Estremera: Defending Davao, not

INDEED, we do not even have to. We have built a city that speaks for itself. All we have to do is go on our normal ways, the law-abiding, helping hand-extending, cooperative, and welcoming ways.

After a few months of quiet, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is back, with the same drivel he has been saying since he decided to attack President Rodrigo Duterte, the same drivel he has been saying since his attempt to woo the erstwhile mayor to take him in as the vice presidential running mate was turned down.

I must admit, I was among those who voted for him on his first run for the Senate, having been impressed by what he was saying as a rebel soldier leading the Magdalo group.

The fact that he was sitting on posh seats in what appears to be a function hall of Oakwood Premier (now Ascott Makati) in July 2003. That was awesome. Them in their uniforms looking so handsome. Tanga!

But it was only in 2007 when I truly felt "tanga". When Trilanes once again, this time already a senator, took over Manila Peninsula in November.

I wasn't that tanga, after all, as my willingness to forgive the posh venue of the mutiny four years back could no longer extend to forgiving a mutiny that parked a simba tank inside one of the country's most posh hotels. So much for poshness, someone's crazy and taking us for a ride.

A decade and a half hence, I'm still castigating myself for contributing to that luxury-hotel-seeking mutineer run for the Senate where he now festers and spews vile.

I was fuming when he once again attacked Davao City, having had no more weapons to attack the President with. But then I realized, he is but one person, not even worthy of anyone's time.

The city can speak for itself. The unity we have found among our people cannot be denied, and in this unity, we have created a city that everyone calls his or her home; and a real home at that, not some shelter where people have to make do for lack of any other option.

We have a city and we are proud of it because we have had a part in its history, having suffered with it during its darkest years, and having grown with it as it emerged victorious against evil.

The senator is but one. There were so many evils before, from the urban assassins of the New People's Army, to the drug lords that spawned pushers by the thousands, preying on the young in bars and communities.

I remember those days, that was already after the reign of the NPA and I was already several years into the journalism track during which I have befriended the chief of what was then the Narcotics Command, from Col. Alcuizar to Col. Lastimosa. Being friends with their bosses, I was also friends with the agents, including a Gardo Versoza look-alike who would easily blend in the crowd of partygoers in a bar.

I was a bar habitue then; the long hours it took to put the newspaper to bed, hours that would cross on to the next day, find some release by chugging down bottles and bottles of beer enjoyed in the company of friends.

I knew the drill. If you see him, don't even acknowledge you know him, just call it a night, pay your bill, remember what bar that was, and never return there. His presence in a bar means the Narcom has placed the outlet under surveillance and that it is frequented by those who are into drugs -- users, pushers, financiers.

That was in the 1990s.

A few years later, drug operations have been swept toward the seedy neighborhoods, no longer in the mainstream.

But robbery was still common. There was even a time, still in the 1990s when snatchers were so notorious, they kill you just to get your bag, in broad daylight, in the middle of the street, at night. It doesn't matter for as long as there is a robber and there is a victim.

That's all in the past. A past we never denied, but we as a city of grateful people look back to with pride in our hearts because we did our part in putting all that in the past by respecting authorities, volunteering when volunteers are needed, and just being law-abiding.

The city was up against throngs of enemies -- rebels, robbers, drug lords and pushers, and a smattering of kidnappers, rapists, and all sorts of criminals. All these have been swept away. One single man should not bother us at all.

saestremera@gmail.com
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