THERE are two kinds of mourners who pay their last respects to suspected drug lords recently killed in encounters with law enforcers.
There are those who bravely attend the wake and join the burial mass and procession for a fallen neighbor or friend or patron, and there are those who show up briefly then distance themselves quickly. Recent killings of suspects said to have resisted arrest may have crippled the drug trade but they also created this disparity – those bold enough to show their grief, and those who grieve but do it cautiously.
Those who attended the burial Monday of suspected drug lord Jeffrey "Jaguar" Diaz were of the first kind.
Reports said there was a big crowd who attended the requiem mass at the San Nicolas Parish in Barangay San Nicolas, Cebu City, and his burial in a mausoleum at the Calamba cemetery. Diaz died in a shootout with police last June 17 in Las Piñas City. He was tagged as the Central Visayas’s biggest drug lord who heads a multimillion-peso criminal drug syndicate.
A drum and bugle corps accompanied the hearse to Calamba as family members, friends and supporters who wore shirts with Diaz’s face on it, followed behind. The print on the t-shirt front showed “We will miss you” below Diaz’s face and at the back was printed “We love you!”
Those who brought Diaz to his final resting place were loved ones and probably those who benefited from his generosity as he was said to offer assistance to those in his community. Some appeared to be wary of media people taking pictures and video of them, while family representatives asked that they be given the chance to grieve on their own.
Then, there is the second type of mourner who pays respects to the suspected drug lord then distances himself for fear of being linked to illegal drug activities of the deceased. Those who showed up for Diaz’s burial were bold enough to be seen as a loved one or supporter or beneficiary. But there are those who are of the second kind, like the mourners of a suspect killed for allegedly being a hitman for a drug syndicate. His friends and neighbors showed up briefly in his wake but distanced themselves in his burial. Some didn’t join in his burial procession. They were said to be afraid of being wrongly identified as a cohort of the dead man.
They are not guilty of any crime but they fear being tagged as part of the deceased drug lord’s network by affinity or simply by showing up at the suspect’s wake because they think that is how things go in the recent arrests and killings.
Sun.Star has kept a running count that showed that, since May 10, a day after the elections, at least 15 drug personalities in Central Visayas have been killed in shootouts. They included alleged drug lords Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria in Banacon islet, Getafe, Bohol, and David Anunciado in Inabanga, Bohol.
Police said those killed were drug suspects who resisted arrest or shot at them first, forcing law enforcers to engage them in a shootout. It may be true, as recounted by the police, but there are doubts whether the rules in going after suspects have been followed.
To avoid a situation where they could be mistaken for being the suspect’s cohort, these mourners would rather keep their expressions of condolences in private.