Wanted: Noble protectors
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” the fate of many realms threatened by the dark lord Sauron rested on their able defense by the bravest of men and elves.
In “Two Towers” as interpreted by director Peter Jackson, it was the return of the exiled Riddermark or Riders of the Mark under the direction of Gandalf and their chief marshal Eomer that turned the tide of the Battle of Helm’s Deep in favor of the besieged people of Rohan.
The horse riders were the finest among the Rohirrim, whom Aragorn, future king of Gondor, described as proud and willful but “true-hearted, generous in thought and deed; bold but not cruel.”
Before the Riddermark’s return, a reinforcement of one company of elves led by Haldir, an elf of Lothlorien forest, gave heart to the soldiers of Rohan under King Theoden and helped them fight the Uruk-hai (orcs who were spawns of Saruman’s interbreeding of orcs and men).
These elves, Silvan or Woodland Elves, had a reputation for being skilled combatants. In the book, it was Haldir who spoke these words to the Fellowship of the Ring: “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
Elsewhere in Middle-earth, the advance of the dark lord Sauron and his havoc-wreaking armies was foiled by the Rangers of the North led by Aragorn.
When he met Gandalf who became his close friend, the wizard asked Aragorn and his Rangers to guard the Shire and its hobbit inhabitants. The Rangers obliged. It was their nature to be protective. The mysterious Tom Bombadil described them as “sons of forgotten kings walking in loneliness, guarding from evil things folk that are heedless.”
When Sauron’s troops were marching on Osgiliath, Faramir, the son of Gondor steward Denethor, led a company of his men into battle even though they were outnumbered. When they had to retreat over the Pelennor fields, Faramir stayed with the rearguard to defend his diminished company and for this got hit by a poison-tipped arrow. He would have met a sorrier fate had not his uncle, Prince Imrahil and Gandalf with some men, given them cover.
I mourn with the loved ones left behind by our policemen and soldiers who were killed in the line of duty during anti-narcotics operations. A Rappler count shows that since July 1, 2016 to March this year, 36 cops and three soldiers had been killed, with 13 subject to validation. At the same time, 93 cops and eight soldiers were wounded in action, with 10 subject to validation.
I hope that justice may be served for the fallen and that our government and other concerned sectors may take measures to help their families cope with their loss. These men and women have gone beyond the call of duty. They prove that pure-hearted protectors willing to pay for our safety with their lives do not have to only exist in fantasy literature and film.
That said, the task of ennobling our police force, by President Rodrigo Duterte’s own admission, is gargantuan. One cannot help but wonder why this has not been done to give the criminal aspect of the campaign against illegal narcotics a sparkling clean mantle of credibility.
In a speech in Davao City in the middle of August, the chief executive even went as far as dangling a P2-million reward to each policeman who kills a colleague who is into drugs. This would mean that part of justice for the policemen who perished may just be to jail cops who possibly killed them.
Earlier this year, towards the end of January, Duterte said that nearly 40 percent of the police force is engaged in illegal activities. This makes his continued war on drugs foolhardy. Where lies sense in waging a campaign against crooks by crooks?
In September, the National Police Commission ordered the dismissal of 386 policemen after they were found to have cheated during their entrance examinations in April 2011. If cheating occurred back then, which apparently went on under the nose of the previous dispensation, what about in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017? How many of our policemen sneaked into the police force? Should we be left to hope that those who joined by illicit means will turn out to be sterling law enforcers? No wonder at least 60 percent of Filipinos disbelieve police accounts of having killed drug suspects who allegedly fought back during operations.
Hard to see who will take the helm towards reforming our police force.
Perhaps not Duterte, who vowed to pardon police officers if they flouted the law in the conduct of their duties. Too late, and unlawful, anyway, his yakking about shooting scalawags in light of the apparent police slaughter of teenagers during anti-drug operations in August. Whose words and false bravado could have prompted such barbarity?
Perhaps neither Persida Acosta, the people’s lawyer, nor our police chief. They end up crying when called to be accountable.
Real hope lies elsewhere. At last month’s protest in Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, to commemorate Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of martial law 45 years ago, a police official stood for a photo with a martial law survivor and youth who carried a placard chiming police brutality. In a statement on Oct. 2, the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas cited cops who are ready to expose what they know of extrajudicial killings provided the church grants them sanctuary.
Perhaps there are more of these policemen’s kind, those who, like Tolkien’s Riddermark are “true-hearted, generous in thought and deed; bold but not cruel,” and like the author’s Rangers, “keep from evil things folk that are heedless.”
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