Who would have thought that the Year 2011 would start out with a bang? The smoke from the illegal firecrackers from the New Year’s eve celebrations haven’t even dissipated yet; now we have smoke billowing from public transport explosions, adding to the haze that an already dazed and confused Philippine population is struggling to see through.
Carnappings with murder in the last two weeks, assassinations of journalists last week and this week, a bombing of a public utility vehicle; it’s just another regular day in this lawless land called the Philippines.
Why is there an increase in crime rate you might ask? There is nothing surprising about what is happening in the Philippines. Truth be told, when you have a weak leader; bad elements will rise to the occasion. Organized crime suddenly gets more brazen as an unsuspecting public let their guard down thinking that their holier-than-thou President will inspire goodness.
Sadly, this whole “goody-two-shoes” act by Philippine President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) just makes him look like a pushover. With four people dead and 14 people injured in the recent bus bomb blast, pushing him to his limits is exactly what criminals are doing at the moment. As expected, PNoy issued his statement in his usual mumbling style shortly after the devastation:
“Tignan muna natin ang ebidensiya bago maghusga (Let’s look at the evidence first before passing judgment). I don’t want to libel anybody. I have my suspicions pero hindi ako pwedeng mag-engage sa haka-haka (but I could not engage in speculations),” Aquino said.
Yes, boss; another fiasco, another investigation, which will likely lead to nowhere. The Mendoza hostage investigation – Where is it now?
Aside from having a weak leader, low apprehension and conviction rates contribute to the increase in crime rate. For all we know, the low apprehension rate might even be attributed to the allegation that some trusted members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the Philippine military may be in on the despicable acts of violence. And even in cases when criminals do get caught, the courts are often inefficient (or too corrupt) to punish them. In other words, impunity is the name of the game.
The government’s plunder case against former military comptroller Carlos Garcia is case in point. For reasons unclear, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez who took over the case allowed the retired general to post bail and possibly get away with plunder even when the case against Garcia was strong. It’s another legal wrangling favoring the accused.
Unemployment also contributes to the rise in criminal activity. PNoy’s promise of “walang corrupt, kung walang mahirap” fails to deliver because poverty drives most people in desperate situations to do callous acts just to survive. As long as PNoy does not implement any radical measures to create more jobs for the growing number of unemployed Filipinos, criminal activities will grow along with it.
The high crime rate in the country also leads to a growing need for private armies or “hired goons”. Those who feel the need to hire private armies include lawmakers or public servants because they are targets of political rivals who have no qualms about eliminating their opponents. Unfortunately, this situation makes our lawmakers less motivated to find effective solutions to crime. And worse, private armies, which often operate without proper oversight and supervision, are apt to commit abuses and violence themselves.
Our society is unfortunately under threat by bad elements that are slowly but surely taking over our country. The rest of the Philippine population however would dismiss this urgent situation as something that is “trivial”. They would panic for a day but party the next because they would rather leave it up to a divine being’s “will”.