Clear and strong support
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - May 22, 2020 - 12:00am

There was no gun. Unarmed. These were the testimonies of those who witnessed the fatal shooting of former corporal Winston Ragos after he supposedly violated quarantine protocols. Ragos was at the time suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder which is why he was discharged from active service. He was shot twice by Police Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo Jr. after refusing to follow police orders to get down and was allegedly trying to get a firearm from his bag. He was able to toss his bag away from him before collapsing. In the videos that surfaced we see Ragos' hands raised for quite a long time. If there were four for five police officers present, why didn't they just subdue him?

The direction of the NBI investigation which the AFP also requested is that Ragos was not armed and whatever gun the police found may have been planted. But the NBI was quick to add that their investigation is still ongoing and no conclusions have been made. Florendo has been released and the investigation returned to the police citing further investigation and evidence was needed from the PNP. Remember that PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa defended Florendo's actions, prompting the AFP to request a parallel, impartial investigation fearing the case at the PNP may have been prejudged.

We shift to NCRPO Chief Police Major General Debold Sinas and the "mañanita" given to him on his birthday while the metro was still on lockdown. He has been criminally charged for quarantine violations along with 18 other officers who were also there. Res ipsa loquitur. However, he was neither sacked nor shuffled. No less than President Duterte himself has ordered that Sinas stay put. It's on him, he says. I guess that's the end of that. How his criminal case progresses and comes to a decision is something we will just have to wait for.

Perhaps this is why police officers are confident in doing the things they do albeit questionable and even criminal is because of the strong support of the president. The president has in the past egged police officers to do his bidding, promising support should there be questions or cases. In Florendo's case, Ragos was suspected of being armed leading to him being shot twice. In the case of Sinas, mass gatherings are clearly prohibited during quarantine. Many were arrested for allegedly violating quarantine even though they were walking alone. There are reports of police beating up a quarantine violator whom the police say was drunk and had self-inflicted injuries. We have yet to see the final outcome of these high-profile cases. But with the clear and strong support of the president perhaps we shouldn't hold our breaths.

WINSTON RAGOS
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