Breaking and bending the law

By: Stephen D. Capillas December 08,2016 - 09:36 PM

On hearing President Rodrigo Duterte talk about not allowing the Albuera police officers to land in jail for the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., I was reminded about the confession scene in the 1989 action film “Marked for Death.”

In that scene, the film’s hero played by then famed action star Steven Seagal confessed to a priest about the extreme lengths he went through in bringing down the drug dealers.

“I slept with witnesses, I falsified evidence, I did everything I could to bring down the bad guys. But then I realized that I have become what I had long despised,” Seagal’s character John Hatcher told the priest, referring to his last operation in which he shot down an armed woman.

Seagal acted as convincingly as he could in conveying his character’s regret in killing the woman which somehow goes to show that even hardened cops who won’t hesitate to pull the trigger are human after all and do feel some remorse for taking the life of whom they consider to be innocent.

Even if in that movie the woman posed only as a prostitute who turned out to be an accomplice of the drug gang pursued by Seagal’s character.

In the case of the agents of the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-8) who raided the jail where Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was detained and then shot him to death after he allegedly tried to shoot it out with them, I doubt if any of them regretted what they did.

Not regret in the sense that they took out a man’s life because it happens in their line of work nor even regret due to the loss of potentially valuable testimony that he and his son Kerwin could have produced that would have brought down the drug network operating in Eastern Visayas.

How could they when in the first place the mayor is considered a drug dealer in tandem with his son, who counts among his business partners some of the biggest drug lords in the country?

Per official explanation by President Duterte himself, these men headed by Supt. Marvin Marcos, CIDG-8 chief, are only doing what he told them and the country’s police to do, and that is to wage unrelenting war on the illegal drug syndicates even if it means wanton bloodshed.

In fact, as a lot of people watching the televised congressional proceedings have seen by now, these police officers don’t look worried at all about the fallout from their handling of the Espinosa raid.

If the Espinosa killing happened during the previous administration, heads would have rolled and the police officers would be sweating profusely, even turning emotional as they declare to all and sundry their innocence. Not in these times, however, since the CIDG agents have President Duterte in their corner.

* * *

Anyone who’s watched enough American cop movies and shows won’t find President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs strange or foreign.

In fact, even President Duterte said incoming US President Donald Trump supposedly praised him for “doing great” in his war on illegal drugs.

Those who lived in Davao City during the President’s tenure there as mayor would be the first to explain how his style in dealing with criminality works.

Only those who live in ivory towers, seminaries and those whom Duterte derisively calls as “bleeding heart liberals” or anyone with a religious, philosophical or ideological aversion to violence would find his war on drugs abhorrent and condemnable.

In these action films and TV shows, cops are shown to occasionally bend the rules when it comes to dealing with criminals. These may include withholding information that could prove crucial in determining the suspect’s guilt or innocence in court or advising and even aiding under cover of confidentiality a criminal suspect to further advance an investigation that would result in the capture of the so-called big fish.

There is a razor-thin line separating the rule benders from the rule breakers in law enforcement agencies like the police; and many see President Duterte’s retention of Supt. Marcos, despite his alleged drug links, as part of his own strategy to bring down the illegal drug network in Eastern Visayas and the rest of the country.

When everything is said and done, one need only feel the public pulse to know where they stand on the Espinosa killing.

Illegal though it may be and appalling to civil rights advocates, not a few Filipinos found the Albuera mayor’s death as justified if only to send a warning to drug dealers to stop their illegal trade.

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TAGS: Albuera, Albuera Police, CIDG, CIDG 8, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Duterte, Eastern Visayas, jail, police, President, Rodrigo, Rodrigo Duterte, Rolando Espinosa Sr. Marked for Death, Steven Seagal, Steven Segal

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