Briones: Making an example

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

WHAT happened to the mother and son who died in the hands of an off-duty policeman in Tarlac on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, would not have elicited so much public condemnation had it not been caught on camera.

But it was. So there’s no denying that MSgt. Jonel Nuezca is guilty of pulling the trigger. More than twice. No matter how others might want to spin the incident.

Of course, the Philippine National Police (PNP) immediately washed its hands of Nuezca, who, it turned out, is no stranger to controversy having had two homicide cases filed against him that were later dropped for lack of evidence.

Well, it looked like Nuezca was so intent on murdering Sonya Gregorio and her son Frank Anthony that he failed to notice that someone was filming the whole thing. Otherwise, he would have taken matters into his own hands and there would be no witnesses.

I don’t know. Maybe.

At any rate, his fate is sealed or it should be with no less than President Rodrigo Duterte announcing that the policeman should rot in jail for the rest of his life. Assuming Nuezca will live to see 2021.

Oh, don’t be shocked. We’re all adults here.

We’ve known all along that this administration has blood on its hands, especially in its war against illegal drugs. But, in fairness to it, it has also gone after scalawag cops, many of whom have shared the fate of criminals they had sworn to bring to justice but ended up emulating or protecting.

So don’t tell me Nuezca will be any different. He shouldn’t expect to be treated with kid gloves.

The incident is a big slap not only to the police organization but also to the Duterte presidency. To assuage the public clamor for justice, they must make an example out of him. They have to, otherwise they will lose any sense of moral ascendancy.

So those who want to change the narrative should just zip their mouths because, let’s face it, there’s no wiggling out of this mess.

I don’t care if the Gregorios were awful neighbors or were evil personified, the fact is, they were shot dead in cold blood by a policeman, off-duty or not, using a PNP-issued firearm.

You see, the President had issued a directive allowing off-duty cops to carry their firearms for their protection. Also, PNP Chief Debold Sinas did away with the tradition of sealing police officers’ guns this holiday season because he said police are now “disciplined.”

I guess they were both wrong.

Oh I know, some of you would insist that what happened was an isolated case. Maybe. But, you see, it shouldn’t have happened at all.