MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte yesterday ordered a speedy and impartial investigation on the killing of a retired soldier, who was said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, by a police officer during a confrontation at a quarantine checkpoint in Quezon City on Wednesday.
Former Army Private First Class Winston Ragos, 34, was shot dead by M/Sgt. Daniel Florendo Jr. following a standoff in Barangay Pasong Putik.
Ragos fought with the Maute terrorists during the Marawi siege in 2017.
Florendo was caught on a viral video shooting Ragos two times after he supposedly drew a gun.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque dismissed speculations that Florendo misinterpreted Duterte’s shoot-to-kill order against quarantine violators.
“The policeman did not say that he enforced the order of the President. So let us not interpret it that way because it has no basis,” Roque said. “There was a shouting match and the policeman said that Ragos was about to pull his firearm.”
Roque said it is too early to say that there was abuse of authority on the part of the police officers manning the quarantine checkpoint.
He extended the President’s condolences to the family of Ragos.
Based on the video, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa said Florendo made a judgment call when Ragos allegedly attempted to pull out a gun from his sling bag.
“There are circumstances na kapag hindi mo inunahan, talagang madadale ka. Depende talaga kaya judgment call,” Gamboa said.
Police allegedly recovered a loaded .38-caliber handgun from Ragos, but witnesses said he was not armed.
The family of Ragos sought justice for the Marawi veteran.
Gamboa ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to probe the shooting.
He also directed the PNP Internal Affairs Service to determine if lapses were committed by the police.
Florendo was disarmed and placed under the custody of his superiors.
“If appropriate, we will file criminal charges against him,” Gamboa said in an interview on CNN Philippines.
Based on the report he received from the National Capital Region Police Office, Gamboa said Florendo was aware that Ragos was armed.
He said policemen repeatedly ordered Ragos to drop to the ground, but the Army veteran refused.
In the wake of the shooting, Gamboa directed police officers manning quarantine control points to exercise proper judgment on the ground.
“We will remind our troops to be good in judging their courses of action when confronted with situations in the field,” he said.
PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said Florendo acted in self-defense.
Florendo and four trainees turned themselves in to Fairview police station commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bilaro.
Bilaro said Florendo was not placed on floating status as there is no formal complaint filed against him.
Quezon City police director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo defended the policemen’s actions.
Army chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay said they would conduct a separate inquiry into the shooting.
He confirmed that Ragos was suffering from war shock after his tour of duty in Marawi.
The Commission on Human Rights initiated its own investigation on the death of Ragos.
Florendo and his immediate superiors should be held accountable for killing Ragos, according to militant lawmakers led by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate. – With Romina Cabrera, Jaime Laude, Janvic Mateo, Edu Punay