Six Senators Call for Probe on “Unlawful Killings” After Tarlac Shooting Incident

MANILA, Philippines — Six senators are seeking an investigation on the series of “unlawful killings” of citizens—including the recent police shooting of a mother and her son in Tarlac—with the end goal of “breaking the culture of impunity,” especially among law enforcement agencies.

Senate Resolution No. 600—filed by Senators Sonny Angara, Joel Villanueva, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri—directs the appropriate committee in the upper chamber to conduct the said probe.

The resolution states that aside from breaking the culture of impunity,  the probe also seeks to identify the gaps in law enforcement and attain justice for victims of unlawful killings.

Among the cases cited in the resolution were the deaths of Sonya Gregorio and her son Frank Anthony. The two were shot to death by Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca following a heated argument in Tarlac.

According to the resolution, at least 15 doctors, lawyers, journalists, and other members of the community were “unlawfully killed” from July to December this year alone.

The senators likewise cited several cases of doctors who were killed such as Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas in March 2017, Dr. Shahid Sinolinding in April 2017, and Dr. George Repique in July 2017.

“All the doctor to population ratio in the regions where these slain doctors were killed are very low, and are way below the ideal ratio of 10 doctors to 10,000 population,” the senators said in the resolution.

“[These] statistics show that the death of even one doctor in the Philippines would drastically affect the quantity as well as the quality of medical service that could be provided to Filipino citizens,” they added.

Aside from doctors, the senators said lawyers, journalists, and activists have also been slain in the past.

Some of the incidents cited in the resolution include activists Randy Echanis and Zara Alvarez who were both slain in August this year; lawyers Eric Jay Magcamit, Joey Luis Wee, Baby Maria Concepcio Landero-Ole; and journalists Ronnie Villamor and Virgilio Maganes.

“The series of killings in the past six months of at least fifteen people from members of various professions, including lawyers and journalists, and other members of the community, exacerbated by the fact that justice remains elusive for the victims and their families, highlight the need to launch an inquiry, in aid of legislation, to identify the gaps in law enforcement,” the senators said.

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