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Tarlac shooting: It boils down to ‘boga’ and right of way

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An old altercation over the right of way and the use of “boga” could have been the reasons why SMSgt. Jonel Nuezca shot and killed a man and his mother in Paniqui, Tarlac, said Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, Central Luzon regional police director.

Nuezca confronted Frank Anthony, who was under the influence of alcohol, for using a “boga,” De Leon said in a statement.

“Boga” is an improvised cannon made of PVC pipe that produces a noise resembling a shot when filled with denatured alcohol.

It is used to create noise, usually during Christmas and New Year revelries, but is prohibited because of injuries that it can cause.

During the confrontation, an old grudge between Nuezca and the Gregorios over the right of way on their lots was brought out, and this provoked the suspect, De Leon said.

“Thereafter, [Nuezca] fled on board his motorcycle but hours later surrendered to police in Rosales, Pangasinan,” he said.

Double murder cases are being readied against Nuezca who was caught on video shooting a man and his mother in Paniqui, Tarlac, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said Monday.

“That is plain simple cold murder… Napakalinaw naman na hindi lumalaban ang victims,” Año said when sought for comment on the story and video published on Tribune.net Sunday night.

Año said the policeman in the video, identified as SMSgt. Jonel Nuezca, will also be facing an administrative case “for his dismissal from the service.”

The video showed Nuezca shooting Sonya Gregorio, 52, and her son Frank Anthony, 25, in Purok 2, Brgy. Cabayaoasan, past 5 p.m. Sunday.

Nuezca, a resident of that area, reportedly surrendered to police in Rosales, Pangasinan, after the incident and has since been turned over to police in Paniqui.

The cop is assigned at the Parañaque City Crime Laboratory, brought with him his government-issued caliber-.9mm pistol which he used to shoot the Gregorios.

“He is now under the custody of the chief of police of Paniqui,” Año said.

In a statement sent to media later, the DILG chief said formal investigation into the incident has commenced. He assured the victims’ family and the public that the PNP and the National Police Commission will conduct a thorough, impartial, and swift investigation.

“We do not and will never tolerate such acts and we will make sure that he will account for his crimes.”

Año also directed PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas to extend assistance to the victims’ family.

‘Remain calm’

Following the incident, Año reminded all police officers to “remain calm at all times, control their emotions, and conduct themselves in a manner befitting their position as agents of the law.”

“This is an unfortunate but isolated incident. While there are unfortunate incidents like this, the vast majority of our PNP personnel perform their sworn duties everyday with honor and integrity to protect and serve the people.”

“The sin of Nuezca is not the sin of the entire Philippine National Police. As we have seen during this pandemic, they place their very lives on the line as frontliners in our COVID response,” he added.

Previous cases

Meanwhile, a file provided by De Leon showed that Nuezca had six administrative cases filed against him in the past 10 years.

It showed that Nuezca was meted with a 10-day suspension in February 2010 for an unspecified offense, a case of grave misconduct that was dropped in 2013, and a 31-day suspension for less grave neglect of duty in 2014 that stemmed from his refusal to undergo a drug test and leaving the testing area without authorization.

Nuezca was charged in 2016 of serious neglect of duty for failing to attend the court hearing of a drug case, but this was also dropped.

In May and December of 2019, Nuezca was charged twice of grave misconduct for homicide, but these cases were dismissed for “lack of substantial evidence.”

Isolated?

Sunday’s incident in Paniqui came just days after two members of the Cordillera regional police’s anti-drug unit were identified as suspects in the abduction and beheading of a driver from Baguio City.

The two, whom police still do not name, were tagged as suspects and placed under restrictive custody on December 15.

Diver Harjan Lagman, 25, was abducted near his home in Brgy. Irisan, Baguio, on November 11. The incident was also caught on video. His decapitated body was found the next day in Tublay, Benguet.

Police in Cordillera admitted suffering “low morale” because of that incident, which also resulted in the disbandment of the Regional Drug Enforcement Unit.

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