A cop yesterday shot to death a mentally ill former soldier after the latter broke quarantine rules in Quezon City.
Police Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo Jr. killed Winston Ragos, a retired soldier who fought in the Battle of Marawi in 2017, after the latter allegedly tried to pull out a weapon, GMA News reports.
Florendo and four police trainees were stationed at a checkpoint in the village of Pasong Putik when the victim approached and started shouting at them at about 2:30pm. The cops told Ragos to go home because he was violating the Luzon lockdown, which forbids people to leave their homes unless they need to buy essentials.
Ragos pulled up his hands in surrender but later reached for something in his bag which the police alleged was a gun. Florendo then shot Ragos twice, causing the latter to fall to the ground.
The victim was brought to Commonwealth Hospital but he was declared dead at 5:57pm, reports Rappler.
In a CCTV footage from the incident, bystanders are heard pleading to Florendo not to shoot the victim. One witness told CNN Philippines, “I said, ‘Sir, please stop that. Don’t do anything to him.’ One police said, ‘Don’t meddle. I don’t care. We will kill him.'” Another witness said that contrary to the police report, Ragos did not have a gun inside his bag, but only a quarantine pass.
Janet Macahilig, the victim’s sister, told ABS-CBN that her brother suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his tour of duty in Marawi. What made the incident even more painful was that they couldn’t hold a wake for him due to the lockdown.
“When I saw the CCTV, I felt like being dumped with cold water. I felt helpless. My brother did not do anything wrong. If he did something wrong, they should have just shot him in the leg,” she said.
As expected, the Philippine National Police (PNP) defended Florendo’s actions, with spokesman Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac saying in a statement, “Much as we do not want to hastily pass judgment and allow investigators the freehand to look into all angles, we can only presume regularity in the actions of the PNP personnel involved while performing their duty.”
“P/MSgt Florendo was the only person in the best position to make that judgment call, better than any observer, viewer, and opinionated analyst with 20/20 hindsight,” Banac added.
In a separate statement, the Philippine Army confirmed that Ragos suffered from PTSD.
“In November 2017, Ragos was given a complete disability discharge from his military service, complete with pension and other assistance, after being diagnosed with a mental disorder (PTSD),” the Army said.
“To a soldier, the wounds of war are not just physical but also mental and their scars are not always visible,” the Army added, and vowed to have Ragos’ killing investigated.
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