Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday filed a resolution calling for an investigation in aid of legislation into the killing of four soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Jolo, Sulu.
“The incident in Jolo further feeds the public’s distrust toward the PNP. Lalo pa at hindi ito first time na mangyari,” Hontiveros said, citing the incident of Winston Ragos, another former military man gunned down by members of the police in Quezon City last April. “Hindi pwedeng trigger-happy ang ating kapulisan,” the senator added upon filing proposed Senate Resolution No. 460 that aims to institutionalize measures against the excessive use of force and violence within the police force.
In the resolution, the senator stated that the two recent incidents demonstrate a disturbing pattern of police behavior that requires long-term strategic measures and legislative action. “Extensive reform has to be done to restore the public’s trust in our institutions,” she urged. “Dapat maintindihan ng kapulisan na ang mga pagpatay na ito ay nakakadagdag lang ng takot sa mga tao, at mas lalong nakakabawas ng tiwala,” she also said.
Hontiveros also cited Philippine Army spokesperson Colonel Ramon Zagala’s statements saying that none of the AFP personnel fired a single shot, amid reports that the incident was a ‘misencounter.’ Colonel Zagala revealed that the roughly nine police officers who shot at the soldiers fled the scene instead of cordoning off the area and calling for Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO).
“The police gunned down unarmed plainclothes soldiers, who could easily have been innocent civilians. Alam din natin na maraming sibilyan na ang namatay sa kamay ng mga pulis. Ilan pa ang kailangan mamatay — sibilyan man o militar, sa Maynila man o sa Jolo — para matigil ang karahasang ito?” Hontiveros said.
“The PNP has a lot to do to live up to its motto to ‘serve and protect.’ Our law enforcers should preserve peace in our communities, not disturb it,” the senator concluded./Stacy Ang