Almost always inaccurate are generalizations about any group, whether a race, a social class, an ethnic community, a profession — or, for that matter, a government agency and its personnel. There’s always someone who’s an exception to a rule widely presumed to be true. Stereotyping can also be dangerous, and often is.
REACTING TO demands that he fire Philippine National Police Chief Alan Purisima for, among other reasons, the involvement of policemen in robberies, extortion, kidnapping, even murder and other crimes, President Benigno Aquino III declared that “there have always been ‘scalawags’ in the police.” That statement implied that there’s nothing that can be done about it, in perhaps the same way that we can’t do anything about the sun’s rising in the East and setting in the West.
Apparently firing Purisima and reforming the police are out of the question as far as Mr. Aquino is concerned because that’s just the way things are—in addition to the fact that Purisima is virtually part of Mr. Aquino’s barkada, having been appointed to the exalted post of PNP chief because Mr. Aquino has warm thoughts about his alleged involvement in the defense of the Cory Aquino government when it was under siege from coup plotters in the late 1980s.
IF eight out of 145 crimes have been solved, and in most cases no thanks to you, should you be crowing about it? Eight out of 145 is about three percent of the total cases of journalists and media workers killed in this country, but the Philippine National Police (PNP) nevertheless thinks that that shameful record is to its credit.
The PNP also insists that “only” 48 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986, on the argument—which Aquino administration spokespersons cite as well—that some of those killed were “only” drivers and other media workers, while others were not journalists, and were killed for various non-work related reasons.
OUTSTANDING in its incompetence was the police response to the hostage-taking by a former police officer of the busload of Hong Kong tourists last Monday. Despite the cocky assurances of police spokespersons that they had “everything under control,” exactly how in control they were was evident in the aftermath of the crisis.
Nine people are dead including the hostage- taker, eight of the dead mostly tourists from Hong Kong, which was the most grievous consequence of the colossal stupidity that apparently afflicts an institution whose demonstrated expertise is limited to torture. Incidental to this loss of lives, for which every human being must mourn, is the confirmation, in the past usually denied by government officials pretending outrage, of the near universal belief that the Philippines is a dangerous place whether for tourists, foreign investors, or, lest we forget, Filipinos themselves.