Something is wrong


Ma. Isabel Ongpin

A BUSINESSWOMAN is killed in Quezon City, a rural doctor is bumped off in Lanao, a broadcaster is shot to death in Masbate, a policewoman is rubbed out in her car in a crowded street in Manila. This list is not exhaustive or complete. There are more from today’s news. But all of these killings are clearly not robbery-homicide cases but deliberately targeted rub-outs undertaken by riding-in-tandem motorcycle riders. Yes, the motorcycle is now the murder vehicle of choice – the driver for the getaway and the killer behind him. From a lay person’s point of view, we are in the hands of contract killers, aside from road rage homicides and the drug-related killings involving the police or vigilantes.

Let us set aside ordinary crimes caught by CCTV cameras and the usual domestic or community upheavals of violence resulting in bodily harm or death. That is ordinary police work, even if the Mayor of Cebu has to lead a raid on a road rage killer suspect himself because a judge will not give him a warrant of arrest and the police just wait for the suspect to show up with his mother, lawyer, friends in government, etc.

What we see regarding these planned and efficient killings in the above examples is impunity and mayhem with no one or hardly anyone being caught and brought to account.

Meanwhile, police officials keep giving press conferences, making statements rationalizing how these crimes occurred and what they are doing but there are hardly any meaningful results from them. Who killed the doctor, the businesswoman, the broadcaster, the policewoman, just for starters? How come the road rage killer suspect has the leisure to send surrender feelers instead of being arrested on the spot when the whole country has seen him in action on CCTV?

It looks a lot like sloppy, lackadaisical police work or police taking their cue not from law and order motives but something else.

So, maybe the police too are under threat if they try to do the job right. There may be invisible and sinister forces that impede them. Is it politics, drugs, criminals? We are left to wonder.

In other words, if this is a government for law and order, it is failing from the anecdotal data of contract killings that we see and hear about. It also reflects the loose firearms lethally used in this society.

Our institutions are weak and failing. That is, the police, the judiciary and maybe assorted government agencies. We are in the hands of haves – of political power, wealth, popularity, stardom and whatever else brings on influence, power and prestige to a society that is made insecure, insignificant and unimportant when their weight is thrown around. That is how the majority who note what is going on feel. There is hardly any redress. The institutions that are there to put things aright are not working, because of weakness and fear. There is always some power that can circumvent what they have to do. Or worse, who can punish them for what they feel is right to do.

Time to regroup and figure out what is really going on, and that is for the authorities and citizens to do. They must initiate the steps to undo what is going on. Citizens will be only too willing to help if things are put in order and they are protected from lawbreakers who act with impunity. For that is what we are laboring under—lawbreakers acting with impunity without fear of any consequences. Official attention from the highest authority is absolutely required, with the necessary action within constitutional norms. It cannot be authorities using their power outside of the parameters of law, fairness and equality. The public must understand and demonstrate by word and action what they must do to bring about reform. It is not a matter of taking the law into one’s own hands.

I hope this is not too much to ask of people whom we voted for, as well as from ourselves.


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  1. I also hope that Mrs. Ongping will recognize that the killings are most probably done by the drug syndicates, to which the Philippine government has declared war against. In this case, people’s support and trust on the police is useful to boost the morale of the police, and in doing so, eventually, the “bad eggs” will be “purged”. This is also not just a matter of bad eggs in the police, but also in the ranks of politicians and businessmen as well. We should understand the distinction of that the corrupt police, politicians, businessmen, are a result of the influence of the drug syndicates, and not because the police system, politics, and business, are inherently corrupt.

  2. Ok, I will respond by saying that without a working court system we can’t fight crime. Our court system is rated one of the worst in the world. It takes over ten years for cases to be resolved. There is no equality. The rich walk and the poor are put into prison. Let’s get the SC to respond and fix the courts. That is their job.

    • Too late!!! The Philippine in too deep in hell. Only an epic or biblical tragedy can awake them from this nightmarish stupor!!!!

  3. Exactly right Ms. Ongpin

    Criminals don’t fear the death penalty because they don’t think they will be caught.
    Police corruption and incompetence are well known in the country.

    Pork barrel thieves get reelected and continue to be above the law attending dinners hosted by the President.

    In the Philippines it’s not what you do it’s who are you related to that matters.

    The justice system is a disgrace.

    • I 100% in agreement.
      Congress has excluded plunder/corruption, rape, etc., in the “Death penalty”, why?
      Corrupt Politicians has to protect themselves from death penalty for plunder/corruption and the rest are cover up for their convenience.

  4. No, these are crimes that happen from time to time in this country no matter who is in charge, but rarely makes the news and is usually recorded by ambulance chasers in far flung barrios and the like. Our institutions have been like that for decades. The overall response by the government is also the same, if not actually more responsible now because the police are acknowledging these crimes were perpetrated and investigations are going underway. How many of us had heard of crimes going unreported and going into hearsay because the people involved had been in power for decades?

    No, the issue here is that the old ways of pressuring the government to get what you want are no longer effective, and religious groups are unhappy for some reason. They are no longer keeping us distracted from the horrible lawlessness that existed outside aircon malls, gated communities and secured venues. Now you feel how helpless the truly ordinary citizen feels, the ones that eventually get absorbed into powerful organized religions in oder to feel safer.

    People have been acting with impunity in this country for a very long time, and now that crimes like these are being put into the light of day, the ‘citizens’ are demanding protection and action from the ‘highest authorities’?. People with connections and power have been buying protection and action from government for so long it had turned corruption into tradition. How do you think your househelp would cope if he is suddenly told to clean your new neigbors house in 24 hours and then given threats and explicit directions by every relative of his boss? The government is and has always been the only legal recourse we have, either support it, guide it or let it work and get out of its way.

  5. It is funny that this writer is asking that the motorcycle is the mode of choice for killling…a.k.a riding in tandem.
    Madame, this trend started with the Aquino administration, have you asked these questions before? or you just only realized belatedly these incidents, and they have not done and solved anything…right Mar? this writer make it appear as if it is only happening now….tsk..tsk…tsk…

  6. Amnata Pundit on

    I thought the country was reformed when Cory and her horde took over the national leadership in 1986, what happened?