In defense of Danao

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By Jun Ledesma

Sunbursts

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


THE most beleaguered person in Davao City these days is Police Chief Vicente Danao. I have not been in talking terms with police and military officials for over a decade save for chance encounters which were brief. Peace and order condition in the city is almost like phenomenal and consistently the Davao City Police has been recipients of awards of recognition for an exemplar campaign against crime and solving crimes with dispatch. Personally I find satisfaction in that and see no reason why I would importune our busy police officers with my questions and presence.

The unusual browbeating of Colonel Danao in the social media and the incessant denigration of the officer from the women's rights advocates however caught my attention. This had led me to follow a YouTube post which obviously sparked the bashing of the police officer whom I knew was recipient of top awards during his stint as station commander. The video, obviously a set-up, appears to be shorter than a minute but long enough to destroy the career of a decorated officer. It showed an altercation between a feuding couple, the woman armed with a pair of shoes and the man shouting invectives and appeared like punching but not landing any blows.

In the words of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the scene is a commonplace in many domestic affairs and should have been dismissed as such. But he was wrong. If someone directed the video taking, another character happily posted this on the YouTube. The perversity turned the couple's spat into a veritable gossip fodder to reduce a police officer into a wife-beater deserving public condemnation.

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What follows was instinctively canine. A horde of rabid critics pounced on Colonel Danao, who, only yesterday was being praised by Mayor Duterte for keeping city residents and guests safe during the celebration of Kadayawan Festival. Yet that is not only the feather on the cap of Davao City's top cop. Under his watch the murder of Richard King and the equally mysterious killing of "TY" Garcia were solved as quickly as these happened. The index of crime in the city plummeted into an all time low. His performance as station commander then was so excellent his career after graduating from the Philippine Military Academy followed the path of his dream.

Alas, a minute video might wreck it all. It is a sublime irony that while Danao solved so many crimes he was not able to deal with his own domestic problems. The public never knew that the officer, while being heaped the accolade, was actually privately excruciating in pain. He lost and missed his children whom he raised from infancy and up to their teens. Finally, if we are to discern the import of the YouTube minute scene, he must be losing his family too.

The domestic saga of Police Officer Vicente Danao will not end here. The criminals he had sent to the calaboose are celebrating and maybe willing to pawn their souls to the devil for as long as he will be relieved. On the other hand, I expect that there will be more kibitzers who will spill the beans. On whom? I do not know.

And so when I had an encounter with Danao. I asked him why he opted to be quiet amidst the magma of demeaning tirade against him. His answer was sober and brief: "I have my children to protect." Oh well... maybe he deserves the chastisement. But then again, it is a family feud so who are we to intrude into their affairs? Instead of helping heal the wounds brought about by their estrangement some quarters are pushing the couple to the abyss of marital collapse.

In the meantime, Danao will participate in a special forum of eight select top police officers in the country where each would deliberate on how they address criminality in the respective field of assignments. He will be out for two weeks to share his strategies and courses of actions. This sojourn should give him a breather and reaffirm his dignity as a fine officer of the PNP.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 28, 2014.

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