Does The Dead Deserve Our Respect?


“What can you say about a 25-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful? And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me.  Erich Segal (1937 – ), U.S.Writer.

 It is said that you should talk only of good things about the dead. Thus everyone  had been gingerly treading a tightrope and overly courteous to departed Inspector Rolando Mendoza, the chief architect of the August 23 hostage drama which resulted to 10 people dead, 8 of whom are Chinese tourists, (some account said that 2 were Canadian tourists) and about 6 others injured.

Some spoke of his bemedalled years, entirely downplaying that lately, he took the wrong turn far away from the mystique some would like us to believe that he once was, a decorated police officer  because he and others intercepted a cache of some 5 million pesos from Marcos’ gangs when they were fleeing the country in 1986.  (If you know how police operates, the loot could be more than 5 million, but the police would normally declare a benchmark, and pocket the rest).

We are a country of very excitable people  that can easily write glowing citations to our policemen for doing what they had been paid to do, “accost anyone committing a crime”.  Just like the way we lavished with admiration a taxicab driver who returned a wallet with wads of cash, left in his cab by his passenger.  We consider these two situations extraordinary because the ordinary  is that our policemen are scalawags and our taxicab drivers are plain dishonest.

Because Inspector Mendoza did something we consider out of ordinary in the past, we try to gloss over his misbehavior afterwards.  Here was policeman who in 1986 was not a bandit; he should not be a bandit now, so we ask ourselves to believe in this.   Thus we blame the rescuing police team for the breakdown in the negotiation and for the subsequent failure to secure the remaining hostages. Yes, the media take the brunt of our anger too  for covering another drama of the brother, Gregorio and his imprudent arrest by the police. The Ombudsman was not spared from our searing punditry, as well as the President, whom many consider has his hands soiled by this riveting mayhem.

We came short though of blaming the source of it all, Christian Kalaw, a Mandarin Hotel chef who lodged a complaint against our bemedalled officer in the courts of law for shaking him down on May 13, 2008 for alleged shabu use in exchange for a quick fix of P200,000.00, though he was let go for  instant P20,000.

We gloss over the incontrovertible fact that the cause of this bloodbath was Inspector Mendoza, who  armed himself in full battle regalia, commandeered a busload of Chinese tourists to drumbeat his cry  for justice and would force the court to declare him innocent of the charges, least he would execute  his hostages.  The threat and intimidation were public and overt.  There is no need to parse his message. He lost his trust in the capacity of the courts to render justice and he would want it to render justice now with lives of innocent civilians as  bargaining chips.  The way he bargains for his innocence is the way most crooks would, he should feel comfort in the company of most court prosecutors and judges.

His claim for injustice is hallow, he seems like an abortionist mouthing the position of pro-life advocates. Double-face clown, to the very end indeed.  May he rest in peace!

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