ROUGH CUTS| What is happening to our police organization General?

     WHAT IS happening to our country General?

     This question is a reprise of the one asked by the late Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez to Police General Tomas Karingal after the former regained his consciousness in the hospital where he was brought after an ambush on him. That was months before the declaration of Martial Law by the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

     Now we would raise a slightly different question. And we are addressing this to no less than the Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

     What is happening General to our country’s police organization? Why are some of its undesirable members allowed to tarnish the police organization from an image of the country’s “finest” and people’s protector to being their enemy?

     Only this week the police’s seemingly summary execution of a 17-year old lad has brought so much mud on the face of the PNP that the traditionally coy civil society organizations are now mobilizing to add more voices to the condemnation of what they think is clear police brutality.

     And only this week, a soldier who was granted the opportunity to see his family after 3 months of dangerously battling the heavily armed and well-trained terrorist in Marawi ended up dead with eleven gunshot wounds inflicted ironically not by the extremist enemies but by fellow government law enforcement agents  – two policemen in Zambaonga del Sur.

     What is happening to our police organization that you head when its members are abducting their own fellow policeman? What is hapenning to the police organization whose members who are tasked to protect Filipinos and foreigners alike are now ending up perpetrating kidnap-for-ransom activities and killing their victims right inside the compound of the PNP national headquarters in Camp Crame?

     What is going on with the police organization when it is virtually convicting and allowing its rouge officials blanket authority to execute the government’s desired judgment on suspected narco-politicians?

     Remember your own statement on the possible re-assignment of Ozamis City police chief Jovy Espenido to where the next target narco-politician is holding turf?

     We are not surprised why many are hoping that the way the police organization in the Davao Region under P/Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan will take center stage in the national scene in the near future. The region is into a most desirable peace situation.

-oOo-

     Well-known Muslim lawyer and civil servant Macabangkit Lanto in his commentary published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer issue of Thursday, August 24, 2017 claimed that a military officer was waving on live television interview a document purporting that more than 50 percent of the entire land area of Marawi City is a military reservation.

     We haven’t seen that particular television report. But if it is indeed true then we submit to lawyer Lanto’s warning that the military officer’s claim could have already “unleashed the tiger in the Moros;” that they are “outraged, agitated, up in arms;” That they are “being pushed to the corner where they have no recourse but to fight – and fight to the death.”

     According to Lanto’s discourse, if the document is authentic then that would mean the military reservation could cover about 64 of the 96 barangays of the city, leaving only 32 for the city’s population.

     He assumed that a significant portion of this supposed military reservation has already been titled to some residents who have been residing and tilling the land for the entirety of their lifetime. So, if the military will invoke their right to use the reservation when the Marawi war is over, this could mean another displacement. The Maranaos who are now internally displaced will be forced again to do their second exodus.

     Hence, we cannot help but agree with the Muslim lawyer that the public annoucement of the army officer that the large portion of Marawi land is military reservation, is a reckless opening of a Pandora’s Box; that It has awakened the ghost of injustice done on the Moro people during the Commonwealth period “when all unregistered lands, including the ancestral domian of the Moros were declared public lands, and Muslims could only own a maximum of 10 hectares while non-Muslims were allowed 24 hectares.”

     To us this recklessness could be a foreboding of things to come insofar far as the government efforts to prevent the spread of violent Muslim extremism is concerned.

     Imagine this vignette of history. The Philippines since the 1400s, was subjected to colonization by foreign invaders. The Spaniards were the longest to claim our land. The British attempted, succeeded partially with only a small area put into its dominion. The Chinese did the same in almost the same short duration although they are now virtually in total control of our country’s economy.

     The Americans did for close to half a century even as the Japanese did for five years. The Moros endured and fought them off because they were foreign invaders.

     But what could be more mentally painful than when they are forced to fight fellow Filipinos who turn out to be “homeland invaders” of the land that by all historical indications they have prior rights to own?

Posted in Opinion