Shootout or rub out – all in digital memory

Shootout or rubout – all in the digital memory

That Tuesday night killing (17 February) of suspected car thieves on board a Honda Civic with plate number AED 115 by QCPD police operatives at EDSA corner NIA Road is only one – in a long list of similar cases – involving PNP and alleged criminal elements. What draws the line in this particular case is the fact that it graphically appears to be a case of extra-judicial summary execution (or hamletting) as recorded on digital camera.

Each single time, however, the matter looked into is on whether or not – such cases are one of shootout or rubout – especially in a growing trend whereby PNP authorities simply display dead if sprawled bodies of victims they label as members of notorious gang and criminal activities after an alleged encounter. And if we go by usual motherhood statements accompanying official accounts, PNP always claims it is a product of surveillance and based on intelligence reports.

Applied in the case of this so-called Quezon City alleged shootout – this almost vicious position embraced by the PNP whenever their official position is placed in question – seems to provide a convenient legal smokescreen so its own version will take higher precedence and thereby absolve them from responsibility. Since dead men tell no tales, sometimes, people just have to take their word for it.

There are a few times when what PNP claims as a shootout turns out to be a rub out as some conscientious individuals do surrender to the media actual footages taken from their cellphone cameras on the event as it actually happened such as in the earlier case of the alleged Valle Verde gang.

As captured on camera by the crew from ABS-CBN or TV Patrol, the video footage of this latest case simply shows how one uniformed PNP opened the bullet-riddled car and shoot at an already hapless suspect while another un-uniformed operative (in slippers at that) shoots the other suspect – in the same fashion.

In an interview with Arnold Clavio, Atty. Escueta of NAPOLCOM is inclined to believe that violations must have been committed and that those involved will be accordingly slapped administrative case with the end in view of weeding out scalawags in the PNP.

On the other hand, QCPD Director Gatdula believes it was a judgment call, in which case, he says there is no need that the PNP elements are fired upon before they execute their purpose. Under the rules of engagement, unless their very lives are placed on the line, the PNP operatives cannot have proceeded the way they did – unless we subscribe to that oblique Machiavellian ‘end justifies means’.

Every well-meaning individual finds it revolting to see how PNP elements can just snap off the life in any one of us – on mere suspicion that ought to be validated further. We should remember here that news accounts tell us that the alleged car thieves have been first flagged down somewhere by the Mandaluyong PNP which sought assistance from the Highway Patrol Group which then presumably spotted the car in Quezon City where they were finished off.

From the time it happened up to the time media tried to know the identities of those policemen involved in the killing, no names have been issued saved the claim they have already been disarmed by the PNP leadership and restricted – as a preventive measure. And as usual, feeding frenzy make it incumbent upon every fact-finding body or investigative office to conduct parallel investigations – Congress, Commission on Human Rights, the in-house of Quezon City Police Department, VACC and the like.

It might be useless altogether to give any value to the investigation that will be conducted by the QCPD since Chief Superintendent Gatdula, by his expressed opinion, already is deemed to have prejudged the case.

From where I stand, I find it strange that a car alleged being chased has to be excessively riddled with bullets even before the PNP could have positively identified their would-be prey. How could they have identified the alleged suspects as the criminals they are after when the car’s windows are tinted and closed by unleashing a volley of fire?

If any single operation has been attended to with no-nonsense work in good surveillance and intelligence collection, there is hardly any need for them to be heavily armed, to be running after their targets, much less have to engage them in all sorts of messy if anomalous ‘hot pursuits’ so-called.

Every version officially issued by the PNP, in most cases, no longer hold water. They are just very incredulous to be believed. Chances are, the doctrines being taught in the PNP should be revisited since it can happen that riddled car and dead bodies pampered with excessive number of bullets – are in fact – “virtual trophies” being presented for the purpose of meritorious promotion. The PNP’s motto – “serve and protect” – is nothing but a myth.

UP Diliman, Quezon City Email: