“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”–Martin Luther King, Jr.
NEW YORK CITY — Was it a populist rant?Or a brotherly malasakit (deep concern) from a retired police official turned lawmaker tormented by the humiliation suffered by a “promdi” cop?
Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil earned pogi points from his former colleagues in the Philippine National Police (PNP) when he lambasted in the Philippines’ House of Representatives the Garin father and son, Guimbal Mayor Oscar “Oca” Sr. and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Oscar “Richard” Jr., in a privilege speech January 14.
The two top male members of the feared but fizzy Garin political dynasty in Iloilo have been slapped with criminal charges by Guimbal, Iloilo’s Police Officer 3 Federico Macaya Jr. for allegedly mauling the cop in Guimbal town in December 2018.
The incident scandalized the entire PNP hierarchy that it immediately moved to strip the Garins of their police escorts.
No less than President Duterte has called for the filing of necessary cases against the Garins.
The Garins surrendered their firearms in Iloilo through Vice Governor Christine Garin, Oca’s daughter and Richard’s sister.
The mauling incident instantly spread in the national media and the internet.
It became the talk of the town.
About three weeks after the incident, Bataoil, who once served as chief of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) regional operations and plans division of the Police Regional Office 6 in the early 2000, was in the rostrum unloading a Philippic:
“My heart bleeds for PO3 Macaya and many others who, like him, are all but nameless men and women in uniform quietly serving, and even dying, albeit some of them being subjected as well to assault, disrespect and abuse by persons in high elective office–the so-called mighty and powerful,“ he bewailed.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the fate that befell Police Officer 3 Federico Macaya Jr. of Guimbal police station when he was subjected to kicks, slaps and fist blows while the hapless policeman was handcuffed, unable to defend himself, and held at gunpoint.”
Batoil fired the cylinders as a lawmaker to mollify the offended Guimbal cop and lift the spirit of the PNP.
He also wanted “to remind” the likes of Garins and other elected public officials “that we are not high and mighty.”
Good to the ears and excellent display of courage and grit for Bataoil, picking up the cudgels for an abused policeman.
PNP personnel invited to be present inside the House of Representatives applauded and gave Bataoil a standing ovation.
Before Macaya’s case acquired a colossal media attention, news about police personnel as victims of violence and even murder have already hogged prime time news headlines.
Since Macaya comes from Iloilo, we will cite only a few cases familiar with the Ilonggos: the murders of former Negros police chief, Supt. Santiago Rapiz in Dipolog City; SP01 Ronaldo Alag in Iloilo City, and Senior Insp. Porferio Gabuya Jr. in Negros.
Like Macaya’s case, the brutal killings of the aforementioned cops happened only in November and December 2018.
Rapiz was killed in an “encounter” with fellow cops in an anti-drug operation, while Alag and Gabuya were mowed down by bullets fired by the notorious riding-in-tandem assailants.
They were tagged as alleged coddlers of illegal drugs even before they were formally charged in the proper court and killed violently
They were murdered without due process and forever silenced and shamed without any chance to clear their names.
Because they were linked in ugly activities, they were portrayed unjustly and appallingly in the media and died like movie villains–unlike Macaya who easily earned public sympathy after being allegedly kicked, slapped, and spat at on the face while his hands were cuffed.
Did Bataoil’s heart not bleed when these police officers were assaulted worse than Macaya?