Criminality

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


WHAT happened in my hometown late last week is what I would call a community crime. An identified man riding a motorcycle did a sudden shooting spree that killed two and injured two others.

But the local police are finding it difficult to solve the crime. People “at the scene of the crime” did not talk, afraid to be involved. The police are facing the proverbial “blank wall.”

Being a native of the municipality and curious to know how public interest is being served by our government, I am asking my own questions, too.

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First off, I learned that no politics was involved. In fact, our mayor, upon learning that two of victims are very poor, bought the coffins and had concrete tombs made in the town’s cemetery. He has also sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The police station chief told me when I dropped by his office that they may seek help of the NBI. But it is likely that the Bureau may also face the same difficulty in cracking the case.

I was told that the shooting occurred after a series of incidents took place in Barangkay Nangka, about four kilometers from the Poblacion where a game called bulitsi, using Spanish cards was in progress, Somebody was said to have reported it to the police, asking that the place be raided.

When the police came and the game broke up, someone stoned the police car. Luckily, the stone hit only the fender and not the glass of the side window, otherwise the driver would have been hit.

Minutes after the police car left, the shooting ensued. A man on a motorcycle came and started shooting. The victims who died carried the same family names, “Bucag.” The two survivors carried the same family name, “Estan,” which means that probably most of those who were gambling, were related by blood to one another.

Clint Estan has been released from the hospital, being the least injured. Rembrandt Estan was detained for possible amputation of one of his thighs. But Chief of Police Richard Oliver who, while not a native has become like one, and his deputy, R. V, Banate, are both unhappy about the close-lipped attitude of those who knew about the crime.

The law enforcement problem of my hometown could be typical of the problems and difficulties being encountered by other police stations in other communities, or perhaps in other provinces. The matter, I think, is a question of the enforcers gaining the confidence of the citizens in the community.

The truth of the matter is that the general attitude or behavior of most of our people towards most law enforcers is one of “neutrality,” meaning non-involvement, if possible. Consequently, community crimes become something where people would sit and wait until public interest or concern will just pass by to oblivion, and then forget about it.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 13, 2014.

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