Were they really goons?
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The report that the military in Negros has issued a statement that “goons” are the suspects in the firing of grenades on the compound where the mayor of Manapla, Negros Occidental, resides, then Negrenses will understand why the police in some towns and cities are also quick to blame the New People’s Army for other acts of violence reported to them.
While it is true that statements sometimes come out with alleged members of the rebel group owning up for the crimes, it is difficult to understand why the military and the law enforcement officers are so quick to find a scapegoat, oftentimes without some serious attempts to determine the culprits.
On Wednesday night last week, two grenades, believed fired from a grenade launcher exploded within the compound where Mayor Lourdes Escalante of Manapla town lives. The blasts created craters in the area, but they were far enough to cause injuries to residents.
It has also been reported that the explosives used were not simple ones, they allegedly cost some P55,000 each. Could ordinary “goons” afford to squander such amounts just to frighten a politician and members of her family? It is to be noted that the mayor’s husband, Manuel Escalante, is himself a former mayor of the town. It is therefore not farfetched to suspect that the firing was, somehow, related to politics, this being the election season.
For the military, therefore, to quickly pronounce that the perpetrators were “goons” is rather premature, if not irresponsible. Since the statement was made on Friday, or less than 48 hours after the incident, one wonders how intensive the attempts to identify the culprits had been.
Was the “assessment” made to assure the community that neither the New People’s Army, or other elements that could be related to politics, had something to do with the crime? That could be underestimating the intelligence of the people who may draw conclusions of their own.*