QC cop faces criminal probe for killing 'mentally challenged' lockdown violator

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A Quezon City policeman who shot dead a "mentally challenged" quarantine violator is facing criminal and administrative probes, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said on Wednesday, April 22.

Police Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo Jr gunned down a certain Winston Ragos on Tuesday, April 21, at around 2:30 pm near a quarantine control point along Maligaya Drive in Barangay Pasong Putik, Quezon City.

Cops said Ragos "approached... and started shouting and uttering intimidating words" against Florendo and police trainees with him at the checkpoint. The law enforcers then told Ragos to go home. 

Ragos allegedly "ignored" the cops and identified himself as a former soldier. Cops said Ragos carried a loaded caliber 38 revolver inside his sling bag, and Florendo "cautiously approached Ragos."

A video of the incident was obtained by Rappler, showing Florendo shouting at Ragos, telling him to yield. Ragos raised his arms and turned his back. But Ragos double backed to face Florendo while reaching for something in his sling bag. It turned out, Ragos was about to pull out a pistol in the bag, police said.

Florendo then shot Ragos twice, causing him to stagger. Ragos stood up, limped for a few seconds, before falling to the ground.

Cops brought Ragos to the Commonwealth Hospital but he was declared dead at 5:57 pm.

In a text message to Rappler, Florendo's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bilaro said Ragos was "mentally challenged," but they "belatedly found out." It was unclear what mental illness affected Ragos.

Police confirmed that Ragos was formerly enlisted with the Army. Bilaro said Ragos was discharged through "compulsory retirement" due to "war shock."

"We can say that what he (Florendo) did was a 'judgment call.' Still, we will investigate the incident," QCPD chief Brigadier General Ronnie Montejo said in a statement.

Under police rules, cops should "neutralize" suspects who threaten their lives. This could mean disabling the suspects, or in less ideal situations, killing them. President Rodrigo Duterte said in an earlier speech to "shoot dead" unruly violators, particularly those who threaten a cop's life.

According to the Philippine National Police's manual on operational procedures, in the event of a confrontation with an armed offender, cops should only apply "necessary and reasonable force to overcome resistance put up by the offender; subdue the clear and imminent danger posed by him; or to justify the force/act under the principles of self-defense, defense of relative, or defense of stranger."

This has taken on a new meaning under the Duterte administration, specifically since the beginning of the anti-drug campaign, where cops have been advised to "neutralize" suspects who threaten their lives. This could mean disabling the suspects, or in less ideal situations, killing them.

Duterte took this further by saying in an earlier speech to "shoot dead" unruly violators, particularly those who threaten a cop's life. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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