Tuesday, September 04, 2007

awry in uniform

GUESS WHO'S ALWAYS getting bad press apart from the craven crop of politicians? Policemen, that's who. As much as one yearns for more exceptions to the rule of misdemeanors and maladroit conduct, there's just no stopping the rain of rotten tomatoes.

Here's a reprint of my recent opinion column in Sun.Star Cebu (28 August 2007 issue):

Of vice and men

Crows may turn white, but wouldn’t it be a mere flight of fancy to see the future of police in a new light? It may be a thing with feathers, but hope looks like it needs to be huffed and puffed up with hallucinogen to lull us into seeing doves instead of vultures and bats.

What’s the true color of our cops?

If you were on a psychedelic high, you’d probably see a swoop of low-flying creatures with the habits of chameleons. You’d hover into the Vice Control Section (VCS), for instance, and you’d end up winking at the way some of its operatives adapt so adroitly into the instincts of its enemies. Yes, until its itch and stench sticks like second skin, and you’d wonder no more how three policemen— “extortionists,” cried a businessman— reportedly evolved into birds of the same feather.

Fly me to the moon, you’d shrug, instead of the sun-lit frontline in the campaign against illegal gambling, prostitution, and prohibited drugs.

Asked if there are other VCS officers into the same rotten fray, the Police Regional Office (PRO) director in Central Visayas isn’t miming the monkey who neither sees nor hears evil. “We have reports of people involved in the organization, not only in the Vice Control Section,” he concedes.
Reality check, and it’s all right if you don’t mind being green-eyed with envy at the blind and the deaf.

And then we heard the VCS was immediately disbanded. True, morality may be a fledgling concept among a few cops floundering neck-deep in the sewer. But as a police’s brainchild against badness, doesn’t the disbandment seem like throwing the baby along with the bathwater even if it now appears no more cuddly than “anak ni Janice,” the

Last we looked, the underworld is still breezy with vile smoke all over the region. No doubt the VCS has still so much task at hand. And despite the fact that its fingers have grown hair and talons, a scissor and a clipper every now and them could have done the trick instead of a demolition crew gone gung-ho with a cleaver.

For a while there, it was as if the top honchos of law enforcement were no less as vulnerable as the benighted villagers in Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Go on with entrapment and squeeze out the scalawags at the VCS with smoldering pincers, good, but it would have been the better part of valor to save the unit. After all, it hasn’t outlived its functions yet. Or as Cebu City Councilor Sylvan Jakosalem averred: “All international police agencies have their vice squads, which are very specific in their duty in running after violators of either local ordinances or national laws pertaining to vices.”

Letting the VCS be and making the entrapment as incessant and steadfast as possible might yet be a feather in the cap of police hierarchy. Not unless the bigwigs were scared at the prospect of more controversies flying smack at their faces, the VCS—being such a lure to the lawless with uniforms—would have been like a focus point for spotting more shenanigans until all the undesirables would be discovered and come undone. Yes, like those stuck after preying on a flytrap.

Then again, that would prove that many in the police couldn’t soar no higher than flies feasting on rubbish, carcass, feces.

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