'Serve and protectâ: Cops reminded of mandate after saying they will file raps vs woman who tried to end life
File photo shows police officer.
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'Serve and protect’: Cops reminded of mandate after saying they will file raps vs woman who tried to end life
Bella Perez-Rubio (Philstar.com) - October 16, 2020 - 10:50am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Thursday night slammed the Quezon City Police District for announcing its intent to pursue charges against a 22-year-old woman who, they said, tried to take her own life last week. 

"There are 3.6 million Filipinos struggling with mental health problems. Will we imprison them when they need help the most? She needs to be in a hospital, not a jail cell," Hontiveros said on Twitter. 

"I will repeat the mandate of the police: Serve and protect," she further admonished partially in Filipino. 

Citing "investigative reports," in a statement released Thursday but has since been taken down, police said the woman went to a Quezon City firing range on October 10 to rent a pistol under the guise of using its facilities and attempted to end her life there. QCPD said it would be suing the woman for alarm and scandal, damage to property, and reckless imprudence. 

"This is not the first time the police has been cruel towards persons w/ mental illness. Remember Winston Ragos," Hontiveros said, referring to an army veteran who was gunned down by Police M/Sgt. Daniel Florendo Jr. of Police Station 5 in Fairview. Ragos was honorably discharged in 2017 for disability, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), specifically. 

An initial statement from QCPD claimed that Ragos was carrying a loaded revolver inside his bag but the National Bureau of Investigation has since filed charges against the cops involved for murder and planting of evidence. 

"[The Philippine National Police] must look into better training for dealing w/ situations like this. First priority: save lives, not punish people the first chance we get," Hontiveros said. 

"As author of the Mental Health Law, I call on the [Department of Health] to fully implement the law & strengthen its services down to the community level. Now more than ever, we need to step up how government takes care of its people. Every life matters," she added. 

The DOH earlier this week logged around 3.6 million Filipinos who have reported struggling with mental concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, based on the department's national prevalence study on mental, neurological and substance use disorders. 

The department urges people seeking professional support to get in touch with the National Center for Mental Health hotlines at 0917-899-USAP (8727) or 899-USAP (8727); or its Mind Matters hotline at 09189424864— with reports from Franco Luna

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE PNP QCPD QUEZON CITY POLICE DISTRICT
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