Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima bewailed the killing of an alleged curfew violator suffering from mental illness by a barangay tanod during the second day of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila last Aug. 7.
De Lima urged authorities to thoroughly investigate the shooting to death of 59-year-old Eduardo Geñoga, especially because this is not the first time that authorities killed an unarmed innocent citizen while supposedly implementing lockdown protocols.
“The reported killing of a 59-year-old curfew violator with mental illness is another unfortunate yet inevitable consequence of the government’s relentless promotion of systemic violence and impunity. Nakakaalarma na tila ganoon na lamang kadali para sa mga awtoridad ang pumatay sa panahon ngayon, na tila ba walang pag-aalangan at pagdadalawang-isip na kumitil ng buhay,” she said.
“This recent killing is not the first of its kind and therefore should not be regarded as a simple case that would eventually be archived and forgotten. An urgent and impartial investigation is necessary to ensure accountability,” she added.
According to a Manila Police District (MPD) report, Geñoga was gunned down along Tayuman Street by Cesar Panlaqui, 55, a barangay tanod of Barangay 156 in Tondo. The victim’s brother relayed to the police that Geñoga had mental problems.
Panlaqui was reportedly arrested by the police, but his motive for shooting Geñoga is not yet clear. Police said that a revolver without a serial number was recovered from the suspect.
In the first ECQ last April 2020, Quezon City Police M/Sgt. Daniel Florendo gunned down Winston Ragos, a retired soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, for supposedly violating community quarantine protocols. Florendo and four other police trainees are facing charges of murder, perjury, and planting of evidence in the killing of Ragos.
It may be recalled that Mr. Duterte previously ordered uniformed personnel to “shoot dead” quarantine violators who will cause disorder and put the lives of police and soldiers in danger. Just last June, he considered arming barangay chiefs and officials to fight criminals.
The lady Senator from Bicol stressed that barangay officials, including tanods, should fulfill their role in keeping the peace and order situation in their respective communities and should not be the one to promote violence. “Barangay officials should be accountable for their actions and fulfill their mandate without violating human rights. Hindi bala ang solusyon sa lahat ng problema. Maging tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao, hind mamamatay-tao,” she said.
“Ang ganitong mga insidente ay dapat pagtuunan ng pansin dahil kapag hinayaan lang ito, kinunsinte at pinalakas na rin natin ang loob ng mga gumagawa ng brutal at ilegal na pagpatay,” she said.
Last April, De Lima filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 703 calling for a Senate investigation into the reported human rights violations of arrested curfew violators during the then reimplementation of the ECQ in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal or “NCR Plus.”
In the 17th Congress, De Lima also filed SR No. 591 pushing for a basic law enforcement training program to police auxiliary units (PAUs) in all barangays nationwide, including rules of proper engagement, citizen’s arrest, first aid, and respect for human rights.