UP Institute of Human Rights Official Statement on the Killing of Sonia and Frank Gregorio
The UP Law Center Institute of Human Rights (UP IHR) condemns, in the strongest terms, the killing of Sonia and Frank Gregorio on 20 December 2020 in Paniqui, Tarlac. The UP IHR rejects the argument that the murder of Sonia and Frank Gregorio is an isolated incident.
No, the death of unarmed civilians who did not pose a mortal threat to their armed assailants, typically state or para-military personnel, is by no means the rare exception. This latest cold-blooded killing did not occur in a vacuum. That bullets can be fired at close range into two civilians in broad daylight, shot several times even after they had already been disabled, in front of a camera and in the presence of the family members of both the victims and their killer—all these bespeak a climate of impunity that emboldens state personnel to commit murder and other acts of violence against the people. There’s no better proof of the reign of impunity than that several PNP personnel, among them an officer no less, have publicly justified, nay, embraced as their own, the brutality committed by their fellow policeman.
The right to life is guaranteed under both international and domestic law. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which binds the Philippines as a state party, acknowledges the right to life as inherent and mandates that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. The Philippine Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law. The killing of Sonia and Frank Gregorio by Senior Master Sgt. Jonel Nuezca, a police officer, is a grave violation of the government’s obligations under the Constitution and the ICCPR.
The killings must stop. The right to life, and all human rights, must be protected.