Family mourns Filipino mother and son shot by police over noise
From Adrian Portugal
PANIQUI, Philippines (Reuters) - Relatives of a woman and her son who were shot dead by an off duty police officer in the Philippines called for justice Tuesday after the public outraged an incident that went viral on social media after it was caught had been camera.
52-year-old Sonya Gregorio and 25-year-old son Frank Gregorio were shot in the head on Sunday after an argument over noise. This sparked allegations by activists that President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs created a culture of police impunity.
"I lost a mother who was our dearest mother. I lost a brother who was also a very loving and caring brother. It is very difficult for us," said Tasha Delos Santos.
"I hope our family does justice."
Duterte on Monday condemned the Tarlac shooting, saying he was only defending the police who are doing their job, warning "there will be a hell to pay for rogue officers".
In a video recorded on a family member's cell phone, policeman Jonel Nuezca was seen having a heated argument with the Gregorios over the use of a homemade cannon in the province of Tarlac, north of Manila. The devices that make a booming sound are usually used to celebrate the New Year.
As Sonya wrapped her arms around her son as the line tightened, Nuezca shot her in the head before doing the same to Frank. Before he escaped, Nuezca shot Sonya Gregorio again.
Nuezca surrendered to police that night and faced two murders. The government has promised a thorough investigation.
"They weren't criminals, they were the nicest family here," said neighbor Gonyong Liwanag.
Critics and rights groups say Duterte's talk about killing criminals and pledges to protect law enforcement encouraged police to commit and cover up murder. The police refuse.
Government data shows that 5,942 suspected drug dealers have been killed by police since 2016. Police say those killed resisted arrest.
(Reporting by Adrian Portugal; writing by Neil Jerome Morales; editing by Martin Petty and Philippa Fletcher)
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