At times I can only sit back in disbelief at how little our own government thinks of us. It’s not really so much of a surprise at this point. Instead, what baffles me is how little effort they put into hiding how things really are. It’s like they know we can’t do anything, even when their blatant displays trigger public sentiment maelstroms on social media and the news.
In case you missed it, ten days ago, a dash-cam video went viral showing a white Toyota RAV4 SUV somewhere in Mandaluyong intentionally running over a security guard. As in literally ran over him. I will not be linking to the video, because I know people will look for it anyway, and hate what they see. But there’s a point in the footage where you almost expect the SUV to flatten the poor man. The 31-year-old victim, Christian Joseph Floralde, is reportedly in ICU confinement, after sustaining head abrasions and respiratory injuries.
The video, naturally enough, would spark public outrage, and for the first few days the Philippine National Police (PNP) would put up a tiny act of concern, putting out public notices for the yet-to-be-identified driver of the SUV to surrender and for the registered owner of the vehicle to “show proof” of their innocence. A complaint was filed before the prosecutor’s office for frustrated murder and abandonment of one’s victim.
We have a Tagalog expression, ningas kugon, which describes someone who only shows effort or initiative in the beginning but wavers to a stop right after, bringing to mind the image of dry cogon grass that burns only for a few seconds before dying out. It would have been an apt description for how the PNP handled this entire brouhaha, except it’s hard to say they were ever burning with action in the first place. Lawyers have argued that due to the nature of the crime committed, the police could have gone ahead and arrested the owner of the SUV without warrant, on the basis of “hot pursuit”. Instead, the PNP filed the complaint before the prosecutor’s office, and called it a day:
“As far as the PNP is concerned, we consider this case solved considering that we already filed the case and our person of interest or suspect voluntarily gave up to clear the matters at hand. So we are now leaving to the prosecutor’s office,” acting Philippine National Police chief Lieutenant General Vicente Danao Jr. said in a press conference on Wednesday, June 15.By Lian Buan (Rappler)
And then, in what is probably the most ridiculous act ever by the country’s police force, one that I hope will go down in history as a defining moment for the absolute toothlessness and inefficiency of the country’s justice institutions, the PNP would hold a press conference with the SUV owner and his goddamn mother. Dear reader, I shit you not. I wish I was making things up here, but sometimes fact can be more ridiculous than fiction. This guy brought his mother to apologize for his actions. You know, like gradeschool children do? Like we all used to do, when we still woke up with piss in our bedsheets, and thought Santa Claus was the one leaving candies in our smelly, school socks?
According to the owner’s mother, the incident had caused them grief. In a translation of their original statement by CNN: “We can’t sleep, we can’t eat. Of course, our son is involved. And it became viral already, right? My son’s life will be ruined. I think this is all an accident. My son is good. Who would want to run from that?” Shouldn’t we all be so lucky, worrying about being viral, when we’re the direct cause of someone ending up in the hospital. This lady’s son put someone within an inch of death, and she’s worried her son’s life will be “ruined” over a viral video?
If a man like that can be “rattled” to the point of (attempted) manslaughter, then he shouldn’t be on the streets, let alone behind a wheel. And the PNP shouldn’t be manhandling the shithead like a newborn infant. Fuck press conferences, he should be detained. He should be put behind bars, and made to answer for his dangerous act. Remember that this is the same police force that jailed a 72-year-old jeepney driver for “breaching quarantine protocols” and arbitrarily arrested farmers and activists in Tarlac during a community planting program. According to them, they have no legal basis to arrest the SUV driver. Because you know, that video totally doesn’t exist, and hit-and-run is totally not a crime.
This should be a reminder for us all of who the PNP are actually referring to when they say “Serve and Protect”. Between a security guard who almost lost his life and a rich screwball, the PNP blatantly and without shame chose to protect the latter. They are, after all, mere puppets: instruments of the government and the ruling class to enforce their stranglehold over us and our institutions. Tos us, they’re ripped bouncers who’d kick us out of the club if we ever so much as raise our voices, but to these rich fuckers they’re circus clowns waving their magician’s hat and doing party tricks to keep them happy.
Man, fuck the police.