Año condemns Tarlac shooting but calls it 'isolated' incident

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año condemned a cop's killing of a mother and son in Tarlac and promised the government would file criminal cases against errant policeman Jonel Nuezca.

"The DILG will ensure that justice will be given to the family of the victims and that administrative and criminal cases will be filed against Nuezca," said Año in a statement on Monday, December 21.

"We do not and will never tolerate such acts and we will make sure that he will account for his crimes," he added.

Año confirmed that Nuezca was assigned to the Parañaque City Police station. Paniqui police had earlier identified the cop as "Jonel Nuezca" and said he was a police corporal. The DILG said his rank is police master sergeant.

Nuezca has been disarmed and is in the custody of the Tarlac Provincial Police Office. The formal investigation of the shooting has started, said Año, vowing it will be "thorough, impartial, and swift."

'Isolated' incident

Año, a former military chief, however said the shooting was an "isolated" incident that should not lead to condemnation of the entire police force.

"This is an unfortunate but isolated incident. While there are unfortunate incidents like this, the vast majority of our PNP personnel perform their sworn duties everyday with honor and integrity to protect and serve the people," said the interior secretary.

"The sin of Nuezca is not the sin of the entire Philippine National Police," he added.

However, there have been other incidents of police brutality in the past months, like the illegal arrest of a woman in Kawit, Cavite and the slaying of an ex-soldier for supposedly violating quarantine rules in Quezon City.

Año then reminded police officers to "remain calm at all times" and to "control their emotions."

PNP chief General Debold Sinas was ordered to provide assistance to the family of victims Sonya and Frank Gregorio.

It was Sinas who decided to skip the traditional muzzling of cops' guns during the holidays out of confidence that police practice self-restraint and are disciplined.

President Rodrigo Duterte had also ordered that cops, including Nuezca, be allowed to carry their firearms even while off-duty in order to protect themselves. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.