OpinionsEcon 101On untouchables and Ampatuan clones

On untouchables and Ampatuan clones


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When I heard the news, that a Barangay Captain in one of the towns in the South attacked the house of a winning barangay councilor, and proceeded to fire at the persons inside the home, it made me think and wonder, why is this happening here in Negros Oriental?

The only rumored reason is that the barangay captain was furious and incensed that this person who won as barangay councilor was NOT in the same party as the barangay captain. He was ‘insulted and incensed” that his control over his barangay was apparently challenged.

The publicity of the Maguidanao massacre of 58 souls, thirty three of them, journalists, highlighted the problem of armed militias. It is misleading to denote these armed groups as “private’, because more often than not, they involved active/ retired military and police elements, elective or appointive officials.

Thus, the term, “untouchable”, is attributed to the fact that in the ordinary course of events, these local officials who control these armed groups, are also responsible for the appointment to local judges, prosecutors, and any other vital government positions in the area. Hence, they are well connected, and they can pull the strings, if needed, thwarting any attempt at prosecuting criminal acts of these armed groups.

If the Ampatuans could kill 58 persons in broad daylight, and bury them along the roadside, in November 2009, who else have they killed or buried? And why did it go this far, in this modern day and age? What ever happened to crime and punishment?

Such is the effect of absence of the rule of law, and disregard of public duty as a public trust. This is a big challenge for the State- the government of the Republic of the Philippines, as there are many “Ampatuan clones”, in various areas of the country. They can emerge in any locality, if its residents are not vigilant. No one should be above the law or should anyone be “untouchable!”

It is the State that investigates, prevents , prosecutes and punishes crimes, because it has the monopoly of governmental powers and public force. The fact should not be lost that it is injury to the public which criminal action which seeks to redress, by such redress to prevent its repetition, and it is not injury to individuals. The private offended party is a witness for the State. And if elements of the State are actors of the criminal act- the result is anarchy.

Thus, the problem of “AMPATUAN CLONES”, should be addressed by the State, and through vigilance, the citizenry should endeavor to nip in the bud the emergence of these personalities in their locality.

Let us not allow armed groups to operate with impunity in our province!

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