Cops should beware of doing kotong (extortion). Their next victim might be related to their boss—a lesson for policemen from the incident involving a kotong police official who victimized the son of Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina.
Espina was furious and made sure justice was swiftly rendered. He should be commended for ensuring that the erring police officer swiftly got his just deserts. But should we all be sons and daughters of a powerful person in order to get swift justice?
On Aug. 19, 2010, the Inquirer reported a policeman who tortured a holdup suspect. And there was the video showing the suspect, naked and lying on the floor, with the cop pulling a string tied to the victim’s genitals, while the former was repeatedly beating the latter. This was run on TV. Of course, no one in his or her right mind enjoys viewing a cop torturing a robbery suspect.
Understandably, the reactions of those who saw it were of shock and anger. The hapless victim was shouting in agony and pain, like a helpless animal being abused.
Even if that man was indeed a thief caught red-handed, he didn’t deserve such abuse. If our police system truly values human rights, then it has no place for such cruel and abusive acts. Unfortunately, extortion and abuse of power are traits police authorities are notoriously known for. And unfortunately for the holdup suspect, he was not the son or the father of the torturer’s boss.
Espina should now take advantage of the moral ascendancy he gained in protecting his son—to stop police excesses against anyone’s son or daughter. As a father, he personally experienced how it felt when someone’s son or daughter is abused by a person in power. Any good father or mother would not wish their sons and daughters put in such a perilous situation.
Must Espina and all other “persons in power” have to feel the pain of the parents of abducted students like Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan and activist Jonas Burgos before they act in defense of those unjustly treated? The students were tortured, shackled and raped by persons in power. Until now, their commanding officer remains free, a fugitive from justice and believed to be being coddled by high military and police officials. Edita Burgos, Linda Cadapan, Connie Empeño represent the many mothers and fathers of those forcibly disappeared and tortured by state authorities. These authorities are not ignorant of the law and of the rights of suspects. But they ignore the law and would rather abuse their power.
We are each other’s kin. We must love our neighbor. We are each other’s keeper. Whether by blood or social relationship, we must ensure that our neighbors are not abused, or tortured, or maltreated.
—NORMA P. DOLLAGA,
Kapatirang Simbahan Para sa Bayan,