World's fastest cops on the crime scene
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-04-30

An American, a Brit and a Filipino were trying to outdo each other in bragging just how fast their policemen respond and arrive at the crime scene.

The American boasted: “In New York, our cops can get to the crime scene in five minutes.” Not to be outdone, the Brit countered: “In London, Scotland Yard is in the crime scene in three minutes.” Unimpressed, the Filipino coolly stated: “In Manila, our cops are in the crime scene in less than two seconds.”

“That’s incredible!” said the unbelieving American. “Impossible!” the Brit reacted. Unfazed, the Filipino clarified his claim: “Not impossible, many times our cops are the very ones committing the crimes.”

It’s an old joke but most relevant to the situation we face today with rogue cops preying on helpless citizens. Across all socio-economic classes of Philippine society today, you’ll find fear and distrust of the police.

While it is true that the bad reputation should not reflect on all cops — many having proved heroic and lost their lives while protecting the community — still, many members of the community feel very wary in dealing with the very people who are supposed to protect them.

The lower you go in the socio-economic classes, the greater their fear of the cops. That is hardly surprising because it is in the poorer communities where abusive cops usually do their thing.

Just watch the daily primetime TV newscasts and there is hardly a day when cops did not figure in community disorder reports as the perpetrators — be it the reckless discharge of their firearms or creating mayhem while they were under the influence of alcohol and the devil.

How many letters have been circulated over the internet sharing the harrowing experience of motorists with extorting cops? How many summary executions have been committed by our cops and were reported and made to appear as shootouts? How many of those who were shot and killed by our cops ‘while trying to escape’ were actually victims of summary executions?

How many times have we heard reports of searches that were conducted by our cops that ended up with lost cash or items belonging to those who were searched? How many so-called random checkpoints turned out to be opportunities for extortion following a planting of banned items in the victim’s vehicle?

How many are now languishing in jail as a result of a police frame up? How many are now in jail because they were tortured by cops to admit to crimes that they did not commit? How many laws have been broken by these very people who are supposed to uphold the law?

But despite their sorry track record, we were all unprepared and collectively shocked over what Broadcaster and former Congressman Ted Failon was subjected to by Quezon City (QC) police officers last week over the apparent suicide of his wife, Trina Arteche Etong. There on national television and delivered right into our living rooms — we all witnessed the flagrant display of police brutality, arrogance and distortion of the law.

It is one thing for abusive cops to do their worst behavior in poor communities where our semi-feudal reality is best showcased. It was hard to believe that they have become so crass and arrogant so as to openly do this to a famous personality and under full media coverage.

The great fear sets in when you imagine just what can happen to you if you were their targeted prey and there were no media to cover and report what they are about to do to you. Juan de la Cruz cannot help but feel very scared of bad cops knowing fully well that he does not have the celebrity with which to attract public attention and sympathy and no broadcast network like ABS-CBN to champion his cause.

Anarchy — when there is a total disregard already for the laws of the land and when these laws are openly violated — is a society’s greatest scourge. Anarchy is usually seen in failed states like Somalia and Sudan. What many Filipinos do not realize, among many other things, is that psychologically we are already in a state of anarchy. We are just lucky that it has not yet manifested its worst repercussions but it is foolish to think that it won’t.

Your country is already in a state of anarchy when you have a failed justice system — where the illegal is declared as legal and the legal is made to appear as illegal. Your country is already in a state of anarchy when your citizens have greater fear of your cops compared to how they view the ordinary criminals.

Your country is already in a state of anarchy when those who flagrantly violated the laws - like plunderers and election cheaters — occupy top public offices that control the direction and administration of justice in the land.

Just as we cannot expect to reap something good from evil, we also cannot expect a fair administration of justice from those who can easily violate and willfully and maliciously misinterpret the laws.

We should not be shocked if more people are now taking the law into their own hands. That is the natural consequence when the law is being dispensed by some of its biggest violators.

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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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