BY ROBERT B. ROQUE, JR.
“Gahd, I hate drugs!” could well enough be Rodrigo Duterte’s most vaunted quote. It comes in second only to the mantra-of-a-President that has possessed some of his most loyal cops, “I will kill you!” Very sadly so, it is by the twisted juxtaposition of these two presidential statements that killing machines have been manufactured out of our peace officers.
Last February 15 in Bulacan, six civilians passing by the house of an arrested drug pusher were rounded up by the San Jose del Monte City Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU). The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) revealed police had forced them into a white van, hogtied, and detained them without record.
Three days later, the civilians turned up as corpses; memories of their last moments amongst us stained by police reports that each of them had illegal drugs and guns in their hands and had shot at DEU agents.
Last week, Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa ordered the relief and restrictive custody of the 11 cops suspected behind what the NBI probe reads as kidnapping and murder. The PNP Chief identified the 11 as P/Major Leo C. dela Rosa, DEU head, and his men P/Staff Sergeants Benjie Enconado, Jayson Legaspi, Irwin Yuson, Edmund Catubay Jr.; P/Corporals Jay Leoncio, Herbert Hernandez, Raymond Bayan, Raul Malgapo; and Patrolmen Erwin Sabido and Rusco Madla.
Appalling as this crime is, the PNP Chief has safely navigated his words of strong resolve to bring forth justice around the unspeakable term, “extrajudicial killings” or EJKs. What’s there to confirm or deny, correct, and condemn if there is no mention at all of such heinous wrongs in the PNP or even just in “isolated cases” as in Bulacan, in the first place? Which brings me to a third quotable quote from our President: “P…ina, anong extrajudicial killings? Wala iyan!”
Thankfully for Bulacan, there’s a better face of local law enforcement. Perhaps, a halo hovers over the cap-badge of P/SSgt. Melvin Rogero, as he called out the charitable nature of his fellow cops in Sta. Maria, Bulacan, to help a security guard fend for his family.
The back story is that on August 6, Sarge Rogero was manning the checkpoint in Barangay Pulong Buhangin when security guard Victor de Guzman pedaled through on a child’s bicycle no more than a foot-and-a-half tall with a manipulated seat that had him hunched forward like Quasimodo for his 11-kilometer ride to work in Norzagaray town.
By the aching of his heart, Rogero got his fellow cops to pool in some cash to purchase a brand-new bicycle that fit De Guzman’s size and presented it to the security guard as a gift at the same checkpoint last August 11.
I wish this were the only face the Bulacan police would ever have to wear.
SHORT BURSTS. Farewell, “Dirty Harry”, general, mayor, director, senator, friend.
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