A video of a police simulation exercise in Camarines Sur to test the readiness of officers to respond to incidents taking place in local Quarantine Control Points has been passed off as another incident of a policeman shooting a hapless civilian resenting the lockdown to prevent the further spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Philippine National Police spokesman, Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac, branded as ‘fake news’ the video circulating on the internet that purportedly showed the close-range shooting of a person in a police checkpoint.
The official clarified that the scene in the video clip is not the real thing but a drill to test the readiness of police to respond to hypothetical situations.
The 1-minute video clip uploaded in the Facebook page Motmot Vlogs (Motmot Vlogs) showed a motorcycle rider wearing short pants being confronted by uniformed policemen at a checkpoint when suddenly the man returns to retrieve something from his motorcycle and continue to approach the police officer until he appeared to have been shot causing him to fall on the ground.
At least two more persons with camera phones were seen on the video clip documenting the entire incident.
According to Banac, the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group conducted a digital forensic examination of the video clip and determined that it was a video documentation of a simulation exercise or SIMEX on Defense Battle Drill held by the 91st Special Action Company of the PNP Special Action Force manning a QCP along Maharlika Highway in Barangay Impig, Sipocot, Camarines Sur around 2:20 p.m. last Thursday.
The PNP-ACG noted that the video has been shared and posted in other social media platforms purportedly as yet another case of police shooting of an ECQ violator and has, in fact, elicited various reactions and comments from netizens prompting Banac to caution the public from further propagating the video clip which is entirely different from its real nature and content.
According to Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, the SIMEX is actually to prepare police for worse-case scenarios against armed quarantine violators as he urged the public, particularly the netizens, to be responsible social media users.
“While the Philippine National Police confirms that it is an authentic video of a Simulation Exercise, the statements used as captions of the same video in various social media posts are clearly aimed at discrediting our police front-liners and sowing hate and disrespect to the police organization by exploiting what happened in Quezon City the other day,” said Eleazar.
The policeman involved in the Q.C. shooting of an ex-soldier said to be suffering from battle trauma was already investigated and charged-- a proof that even law enforcers submit to the proper authorities, said the official as he assured the public that they will respect and submit to whatever court decision regarding the incident.
According to Eleazar, the JTF COVID Shield and the PNP headed by Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa respect the expression of whatever personal opinion regarding the Q.C. incident “but posting false and provocative statements and claims using a legitimate video of training exercise is never a justification to emphasize any argument.”
“You are free to criticize or praise us but please do not disrespect our uniform, our organization using fake news. You are free to hate or love us, but please let us do our job, our mandate of protecting our country from the threat of COVID-19,” said the official.