MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/30 June) – Today (June 30) is historic in that it marks the transition from one administration to another. It’s one that’s laden with a bagful of expectations for change, if only for the fact that the new president, Rodrigo R. Duterte, put up a convincing victory against his closest rivals, former secretary Mar Roxas and Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares.
Such expectations evolved from campaign promises that resonated with popular discontent over the inability of previous governments to minimize, if not eradicate, two of the country’s lingering ills – corruption and criminality. Duterte did not promise to bring the country to heaven, but he did vow to send grafters and other criminals to hell, a message that was met with raucous applause. Six months was all that Duterte asked for him to stop grafters and criminals. And to his supporters, it wouldn’t matter where the bad guys end up under his watch; the casket is as good – maybe better – than the court or prison cell.
If events in the past few weeks suggest anything, it is that the public is being conditioned to accept the likelihood that images of suspects turning up dead will become staple fare for dinner while watching the evening news. Who cares? Gore has always been staple fare on the idiot box. The only difference is that in the days to come the sight of blood will make for an excellent appetizer or dessert – take your pick – as street battles against suspects, real or imagined, heat up.
Change is coming however painful. But before you get turned off, just think of how an animal suffers so you may enjoy that kilawin, hamonada or lechon. Some species are destined for the abattoir be it the literal or political kind. In both cases a grateful, law-abiding citizenry earns its due – a fine dinner from the former, a sound sleep from the latter, both making each night worth remembering. Supply can and will always meet demand with media as a witting sales agent.
Worse, the proposal to restore capital punishment reinforces the lust for body count. There might be no end to the orgy of street killings sanctioned by policy and public approval that feeds on desperation.
Indeed, desperation provides opportunities to those who won’t mind how history may judge them. As long as the police can show results, it won’t matter if the suspects die in a gas chamber or through firing squad passed off as a shootout. Sometimes, the best way to save a society is to betray the principles on which it is supposedly built.
Enjoy your dinner. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)