Back to old habits
A good friend, Josifino “Bong” Paloma, was in Davao City last week as part of his responsibilities as general manager of technology company Accent Micro Technologies, Inc.
Guess what? The rats are back!
His official trip went well, in fact. Yet, one of the boxes of mangoes he brought home for his family and neighbors was pilfered.
He suspected the mangoes were stolen not at the Davao airport but at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 2 . Paloma was a passenger of PR 118 that left for Davao for Manila at 4:50 p.m. on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
He let it pass since he was in a hurry to go home. There was also no one he could talk to in order to lodge a formal complaint. There was also nobody in the arrival area who can immediately investigate the incident. There was just this personnel at the baggage counter who could only commiserate with his predicament.
My suspicion is that, if the syndicates have not yet taken over again in stealing passengers’ belongings, the people at the baggage counter knew the people responsible for the pilferage.
The absence of a formal desk like that set up by the Public Attorneys’ Office in the case of the controversial “tanim-bala (bullet planting)” controversy could lead to the rise of similar incidents.
We all know that some people will take advantage of the absence of a controlling entity, especially in disregarding or breaking rules. Like we say in kindergarten: “When (or while) the cat is away, the mice will play.”
Ordinary people like Paloma’s neighbors even agree that these lawbreakers deserve to be punished by flogging. Looking at the bigger picture, many are still supportive of President Duterte’s stance on the war on drugs.
Campaigning on a platform “to fight corruption, crime, and drug abuse” at the same time “positioning himself not just against the ruling party but against the current political system as a whole,” the President successfully projected himself as a “populist and socialist” who has earned an overwhelming victory over his rivals in the last elections.
Using this overwhelming mandate, Mr. Duterte launched his controversial war on drugs and gave enough power to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to lead the campaign.
The reins were later given to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in response to claims of extrajudicial killings on the part of the police. Some agree the deaths of young Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz allegedly in the hands of policemen even “caused a significant drop in [the President’s] trust rating.” The use of media by the opposition and proclaimed human rights advocates also had a vital part in the result as they played up the story that “54 children have been killed already since 2016.”
In a briefing last week, however, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Mr. Duterte is weighing carefully the possibility of making the police the lead again in the war on drugs. Reportedly, he has not been satisfied with the performance of the PDEA.
Bottom line spin
I asked a tailor in Pasig if he agreed with the extreme views of Paloma’s friends. He said: “Sir, wala nang mga siga sa amin. Tahimik na. Ligtas at hindi na nanganganib ang pakiramdam mo.” (There are no bullies in our place anymore. Things are already peaceful. You feel like like you are no longer in danger.)
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