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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 28, 2019
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with Matè Espina

Too much violence

Rock & Refuge

It was another sad day for our country after the bombing yesterday morning at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu that left 27 people dead and 77 others injured. Among the dead were soldiers who were guarding the church that had been a target of terrorism acts in the past.

National leaders immediately condemned the incident that happened just two days afterthe National Plebiscite Board of Canvassers announced the official ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law which is supposed to finally usher peace in that region.

A bomb exploded inside the Cathedral while mass was ongoing and another just by the church doors, photos of which were published in social media and the sight just makes you want to cry and ask when these will killings will stop.

Malacañang called it an act of terrorism while leaders of the MILF who vowed to help in the investigation, alleged that the bombing may have been caused by elements who want to put “religious color” in the BOL.

And to think that just last December, the President ordered the deployment of another 6,000 soldiers to the area that has seen a lot of violence in the past.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the national government will give “no mercy” to the perpetrators whom he branded as “godless criminals.”I guess he was alluding to those men, who like his boss, do not believe in God.

Over the weekend, close to home we heard of the assassination of SPO4 Oscar Exaltado, deputy police chief of Station 6, who sustained multiple gunshot wounds and died on the spot right in front of JR Torres Elementary School in Brgy. Singcang which is a populated area.

I can’t imagine what a disaster it could have been if that happened on a school day.

The fact that the officer was in his uniform as he was on his way to work just gives me the chills that these killers, a riding-in-tandem team and another who served as lookout, are not at all afraid of our men-in-uniform.

Twenty-one empty shells were found in the area and just imagine the trauma the gunfire caused to those who witnessed the incident. More so when the alleged lookout, as recounted by a witness, went near the officer, took out his service gun and finished him off at close range.

These stuff that we thought only happen in movies is now in our midst and this bears the question – how safe are we? I’ve asked that before but I guess our local officials are busy campaigning and throwing accusations at their opponents to ponder about the peace and order situation in our city.

As one former official posted on his page, it seems life has become cheap in this country. The sense of impunity in the guise of the supposed drug war has indeed cheapened lives around the country.

Many on social media vouched for the kindness of Exaltado who just recently applied for a promotion while others alleged that he may be linked to some nefarious activities.

Senior Superintendent Henry Biñas, officer-in-charge of the Bacolod City Police Office, told reporters that there are claims Exaltado may be involved in illegal drugs but they are still validating this report.

Regardless, this incident just brings more questions as to what is really going on in our city that boasts of being one of the most livable areas in the country. We’ve had killings and ambushes left and right yet none has been resolved up to this time.

A friend said there will be more violence in the coming month as this is probably on the heels of the president’s warning against cops when he sacked former BCPO chief, Francisco Ebreo and four others.

If so, is this now a pattern of what our wheels of justice in this country should look like?

Exaltado was not alone. Elsewhere in the country, two other cops were gunned down that same day and they were all just in their 30s and 40’s.

Too much violence….when will this end?*

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