MANILA, Philippines – A video of what appears to be an apprehension of a lockdown violator by an officer in fatigue uniform along a highway in Camarines Sur is only a simulation, said the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) on Friday, April 24.
The minute-long video went viral on social media late Thursday to early Friday, in the wake of the fatal shooting of former Army Corporal Winston Ragos by a policeman in fatigue uniform in Quezon City on Tuesday, April 21.
In the video, the officer confronts a man about to board his motorcycle, reprimanding him for violating community quarantine protocols. The violator defies the officer, and the two men begin to argue. The officer then points a gun at the violator, and the violator lunges at him.
The officer fires the gun, and the violator falls to the ground, groaning in pain. Other officers rush to the victim, and call for an ambulance.
“SIMEX (simulation exercise) ‘yan, together with the Sipocot local government unit, the Sipocot Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, Sipocot Municipal Police Station, and the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army,” PNP-SAF chief Major General Amando Empiso told Rappler.
Sipocot is the town in Camarines Sur where the simulation happened.
“This is a SIMEX, not an actual confrontation. It's an exercise conducted by uniformed personnel to be mentally and physically prepared for any eventualities. May we request everyone to stop spreading this video. This might lead to misunderstanding of the real intent and content of the video,” the PNP 91st Special Action Company based in Sipocot said on its Facebook page on Thursday night.
It was a viral video that drew widespread attention to the case of Ragos, a retired Army soldier whom a policeman accused of violating lockdown rules. After minutes of a heated exchange, police Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo Jr shot Ragos twice. Ragos died at a hospital hours after.
Ragos had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from battles fought in the military service, and his family insisted he posed no danger to anyone.
Florendo now faces a homicide case. – with a report from Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com
JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.