Army chief seeks probe of killing by cops of ex-soldier with war shock
MANILA, Philippines—Army chief Lt. Gilbert Gapay has sought an investigation into the killing of a retired soldier suffering from war shock by police near a COVID-19 quarantine checkpoint.
The investigation would be conducted by the Army Judge Advocate in coordination with the Philippine National Police in an effort to bring justice to retired Cpl. Winston Ragos, said Col. Ramon Zagala, Philippine Army spokesperson, in a statement.
Police shot Ragos during a confrontation near an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) checkpoint at the village of Pasong Putik in Quezon City past 2 p.m. on Tuesday (April 21).
According to police, they were asking Ragos to go home as he was violating the lockdown but Ragos refused and allegedly threatened policemen manning the quarantine checkpoint. Ragos’ alleged refusal to go home angered the policemen.
Ragos ended up being shot twice in the torso after police said he tried to pull out something from his shoulder bag. He was brought to a hospital where he died before 6 p.m.just hours after he was shot.
In videos circulating on social media, witnesses were seen trying to explain to police that Ragos had mental issues. The Army confirmed he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or war shock, a psychological illness common among soldiers exposed to fierce gun battles.
In the Army statement, Zagala said Ragos was given a “complete disability discharge” from military service in January 2017. He received complete pension and assistance “after being diagnosed with a mental disorder.”
“To a soldier, the wounds of war are not just physical but also mental and their scars are not always visible,” Zagala said.
Ragos’ last assignment was with the 31st Infantry Battalion under the 9th Infantry Division. Some reports said he fought in Marawi during the war on Islamic State, but the fighting there began only in May 2017 or a few months after Ragos left the service.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the military hoped that Ragos’ killing would not be a source of friction between the AFP and the Philippine National Police.
“The shooting incident is already being investigated,” said Arevalo.
He said the AFP was given assurance of a “thorough and impartial investigation” by Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano, a former military general, and Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP chief.
“We in the AFP agree that the action taken by the policeman concerned was his ‘judgement call,’” said Arevalo.
“But as to whether he made the right judgement and whether his actions are appropriate are his alone and does not reflect the PNP as an organization,” Arevalo added.
Edited by TSB
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