These past few days, a spate of crimes had embraced the front pages of our papers like movie banters and I thought I was watching one huge e...


These past few days, a spate of crimes had embraced the front pages of our papers like movie banters and I thought I was watching one huge epical Hollywood gangster movie, the sort made by the likes of Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppola, only this time the seeming “movie” involves real characters and the onset of crimes are more unrelenting and all the more pernicious. At least in gangster movies, we know for sure that the crimes ought to come to a halt sooner or later. But in the real world, the vicious cycle of killings, murders and robbery does not seem to stop.

Early morning of yesterday, three cops were chased by their fellow cops in Pasig City after they carried out a daring hold-up in broad daylight. It is by luck that cops are not usually trained in making great heist that the criminal-cum-cops were caught red-handed, sending one of them to the hospital with a bullet in his face. For the life of me, I’ve never thought I’d see the day when some of our active police officers would be pursued and chased by their own fellow cops along our urban streets, in full view of the populace they had swore to serve and protect. But as if in any action movie, every thing seem possible and every twist seem probable.

About two days ago, a former legislator was gunned down while supping up in a diner along Shaw Boulevard and then the assailant was seen just slowly walking away from the crime scene, and even took a jeepney afterwards. Talk about police visibility. The way ex-congressman Henry Lanot was murdered seemed movie-surreal; in the kind of circumstances only the most cutting-edge scriptwriter could be able to come up with. In fact, the dining area of the Jade Palace was eerily and markedly reminiscent of the restaurant where Michael Corleone, the main character of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Godfather”, did his first kill, in that particular scene where he had to hide his pistol inside the comfort room beforehand in order to evade detection. I do not mean any disrespect to the departed soul of the ex-solon, but I am just stressing how crimes nowadays are being committed so daringly that they are being carried out as if some criminals have been watching too much action films lately---where murder becomes a fantasy and where a man’s life is nothing but a movie prop.

From the papers, we found out that despite the alarming number of killings of journalists in our country, only one such murder has been solved. And this desperation adds up to the whole surrealism of what appears to be an unending chain of killings after killings, murders and heists in broad daylight that marks our urban life today, and no one seems to be doing something about it and our authorities seem to be at a lost on what to do. We are like in some Hollywood gangster movie were life is cheap and policemen only appear when everything seems to be all too late. “These are the days of living dangerously”, said one character from a movie in my mind.

Just this morning, a television news update reported how two hundred policemen or so raided a barangay in one of the slum areas in Manila and arrested anyone who “looked or moved suspicious”, aiming to rid the area of wanted criminals who are said to be hiding there. This must be what they call a “saturation drive”.

Afterwards, the television report showed how those who were arrested were being ushered one by one into police vehicles with their handcuffed-hands placed at their back, while some of the raiding policemen lugged along around the area, looking as if they had felt great relief upon the success of their operation. Those policemen should not feel any relief at all or feel any sense of success out of anything and their minds should in fact be disabused on these matters, because the raid looked more to me of hamletting than being a regular police work (Hamletting is the notorious method used by the U.S. Military in Vietnam where American soldiers approached ill-fated rural communities that were suspected of harboring enemies and arrested and harassed every person found there, regardless if they were old men, women or children.). This practice of fishing out for criminals through “saturation drives” is to me nothing but a lame and lazy excuse for not doing real police work and it is a shameless flouting of human rights and the due process of law. Apprehending and cornering criminals should always be done through apt means like stakeouts, entrapment and pursuits, among other means. The news update did not elaborate if the policemen were carrying with them arrest warrants for each person to be arrested, but as soon as now, I greatly doubt it. There couldn’t be a warrant of arrest naming “any John Doe acting or moving suspiciously” within sight. I may be mistaken but I just do not think there could be a “pre-emptive” warrant of arrest.

The crimes committed in our urban streets nowadays are becoming more and more daring that even Don Corleone would blush at their profane viciousness. On the one hand, our policemen become lazier with each passing day and at times become the propagator of crimes themselves. God help the Philippines.

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