Better crime fighting

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Monday, February 10, 2014


IF ONLY for this, I have to congratulate the current and previous Bacolod mayors. None ever uttered or implied this warning: “If you are doing an illegal activity in my city, if you are a criminal or part of a syndicate that preys on the innocent people of the city, for as long as I am the mayor, you are a legitimate target of assassination.”

The quote is from Davao City Rodrigo Duterte, who is now on his seventh term. Now even non-Davaoeños are gearing to draft him to become the next Philippine president.

Threats of political assassination have never been in any of our political agenda in our fair city of smiles. We are not the Wild, Wild West of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson.

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Compared to Duterte, no sane Bacoleño would even propose to push Monico Puentevella or Evelio Leonardia Jr. to throw their hats in the 2016 presidential ring.

To fight crimes in Negros Occidental, our political leaders rely on the five pillars of our justice systems: 1. Law Enforcer/Police; 2. Prosecution/Prosecutor; 3.Court; 4. Correction 5. Community.

Are Negrenses better off with this stand? Admittedly, maybe not as effective as Davao. But none of our political leaders have been accused of violating human rights or of vigilantism.

When Duterte won his seventh term, he warned criminals: “As a matter of policy, we will intensify our efforts in this campaign. I have said it before, I will say it again: Criminals have no place in our city except in our jails, detention cells and God forbid, in our funeral parlors should these criminals decide to fight it out with the authorities.”

Maybe Duterte should have stopped there. But he went on: “To drug pushers, drug dealers, drug suppliers and perpetrators of heinous crimes, I say stop or leave. If you cannot or will not, otherwise you will regret it. Worse still, you may not survive your grief.”

Why, what’s going to happen? Being arrested, prosecuted and convicted would cause any of these criminal suspects grief. But they can survive it, and probably even ripen to old age at the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa.

“The clock is ticking away the hours from you. You can leave either vertically or horizontally. It is up to you. If you fight, the day ends permanently for you,” Duterte added.

Despite his bravado, Duterte is cryptic with his dire threats. Yet many Filipinos decode his message. A Facebook friend said “May sariling death penalty. Siya.. sige para mabawasan ang mga tiwali lalo sa gobyerno hahaha.”

A native Davaeoña even remarked, “Like u i am worried when Durerte is gone. Yes one shud live in davao and its dark days, with motorcycle riding executioners like we have in manila now, to really know and feel the meaning of PROSPEROUS & Peaceful! Why, when in 1970s-80s there were real & acknowledged death squads/sparrows from the other side of the fence—where were the human rights int’l or somesuch? What about all those policemen who had families n kids too, who were victims!?”

Another suggested that “What this country needs is a benevolent dictator.” Another posted a question: “Is Davao not one of safest cities in the WORLD?”

Of course, the anti-Duterte describe him as “a goon... plain and simple... hindi puede iyan...” and bewailed that Filipinos brag “about being the only Christian country in Asia and yet would turn a blind eye for a murderer.” Duterte is compared to Dirty Harry, the Clint Eastwood character who takes shortcuts in neutralizing suspected criminals.

For me, the five pillars of our justice system have to improve on their crime fighting. Otherwise, many Filipinos might find it palatable to elect a national leader suspected of being the police, prosecutor, judge and executioner rolled into one.

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 10, 2014.

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