A video of an off-duty policeman in plainclothes killing in broad daylight a mother and her son over a neighborhood quarrel in Tarlac has sparked an outpouring of outrage online over police brutality.
Police Senior Master Sgt. Jonel Nuezca gunned down Sonya Gregorio and her son Frank Gregorio on Sunday Dec. 20. The incident was reportedly triggered after Nuezca, 46 years old, confronted the victims over the noise coming from their boga, which is a firecracker cannon made from a PVC pipe.
Nuezca could be seen with his daughter in the video as he was gunning down Sonya, who was 52 years old and Frank, who was 25.
In an interview over DZBB, Police Colonel Renante Cabico, director of the Tarlac Provincial Police Office, said that Nuezca confronted the Gregorios over the noise generated by the boga.
After a heated exchange, the situation escalated after the policeman's daughter argued with Sonya, who shouted in turn, leading Nuezca to pull out his firearm and gun down the mother and son in point blank range.
Cabico said in an interview, "Nung aarestuhin niya, nakialam daw po 'yung magulang... 'yung nanay niya na si Sonya, na naging biktima po hanggang nabaril na nga po 'yung mag-ina."There were also news that Nuezca and the Gregorios have long had disputes over right of way, which also triggered the confrontation.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Calosing, a relative of the Gregorios and the person who recorded the video, recalled the incident during an interview with TeleRadyo this morning. "Yumakap na po sya [Lola Sonya] kay Kuya Frank kasi aarestuhin na daw sya ng pulis. Pilit po syang binibitbit," she shares. "Narinig ko po bigla, 'Gusto nyo patayin ko kayo?' Tapos po pagka harap ko, saka nya po binaril sila Lola Sonya."
Calosing also said that the father and daughter fled the scene as if nothing happened. "Kinuha nya po yung anak nya tapos naglakad na parang wala lang."
26 out of 29 trending topics in Twitter Philippines were related to the shooting and netizens, including public figures and celebrities were crying foul. The hashtags #StopTheKillingPH, #JusticeForSonyaGregorio, #EndPoliceBrutality, #PULISANGTERORISTA, along with other keywords such as Jonel Nuezca, TO SERVE AND PROTECT, TRIGGER WARNING, Tarlac, are currently trending.
Maine Mendoza, who said she rarely checks Twitter, was shocked to hear about the news. She also asked why the confrontation had to lead to the killing. "Hindi ko kaya, grabe," she tweeted. "Hindi ko alam kung ano ang mararamdaman ko pero pwede bang barilin ka nalang din sa harap ng anak mo?"
Janella Salvador was disturbed with the fact that Nuezca did the crime in front of his own child. "How inhumane can you be to take actual human lives like that so confidently for your own selfish reasons—IN FRONT OF YOUR OWN CHILD—LIKE IT'S NORMAL?" Meanwhile, Congressoman Sarah Elago is outraged and wanted justice to be served.
For Renato Reyes, Jr. the killings "are part of a pattern of abuse and impunity among the police." Writer and artist Alfonso Manalastas also wondered what cops are capable of behind cameras, with no witnesses.