Editorial: Love and the mundane

THE report was the definition of tragic, that is, if the police finding on the incident is correct: a not-so-illicit love affair gone sour, the jilted lover killing the woman who broke off with him then throwing her in the woods and, realizing he couldn’t get away with the crime, shooting himself in the chest inside a car.

Incidents like these have happened many times before. The variations in the story are minimal: the names of the protagonists may be different but the circumstances remain the same, or almost the same. And the lessons have been told and retold.

u201cToo much love will kill you,” wailed the late Freddie Mercury. “It’ll make your life a lie/ Yes too much love will kill you/ And you won’t understand why/ You’d give your life, you’d sell your soul/ But here it comes again/ Too much love will kill you/ In the end.”

But before we are drawn deeper into the sentimentalism that wrapped the deaths of Mabini Barangay Captain Rey Oybenes and Johamma Luage, allow us to play the killjoy and tackle the mundane first.

A prominent prop in this narrative is the vehicle used by Oybenes to fetch Luage, to throw her body in the hinterland Barangay of Cansumoroy, Balamban, and to escape. It was also in that vehicle where Oybenes killed himself.

The vehicle, a Toyota Hilux, is government-owned and was one of those distributed by Mayor Michael Rama to some Cebu City barangays a few months ago supposedly to improve the delivery by barangay officials of basic services to their constituents.

That it was used to commit a crime instead is what is disturbing.

One can say that Oybenes did was not the rule but an exception. Still, there is a need for Cebu City Hall to put up a system that would ensure that city vehicles given to the barangays will strictly be “for official use only” and not “for official use also,” to quote a joke-cum-slap. Has the Office of the Mayor been checking these vehicles?

Meanwhile, reports on the earlier attempt by the police to pursue Oybenes in the hinterlands of Balamban and Cebu City exposed one glaring weakness: in communication. Good roads already crisscross the mountain barangays but “lack of signal” is still largely a problem there.

The police and officials of local government units need to find ways to solve this problem if the goal is to improve the conduct of law enforcement in the hinterland areas.

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