Questionable protagonists in Atimonan, guns and Koko’s side
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2013-01-15
Per the STAR story yesterday by Non Alquitran, The PNP (Philippine National Police) Fact-finding Committee had announced that the Atimonan shooting incident was an ambush and not a shootout. The physical evidence was simply overwhelming.

Lest we lose the proper perspective to this incident, we should bear in mind that there were questionable persons among the ambushers and the ambushed. Former president Fidel V. Ramos would have called them non-virgins. Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas had announced that there were 14 firearms in the vehicles that were fired upon. It didn’t look like the fatalities were going to church that day.

The PNP has to be lauded for its quick and impartial report. This redeemed a lot of points for the image of the PNP. This tells us that under the leadership of President Benigno S. Aquino III (P-Noy) and his appointees, dirty cops can now be exposed and prosecuted.

That claim that the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) headed by Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa ordered the operation is preposterous and reeks of a diversionary tactic. Some of the fatalities may be under the radar screen of the Ochoa commission but it’s not the business of the PAOCC to direct the details of ground operations. Even if approved, defective operations cannot be blamed on the PAOCC. Ochoa denied ever ordering it. The fact that funding was denied would underscore that it wasn’t approved.

The temporary relief of all those involved in the ambush was called for to ensure an honest probe. Fair enough that the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) has been assigned the role of sole investigator to further ensure a fair probe. The public expects this and nothing less. Considering that this is the now the trustworthy P-Noy administration, we can rest assured that we will know what really happened in Atimonan.

The angle of jueteng emerged in the course of this incident’s aftermath. Now that ups the ante. Juetengis mega bucks and it’s been exposed in the past that there are police and military officers, among others, in the jueteng lords’ payroll. This angle certainly deserves a thorough probe.

Jueteng lords have so much muscle now and can be considered as national security risks. No administration has ever succeeded in eradicating the illegal numbers game or at the very least, control and tax it. It’s not to be ruled out that conflicting jueteng interests could be the underlying factor behind the Atimonan ambush.

It has become fashionable now for the relatives and friends of those killed in police encounters to wail and brand a shootout as a rubout. Media have encouraged this behavioral pattern by providing too much attention to these rubout wailers — even when there’s clear proof that the fatality isn’t guiltless.

Media should know by now the fact that Filipinos are easily inclined to delve into delusion. Instead of rising in revolt when there was too much oppression from the Spaniards — Filipinos invented the Kundiman as an escape mechanism. Nobody wants to admit in Philippine society that his or her relative or friend is a criminal.

We don’t always know what our relatives and friends are into. Look at the biggest plunderers of the government coffers. They ride in chauffeured limos, are elegantly attired and are even asked to speak in some gatherings as if they were epitomes of virtue that our kids should emulate.

Senator Ping Lacson’s gun proposal

Of the many suggestions on how to curb gun-related violence, the proposal of Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson best resonates. Sen. Lacson proposed that nobody, except the police and armed forces personnel on duty, should be allowed to bring guns. Lacson’s proposal doesn’t remove gun ownership, as what Nandy Pacheco has been proposing. Rather, Lacson’s proposal confines gun ownership to homes only. It’s high time too that the penalties for illegal manufacture and distribution of firearms be raised.

The global index on gun-related violence clearly proves that countries — like the UK, Australia, Japan, South Korea — where people are not allowed to own guns, even for home protection, or can only keep guns at home, have less than one person casualty per 100,000 population. The US has over 10 casualties per 100,000 population while the Philippines has over 9 casualties per 100,000. We follow the US in the gun-related violence index. Don’t you agree that those facts are sobering?

Koko’s clarification

Senator Koko Pimentel emailed me recently to clarify his role in the clamor to investigate the PCOS machines of Smartmatic. Koko distanced himself from the suspected conspiracy involving some Bishops of the Catholic Church to undermine P-Noy by casting doubts in his 2010 election.

Sen. Koko explained that since 2009, he was already actively involved in the effort to examine the Smartmatic source code and that he’s only being consistent with his campaign against election fraud. Sen. Koko emphasized that while his advocacy is tied up to elections, it has nothing to do with politics.

If some Bishops and Cardinals are involved in a conspiracy to undermine P-Noy by questioning the 2010 elections, Sen. Koko assures us that he’s definitely not a part of it.

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Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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