Alcoy shooting

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Saturday, May 10, 2014


I CAME upon a piece of news earlier this week that disturbed me. It was a shooting in the province.

The victim was 60-year-old Hunsjurgen Hesse. A German national. He and his wife moved into the Sola Homes Retirement Resort in the southern town of Alcoy to spend their twilight years in what they hoped would be a tropical paradise.

There wasn’t much background on the couple. Police couldn’t interview the wife after the incident since, according to them, she only spoke German. This I find incredulous considering most Germans I know are very proficient in English unless they come from the East. Anyway, the report said she was also traumatized.

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Who wouldn’t be? They were probably having a late night. Maybe had a few drinks. The husband probably went out of their villa, or hut, or whatever, to have a cigarette. He chose a spot near the office probably because he didn’t want to disturb the other retirees with his smoke. That would make sense. Right?

It must have been the spark when Hesse lit his cigarette that caught the attention of Jerry Carulasan, one of the security guards on duty who was making his rounds.

And when Carulasan checked, he saw a man in a hooded jacket. Did he call out to the stranger and identify himself as a guard? Oh no. Instead, he called for backup.

Jerome Niere, who was assigned at the gate, rushed to the scene.
What happened next was ridiculously tragic.

When Niere arrived, he opened fire at Hesse. No warning shot. Not even a “Hey you.” He hit Hesse in the forehead and chest. Apparently, Niere meant the shots to kill, not maim. Just… boom, boom!

When they checked the body and discovered that it was Hesse, they were shocked. That was what the report said. I’m not sure if something was lost in translation, but were they shocked because the man Niere shot and killed was a homeowner and a foreigner? What if the man was a local? Would they still have reacted the same way?

Then Niere reportedly turned to Carulasan and said, “Parts, mosibat sa ko kay usa man diay ni sa homeowners.” Again, would Niere have stayed and faced the police had he shot a local?

You see where I’m going with this?

The connotation is scary. And I’m not belittling Hesse’s death. Far from it. But the fact that the guards were overzealous in their desire to protect the residents of this community, whom I assume are all foreigners, from the outsiders, meaning the locals, is indirectly responsible for the tragedy.

It smells suspiciously of colonial mentality. It’s why foreigners “love” the Philippines. And I should say “white foreigners.” (The Japanese are in this category. With their deep pockets and known generosity, locals can overlook the fact that they’re Asians.) Locals don’t fawn over the blacks or the browns, or those with flat noses. Some are downright derisive when it comes to the non-whites. This is the sad reality.

And as for CQB Security and Detective Agency, does it teach its security guards to be trigger-happy? Or did it order Niere and Carulasan to be extra vigilant because they were protecting foreigners? Or was this a tacit assumption on Niere and Carulasan’s part?

Anyway, there goes promoting Cebu as a retirement haven… Hmm. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama must be hoping the Japanese don’t get a whiff of the Alcoy shooting. Otherwise, what will happen to the proposal to set up a retirement facility at the South Road Properties?

***

A shout-out to my mother, Carolina Jaca Briones, who is in Davao City. Happy Mother’s Day!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 11, 2014.

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