By Raïssa Robles
A couple who admitted to working as hired guns for the Philippine police recently talked to journalist Jamela Alindogan-Caudron.
Their kill fee? The equivalent of US$200 per job order.
Jamela is a member of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines. Like all professional journalists the “Sotto Law” shields her from being forced to divulge the names of her sources.
Pls. watch Jamela’s video report.
I recognized in the video one of my old sources, Police Senior Superintendent Orlando Yebra – the police officer in charge of the negotiations in the 2010 Luneta bus hostage taking which ended in a bloodbath. An independent probe body gave Yebra a slight slap on the wrist for the failed negotiations which resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists.
Jamela asked Supt. Yebra why the police seemed to be concentrating on poor communities.
“We are not sparing all those rich communities because we still have a plan for all those places like aa— they will also be subjected to some knock-and-plead operations.”
Looking at what the police are doing in the video, I am reminded of the “zona” that the Japanese soldiers used to conduct during World War II and that the Philippine soldiers and Philippine Constabulary used to do during Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law.
They do not seem to be armed with any warrants of arrest. They call it a “knock-and-plead operation” but the fact that they are heavily armed and some of those who refuse to go along have ended up dead shows that there is more than just verbal persuasion involved.
I have repeatedly asked myself – why not go along and give this a chance to work out and reduce drug addiction and crime?
There is something in me that says it is wrong any which way you look at it.
Would I consider it if those accused of grand-scale corruption like Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – would all be given the same treatment as the drug addicts and drug pushers who just end up dead in the streets?
I am very much tempted to say “yes”. But I know that saying “yes” would place our country on a slippery slope that would result in a Wild Wild West kind of society.
And so I would say “no”. HOWEVER, I would like from now on to have all government officials accused of corruption to be jailed in the same jail cells occupied by drug pushers and addicts. No more special treatment.