PNP chief reminds cops to make ‘proper judgment calls’ in line of duty
MANILA, Philippines — Police personnel should be able to make “proper judgment calls” when confronted by challenging situations in enforcing quarantine laws.
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said he will make such reminders to his men following the death of a retired soldier who was shot dead by policemen manning a checkpoint in Quezon City Tuesday afternoon.
“For the comfort of the public, we will remind our troops to be very good in judging their courses of action when confronted with different situations in the field,” Gamboa told CNN Philippines’ The Source in an interview.
When asked about his reaction to the public’s concern of the possible danger posed by seemingly trigger-happy law enforcers, Gamboa said: “Of course we are taking two points of view, but appropriate reminders will be given to our troops to exercise proper judgment.”
On April 21, Tuesday afternoon, 34-year-old retired soldier Winston Ragos was gunned down after engaging in a heated argument with Police Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo of Fairview Police Station and four police trainees at a checkpoint along Barangay Pasong Putik, Quezon City.
Police said Ragos supposedly refused to follow police orders and violated quarantine protocols.
Police claimed that Ragos had a firearm that pulled out from his bag, prompting Florendo to fire at him. Ragos was brought to the Commonwealth Hospital where the retired soldier later died.
But Gamboa said they have yet to conclude if Florendo was at fault in shooting Ragos, as an independent probe is still ongoing.
“We are not saying the judgment of Florendo is wrong because the investigation is underway,” he said.
Gamboa earlier said the PNP-Internal Affairs Service was assigned to conduct an investigation into the shooting incident.
Florendo is now under custody of Fairview police station and was disarmed while the investigation is ongoing, Gamboa said.
On the criticisms of Senator Risa Hontiveros that police had fired at Ragos, who was suffering from a mental condition, Gamboa said policemen did not have prior knowledge of the retired soldier’s condition.
“I suppose, wala naman siguro sa knowledge ng policemen whether to know kung mentally-ill siya (Ragos). It is a conjecture that came after the incident,” he said.
(Police officers had no knowledge whether to know if Ragos was mentally-ill. It is a conjecture that came after the incident.)
Hontiveros earlier called for an investigation from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) about the shooting incident.
“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.”
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