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Should Eyewitnesses Take Video of a Crime? Viral Shooting Raises Question

Think before hitting the record button
Dec 24, 2020
Photo/s: Philippine National Police Paniqi, Tarlac/Handout

The fatal shooting of a mother and son at the hands of an off-duty policeman not only went viral, it also raised questions on whether or not people should take footage of crimes that are happening right in front of them.

For General Debold Sinas, the chief of the Philippine National Police, yes they can but they should first consider their safety. Video of the shooting involving Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca was taken by a 12-year-old boy.

Sinas said the boy was fortunate that Nuezca did not go after him after the policeman shot  dead Sonya Rufino Gregorio, 52, and Frank Anthony Rufino Gregorio, 25 at close range in Paniqui, Tarlac last Sunday.


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"Hindi ko po sinabi na bawal o 'wag kumuha ng video. Ang sinabi ko, noon pa, mas maganda kumuha ng video para madocument i-submit sa police o ibigay para ebidensiya," Sinas told a public briefing on state-run broadcaster PTV.

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"Ang sabi ko, dapat mag-ingat. Sana yung kumuha nag-ingat kasi baka siya ang balikan," he said.


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The viral video will be used as evidence because it satisfied the requirements that both the images and the devices used to record them are turned over to authorities. In the Paniqui case, Sinas said the gadget and its contents are with the PNP Cybercrime division.

The 12-year-old who took the video passed it to another minor, aged 16. Both were distraught by the experience, he said.

Quoting the 12-year-old, Sinas said: "Sabi niya, nanginginig din siya, natatakot at hindi siya makagalaw sa sobrang takot niya. Tapos tiningnan siya nung suspek, buti na lang hindi siya binalingan at hindi kinuha po iyong video niya."

Police also secured the consent of the minors' parents, who were given protection and psychosocial support. They were also endorsed to the government's Witness Protection Program, Sinas said.

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