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One finger is all it takes

These are the policemen who will receive a hundred percent increase in their wages this year. Policemen who only know how to shoot first, ask questions later. In this case, they were not shooting at criminals, but the victims themselves. This is what happened last Thursday night in Mandaluyong.

According to witnesses and survivors, a woman was shot after an argument with another group about parking. When six of her friends were taking her to the hospital, armed barangay watchmen chased and shot at them, after being misled by the other group. When the police arrived, the watchmen pointed out the vehicle to the police. This made the situation worse. The police started shooting at the vehicle at will. Three men alighted from the vehicle, shouting that they were bringing someone to the hospital. But when the police saw persons still inside the vehicle, they continued shooting. But these were the people already hit or even killed by the gunfire. When the smoke cleared, they realized the passengers were all unarmed, and were only taking shooting victim Jonalyn Amba-an to the hospital. She died, along with another companion, while two were seriously wounded. Paraffin tests showed positive results for Jonalyn Amba-an and another companion, but these do not automatically mean they fired at police. The survivors must shed light on what happened before the police engaged them.

One cannot really fathom police policy nowadays. Shoot first, ask questions later. All those killed in the drug war of President Duterte supposedly fought back, which forced the police to defend themselves. So my question is did the occupants of the vehicle fight back, that's why they were peppered with bullets? How could they, if they were not armed? I am just glad there were witnesses and CCTV footage of the whole incident, otherwise who knows? Guns and drugs could have magically appeared, once again justifying their actions.

This incident shows it can happen to anyone. All it takes is one finger. One finger is apparently enough information for police to use deadly force. How many fingers were pointed in Oplan Tokhang and Double Barrel operations, where people were killed? And why are village watchmen armed? Are they allowed to carry guns or to use deadly force? The police and village watchmen involved in the shooting are now facing homicide charges. We can only hope that there will be no whitewash of the incident. After all, these are the police Duterte always defends, no matter what. Such a wonderful welcome for the new year by the Mandaluyong police, and a boost to the very good image of the PNP.

Fortunately, the DILG's Masa Masid program was scrapped. A box where people could drop the names of suspected criminals was to be placed in all barangays. Just imagine if that pushed through. The PNP claimed that all names will be vetted and verified first before any action is to be taken. All I need to mention is the Mandaluyong shooting, and that all goes down the drain.

korina_abs@yahoo.com

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