draconian handling of the COVID-19 crisis and this should immediately be changed before more are killed by trigger happy state forces,” Zarate said.
“Master Sergeant Florendo, and, even his direct superiors, must be held responsible and accountable for this killing. This incident should not be swept under the rug, otherwise, state forces will only continue the already worsening state of impunity in our country,” he added.
As of now, the administration has not decided whether the ECQ will be extended past its April 30 deadline. The Department of Health said that there are now 6,710 patients infected with the coronavirus, of which 446 have died and 693 have recovered.
Worldwide, over 2.57 million individuals have been infected, while 177,256 have died from the disease and 680,330 have recovered from it.
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