On Monday, Dec. 21, President Rodrigo Duterte said he had seen the video of the murder of Sonya Gregorio and her son Frank by an off-duty policeman, and found it “brutal.”
Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca shot both Sonya and Frank twice in the head in broad daylight and in front of several witnesses, including his young daughter, on Dec. 20 in Paniqui, Tarlac.
Duterte said, “Isa lang itong klase ng pulis na ito. May sakit ito sa utak. Topak.”
The president, however, did not show evidence to support his claim.
He added that he, too, was shocked by the killings. “I don’t think that you can escape the rigors of justice because nakuha sa TV. Pati ako napanga-nga…That’s unfair and brutal masyado.”
Ted Te: The spin now is that the killer cop has mental health issues, obviously trying to set up an ‘insanity’ defense.
The murders were captured on video and have sparked outrage and condemnation. On social media platforms, the hashtags #StopTheKillingsPH, #JusticeForSonyaGregorio and #EndPoliceBrutality trended.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said today an insanity plea may only be used when a defendant is unable to determine what is right from wrong. “Siguro po alam naman niya na mali na gamitin ang baril ng gobyerno para patayin ang kalaban niya sa isang property dispute. Hindi niya magagamit na depensa,” Roque said.
In a series of tweets, former Supreme Court Spokesperson Ted Te called the claims “spin.” He explained that Nuezca must first be charged before it can be determined if his capacity to form a criminal intent is impaired.
The spin now is that the killer cop has mental health issues, obviously trying to set up an "insanity" defense. Here's the thing--"insanity" as an exempting circumstance under Art. 12 is not a medical term but a legal concept. "Insanity" does not equate to "crazy." [thread]— Ted Te (@TedTe) December 21, 2020
“The spin now is that the killer cop has mental health issues, obviously trying to set up an ‘insanity’ defense. Here's the thing—‘insanity’ as an exempting circumstance under Art. 12 is not a medical term but a legal concept. ‘Insanity’ does not equate to ‘crazy.’
“Insanity as a defense must be proven by an accused in court. It means, though, that the accused must first be charged—it cannot be administratively determined, i.e., at the level of the DOJ or the PNP.
“It is defined as a ‘complete deprivation of freedom, intelligence, and will’ at the time of the felony, meaning that the capacity to form a criminal intent is completely impaired, thus removing the element of criminal intent that is essential to a felony under Article 3.”
Te said that like the “nanlaban cases which rely on self-defense under Article 11 RPC, the process requires that the killers must first be charged and detained (murder is bailable only by judicial discretion) subject to the accused's proof of the Article 12 defense.
“To put it plainly, a plea of ‘insanity’ does not warrant an administrative or non-judicial exoneration. It is an exempting circumstance that must be proven in court.”
President Duterte: Isa lang itong klase ng pulis na ito. May sakit ito sa utak. Topak.
The killings were reportedly triggered after Nuezca, 46, confronted the victims over the noise coming from their “boga,” which is a firecracker cannon made from a PVC pipe. It was also reported that they had a previous right-of-way dispute.
Alyssa Calosing, a relative of the Gregorios and the person who recorded the video, recalled the incident during an interview with TeleRadyo. "Yumakap na po siya [Lola Sonya] kay Kuya Frank kasi aarestuhin na daw siya ng pulis. Pilit po syang binibitbit," she shares. "Narinig ko po bigla, 'Gusto niyo patayin ko kayo?' Tapos po pagka-harap ko, saka niya po binaril sila Lola Sonya."
Calosing also said that the father and daughter fled the scene as if nothing happened. "Kinuha niya po yung anak niya tapos naglakad na parang wala lang."
Sonya’s bereaved husband, Florentino Gregorio, is asking the public to stop condemning Nuezca’s daughter over the incident. The widower and father stressed that the child should not be blamed for her erroneous upbringing.
“Sana naman po, tigilan niyo ang [pagba-bash] kasi masakit rin sa kanila ‘yun kahit na ganoon. Kasi bata pa ‘yan, kulang ang pag-aaruga na [binigay] ng magulang sa kanya kaya naging ganyan ang turing ng bata na ‘yan,” Gregorio said in an interview at the wake of his wife and son earlier today.