Editorial: Bloody again

(Editorial Cartoon by Enrico Santisas)

ONLY days after elections, men riding in tandem on two motorcycles, in a busy intersection of Pope John Paul II and A. Soriano St., shot dead a former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group officer. P/Capt. Delfin Bontuyan was on motorcycle after attending a court hearing when the shooting happened. Dead, his body leaned on the front rear of a cab that happened to be beside him while waiting for the green light. The incident stalled traffic in the area for some good two hours, at least. A swarm of people quickly grew.

In broad daylight thus started the new spate of killing on the second half of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

On Tuesday, June 18, about 15 masked men carrying high-powered firearms stormed into the single-story Bogo-Medellin Medical Center (BMMC), disarmed the guards, and three of them broke into the room of former Medellin mayor Ricardo Ramirez and riddled the man with bullets inside the comfort room.

Medellin Police Station Chief Master Sergeant Winston Isiani said Ramirez sustained multiple gunshot wounds in his body and head.

The attack puts an end to Ramirez, whose ordeal stretched over two years since his arrest for unlicensed firearm and illegal drug paraphernalia on July 26, 2017.

An ailment put him under hospital arrest in Cebu City, but he was later transferred to his town’s hospital BMMC upon his lawyer’s request.

That he was linked by then Police Regional Office Central Visayas Director Jose Mario Espino to illegal drug trade seems to reassure some sectors in the community that nothing is wrong about the killing.

That Ramirez’s case is already in the court following his arrest in 2017 does not matter because, yes, the likes of him deserve justice in the swiftest form, no matter how crude, no matter how unlawful.

It is not easy to spot an everyman in the street who condones all these bloodthirst in the name of Duterte’s “war against illegal drugs.”

But it is wrong, the worst in the strongest terms. It is precisely this, the absence of conscience and the rule of law, that unlids Pandora’s Box into a doomsday free-for-all. Given the casual ways violence are carried out in our midst, and the silence and the consent that goes around despite it, it may be a matter of time that bloodbath becomes your natural neighbor.

If only the Cebuanos can see it in themselves again that before this man in Malacañang rose to extraordinary popularity, we were a rather levelheaded lot, appalled by violence, who respect the rule of law.


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