MANILA – The Philippine Army (PA) on Friday sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the case of a former soldier who was shot and killed by a police officer at a quarantine checkpoint in Barangay Pasong Putik in Quezon City.
In a letter addressed to NBI OIC-director Eric Distor, PA chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay requested an impartial investigation in view of the apparent conflicting claims of police operatives involved, witness accounts, and materials available from open sources, to include video footages of the incident.
Gapay said apparent pre-judgment by police investigators prompted the PA to seek help from the NBI so that justice may be served for retired Cpl. Winston Ragos and his family.
The incident, he said, has also raised awareness and concern on the plight of soldiers suffering from mental health disorders incurred during their military service.
Gapay ordered the PA staff to review existing policies and programs dealing with combat stress, trauma risk management, and other health concerns related to mental health.
He added that assistance to Ragos’ family is now being facilitated.
Gapay also reiterated that the Army puts a premium on the well-being of its personnel, active or retired, especially those who have left the service with “scars of war” and those who suffered mental challenges in the line of duty like of Ragos, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“What happened to Cpl. Ragos was unfortunate but an avoidable event. Let his death serve as an awakening on the plight of other soldiers who are being plagued by the traumas of war,” he said.
“The Army assures the family of Ragos that it will extend to them the assistance they need,” Gapay said.
He also ordered to look for the other retired soldiers out there suffering from the same conditions as Ragos, for the provision of appropriate assistance.
“The Philippine Army prioritizes taking care of our troops and sustaining the wellbeing of our soldiers and their families,” Gapay added. (PNA)