Psychiatric exams for cops eyed after cop's shooting rampage at MPD headquarters

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Psychiatric exams for cops eyed after cop's shooting rampage at MPD headquarters
Police prepare to enforce the granular lockdown in Barangay 351, Sta. Cruz, Manila before dawn yesterday.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The health service of the Philippine National Police is finalizing its recommendations in the conduct of psychiatric-psychological exams for all PNP personnel amid the investigation of a police sergeant who went on a shooting rampage.

The police officer killed a police sergeant and wounded another at the Manila Police District headquarters.

In a statement sent to reporters, Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, said recommendations were set to be included in coming up with guidelines for the regular assessment of the emotional and mental health state of all policemen. 

“The investigation I ordered on the unfortunate incident at the Manila Police District goes beyond the shooting as this includes other aspects such as possible mental health issues of all our personnel,” he said. 

“This recent incident at MPD, along with the previous ones, highlights the need for us to closely look into the overall state of our men. It doesn't end with how they do their job, it includes looking at their physical, emotional, and especially their mental state."

The Manila Police District leadership in their own statement said they were "deeply disheartened" by the incident. They condoled with the families of the deceased victim and the suspect, who were members of MPD.

Police Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco, MPD director, assured the public of full assistance to the victims and their families. 

Financial assistance to the victims and their families has since been given. Assistance will also be given to the suspect’s family.

What happened?

At around 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Police Executive Master Sergeant Reynante Dipasupil forcibly took his service weapons from the cabinet of the District Police Intelligence Operations Unit and fired indiscriminately upon different MPD offices, hitting two personnel in the process. 

Duty sentinels and the MPD Swat team responded and exchanged fire with the suspect. 

Dipasupil hit PSSg Reynaldo Cordova, the first victim, and fled toward the back exit of the camp where he was met by Police MSgt. Romeo Cantal, who tried to subdue him.

More shots were fired in the scuffle, hitting Cantal.

With the second victim down on the ground, Police SSgt. Ferdinand Francia was able to get a clear shot on the suspect. 

The two victims were taken to the Manila Medical Center. Cantal passed away at about 3:10 a.m. on Saturday while undergoing an operation.

Cordova is stable and "out of danger."

The suspect, meanwhile, was also taken to the Manila Doctors Hospital and was pronounced dead at 12:46 a.m. also on Saturday.

Investigation ongoing

MPD Director Francisco tasked his men to thoroughly investigate the matter, and as a part of security protocol, the entire MPD facility was placed under full alert status to give way to the investigation.

All station commanders were also directed and encouraged to monitor the welfare and mental health of their personnel and revisit their respective security measures and guidelines.

Francisco also reiterated his directive to all unit or station commanders to be consistent in their daily accounting of personnel at least twice a day and ensure open and unimpeded communication lines with their personnel through “talk to men” activities and proactively determine and proactively address their issues and concerns.

This is not the first case of its kind in recent memory. 

In late May, Police Cpl. Sherwin Rebot shot his fellow officer Police Cpl. Higinio Wayan after losing an arm-wrestling match at a drinking session. 

Rebot, a member of the Quezon City Police District, first claimed Wayan committed suicide. The confessions of witnesses present at the shooting proved otherwise. 

Does deteriorating mental health lead to killer cops?

That uniformed officers can kill civilians and their own due to mental health complications is the latest narrative from Eleazar, who has routinely rejected criticisms over the purported culture of violence and impunity within the police organization. 

In earlier statements, Eleazar linked mental health in the police to the murders of Lilybeth Valdez in Quezon City and Sonya Gregorio in Paniqui, Tarlac.

The officers behind both murders were reportedly drunk during the encounters, however, and both victims were 52-years-old. 

Though both perpetrators have been sanctioned, authorities continue to tag the two cases as isolated incidents. 

"We believe that more and more of our police remain true to their sworn duty and ready to serve the people," Eleazar said in response to the killing in an earlier statement. 

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