Senator Win Gatchalian is calling for swift and impartial justice to the death of an 18-year old man with special needs in a supposed scuffle in Valenzuela City on May 23.
The victim was identified as Edwin Arnigo, a person with autism. While the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Internal Affairs Service and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are already set on doing their respective probes, Gatchalian said it is crucial to immediately resolve the conflicting narratives from both the police and the victim’s family.
According to the Valenzuela police, the victim was shot in a gun scuffle during a raid on a cockfighting site. Arnigo’s mother, however, said that her son is afraid of the police, making it impossible for him to go near them.
Without getting to the bottom of things, Gatchalian said there will be no public confidence on the outcome of the investigations and trust on the police will further erode, recalling Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca’s killing of mother-and-son Sonya and Frank Gregorio in Paniqui, Tarlac in December last year. The lawmaker added that the incident is a reminder of the need to strengthen discipline among the ranks of the PNP and ensure that erring policemen don’t get away with their misdeeds.
“Nakakalungkot na ang isang kabataang may special needs naman ang naging biktima ng operasyon ng pulis, sa pagkakataong ito ay isang tupada. Hindi katanggap-tanggap ang sinapit ni Edwin at kailangan nating tiyakin na matapos ang mga imbestigasyon, mananagot ang mga dapat managot, at maiiwasan na natin ang mga ganitong uri ng insidente” said Gatchalian.
The lawmaker also pressed the need to identify and address the gaps in how the police conduct law enforcement operations. In 2019, Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 721 or the “Police On-Body Cam Act.” The proposed measure seeks to mandate the use of on-body cameras by law enforcement officers during anti-drug and criminality operations.
He reiterated the need to look at how the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) is taking appropriate measures on these incidents, a concern he also raised following the shooting incident in Paniqui, Tarlac.
Gatchalian is one of the senators who filed Senate Resolution No. 600, which sought an inquiry on the series of unlawful killings of citizens that include doctors, lawyers, journalists, and members of other professions. The inquiry seeks to address gaps in law enforcement.