“The wind howled throughout the night. You could hear tree branches and twigs breaking and cracking as the wind lashed its fury. The house creaked and shuddered as it stood against the storm. The rage and the fury continued on for hours but, by the break of dawn, everything was still. With the exception of a few broken twigs, everything outside was in order as the sun was breaking through the trees. The storm left as quickly as it came. It was quick and fast that it left very little evidence that it passed through the area.”
Similar to the storm described above, the death of a 17-year old Grade 11 student in the hands of apprehending police took Philippine social media by storm. In a matter of minutes after the story broke out, SocMed platforms were ablaze with varying opinions from the condemnation of the act to the justification of the police operation. It was one fiery long weekend in the virtual world that the “heat” seeped into everyone’s virtual life.
I had my share of the action, a decent one that is, while some of my friends had to contend with the nasty ones.
As expected, politicians started appearing from the blaze. While some of these politicians were sincerely aghast with the death of the student, there were some who really had the gall to make a futile attempt to make the story their own. The call to organize was allowed to float for people to digest, with one politician even inciting that there was a call for a revolution. The call was made to organize on the day where the country was incidentally celebrating the death of a supposed hero – an Aquino.
As Monday unfolded, I was glued on my social media platforms, shifting from Facebook to Twitter and back, for updates. There was none. It was complete silence in the virtual world except for a “spurt” on the issue every once in a while. It was so uncomfortably silent that I asked friends if they were experiencing the same in their feeds to which they confirmed the same observation.
And just like how the storm came, the massive fury, or the perceived massive fury, about the incident quickly died down with only a few more taking their arms to the fight. The politicians who “rode” into the fight with their fiery chariots were suddenly silent. They were no where in sight during the gathering at the EDSA. As fast as they rode with the storm, it was in the same intensity that they faded out in the oblivion.
So with the furor and the silence of the student’s death, I picked up a couple of facts of this particular case:
Fact #1: The death of the 17-year old gave us a reality shake.
The death of the 17 year old was a reality shake of some sort for most of us. It was a long time problem that was staring at us on the face. My reality shake was two-pronged for me – the reality that the drug problem that we face transcends all ages and the reality that, despite the efforts to clean up the ranks of the PNP, we still cannot deny the existence of rogue cops.
While most of us have shown our disgust over the student’s death, we have to face the facts that the drug probem that we face has gone from bad to worse over the past years and has now creeped into the younger generations. The question whether the student was a user or a runner is still subject for proof but the truth that is in front us is that the problem is now affecting our youth. What’s worse is that the law on minors have given unnecessary power to drug traders to use minors in the trade.
Again, the guilt of the police officers involved in the incident is yet to proven by the courts but the existence of rogue cops is a reality. I seriously think that the presence of rogue cops in the system was primarily due to the negligence that the police force received from previous administrations. Personally, it is only this administration that has given me that change of behavior towards our policemen. I have full respect and admiration to the PNP compared to before. Yes, rogue cops do exist but we should not let a few of them damage those who work with honesty and integrity.
Fact #2: Investigate before judgement. Elevate your discourse.
It was interesting to find people jump into conclusions even with the smallest bit of detail given to them. Prior to the investigation, the CCTV footage presented by the media gave way to immediate judgement. I even came across a statement that the CCTV footage was enough proof to the alleged crime, even without the proper confirmation. The same arguement goes to the ones in the defense of the police. A mere social media post made the 17 year old a drug runner. Seriously?!?
Furthermore, the conflict between the parties was further aggravated by harsh, even threatening words, between supporters. The fight to seek justice does not lie with the harsh words and threats thrown around. It’s funny how people can quickly turn around with bashing and name throwing when they find themselves at the brink where they feel that they are losing their grasp in their arguements.
Elevate your discourse by discussing possibilities and not passing judgement. Let the proper authorities investigate and then you can discuss the judgement after it has been given.
Fact #3: Be watchful of those who use these cases to push their own selfish agenda.
The biggest fact that I pick up on the 17 year old student’s death was how fast politicians picked it up and use it to push their own agenda AND how quickly they also fade out into oblivion when things don’t run the way they were hoping it to be. It was interesting that the most controversial ones were the ones at the forefront and started aiming and shooting. But when their calls remain unheeded, they faded out in the dark. They were like knights in shining armor galloping but, when the rains came drenching them, they shudder back to their stables as fast as they appeared.
Be watchful of these people. They will always take advantage of the weak. They will use people to push their own agenda. They will also be quick to leave once they sense that they will not reap their “perceived” benefit from the people and the incident.
After all that was said and done by these “influential” people, not one of them showed up in any of the gatherings that sought justice for the 17 year old.
Th 17 year old victim was brought to his final resting place yesterday. I admire those individuals who are still taking the fight for justice on social media despite the sudden silence after Monday. I admire them for standing on what they believe is right and justice.
I pity those who suddenly fell silent. I pity the politicians who came out strong at the start but was silent, not even a murmur, as the body of the student was being entombed. It just goes to show where your ideals stand, not for the people but for your own vested interest.
Hindi ninyo nakuha ang gusto ninyo kaya nanahimik kayo.
You know what my biggest worry?
The 17 year old student is now resting in peace. I fear that after yesterday he becomes just part of the statistics. With his burial comes the deafening silence of injustice by the perpetrators and those who used this incident for their own selfish intent.