[My blog is not political in nature but somehow I promised the SWAT officer that I will blog about his sentiments. Well, it was more of him requesting their side to be aired out. :))) So forgive my ineptness to write this post but hopefully you'll still read. :)))))]
We were idle for some time because we were waiting for a traffic officer to arrive. The SWAT officers Ate Trix (my friend's sister) and I chanced upon in mobile apparently were not going to handle the vehicular mishap my friend Victor caught himself in last Monday. (He crashed his car to a Starex Van that was in front of it along Quezon Avenue. Okay. No one tell my mom.) We were idle for some time until Migi, Ate Trix and I chatted up a bit with these officers. Jubby followed suit and so did Victor. But the question that got everyone going was by Ate Trix to this one officer:
"Kuya, nandun ba kayo nung Lunes?"
It's now hard to remember the accuracy of his choice of words but I'll definitely try. But for sure, they weren't part of last week's hostage drama because they were based in Quezon City. :)))) His demeanor was more of someone that was wanting to be heard, eager to defend the profession he was part of and felt that they were being criticized more than they ever deserved.
"Unfair naman po yung kami lagi ang nasisisi. Kasi po... kaming mga nasa SWAT... para lang po maintindihan niyo... sumusunod lang kami sa mga utos ng Ground Commander... na kumukuha ng orders sa City Mayor at yung City Mayor kumukuha ng orders sa Presidente as the Commander-in-Chief."
Interestingly, he provided his own insight why the hostage taker chose the foreigners as his hostages. He said that the hostage taker probably didn't want to understand what the hostages were saying. Should they curse or beg for his mercy, the hostage taker wouldn't even feel the slightest of pity for them due to the language barrier. I asked the SWAT officer if they were trained in handling hostage takings triggered by the many postings in Facebook regarding the acronym, one being: Sorry Wala Akong Training. He said that there was a protocol they were all trained to follow and that was to negotiate and negotiate some more but once hostages are being harmed already, that's when the negotiations are considered as a failure and calling the SWAT would be the final recourse.
The experience felt odd knowing how the incident was just a week ago and they being subjected to intense scrutiny these days. Criticizing the wrong that was done during that fateful day, in terms of how they handled it, would serve just right to identify the errors and pinpoint who did what and if they were permitted to do so. We live in a country where people easily forgive and forget. Where the Church tells us to pray over just about everything. But in other countries, people are made accountable and that's where I think lies a world of a difference. Those who must be penalized are penalized, no excuses are made and entertained.
The issues in our country are very fleeting and when we're all abuzz with this issue, I wonder if there's progress with the Ampatuan Case. I was in 4th grade when I was taught that everyone had the right to a fair, just and speedy trial but I'm starting to believe that the adjectives used are just as meaningless. I'm bombarding this post with a whole lot of thoughts and points I'd like to express but the main thing here is we shouldn't generalize. Just like how we don't want the whole world to see us being represented by Rolando Mendoza, who gravely tarnished the hospitality image we have for our tourists, we shouldn't be quick to judge every Police/SWAT officer we would come across. A friend of mine did say that while the people from Hong Kong are the victims now, they couldn't say that there wasn't a time that they weren't responsible for any injustice/death to a Filipino in their country.