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Witnesses’ predicament


(Enlightenment—Passage of the Day)




THIS is getting out of control. On the national level, three top local executives were slain by their still unidentified suspects. First, it was Tanauan City Mayor from Batangas Antonio Halili who was felled by a single bullet fired by his well-concealed assassin who positioned himself some 150 meters distance away under a bushy spot leveling his high-powered firearm straight to where Mayor Halili and his City Hall underlings rendering patriotically well their national hymn version of Bayang Magiliw during their early morning flag ceremony  last July 2. Halili reportedly died on the spot. Next was Gen. Tinio Municipal Mayor of Nueva Ecija Ferdinand Bote who was likewise shot dead by a lone gunman while on board his sports utility vehicle (Hilux) the following day. Then, the vice mayor of Trece Martirez, Cavite, named Alex Lubigan only 44 years of age, was shot dead too by an unidentified gun-wielding suspect.

IN our la bella, during yesterday’s City Hall weekly press-con, ZCPO spokesperson  S/Insp. Sheila May Chang revealed at-least three(3) gun-related incidents occurred this early month of July, and one of which was the early morning gun-slaying of Sta. Catalina Kagawad Michael Magallanes. Capt. Chang said no one from the civilian sector came out to cooperate with our cops to help shed light on Magallanes’s treacherous murder case. The two early cases of shooting incidents this July, according to Chang, were more or less having to do with personal grudges. But, the Magallanes gruesome killing, albeit it happened in broad-daylight, has remained clueless (as of CH press-briefing) for the mere fact no one who must have witnessed the incident, wanted to cooperate. As I heard one news reporter giving his on-the-spot report to their anchor in one radio station here, quoting him saying, “ Indaykolangsilaki, cay ta tene sila miedo abri ila boca.”

Capt. Chang is correct that witnesses can avail of the gov’t’s state witness protection program under our criminal laws of the land.

“But, sir, can they really guarantee our protection if we come out as witnesses in this place of ours where we’ve dismally noted there’s this culture of impunity in our society?,” one television viewer of TV-13 asked.

Another expressed utter disgust about cases of witnesses, though placed under the witnesses’ state protection program, were later killed or found dead with gunshot wounds suspected to have been silenced by most likely those behind the unsolved murders of so many across the country.

These are the common cries of our citizens who said the people are just more than willing to cooperate, but said, “If only they can fully guarantee our safety and protection as witnesses, why should we refuse to cooperate? But, there are precedents already when witnesses themselves were later killed, and their only suspicion, it has something to do with their being an eye-witness, so as to silence them.”

See the possible repercussion, according to them?

Our law enforcement agencies, like our  PNP, should always stress more on their preventive security measures by being always proactive than just being reactionary, as always, the case maybe. They say the taxpaying public deserves more than what they’re getting now- when most of the time, our cops are always, as ever, on their reactionary stance in addressing crime incidents, rather than preventing them from occurring. “Jun, remember the golden rule? Prevention is better than an ounce of cure. This isn’t just happening in our law enforcement campaigns of our local authorities,” they expressed their lament. See how depressed they’re? (By Jun Feliciano)  (30)

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