LAST Wednesday, a public school teacher was shot in the presence of his Grade 6 pupils inside their classroom in Binlod, Argao. He’s dead.

Early Thursday night, a traffic aide was manning traffic in Tabunok, Talisay when he was shot in the head. He’s also dead.

Earlier in the day, in the same city, a motel manager was shot while drinking with friends. He’s also dead.

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Also in Talisay, at Friday dawn last week, a couple was on a motorcycle when they were nearly run over by an Isuzu Bighorn driven by the city mayor’s son. He pulled out his gun but, fortunately for the couple, apparently did nothing more. The husband and his wife are still alive.

It looks like the gun ban is working according to expectations, a reader from Guadalupe observed in a letter dripping with sarcasm. Surely, Miguel Cabreros said, the Comelec will do something to prove that there is law and order in the Philippines.

I’ll drink to that, ha ha ha! I will not waste my time-–and precious column space-–on sarcasm: the Comelec isn’t the place if you’re looking for law, order and, most of all, justice. Think Padaca, Mendoza, Mitra and Panlilio, in case you don’t get the drift.

“We are not a democracy, much less a republic,” Cabreros wrote. “We are a unique breed of feudalism and socialism. Our country is run by an enlightened upper class of feudal lords who are perpetuated in office through political patronage, showbiz gimmickry and violence.”

I agree about the feudal lords but cant quite see how they cant be described as enlightened. Yes, they know how to perpetuate themselves in office, understanding the value of political largesse, the advantage of gimmickry and the practical use of violence. But enlightened?

Smarter maybe and I wish to emphasize that no admiration or civility is intended by that description.

Listen. The Supreme Court issues an order that says a decision is already final and executory. Everyone should bow down to that order and implement the decision, right? Wrong. That rule applies only to us, the not-so-smart ones. The feudal lords who constitute Congress are not covered.

Listen some more. The Supreme Court issues a writ of habeas corpus directing the military and the police to present before the Court of Appeals suspected communist insurgents who are in their custody.

A writ of habeas corpus is immediate, meaning the people or institutions directed should produce the bodies of the detainees to the court at the appointed time. So the military and the police gather their suspects from their cells, load them onto vans and buses with their guards and proceed to the Court of Appeals, escorted by truckloads of more guards, on the specified date and time, right?

Wrong. The military and the police are extensions of the feudal lords and obey only their rules. And they tell the Court, we’re still finalizing arrangements for the safe transport of the prisoners from the camp to the Court; therefore you have to wait until we’re convinced that all bases are covered before you can see any one of them.

Such insolence would have earned swift and severe sanctions from the Court in other jurisdictions. But the police and the military got nothing more than a lecture on the immediacy of the writ and the “dangerous precedent” that their failure might have set.

Only in the Philippines.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)