By Quian Vencel Galut and Nehmia Elyxa Relano

PHOTO: Philippine Star

The Tarlac Regional Trial Court, on Thursday, has found former police officer Jonel Nuezca guilty of two counts of murder over fatal shooting of 52-year-old Sonya Gregorio and her son 25-year-old Frank Anthony Gregorio in Tarlac last December 2020.

Nuezca was sentenced to reclusion perpetua for each case and was ordered by the court to pay P952,560 or P476,280 in damages to the heirs of Sonya and another P476,280 to the heirs of Frank Anthony.

"A 'shoot first, think later' disposition occupies no decent place in a civilized society. Never has homicide or murder been a function of law enforcement," Judge Stella Marie Gandia-Asuncion stated in her 18-page decision.

The said killing of the mother and the son was caught on video that went viral on social media, showing Nuezca firing another bullet at Mrs. Gregorio as she lies on the ground after he shot fire at the youth that draws widespread outcry and renewed calls for police reform.

The shooting took place in the municipality of Paniqui, Tarlac as Mr. Nuezca, who was off duty that time, tried to arrest Mr. Gregorio due to the incident of setting off an air cannon made out of PVC pipe which created a loud noise and made his young daughter complain. With this, the family had a heated argument with the police officer.

Last January, Nuezca pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.