Who dunnit?

*resurrected post form August 26, 2010

A lot of people are blaming the police for their decisions/ actions on the tragic Luneta Grandstand hostage taking. A lot of people find the efforts of the police to break the windows (unsuccessfully) with a sledgehammer, or to pry open the bus’ doors with a rope tied to another vehicle funny. I felt sad. I felt sad because it reflected on the kind of training and machinery that our police have to contend with in trying to fulfill their sworn duty to protect us. Substandard training, substandard compensation, being the laughing stock, not only of this nation but of the whole world. You say the PNP gives you shame. I say shame on you! Because while you were watching the live coverage on TV, pointing your finger while you were laughing out loud, those men in uniform were risking their lives to save another’s.

An account of one of the hostages circulated through the internet just a day after the incident.It painted heroic picture  of the hostage taker, and a grim one of the police.  But it was soon revealed to be a hoax, nothing more that ploy to ignite rage against the police. Granted that Mendoza had a legitimate demand, to me, the end still does not justify the means. When he picked up his gun and his knife and decided that he will make a hostage of some tourists in a bus, he has already decided their fate. No matter if he did not intend to hurt anybody, he put himself, his hostages, the police, the media and the stupid bystanders in a situation he knew could turn bad in a split second. I sympathize with his cause, I really do. We live in a country that has yet to rise above the sick and twisted governance of the past. But there is no way that what he did can be justified.

Still others have opined that it would have been easier to just reinstate him, take the hostages and then charge him for the new crime. Yes, so easy. But who’s to say that things will work out as planned? And what kind of message are we sending out then? “We won’t hear your grievances unless you take hostage a bus full of tourists. Then you’ll get what you want, and right away too! Afterwards, you’ll get a slap on the wrist for the stress that you caused all of us”.

And how about the media? They have washed their hands of any fault to the kind of ending the hostage crisis had. Blaming the police (again) for not telling them what they’re not allowed to show. Excuse me? You know, this has been a problem of the media for a long time, not thinking abut the consequences of their actions. It’s a cut-throat world and whoever comes out with the goriest details, wins. Sad, but true. Who cares if its unethical, or feelings get hurt, or, gosh, people die. I still got to report it first. Whoopie! A blow-by-blow account works for some situations, like the election, for example. But giving information to the enemy on how the police are planning to take him out? C’mon! You shouldn’t wait for anybody to tell you to use your common sense.

As for the others who think and preach that the Philippines is unsafe and Filipinos are stupid? Go to hell! If you have never had any incidence of violence in your country then I’ll let you trash mine. But we all know that’s not gonna happen.

Still, I feel that this situation can be a springboard for the kind of nation that PNOY has promised, and what we have long fought for. Give the police better training, better equipments, the media can learn to police themselves, the justice system can get a do-over…and shoot those who cry shame for every single thing! We have got a long way to go before we can haul the country from the muddy dump that we’re in. And even then, we’ll still be faced with other sets of problems. Let’s stop with the shame game and start owning up to our Filipino pride. You wear the color, the shirt and all the other material symbols but really, what matters is the symbol that we wear in our hearts. You say you love the Philippines, then show it! You can’t ask for others to do it until you have done it yourself.

Go ahead Pinoy, start the change.

Lara thinks: How funny that we think we can coach a team just because we’ve seen a few games.

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Filed under opinion, Politics

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