Malilong: Those Ermita barangay tanods

Frank Malilong

CEBU City used to have its fair share of “legitimate encounters” between policemen and drug pushers in which the latter inevitably died in the course of the war on drugs. There had been none since Senior Supt. Joel Doria became our city police chief. And it was not because he stopped running after the drug peddlers. He just taught his men how to do it correctly.

The Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipino awardee may have to teach the city’s barangay tanods, too. But first he has to investigate at least two of them: Junnel Sanchez who admitted having shot handcuffed burglary suspect Lendon Abadinas to death, justifying it as self-defense, a claim that is akin to the pre-Doria police favorite line of legitimate encounter; and Jerome Miral who also admitted having sealed Abadinas’s mouth with a Scotch tape because the suspect was noisy.

Incidentally, both tanods are from barangay Ermita which was in the headlines very recently after its barangay captain, Imok Rupinta, hung drug-free signs on houses that he has cleared, then stopped the campaign after he was told that he could be violating human rights and then resumed it after he noticed, he said, that some residents had fled his barangay after he launched the shame drive. Could those who evacuated have been scared of his tanods?

I’m sure Col. Doria would be interested to know:

- How Sanchez was able to carry an unlicensed firearm without being caught by Carbon policemen whose station was only about a hundred meters away from the Ermita barangay hall;

- Why Abadinas was turned over to the police hours after he was arrested and at midnight yet considering the proximity between the two offices;

- If Miral had been taught that he has no more right to tape the mouth of a suspect in jail than a nurse on an infant in a nursery even if both suspect and infant are noisy;

- How a handcuffed Abadinas could have struggled to wrest Sanchez’s gun to the point of endangering the latter’s life; and, most of all

- If both tanods believe that Abadinas deserved to die because like the drug pusher, a burglar is a threat to and has no place in society.

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Presidential son Paolo Duterte and son-in-law Manases Carpio have been cleared of any responsibility for the smuggling of the P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China and still Sen. Richard Gordon is recommending a lifestyle check on them?

Those who are closely related to high authority “are held to higher standards of accountability,” Gordon’s draft Blue Ribbon Committee report that was leaked to the media said, by way of justifying his order to the NBI to investigate the lifestyles of the younger Duterte and his brother-in-law. If that were so, then the relatives of all senators, congressmen and cabinet members, among others, should also undergo the same investigation.