EDITORIAL| Jumping the gun

THE TERM  “jumping the gun” means the person acts before the proper time. It’s a relatively new idiom and can trace its roots to the tracks when the runner has a false start, meaning he started running before the gun can go off.

The idiomatic expression seems apropos in relation to Vice President Leni Robredo’s video message that was shown before the members of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs. In her message, she parroted the grossly exaggerated numbers of deaths that have been blamed to the police in the President’s drug war.

She hinted about a breakdown in judicial process; about an administration, if not totally complicit, then oblivious to the carnage; about the creeping police state illustrated by warrantless searches and the “palit-ulo” scheme.

According to her, “palit-ulo” is a scheme where the relative of the drug addict will be abducted and imprisoned if the subject is not found. The police quickly shot down the allegation. Apparently, this is not a new scheme, and the plan is to free the small-time dealer (or be sued on lesser charges) in exchange for the “bigger fish.”

Of course, she forgot to mention about 38 police officers who were also killed in anti-narcotics raids and stings, which suggested that killing is not a one-way street. She ignored the fact that the PNP data only listed 2,582 killed in legitimate operations.

Apparently, as Robredo herself admitted, the video was shot in February this year but was only shown recently during the UN event.  Nevertheless, there’s now a plan to unseat her through impeachment due to betrayal of public trust because instead of defending the Republic as she swore to do, she went out of her way to probably destroy it by speaking half-truths before the UN body.

Indeed, if the intent is to point out some mistakes in the enforcement of the drug war, then the Office of the Vice President—and all the clout it represents–should have vetted the reports, documented the specific incidents, pressured the police and file a case if necessary.

Whether there’s truth to speculation that she’s part of the destabilization plot, or simply a case of her providing constructive criticisms, as she claimed, what’s clear is that Robredo jumped the gun. And just like the runners who can be penalized for false starts, the good vice president should also face the consequences of her actions.

Posted in Opinion