Scoring against the bad guys

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Monday, August 25, 2014


FOR the second straight time, the Bohol police showed that crime does not pay, especially when the victim is one of them.

Early in the evening of June 7 this year, Chief Insp. George Cana was ambushed in Bien Unido while on his way to Ubay where he was the chief of police. He was declared dead on arrival at the Garcia Memorial Provincial Hospital. Drug dealers were believed to have been behind the killing.

Retribution was swift and certain as a team led by Bien Unido police chief Jodel Torregosa raided a resort in barangay San Pedro where they found Cana’s suspected killers and asked them to surrender. Instead, the police later said, their demand was met with gunfire, prompting them to fire back. When the smoke cleared, six people were dead, all from the suspects’ side, including a rookie policeman who had gone AWOL.

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A few days after the incident, the Bohol police chief warned those in the drugs trade in the province: “Surrender or die.”

The advice apparently went unheeded. Thursday, last week a four-man police team went to verify reports of a pot session in Tagbilaran City. Probably because the information they got was that it was an all women’s drug party, the policemen lowered their guard.

That proved to be a fatal mistake. As soon as they opened the door, a man, known to be involved in the drugs trade, fired at them, killing PO1 Michael June Ejoc.

Two days later, policemen who were manning a checkpoint in the northern town of Guindulman found the suspect on the rear section of a passenger bus, his face covered by a ball cap. When he was asked to remove it, he fired at the policemen, hitting two of them. The cops shot back and he was dead.

The suspect had reportedly vowed that he would not let anyone catch him alive. He got his wish and the policemen, the reason to kill him.

It’s not Christian to gloat over the loss of anyone. Death, we are told, diminishes us all. Still, you cannot help but be glad that it was the suspect and no longer the policeman who found himself at the short end of gunfire. Indeed, sometimes the good guy wins.

There was a time when there was not much need for the police to avenge their ranks.

Those were the days when the police were feared even by the criminal elements. The latter knew that if one of them harms a policeman, all of them were to bear the heat.

The rule was to stay away from trouble with the cops; anyone who breached this was punished by his colleagues in the underworld themselves.

All these changed after martial law was imposed. The police became abusive and lost the respect of the people. It was not long after when the criminals lost their fear of policemen.

There is a conscious effort on the part of the police hierarchy to restore the good name of the force. The process will take time to produce the desired results but it will help hasten the pace when, every now and then, they score against the bad guys.

***

Former governor and now 3rd Disrict Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia is reportedly pushing for a city status for Balamban town. I wish her well. If she succeeds, Balamban would become the only other city in Cebu’s west coast, the first being Toledo. For some
inexplicable reason, all the other cities in Cebu are located in its east coast.

I’m sure Garcia has studied the case of Cebu’s newest cities – Bogo, Naga and Carcar – and picked a few lessons here and there. The three went through the proverbial eye of the needle before obtaining confirmation of their rightful membership in the community of cities.

If she had, and if Balamban has met all the qualifications enumerated by the Local Government Code, cityhood for the town known as the shipbuilding capital of the province should be a breeze.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 26, 2014.

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