A police case

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Monday, May 19, 2014

WHEN a question over peace and order arises in the towns, especially in a progressive community like Balamban in Cebu’s coastal mid-west, it becomes a truly serious matter.

But it should not really be surprising even to those who lead the locality’s social and political life. It should be taken as part of the “growing up pains,” something that ought to be welcomed.

The more serious problem is capably coping with the growth. Thus, when it was reported last week that a shooting and killing incident involved two members of the town’s police force, my first impulse was to check its veracity.


I later drop-ped by the office of Mayor Ace Binghay, the no-nonsense local executive.

He told me that he did not expect such case to happen during his term. He then talked of asking the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to help solve the case.

I thought it was an off-the-cuff plan. But I realized it was an objective decision indicating an apolitical move. Later, when I went to the town’s police station, I learned that the police chief had the same idea since his earlier information pointed to police officers as suspects.

The chief himself told me that the police car that responded to the illegal gambling report was lucky. When it was stoned, only the windshield was hit. But no one really saw who stoned the police car, and likewise, no one could truly say it was the police that killed the victims. It was night, it was dark, and the victims were not even among those who were playing illegal gambling.

There is one incident in our small town that needs “airing” in media outlets other than just the news written by correspondents or reporters assigned to cover newsbreaks.

In Sitio Combado that adjoins Barangay Nangka to the south, it is said that drug addiction is rampant among the kids. It is also beyond the reach of the police.

There are things in small areas that roving news writers could not get or see unless he tarries a little longer in the place. I am sure the NBI could tell more about my hometown than I.

The undercurrent of politics is not present in the recent killing incident. But there’s a play of independent or individual personal interests that might tend to affect or influence the social, economic, individual or political interest that may
generate unexpected or unforeseen problems.

One can never anticipate what might happen next, unless--as a local observer said to me--one has been keeping his eyes wide open, his mouth shut, and his ears partly covered.

The thing is, whatever he meant, I could not get. But he is keeping his mouth shut and his ears partly covered. Indeed, it is a curious thing, my hometown. But it is typical of Philippine hometowns.

Balamban may become a city soon. It may even become a part of Cebu City through a “merger” as former mayor Tommy O had once proposed. But the local folks do not savor the thought of becoming a city, and increasing the local taxes.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 20, 2014.


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