The recent spate of assassinations of prominent personalities and public figures only goes to show that under the current Aquino administration, criminals no longer live in fear. It’s ordinary, law-abiding Filipinos who live in fear of criminals, and understandably so.
Last Independence Day, a well-known hotelier-businessman based in Cebu City was gunned down inside his office in Davao City.
Richard King, owner of the Crown Regency Group of Hotels, was having dinner with his employees when a lone assassin entered and shot him in the head with a .45 caliber pistol. Witnesses say the assassin, who never even bothered to wear a mask, simply walked to a motorcycle parked outside the building where an accomplice was waiting.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte put up a P500,000 reward for the killer but probers have yet to identify the gunman or establish the motive for King’s murder.
In a separate incident on the same day, another noted personality was assassinated along Congressional Avenue in Quezon City.
Racing champion Enzo Pastor was shot dead by a masked gunman riding-in-tandem while transporting his race car to Pampanga. According to news reports, Pastor had stopped at a stoplight when the assailant approached the vehicle from behind and shot him through the window.
Police investigators say the gunman “casually” walked to a motorcycle driven by a companion and fled.
Pastor made racing history by being the first Filipino to receive the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) All-Star Award after finishing sixth place overall in all 12 Euro Racecar Nascar Touring Car Championship races in 2013.
More than a week after the incident, homicide investigators are still gathering leads on the identity of Pastor’s assailants and their motive.
It isn’t only Filipinos being murdered by hired guns. Foreigners, too, have been felled by an assassin’s bullet.
One of the more infamous cases was the assassination of Sergio Mazza, the German-Italian food and beverage director of the Makati Shangri-la Hotel, a few years ago.
A fixture in Manila’s social scene, Mazza was walking along Perea St. in Legaspi Village on his way to work when he was shot three times in the head at close range by a professional killer. The killing, which happened in broad daylight during the morning rush hour, remains unsolved until today.
We can go on and on with a list of notable personalities killed by hired guns –locals and foreigners alike.
The latest crime wave perpetrated by paid killers merely reflects the depth of lawlessness into which our country has descended. What is alarming is that these killings are not random acts of violence or politically related murders but targeted assassinations of private citizens.
The brazen killings of common—albeit, prominent—folks mean that no one among us is safe from an assassin’s crosshairs.
As we listen to the many comments from ordinary Filipinos, we consistently hear a sense of hopelessness and despair, and perhaps with good reason. Many of these “hits” have become mere statistic.
Although the Philippine National Police (PNP) boasts that it has improved its crime solution rate from 13 percent to 37 percent, for the most part, no one has been brought to justice for these targeted assassinations. Moreover, the PNP’s crime solution rate also means that the perpetrators of almost 7 out of every 10 crimes go unpunished and remain scot-free to commit more crimes.
With more than 1 million crimes recorded last year—a 400 percent increase from 2012—that’s a staggering 700,000 felonies that went unsolved—and an even higher number of felons evading the long arm of the law. And that’s with President Benigno Aquino taking a “hands-on” attitude towards crime and law enforcement, at least according to Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma. Really??!!
We’re sure the real crime figures are much, much higher considering that many victims are reluctant or unwilling to report crimes like snatching and hold-ups, perhaps knowing that, in most cases, the culprits won’t be caught anyway. Unfortunately for us, the criminals know that, too.
The problem, however, is that when crimes routinely go unpunished, it motivates criminals to commit the same or more serious offenses. So it was only a matter of time before paid assassins became emboldened enough to target public figures.
Crime has gotten out of control because the Aquino administration has not taken the bold and concrete measures needed to address the worsening crime situation.
And it doesn’t help any that our police officials seem to have taken a cavalier attitude towards the latest high profile killings. “It’s not that alarming…It’s still manageable . . . ,” PNP Public Information Office chief Reuben Sindac said in a press briefing. Susmariosep!
Is it any wonder then why many of our countrymen feel that plying the streets of the metropolis is like playing Russian roulette?