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.