PRESIDENT Duterte must have had a strange feeling as he ordered the police and the military to ensure that the lockdown of Metro Manila, dubbed as “community quarantine,” is strictly enforced. He knows he is out to save thousands of lives that may otherwise be infected fatally by Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
From the virtual homicidal chieftain that he has become in the brutal drug war to ostensibly save thousands of his young people he has become a warrior in another war where he vows to save people without exterminating others. He and his Cabinet officials also find themselves in the same league as the rest of their own countrymen anxious and panicky over being stricken.
Being possible victims of the mysterious virus has loomed heavy and large. And for the first time since the start of the EJKs that produced criminal impunity among law enforcers, the President is probably troubled now by the despairing cries for justice of families of more than 10,000 victims of the anti-drug street rampage which he thought he could ignore. Is he now plagued by a similar sense of helplessness and doom for his loved ones, his followers and allies? Is President Duterte now reaping what he sowed?
Certainly, it will come easy for this brash and hard-as-nails President to come down hard on defiant or uncooperative local officials during this very trying time. He expects little problem from the police and the military, even if the PNP has long been undermanned. It is turning into an intense but silent war in Luzon with the President leading the assault against an unseen and deadly force threatening to overwhelm the metropolis.
The police will have no other recourse but to be zealous and doubly alert especially against infected persons eluding doctors and nurses or against those ignoring the numerous checkpoints. It may be common to chase down confused and panicking patients abruptly leaving hospitals as what happened to a husband and his wife, both infected with the virus, who left a hospital in Greenhills in their private car.
Without any warning, Malacanang’s vulnrability has unraveled quite uniquely, rendering guns and bombs useless in this war. Fully-armed police drug operatives and their vigilantes are suddenly immobilized in their lethal frontline foothold against drug suspects and replaced by courageous doctors, nurses and other health workers staring death in the face, armed with a kind of “weaponry’ that nothing in the world can extinguish. From a Pastor three days ago: “We thought before that only the second and final coming of our Lord Jesus Christ can put a stop to all human activities worldwide. But, look now! Italy is in lockdown, largest number of 168 deaths yesterday, no European can travel to America except US citizens, no mass events such as the NBA games, no concerts, schools and universities are closed, no Palarong Pambansa, no conventions, Tokyo Olympics is in peril, and many more stoppages are coming! Is Jesus right at the door?? (Luke 21:10-11, 26-27). Today, families are finding themselves together at home.
The absentee fathers are finally with their children. Husbands and wives are talking to each other more often. Senior Pastor Peter Tanchi of the Christs’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) has been preaching about forgiveness and mended relationships for the past three months.
Last month he talked about a wife and three children abandoned by the husband for another woman. When their 10-yearold son became terminally with acute leukemia, he did not want to visit and ignored her repeated pleas for any financial assistance.
As the boy lay dying, she called numerous times for him to visit.
The husband finally came the day after their son had passed away. The husband went on to stay with his paramour even as he got sick and was almost blind. She had wished him dead until one day she found herself attending a Bible study group where she opened up with her personal distresses. Before long, she started attending to her husband’s immediate needs, bringing him regularly to the doctor, buying him medicines and food.
Pastor Tanchi would stress that no human could possibly overcome such intense bitterness and resentments except through the merciful and loving power of God.