My son is good.”
These were the last words spoken to reporters by the father of the man whom police shot dead in an encounter yesterday at the residence of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
We will never know what the intentions were of Jeffrey Cañedo for visiting the archbishop’s residence.
He came aboard a motorbike. He wore a bonnet and helmet. He eluded security. He had a gun on his person.
Someone at the residence said the man looked disturbed. His sister would later say he was looking for a confidante to give him counsel amid his sadness over having parted ways with his partner.
Police said the man shot at them when they accosted him. He was killed when they returned fire.
Senior Supt. Royina Garma said the government has invested so much in the police they should never be outgunned and should use force when it is found necessary.
Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo blessed Jeffrey’s corpse before it was taken to the morgue.
No one may judge a father’s love. No one may judge love.
It is part of the credit of love, according to Dietrich von Hildebrand, that it refuses to hold flaws as definitive of the truth of a person.
When Jeffrey’s father spoke with journalists, he successfully stifled his tears.
“My son,” he said, “is good.”
* * *
Elsewhere in the city, in barangay Ermita, a 3-year-old child was hit and killed by a stray bullet during a police anti-drug operation.
The police had earlier found four men using and repacking shabu in a hovel in the barangay.
Pursuit ensued after the men were alerted to their presence. The cops failed to apprehend the men amid the labyrinthine commune.
When they retraced their steps, they found out that the toddler had been felled by a stray bullet.
What were you doing when you were three?
What did the little girl know?
She must have just gotten the hang of walking, of saying her first words, of playing her first games.
What was in the bullet that cut her down? Perhaps more than traces of gunpowder and spent energy.
Perhaps a community’s failure to teach and learn, so that a turn to the drug trade and to weapons to protect that trade became acceptable.
Perhaps law enforcement’s confidence that they will be protected from accountability for innocent lives lost as — in the words of the President — collateral damage.
What games did you play when you were 3?
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