GREETINGS of peace! I write for my son Albert Benjamin Inocian-Pacturan, a second year high school student of Corpus Christi School, his two friends and schoolmates, a woman passenger and the motorela driver who were victims of a dastardly crime in broad daylight in our city of golden friendship last Friday, February 5.

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Albert and his friends Frederick Ayunting and John Bacsarsa, after taking their lunch at Barbecue Station in Corrales St., boarded a motorela for Corpus Christi. A woman passenger was already inside when they get on which then turned right at the corner of Hayes-Corrales Avenue Streets, beside Xavier University. Upon turning right, two men in their 20s who appeared decent with the clothes they were wearing embarked on the vehicle. One took the right seat beside the motorela driver with the other one taking a seat inside the motorela in between Fred and John. Albert was on the opposite site beside the woman passenger.

After a minute or so, the man inside the motorela collared Fred violently that surprised Albert, his friend John and the woman passenger who then started to scream. John tried to free Fred from the man and in the scuffle Albert saw the other man beside the driver pull out his knife. Upon seeing this, Albert kicked the man inside the motorela hitting the latter’s face which then prompted the other man beside the driver to point his knife to the poor motorela driver who was commanded to continue driving. With the man inside the motorela dazed due to Albert’s kick, this gave an opportunity for Albert and his friends to jump-off the speeding motorela. Albert escaped through the left side of the driver, jumped and rolled over the road causing injuries and major bruises on Albert’s mouth, arms and left thigh.

Despite the injury of my son, together with his friends, they ran towards Corrales Avenue and called the policeman who was stationed in the area. All the policeman could do was hold his gun and look at the speeding motorela with the poor woman passenger still inside and shouting. Accompanied by the policeman, Albert and his friends went to the Cogon police station to have the incident reported and blottered. While interviewing Albert and writing the case, the station policeman chided the policeman who accompanied Albert and friends why he did not have or use a motorcycle or other vehicle to run after the motorela.

Mr. Mayor, many “what ifs” crossed my mind after this incident. What if Albert’s friend Fred was struck with the knife, or John, or the woman passenger or the motorela driver or my son Albert himself? What if someone died because of this dastardly crime? In fact, as of this writing, no one has any information what happened to the woman passenger and the motorela driver. I’m impelled to write you not only because my son and his friends have been victimized Mr. Mayor but because this is not the first time that this has happened in our city. I believe you are most aware that this is only one of the many crimes (e.g. holdup, robberies, snatching, kidnapping, etc.) that have besieged our city many years now and even before your incumbency.

I, and the other crime victims and their relatives, who are law abiding citizen and good taxpayers and who fork out regularly our hard earned income for this government, deserved to be given an answer and be protected by the city government under your leadership. This is the accountability that you and the city officials including those of the Philippine National Police (PNP) have sworn to when you all took your oath as government officials. With all my respect, we look upon you as an experienced political leader and capable government official having served for many years as councilor of this city, as congressman for nine years and now as city mayor.

As a lawyer, I also believe that you have the necessary legal background and expertise to see to it that crimes are apprehended and criminals are put in the bar of law. With your experience and able leadership aided by the substantial financial resource of this city and the support of the Philippine National Police, we see no reason why these crimes continue to plague the ordinary citizens of this city of golden friendship.

Frankly Mr. Mayor, I sometimes would shriek out when I’m with colleagues and friends during my travels in other parts of the country and other parts of the world when they ask me about Cagayan de Oro. I shriek out because while we call Cagayan de Oro a city of golden friendship, we cannot even protect our ordinary law abiding citizens from crimes that could have been prevented if the city officials and the city government together with the PNP and other government agencies are doing their job.

Mr. Mayor, we deserve no less than a government that puts the interest of its citizens as primordial and non-negotiable. We need to see that our taxes are being used and really used well not only for the salaries of the city officials and employees, developmental activities and infrastructure projects but for the protection as well of the citizenry. We need your responsive leadership and we need not just words but action Mr. Mayor. We also call upon the city officials and the PNP to do the same.

Thank you for your attention.

(Jerry E. Pacturan)