The Philippine National Police is in hot water after a ‘dramatic’ shootout, as an MSNBC report described it, with robbery suspects in Manila. The news about the shootout was also picked up by CNN and Al-Jazeera. Media reports said that the PNP Chief has apologized for the civilian deaths and blamed the robbers for the ‘collateral damage.’ The Police, however, is also insisting that they made no mistake in killing one of the alleged suspects, a certain Ronaldo Eusebio, despite proof that he is a legitimate employee of a toll company and testimony from the “suspect’s” wife.
Cases like this in the Philippines seldom get investigated unless it is a big case. In this case, it involved many deaths and it was a high profile shootout (well, seen by the public, so it was no doubt a shootout) so whether there are complainants or not the Commission on Human Rights has started its investigation, which the PNP welcomed.
Some assumptions that I could cull from these information are as follows:
- Regarding the killing of Ronaldo Eusebio. This is PNP playing judge and executioner. Did it ever occured to them that this guy might have been commandeered by one of the robbers to escape the cops? (well, I guess they were in ‘the moment’ so no time to think)
- The PNP claims that the robbers went berserk, the PNP should be professionals in intelligence gathering but obviously, they are just too hot for their guns that the robbers ‘sensed the surveillance??’ Is it true that the robbers went berserk or the PNP team did?
- If the Philippine Senate is not as busy with Bolante, they might conduct an investigation into this ‘for legislative purposes’ in the coming days.
Here in Australia, cases involving death during police pursuit or shootout are automatically investigated by the internal affairs. This is regardless of the circumstance such as what one migth consider as an obvious situation where the police had nothing to do with the death. An example of this is the case of two men who died in a crash after an aborted police chase. The two men were riding a car being pursued by police. The police stopped the pursuit and later found the vehicle crashed to a tree.
I’m in not in the business of pinning down the great men and women in uniform. I do admire their courage during this particular shootout but I lament the lack of effectiveness in surveillance (why did they catch you??!) and inefficiency in protecting the public. Or is this a matter of police enforcers against ex-police enforcers (turned robbers)????