[Action Alert] (Philippines) Mentally-challenged man killed by members of the Philippine National Police during the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Quezon City -TFDP

Action Alert
(Philippines) Mentally-challenged man killed by members of the Philippine National Police during the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Quezon City

April 22, 2020

Dear Friends,

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal for further investigation regarding the killing of a mentally-challenged man by members of the Philippine National Police during their enforcement of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Quezon City.

——————————————————————————-

ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT:

Winston Ragos, a 34-year old retired member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who was mentally-challenged was shot dead by a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) at around 2:30 PM on April 21, 2020, along Maligaya Drive corner Sampaguita St., Barangay Pasong Putik, Quezon City.

According to the police spot report on the incident, PMSg Daniel Florendo requested police back up to apprehend Ragos, who was alleged by the police to be carrying a handgun in his sling bag.

Florendo, along with four police trainees, namely Dajeles Gaciles, Arnel B. Fontillas, Jr., Joy P. Flaviano, and Dante G. Fronda were said to be initially manning the Quarantine Control Point in Maligaya Drive in front of the 7/11 convenience store when Ragos allegedly asked Fontillas and Flaviano, “Ang sama mo makatingin, ano ba ang problema mo?” (“Why are you looking at me like that, what’s your problem?”)
Based on a video of the incident that appeared online, people in the area tried to tell the police that Ragos was not well. He was allegedly mentally-challenged because of his duty in the AFP. They said that Ragos was “war shocked” from his assignment in the AFP. However, based on the video, the police did not heed the people who were trying to protect Ragos.

Based on another video, Ragos was seen with his back to the police with both his hands held up, when members of the police asked him to drop to his knees. However, according to another post by a certain Fae Macahilig, allegedly a niece of Ragos, Ragos tried to show the police that he did not have a gun in his sling bag. Ragos’ gesture, based on the police spot report, was interpreted by the police as “attempt to pull out his firearm inside his sling bag”. Hence, Florendo shot Ragos twice that resulted in his death.

The police claimed in their report that a .36 Smith and Wesson revolver without a serial number and loaded with four ammunition/cartridges were found in the victim’s possession. However, Macahilig claimed in her post that Ragos did not have a gun.

In the same post, Macahilig claimed that during the incident, people were being prevented to take videos of what was happening; those who were able to take videos were allegedly also harassed into deleting the shots or footage.

Macahilig also lamented the absence of the members of the barangay who could have convinced the police that Ragos was mentally ill. This could have deescalated the situation since the police did not listen to the residents.

Article 4 Section 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “in time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the State Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that supposed measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.”

However, Article 4 section 2 also mentioned that there should be no derogation from Article 6. Article 6 states that “every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”

In the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the right to life is protected in Article 3, Section 1, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”

As of this writing, homicide charge has been filed against the police officer who shot Ragos. The Philippine Army has also asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the case.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write a letter to the following authorities, for a swift and impartial investigation on the killing of Mr. Winston Ragos and also to urge the PNP to apply maximum tolerance against alleged violators of the Enhanced Community Quarantine and to observe the PNP Manual in the application of necessary and reasonable force.

A. Ensure that all who participated and were responsible for the killing of Winston Ragos be investigated and if need be, brought to justice.
B. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the 1987 Philippine Constitution, international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Philippines, especially in the enforcement of the Enhanced Community Quarantine during the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Please send your letters:

1. His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President, Republic of the Philippines
New Executive Building, Malacanang Palace Compound
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
1005 Philippines
Tel: +632 87368645; +632 87368603; +632-87368606; +632-87368629; +632-87368621
Telefax: +632 87368621
E-mail: pcc@malacanang.gov.ph

2. Hon. Menardo Guevarra
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila
1000 Philippines
Tel: +632 85218348
Telefax: +632 85262618
Trunkline: +632 85238481 loc 217
Email: osecmig@gmail.com, communications@doj.gov.ph

3. Hon. Eduardo Aňo
Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
DILG-NAPOLCOM Center
EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
Tel: +632 89250330; +632 89250331
Fax: +632 89250332
Trunkline: +632 88763454 loc 1001
Email: emano@dilg.gov.ph

4. Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Philippines
Tel: +632 89285655; +632 89266188
Telefax: +632 89290102
Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com

5. PNP Chief Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa
Philippine National Police
PNP National Headquarters
Camp General Crame, EDSA
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines 1100
Tel: +632 87230401; +632 87220650 local 3453/3473

6. Mayor Josefina Belmonte
Office of the Mayor
11th Floor, Quezon City Hall, High Rise Building, Quezon City
https://web.facebook.com/MayorJoyBelmonte

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