Jojo A. Robles


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Of course, no one should be killed by the police on the mere suspicion of being a drug pusher. That would still be all kinds of wrong, even if the government is waging a war on illegal drugs.

But when politicians, clerics and citizens’ groups, all of a certain persuasion, start milking the death of a young man for all it’s worth, prejudging a case that hasn’t even been filed yet and calling for the start of a revolution to coincide with one of their most sacrosanct partisan holidays, then you’ve got every right to doubt if there’s nothing here beyond seeking justice for a wrongful killing at the hands of the authorities. And if that call for revolution doesn’t go beyond the overheated editorials and columns in some newspapers and febrile social media posts of some political personalities, you know it’s just wishful thinking - with some diversionary, well-coordinated propaganda thrown in, for good measure.

Again, if Kian Loyd delos Santos was executed by policemen last week, regardless of whether he was really a hardened drug courier or a saintly young man who begged to be spared because he had a test in school the following day, it’s still a killing of the extra-judicial kind. If the three Caloocan cops who allegedly did him in can be proven to have gunned down Delos Santos, they must pay for the crime.

But can we please all wait for an investigation first by any competent body before we join the revolution? Or is that, to those who have already condemned the policemen from behind their smartphone and computer screens, just a waste of time?

Because Monday, Aug. 21, was yet another anniversary of the killing of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., perhaps it is important to remember how that case played out. As I recall, while many Filipinos outraged by the killing of Aquino immediately decided that he had been whacked on orders of Ferdinand Marcos, they didn’t call for a revolution right away.

No, what they did was to watch the Agrava Commission do its work. They followed the case all the way to the various courts that took over afterwards, even after the two subsequent presidents named Aquino basically lost interest in the gruesome killing that catapulted them both to the highest office in the land. (The 1986 revolution, regardless of what our young people have been taught in school since then, was not staged over the killing of Ninoy, but over allegations that Marcos had cheated his widow Cory in the ill-advised “snap” elections that Marcos called. That revolt would have been reprised by Noynoy in 2010, as he himself warned, if he had lost.)

The so-called revolution that was going to be launched yesterday dissolved in the rain on Edsa, because it was being fought only in the minds of the people who wanted to use Kian’s killing to bring down President Rodrigo Duterte. I doubt very much if a revolution will succeed at this time, if its proponents cannot even be bothered to come out - after making such impassioned calls in the media, social and mainstream - after a little rain.

Let justice be done in the case of Kian, if he was really offed by bloodthirsty policemen. As for revolutions, perhaps someone should check the weather first before even talking about launching them to coincide with some politically significant date.

* * *

But it’s still fun to watch anti-Duterte politicians run around like headless chickens, though, as they launch what passes for a coordinated attack that in their minds could lead to the downfall of a popular, well-entrenched government. Consider:

Just over the past few days, Vice President Leni Robredo visited Kian’s wake, as did Senator Risa Hontiveros - who upped the ante by declaring that she had in her “custody” witnesses who could disprove the police’s claim that no EJK had happened. Senator Franklin Drilon called for the removal of the Caloocan prosecutor handling the case for alleged bias, after digging up old Facebook posts that showed the fiscal was a Duterte supporter, while Senator Antonio Trillanes (whose best bud Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano fueled talks of an impending revolution) demanded the resignation of Senator Richard Gordon as chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee that probed killings perpetrated by policemen some months back.

When these politicians start acting in unison, it’s safe to conclude that they’re following a script that their old, discredited scenario-builders handed to them. And they’re apparently not just trying to bring down Duterte this time - they’re trying to drown out another story that’s been hogging the headlines lately, much to their collective discomfort.

That story is, of course, the scandalous wealth-accumulation of Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista, who is widely believed to have engineered the election victory of nearly all of the politicians who still profess the Yellow faith - and quite a few who used to but no longer do.

The urgency of covering up the Bautista story required the repurposing of the Kian story, naturally. And if you believe the Yellows who urge us to keep politics out of the young man’s case, well, you’re really a lot more gullible than you will ever know.

It’s true that Kian was killed and his death must be thoroughly investigated. But it’s also true that Bautista stands accused by his own wife of amassing billions in ill-gotten wealth—and let’s start probing that, as well, unless we can’t all think and chew gum at the same time.

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