Rights group condemns another police killing in Rodriguez, Rizal

Photo by Charie Abarca/Inquirer.net

“The killing of 15-year-old John Frances Ompad on August 20 by a policeman is the second in a row this month,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay. On August 2, 2023, 17-year-old Jemboy Baltazar was killed by policemen in Navotas City in a supposed case of mistaken identity. 

Ompad’s 19-year-old brother John Ace, who was riding a motorcycle had refused to stop at a checkpoint because it was manned by non-uniformed men who reeked of alcohol. When the men pursued him to his house, John Ace threw his helmet at the men. Angered, one of the men opened fire, but ended up hitting John Frances who was then outside the house. John Frances died while undergoing treatment at a hospital.

“As per the Rodriguez Philippine National Police’s own admission,” said Palabay, “the shooter, Pcpl. Arnulfo Sabillo, had already been suspended twice for a number of altercations. Yet, he remains in the PNP and was even promoted last December 2022.”

“It is infuriating that the PNP chooses to trivialize the Navotas and Rodriguez killings as ‘isolated incidents’ or just a matter of ‘lapses’,” said Palabay. “Worse, we have even received disturbing reports that the Navotas PNP is trying to evade accountability by coercing a witness in Jemboy’s killing into making false claims that Jemboy had drugs in his possession, as if this would erase the crime.”

“After having been instructed by their former commander in chief to ‘kill, kill, kill,’ and with a current commander in chief who has not rescinded any of his predecessor’s policies, it is no surprise that we have a trigger-happy police force that is drunk with power and thinks nothing of ending the lives of lower class youth like Jemboy and John Frances,” stressed Palabay.

“It is high time that we hold these killer cops accountable, and put an end to the policies that have enabled their dastardly crimes to flourish then and now,” she said.