Keeping checkpoint cops honest

By: STEPHEN CAPILLAS September 28,2017 - 10:13 PM

CAPILLAS

Perhaps in order to discourage police or the military from committing any abusive behavior in mobile and stationary checkpoints, commuters and motorists should have some sort of camera in place–hidden perhaps–to record them as they conduct their inspections.

I make this suggestion in light of last week’s report on two persons, a business process outsourcing (BPO) employee and a mall worker, who complained about the restrictive inspections conducted at a checkpoint in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

If people were to use cell phone cameras or dashboard cameras, then whenever the police do commit abuse, their words and actions will be recorded for posterity and then uploaded to social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and so on where they can be laughed and jeered at and then roundly condemned by netizens.

Public outrage would then translate into immediate, hopefully positive, reaction from government agencies and the guilty police officer sanctioned accordingly. Or so it normally goes unless said officials defend these police officers and risk drawing public ire on him/her.

A lot of netizens have already used the power of video to their fellow private citizens — does road rage suspect David Lim Jr. ring a bell? — but the problem lies when these police officers manning the checkpoints specifically order the motorists and commuters to turn off and then seize their cell phones as well as their dashboard cameras.

Perhaps — and this is just a suggestion — the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Police Commission (Napolcom) can require police officers manning checkpoints to install security cameras near their site in order to assure the public that their police force will be kept in check and will always be in their best behavior when conducting checkpoints.

It’s sad when one has to keep tabs on the people who are supposed to protect and serve us. But corruption can really sink its claws into anyone and one has to find ways to keep their government, their police force and their military honest.

And social media, for all its flaws and dangerous reach, is quite the effective medium to expose the shenanigans and abuse committed by people in authority as well as celebrities who may not be the paragons of perfection that their rabid followers thought them out to be (read John Lloyd Cruz, but he got public sympathy).

* * *

Speaking of social media, US President Donald Trump’s ongoing word war with the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) is something his administration doesn’t need right now, as if his feud with North Korea’s communist regime and the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma in the US weren’t enough to fill his plate.

The silent protest waged by NFL players against racial discrimination that began last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick either sitting down or kneeling while the American anthem was being played was picked up by other players and then criticized just this month by Trump, who called it “unpatriotic.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Trump then set his sights on the NBA champion team Golden State Warriors after one of its star players Stephen Curry declined to visit the White House, thus breaking the long-standing tradition in which the winning NBA champion team pays a courtesy call to the sitting president.

But while Trump may be considered the most unpopular president in the US in recent memory, President Rodrigo Duterte is just the opposite even with the growing public concern over the mounting death toll in the war against illegal drugs and the recent allegations of the involvement of his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and his son-in-law Mans Carpio over the P6.4-billion shabu shipment smuggled into the country from China.

While there are actors who are loudly speaking out against the President, Mr. Duterte’s camp is smart enough to also employ showbiz figures and even veteran media practitioners into their fold to help promote the administration, i.e., Mocha Uson.

In that sense, while Trump may consider himself social media savvy with his constant Twitter tweets that only invite further derision from Hollywood and the US media, Duterte and his camp are smart enough to maintain his own army of propagandists and social media trolls to torment and engage critics in a war to win the hearts and minds of the Filipino people.

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