Rough Cuts |’What’s happening to our country?’

“What’s happening to our country, General?” This was the question asked by the late former Philippine Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez to the late Police General Tomas Karingal while he was in his hospital bed after surviving an ambush in Manila some time in early 1972. During those days criminality of all kinds — politics-induced or plainly products of criminal minds — was the rule, not the exception.

Rumors of impending martial law declaration by the late President Ferdinand Marcos were then flying thick on the air. Thus, almost every bloody incident that occurred during those times were suspected to be perpetrated by state security forces or encouraged by them.

These days there seems to be a repeat of similar incidents dominating the country, although efforts to increase the decibel of the possibility of a nationwide martial law have not succeeded. In addition opinion polls reveal that until today the trust rating of the President has remained at the “Very Good” level; unlike that of Marcos during those times. That makes the big difference.

Notable these past few months are killings — or call it assassinations — of priests. Then local government chief executives like mayors, barangay captains, and even a former congressman were slain even in broad day light. The latest victims of the killing spree of local officials are the mayors of Tanauan City in Batangas and that of a municipality in Nueva Ecija who was ambushed in Cabanatuan City.

We wonder if any of those slain government officials had also asked the same question to the highest ranking police officer in their respective community if they were in the bedside of the victims while the latter were still breathing. That is, if they were taken to the hospital with little life left for them to utter any word at all.

For now we are hoping that no one is tinkering the idea of writing a poem with such rhymes as “Build, build, build” and “Kill, kill, kill.” That can create a highly negative connotation.

We do not know if this is becoming a habit for the University of Mindanao (UM). That is, topping the national licensure examinations for criminologists, teachers, engineers, social workers, and other courses.

It looks like it is. Yes, in the last few years the university under the watch of our own boss at the Mindanao Times, Guillermo Torres Jr., with support from the deans and professors of the school’s various college departments, has produced board topnotchers in almost all fields offered by the educational institution.

Somehow, we can see how motivated the graduates and the teachers are, matching what could be the school management’s own desire to produce quality graduates.

Our congratulations to the University of Mindanao and its management and faculty, as well as to the latest batch of top criminology board passers, both women. They are Hana Jane Baritogo Franco from UM Digos, and Michelle Langamon of UM Tagum. The two got averages of 90.90% and 89.75%, respectively.

But of course there is this saying that goes, “The real taste of the pudding is in the eating.” Meaning the people can only see the real worth of their being board topnotchers in criminology when they will show it in their performance upon entering the police service.

If they can remain upright and incorruptible under teeming opportunities of fast money, then they are really the board topnotchers worth their salt.

Our Boss Willy T. can never be prouder of the University of Mindanao and those who passed its portals.

Again, our heartfelt felicitations. Hope for many more board exams toppers in the coming years.

Are we seeing UM law graduates landing in the top ten or twenty in forthcoming bar examinations, Boss? Not unlikely.

Posted in Opinion