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Still isolated?

In December 2020, the heinous double murder of 52-year-old Sonya Gregorio and her son, Frank Anthony Gregorio, that was efficiently executed by police officer Jonel Nuezca and captured on video, posted on social media and subsequently went viral, led to calls for reform in the Philippine National Police.

While critics denounced the culture of violence and impunity that they saw as being demonstrated by the murderous policeman, defenders of the PNP called it an “isolated incident”.

In response to the outrage, well-meaning police officers started sharing posts on social media. One of them was Police MSgt. Hensie Zinampan, who on December 29, 2020 posted on Facebook “I am proud to be a good cop… The sin of Nuezca is not the sin of the entire PNP.”

Approximately six months after, Zinampan would unfortunately be the star of another viral murder video.

The video of the incident that took place Monday night in Fairview, Quezon City, shows a drunk Zinampan slowly approaching an unarmed woman, 52-year-old Lilybeth Valdez, with his gun hidden behind his back. After threatening her, he is seen pulling her hair before shooting her a point blank range. The victim’s family can be heard weeping after witnessing the cold blooded murder.

PNP chief, General Guillermo Eleazar, vowed to file charges against Zinampan, saying he directed the PNP Internal Affairs Service to expedite the investigation into the incident.

Is this latest killing another isolated incident? Are the horrifying sins of Zinampan and Nuezca that were captured on video still not applicable to the entire PNP? Both off duty police officers executed their unarmed victims without hesitation, using what is assumed to be their government-issued service firearm to commit quick and efficient murders that were fortunately caught on video.

The PNP leadership under its newly-minted chief General Eleazar must somehow ensure the Filipino people that the nation’s cops are not the same as their killer colleagues Zinampan and Nuezca. Aside from ensuring that justice is meted out as quickly as possible for these cases where unassailable video evidence is available, concrete measures have to be taken to make the use of deadly force the last option instead of the first response for these supposed protectors of the Filipino people.*

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