Columns

OFFLINE: Breakdown of law and order in our motherland

Don’t look now, but law and order appears to be breaking down under the rudderless regime of Bongbong Marcos. Or perhaps it was already broken when he assumed the presidency.

All kinds of petty crime are taking place everywhere, along with some very serious ones as well. It has gotten so bad that it is no longer safe to walk the streets of most cities after sunset.

Even supposedly safe places like condos, gated communities, and dorms are not as safe as they’re supposed to be.

I have to mention dorms because of last week’s killing of a graduating co-ed from one of the La Salle schools. Queen Leanne Daguinsin had been living in a dorm when a crook entered her room through an open window, robbed her of her belongings, then stabbed her repeatedly until she died.

Photos of the co-ed show an attractive woman who was pretty enough to be a model. The first police report said she had been found without clothes in her lower body. This was later clarified to mean that she was wearing panties but no shorts or skirt.

And no, she was not raped. That at least offered a little relief to her family. It would have been way beyond painful had she been raped and killed. Her wounds indicate that she fought off the crook, who was quickly apprehended after he was shown on CCTV leaving the premises.

This is one of many, many crimes that happen on a regular basis.

As this is being written, a report came out that two policemen – also in Cavite province – had been suspended pending an investigation and the filing of charges after they had raped a young woman, whom they were friends with.

The woman, her boyfriend, a friend, and the two cops were having a drinking session, and when the boyfriend went out to buy some more drinks, the two cops took turns in raping her.

The past two months gave a strong indication of how bad the situation has become, after four government officials were either killed or were hurt in assassination attempts.

The figure is correct. Four government officials in a one month span, with the most well-known being the killing of a governor, with a congressman being tagged as the mastermind.

Before that, a vice mayor along with four of his companions were shot to death while on their way to Manila.

Prior to that, another provincial governor was shot and wounded, while four of his companions were killed.

There may not be any mass shootings in the Philippines, at least so far, but it seems that loose firearms are easily available to anyone with some money.

This is not to say that the government is not trying its best to solve the big crimes. It has solved a couple of mega crimes, and very quickly at that. But what is most disturbing is the fact that government officials are the prime suspects in a number of the high-profile crimes.

The assassination of broadcaster Percy Lapid, for example, had the Bureau of Corrections head as the main suspect.

The killing of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo had a congressman from his home province as the mastermind.

Again and again that old quote comes to mind. General, what is happening to our country?

It was spoken after a respected politician was shot, and thankfully survived. That was several decades ago, and criminality has become as rampant now as it was back then, when the Philippines had a global reputation of being the modern day Wild, Wild West.

What other crimes have hogged the headlines this year? How about the hazing death of an Adamson University student? That case was also quickly solved with the apprehension of his would-be frat brothers. But lesser known was a similar case in Cebu, when a college student wishing to enter the same frat was similarly beaten to death.

It certainly appears that violence is a way of life in the Philippines, and there is no one to blame but the chief executive. In talks with fellow journalists, both print and broadcast, we have come to the conclusion that Bongbong Marcos carries the heavy baggage of being both a weak leader whose parents are accepted worldwide as two of the biggest thieves the world has ever seen.

With Marcos Jr. at the helm, countless government workers from the highest to the lowest ranks must believe that it is not only ok to practice wholesale graft and corruption, it is also perfectly acceptable to engage in the most violent acts imaginable, with the belief that maybe they can get away with it.

And why not? Marcos Jr. is a convicted tax evader and his mother and former first lady Imelda has already been convicted of using government funds for her personal use with finality. The fact that she has gotten away with large-scale fraud sends the signal to everyone, most especially that those working in government, that blatant thievery and all other crimes are now perfectly acceptable.

Before blaming Marcos Jr., it must be noted that his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte was an even worse human being – if he can be called that – than the senior citizen who still calls himself Bongbong.

Duterte surrounded himself with fellow crooks, and some of them got away clean with billions in dirty money. Not just millions of hundreds of millions, but billions.

Pharmally Pharmaceuticals, anyone?

With so many Duterte officials leaving government with riches far beyond their legal capacity to earn, yet no one being charged for their crimes, it can now be expected that the current batch of officials will include a good number who will join the ranks of the country’s billionaires by the time Junior steps down in five years or so.

Indeed, we have both white collar crimes coupled with senseless acts of violence perpetrated mostly by government officials against fellow government officials that has become the norm in the time of the second President Ferdinand Marcos.

Lately, the biggest crime of all – the theft of the presidency in the last elections – is now being exposed bit by bit, but chances are low that the true winner of the May 2022 elections will ever occupy the presidential palace.

This may even be a good thing. At least she will not be destroyed by a system that is utterly hopeless, one that gives praise to the corrupt, and crushes any man or woman who only wishes to do the right thing.

Benigno Aquino III, anyone?