The police killing of a mother and her son in Paniqui, Tarlac, on Sunday, December 20, sparked anger online as Filipinos prepared for their Christmas week.
Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca shot dead Sonya Gregorio and Frank Gregorio over an argument with Frank.
Nuezca's daughter also witnessed the killings, as the video showed. Nuezca is officially assigned in Parañaque but is from Paniqui.
The video triggered anger and calls to end police brutality. #StopTheKillings, #JusticeforSonyaGregorio, MY FATHER IS A POLICEMAN, and #PulisAngTerorista top Philippine Twitter trends on Monday morning, December 21.
Calls for justice were amplified even outside the Philippines. With almost half a million tweets, the hashtag #StopTheKillingsPH was among the top trends in Singapore and Dubai as of 1 pm. #JusticeForSonyaGregorio ranked third in Singapore trends with 265,000 tweets.
In this latest crime committed by a police officer, enraged citizens again questioned the police’s mandate of protecting Filipinos from crime.
“Who do you call when the police murders?” Filipino netizens ask – a question that resonates with many parts of the world that have suffered from police brutality and are campaigning to reform, defund, or completely abolish the police force. (READ: Why not abolish the PNP?)
Many connected the crime to the climate of fear and impunity under the "bloodstained administration," blaming President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
Allegations of human rights abuses and killings hound the Duterte regime, and the police have been at the forefront of a bloody war on drugs.
Contributing to the climate of fear, Duterte’s rhetoric “may have incited violence and may have had the effect of encouraging, backing or even ordering human rights violations with impunity,” said the United Nations Human Rights Office in a recent report.
Many netizens are saying that the police shooting in Tarlac is not an isolated case, but a reflection of lawlessness. (READ: More killings feared if UN Human Rights Council fails to act vs impunity in PH)