Taking after President Duterte

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    PNP chief Oscar Albayalde mistakes achievement for legacy. He is out to leave a legacy worth our while if only for the outcry from thousands of families who lost a father, a son or brother to EJKs. Many people thought that as a stern disciplinarian he would be a cut above former PNP chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa. His aggressive internal cleansing program against erring cops was apparently stumped after he virtually bestowed the law into the hands of about 300 cops in the drug war. He cannot insulate himself, even after retirement, from the huge fallout of mayhem and murder on the streets across the country.

    The EJKs today compare with the thousands of killings and disappearances during martial law whose main architects had been then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and AFP Deputy Chief General Fidel V. Ramos. Their moment of redemption, which Albayalde should seek out for himself, came at EDSA while being unaware of a history-making turn of events the two leaders never imagined – to be protected from the tanks and bombs by the same people who had endured 20 years of Marcos misrule and oppression and that the dictator would suddenly flee.

    The seemingly upright Albayalde should have gone with his conscience rather than with President Duterte’s twisted sense of justice. To him and many others who have demeaned themselves for ignoring the value of life itself, it is easier said than done. Of course, it continues to bother him that he could not exercise his power and authority to call off the blood-thirsty police drug operatives, brutally hindering the PNP’s avowed and paramount duty for lawful process and “to protection and serve” all. Of course, it bothers him that the EJks have assumed an international dimension that will hound the government and the PNP leadership.

    ***

    It may have been a dreadful fact that the PMA upper classmen who maltreated and hazed to death Cadet Darwrin Dormitorio may have looked up to President Duterte as a model of sort for criminal impunity. They belong to the cream of the crop at the premier cadet training institution and have probably weighed critically the risks and evasive steps involved in ganging up on a helpless neophyte, even if they were found out.

    The police drug operatives who continue to easily evade arrest and investigation certainly come to mind. Were the hazing cadets looking forward to selective injustice to favor them since many in the police seemed to relish being condoned and encouraged by the President of the country no less? Have the rampant EJKs developed a liberating consciousness and dark assurance for them?

    ***

    The following is a touching episode, among many, in the life of a man who gave himself to many others and should speak well today for those who are full of themselves. One afternoon many years ago, reporters and officials gathered at a Chicago railroad station to await the arrival of the Nobel Prize winner. He stepped off the train – a giant of a man, six feet-four, with bushy hair and a large moustache.

    As cameras flashed, the officials came up with hands outstretched and began telling him how honored they were to meet him. He thanked them and then, looking over their heads, asked if he might be excused for a moment. He walked through the crowd with quick steps until he reached an elderly woman who was having trouble trying to carry two large suitcases. He picked up the bags in his big hands and smiling, escorted the woman to a bus. As he helped her aboard, he wished her a safe journey.

    Meanwhile, the crowd tagged along behind him. He turned to them and said, “Sorry to have kept you waiting.” The man was Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the famous missionary-doctor who had spent his life helping the poorest of the poor in Africa. Said a member of the reception committee to one of the reporters, “That’s the first time I ever saw a sermon walking.”