TWO weeks ago, a poster on the wall of the police camp on Gorordo Ave. caught my eye. I do not know if the police themselves installed it or if it reflected their understanding of their mission. ABCD, it read. Always Busy Catching Criminals and Drug Pushers.
I’m not sure if the poster still hangs there since I haven’t visited the camp again but our city policemen must have been kept busy by their identifiable targets during the last few months which have seen an upsurge in property crimes.
The victims in at least two of the burglaries were my friends. Arlene Woolbright lost cash to the robbers who pried open the door to her shop located near the Redemptorist church. The break-in happened at night but what was intriguing was that fronting Arlene’s shop was a restaurant that serves chicken and has a security guard posted 24 hours a day.
Another friend, who I will not name, suffered the same fate, waking up to see her coffee shop in Gorordo Ave. robbed. Both crimes have remained unsolved and there is little hope that they will ever be.
There had been a number of recent break-ins in the Busay area, too, the police now say, but this fact came to light only after Maxi Bolongaita bravely fought the lone intruder into her home, costing her her life in the process. That the robber was wounded and eventually arrested offers little comfort especially to her father, Alex, who has forever lost his daddy’s girl. The police hope that with Renante Miambar’s arrest the burglaries in Busay will stop.
But only in Busay and even that is just a hope. Miambar apparently acted alone when he entered Maxi’s room and shot her in the chest when she resisted but I don’t think he is the only one responsible for all the robberies that have of late plagued the city. There must be other “operators” and I hope the police execute their ABCD before we had another Maxi.
As for Miambar, I share Alex’s prayer that the confessed killer does not die from his wounds so he can pay for his crime in jail. The grieving father is behaving more soberly than many of us who demand a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life in Maxi’s case. The crime is reprehensible, no question about it, but the belief that only the life of the killer can bring justice to the victim is not only wrong but dangerous because it promotes the culture of vengeance and eventually extrajudicial killing.
I am also disturbed by how quickly we ascribe Miambar’s crime to his alleged use of illegal drugs, based only on his reported arrest for possession of a dangerous substance. The rush to judgment and reckless stereotyping only serve to perpetuate the myth that everything that is wrong in this country is caused by or related to drugs. We know that it is not so.
Heavy rains lashed Cebu for two straight days and two are dead in their aftermath. The sad thing is that the deaths could have been avoided if we only listened to repeated warnings from the authorities.
We cannot anymore use the old excuse that these people have nowhere else to live but in riverbanks. From what I know, the government offers relocation sites to those who have been displaced by demolitions and even if none are made available, there must be safer places where they can erect their dwellings. When will we ever learn?
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 24, 2017.
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