Philippine Army probes police shooting of ex-soldier Ragos

Philippine Army probes police shooting of ex-soldier Ragos
This photo taken April 22 shows residents of Brgy. Pasong Putik in Quezon City put out candles on the location where former soldier Winston Ragos was shot dead by the police. They call for justice.
News5 / Camille Samonte, via Twitter

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Army is looking into the fatal shooting of its former soldier, Private First Class Winston Ragos, by members of the Philippine National Police enforcing quarantine guidelines.

In a statement posted by ABS-CBN News, the Philippine Army said Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, their commanding general, “ordered an investigation to be conducted by the Army Judge Advocate.”

The investigation will be conducted in coordination with the PNP that said Wednesday night that they are conducting criminal and administrative investigation into the incident.

The Quezon City Police District said in a statement they “later learned” that Ragos was carrying a loaded revolver inside his bag. MSgt. Daniel Florendo Jr. of Police Station 5 in Fairview then drew his firearm and “cautiously approached” him. His family denied he was carrying a gun.

They added that police “ordered Ragos to yield peacefully, but instead of heeding to a lawful order, he attempted to pull out his handgun prompting [Florendo] to disable Ragos.”

Florendo shot Ragos twice.

The victim was rushed to the hospital but was declared dead.

The Army extended their condolences to Ragos’ family.

President Rodrigo Duterte in a televised address April 1 said he ordered the police and military, even barangay officials, that “if someone causes trouble and your lives are at risk, shoot them dead.”

But PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said “of course” they will not shoot dead those who disrupt peace and order in this quarantine period.

Ragos was discharged in November 2017

The Army also confirmed Ragos was discharged from service in November 2017 after he was diagnosed with a mental disorder.

Ragos’ family were quoted in a GMA News report as saying that he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Schizoprenia.

“To a soldier, the wounds of war are not just physical but also mental and their scars are not always seen,” the Army said.

They added: “The Philippine Army seeks awareness on the plight of former soldiers struggling with mental problems. Even though they are no longer soldiers, they continue fight a silent and lifelong battle.”

A video making rounds online showed that Ragos had his back turned from the police when the second shot was made.

A woman’s voice can also be heard as telling the cops: “May tama po yan eh. Dating military po yan na nagkaron ng war shock.”

(He has a mental problem. He is a former military who suffered war shock.)

The GMA report said Ragos’ last assignment was in Marawi. — Kristine Joy Patag

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