By: Alex P. Vidal
“I do know one thing about me: I don’t measure myself by others’ expectations or let others define my worth.” – Sonia Sotomayor
THOSE who expect newly designated Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) deputy city director for operations, Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espendio to singlehandedly erase all the drug traffickers in Bacolod City from the face of the earth must either be high on drugs or just simply foolish and naive.
Espenido is not Hercules.
He is not even a Dirty Harry-type of law enforcer like what we all saw in the Clint Eastwood-starred Hollywood films in the ’70s and ’80s.
Espenido is a media creation.
His sensational stints as the top cop in Leyte and Ozamis City where he led bloody crackdowns against prominent members of clans engaged in illegal drugs made newspaper headlines yes, but they were all done with direct supervision and order from the higher-ups that adhered to the iron-fist policy of the Duterte administration against illegal drugs.
Espenido did not become an instant star by killing the bad guys on the spot in a chance encounter or random acts of crime like Charles Bronson in The Death Wish.
Any wily and determined cop “assigned” to perform President Duterte’s wishes will also hog newspaper headlines like Espenido for a “job well done.”
Espenido was “placed there” for a special task; he was not an accidental hero, or an off-duty cop who bravely chased five hooligans in broad daylight and walked away over their dead bodies with a smoking gun like Wyatt Earp.
It’s funny that fans of Extra-Judicial Killings (EJK) treated Espenido like he won the gold medal in the world gymnastics championship when he was recently officially introduced as the new BCPO deputy.
He was presented in the media like a folk hero who just crossed the River Styx after rescuing the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys.
It’s funnier when Espenido invoked the name of God when asked by reporters if his campaign against illegal drugs in the City of Smile would be bloody.
He reportedly declared: “If it’s God’s will, hindi man tayo makasiguro nyan kasi ang sa atin trabaho lang. ‘Yung satin lang is the rule of law. ‘Yun man ang pinangarap ng Presidente natin na mandate ng batas sa PNP.”
It’s not God’s will to kill crime suspects, much less those who have not been properly arrested and convicted in court.
It’s not God’s will to execute unarmed civilians on suspicion they have links to illegal drugs.
God’s law is just. Man’s law is banal and imprecise.
In parading Espenido and disclosing the nature of his assignment in the BCPO, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has telegraphed its punches.
Drug lords and other outlaws in Bacolod City and other cities and provinces can now prepare how to handle the PNP’s latest move.
Aside from donating sports equipment to the Iloilo City Government, we request the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to finance the training of Ilonggo athletes with the potential to win gold medals in international competitions.
Carlos Edriel Yulo, 19, the first-ever Filipino to win a gold medal at the world championships in Stuttgart on October 12, came from the grassroots.
Aside from the world-class facilities where Yulo and his fellow gymnasts trained, they were given the opportunities to hone their skills abroad from financial assistance given by the PSC, among other sources of training funds.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)