FIRING LINE: Cops think they’re good, until…

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

For an organization sworn “to protect and to serve” the citizens of this country, there’s a great deal of doubt on whether or not the Philippine National Police (PNP) is capable of stopping its members from shooting innocent civilians.

When Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca shot mother-and-son Sonya and Frank Anthony Gregorio in cold blood a few days before Christmas last year in Tarlac, they said it was an isolated case and not to mistake other cops to be made in the same groove.

But just last Monday in Fairview, Quezon City, a drunken Master Sergeant Hensie Zinampan took his neighbor by her hair and then shot her at point-blank using his service pistol, killing her on the spot. Like the Gregorios, Lilybeth Valdez, 52, was gunned down in front of family members.

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Upon his arrest, Zinampan insisted he is innocent. Perhaps, if not for a cellphone video taken of the actual killing, he would even sell himself as a good cop. In fact, days after the video of Nuezca’s killing of the Gregorios went viral, Zinampan churned out a lengthy post on his Facebook page to defend the honor of the PNP and the badge that he wore.

Here’s what Zinampan wrote on his Dec. 29, 2020 FB post: “I am PMSg Hensie A Zinampan 14 -years in serving and protecting taas noo kong pinapanindigan ang integridad ng aking uniporme. Buong puso ang dedikasyon sa trabaho. I AM PROUD TO BE A GOOD COP.

“While there are unfortunate incidents like this, the vast majority of you(r), PNP perform their sworn duties everyday with honor and integrity to protect and serve the people.

“The sin of Nuesca is not the sin of the entire PNP, as we have seen during the past disasters and this pandemic, we place our lives on the line as first responders and frontliners.”

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I’m certain Zinampan meant every word in that post, at least five months before he took the life of his poor, defenseless neighbor who spent her final moments pleading for her life.

Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, perhaps, it is time to check how many more of your proud men in uniform think they are good cops but are fighting demons in their heads.

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