PCW calls for thorough investigation on mother-son killing, wants police officer’s daughter spared from condemnation

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) condemns the vicious killing of Sonya Gregorio  and her son Frank Gregorio in Tarlac in the hands of P/SMSgt Joniel Nuezca and calls for the thorough investigation of the same.

While the killing of Sonya does not seem related to her gender, the brazen shooting of this mother who was then clutching to and shielding her son is appalling, infuriating, and disheartening just the same. It was senseless violence towards a woman who was unarmed and had no way of defending herself or her son from the sudden and point-blank range shooting. Every woman, like every human being, has the right to be protected from all kinds of violence and her life should not be taken from her by anyone, much more, by police officers. Can her shooting be rooted to the deeply ingrained notion that women are inferior? Is her death a proof that some manage to take advantage of those who are marginalized? These may be debatable but one thing is clear and is not contestable: a woman was killed, a clear violation of her right to life, a life that we at the PCW, has long tried to empower.

We echo the call of Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año directed at the Philippine National Police and the National Police Commission to conduct a thorough, impartial, and swift investigation. We also reiterate his reminder to all police officers to “conduct themselves in a manner befitting their position as agents of the law”. We are concerned that because of incidents like this, the credibility of police personnel as law enforcers will be tarnished, and women, in fear, will be discouraged from seeking help. We want women who fall victims to any crime, especially the Violence Against Women survivors, to be able to trust that our police officers enforce the law, and not put it in their own hands.

The PCW also amplifies the appeal of the Council for the Welfare of Children to spare the daughter of the police officer from condemnation and cyberbullying. We remind the public that she, like every girl, has the right to be protected from all kinds of violence, including cyberviolence. What the video showed us is only her surface – a possible manifestation of her environment and many other factors that we did not witness and so we do not have the right to judge. Moreover, she witnessed the shooting and that in itself is traumatic for any person, much more for a child. Instead of public ridicule, judgment, uncalled for sharing of her pictures, and digging into her life, she needs appropriate intervention and rehabilitation. Let us show compassion to her — the very same thing that we demand from agents of the law.

May we all afford women and girls freedom from violence and unwanted public discrimination.