A real-life ‘teleserye’ | Inquirer Opinion

A real-life ‘teleserye’

One netizen commented that it was like a scene straight out of a “teleserye.” A policeman shot one of the tires of the vehicle where his wife, a lady cop, was to prevent her from fleeing with her suspected lover, also a policeman. Another policewoman, the wife of the alleged lover, injured the shoulder and leg of her husband. It all happened after two police officers were caught by their spouses allegedly committing adultery inside a cramped vehicle parked in a family-friendly mall in broad daylight. The police are still searching for the policewoman, who escaped after the incident.

This is not the finale of a soap opera but a crime report filed at the Laguna provincial police office on April 28.

I grew up watching television, and being in front of a TV screen familiarized me with how the police are portrayed in the media. Many of the antagonists in one of the most popular Filipino action TV series, “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano,” were police officers. They were involved in drugs, corruption, extrajudicial killings, and other abuses of power the scriptwriters could think of. Filipino action films of the past often portrayed policemen not only specializing in catching criminals but also as experts in collecting women. The police cannot be latecomers in every kidnapping climax in a fictional drama series or film. However, as I grew up, the line that separates art and life became narrower and less visible.

I was 6 years old, sitting on the floor of our living room, when the Manila hostage crisis unfolded on TV in 2010. My young mind could not comprehend its severity, but for sure, many Filipinos did, as live broadcasts showed how passengers of a tourist bus were taken hostage; nine people died, including the perpetrator, a former policeman.


I was in elementary school when I learned the word “pangongotong.” In 2017, a list of the most corruption-related complaints filed with the Office of the Ombudsman was released and the Philippine National Police placed second to local governments.

I was 12 years old and in high school when the war on drugs began in 2016. I listened to the news while doing assignments inside our home. Other children like Kristine Joy Sailog were not as lucky, however. Three days before Christmas, Kristine Joy, who was the same age as me, was shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen whose supposed target was a drug suspect. It added to the pile of unsolved cases of vigilante killings.

In 2018, while I was sleeping soundly with my family in the comforts of our home, authorities reported that the 15-year-old daughter of drug suspects was brought to a motel by a police officer and allegedly raped her in exchange for her parents’ freedom. It would be unfair to generalize the police force for the few rotten apples in the barrel, but why do we place the responsibility of picking the good from the bad on the naïve, oppressed, and often impoverished civilians?

I am now in my 20s reading about the recent police-related incident. It is not cruel and grave compared to the issues in recent years. There were no civilians involved and no “collateral damage.” It did not spark a huge outrage from human rights groups, but the lack of serious attention it received is a dead giveaway of our expectations of law enforcement officers.


Two people who are equipped, authorized, and trained to handle guns responsibly used their deadly firearms against their spouses. Two people who are supposed to maintain public order allegedly committed indecency in a public place. Violence has dominated our television and media platforms for so long that this incident has been reduced to entertainment. The line between art and life has become so blurry that it has desensitized people, making the bar we hold for our officers so low or even barely existing.

Police brutality, corruption, and other power-tripping crimes are not soap operas that would end when viewership drops. They would persist, infiltrate our homes, and be much closer to our reality than expected. Losing our interest should not be as easy as switching channels on TV.


It is about time that we get that remote control. Turn up the volume so that those sitting in power will be compelled to listen.


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Mary Shane C. Waje, 20, is a first-year communications student at the University of the Philippines Baguio.


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