Yesterday’s viral video from my beloved but utterly broken Philippines was one of the most disturbing I have ever seen in my life.
I try to avoid sensational and trending videos, especially when extreme violence or deaths are involved but this one caught me off guard, early in the work week, when my social media defenses were not yet fully engaged. A work mate was talking about a video that had been trending that morning and an incredulous me took a peek at the video she was viewing on her smartphone.
What I saw would haunt me to the core, not because of blood or gore, but because of the pure evil documented by the video.
It was a combination of many things. A little girl screaming “My father is a policeman!” An elderly lady’s guttural response “I don’t care,” the policeman dad’s response to the lady, followed by a series of gunshots.
The video documented how a policeman dad murdered his pesky but unarmed neighbors, 52-year-old Sonya Gregorio and her 25-year-old son Frank Anthony Gregorio, in front of his adoring daughter, while a witness was taking a video of the cold blooded execution.
From what could be seen on the video, there was absolutely no threat to the life of Police SMSgt. Jonel Nuezca. Those of us who were unfortunate enough to see the video could only see the cold blooded efficiency at which he discharged 2 shots to the head of the Mrs. Gregorio. And then her son.
There was no hesitation. He issued his deadly threat and then almost instantaneously, shot his victims at point blank range. I didn’t view the video multiple times, but based on comments I saw on the internet, his baby girl who witnessed a double murder being carried out by her dad didn’t even flinch. I refuse to think that the little person had already been desensitized to murderous executions at such a young age. It’s more likely her non-reaction was a result of the shock of seeing the extreme lengths her dad would go through just to please her after she declared her admiration and respect for his policemanliness during an argument with noisy neighbors.
Her father may continue to be a policeman indefinitely, given this government’s fierce determination to forgive all kinds of lapses by policemen, but in the eyes of shocked Filipinos who saw the video, her father is most certainly a murderous criminal, who deserves to rot not only in jail, but in the eternal fires of hell. But note that in this country, after the outrage dies down and we forget his name, Mr. Policeman could easily be pardoned and recruited into a special projects group for his skills.
To make matters worse, media’s investigation into the records of the murderous policeman has revealed that despite having pending cases of homicide, the Philippine National Police still somehow allowed him to carry his service firearm around even while off duty. The fact that he is still considered a policeman and allowed to carry a weapon despite the gravity of past cases speaks volume of the culture of impunity within the PNP. Officials are calling this an isolated case but given the lack of hesitation and the automatic kill mode of this policeman, I would beg to loudly disagree.
The monster shot to kill. Two bullets per unarmed victim. He did it in front of his own daughter and several witnesses, including the video-taker. That was not a crime of passion, or temporary insanity. It was muscle memory…dare I say institutional memory?
Is this what a nation gets when policemen are promised that they can get away with anything? Was this another isolated case or does the PNP have a serious problem? Sunday’s cold-blooded double murder is a chilling reminder to all of us to be doubly careful when dealing with people in this country. You can never tell if the person you get into an argument with is an armed off-duty policeman with a temper and an itchy trigger finger. Maybe, they have a father who is a policeman, who is more than willing to barge into your home and execute you and your kin over the slightest of slights. As long as the PNP will only protect its own, we will have to protect ourselves by avoiding trouble.
So thank your lucky stars we will be in lockdown mode for at least another year. That means we minimize our exposure to potentially murderous crazies out there whose mortality rate is probably much higher than Covid’s 4-6 percent.*