The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines on Wednesday, June 2, condemned the killing of a 52-year-old woman by a police officer in the national capital early this week.
Police Master Sergeant Hensie Zinampan shot dead Lilybeth Valdez in Greater Fairview village in Quezon City on Monday evening.
“This incident is just one of the reported series of violence perpetrated by men in uniform,” noted Father Christian Buenafe, O.CARM, chairperson of the task force.
The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines is a national Human Rights Defenders organization founded in 1974 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines.
The killing of Valdez came about a week after four policemen in Valenzuela City were relieved of duty after being accused of killing an 18-year-old autistic man during a May 23 raid.
In December, another police officer, Jonel Nuezca, killed his neighbors, Sonya Gregorio, 52, and her son Frank, 25, in a dispute over noise.
A video taken by another neighbor shows an unarmed Gregorio and her son being shot twice at point blank range by Nuezca who has since been dismissed from the service and detained pending trial.
Father Buenafe said the incident is a “reflection of the culture of violence” that “emboldened police brutality and heightened impunity that blatantly worsens the situation of the people.”
“This calls for decisive action by the government,” said Father Buenafe, adding that the Philippine National Police “must reaffirm its commitment to serve and protect by ridding itself of hoodlums in uniform.”
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar agreed that the killing was “heinous and unacceptable because the police should protect the public and not act like criminals.”
He said criminal and administrative cases will be filed against Zinampan.
“On behalf of the men and women of the [National Police], I sincerely condole with the family and ask for apology for what Police Master Sergeant Zinampan did,” said Eleazar.
“The family can be assured that I will not let this pass and I will personally attend to the case to give justice to the family,” he added.
“I apologize to the public for the action of this criminal of a policeman,” said the police chief.
In a statement, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates said the case of Valdez “is not an isolated one.”
The group said it is “part” of the “culture of violence unleashed in 2016 through [President Rodrigo Duterte’s] public kill and hate speeches and hard-lined directives to the policing sector.”
“It will take the president’s reversal of his pronouncements and his taking of responsibility for the transmorphing of police mindsets to see the beginning of cessation to the killings,” said the group.
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan, said the killings “clearly display a governance driven by a kill-kill-kill policy that is fostering an environment of insecurity.”
“What is clear and apparent is that the dangerous mindset of normalizing such killings is deeply ingrained among state forces,” Palabay said.
The Commission on Human Rights said it would investigate the killing of Valdez.