Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Davao's Law and Order and Sensationalism

It was the first ever flashflood in the history of Davao. The bridge just cracked. The First Elected Woman Mayor's hands are full. And as if it's not enough,an impending demolition was set in Agdao. And her punches akin to pound for pound champion Manny Pacquiao's punches, put Mayor Inday Sara Duterte in the headlines! Ang Bagong Pambansang Kamao, Korina Sanchez said.


Photo from realinspace.blogspot.com

Then the lines were drawn. Non- Dabawenyos, those in Manila especially viewed how rude the Mayor is. How she put the law into her hands immediately. The gender aspect were analyzed. "If Inday is a male, would the people react differently?" Dabawenyos (and its adopted children) particulalry those in the demolition area, on the other hand cheered.

It is true that Inday Sara knew and approved of the demolition. What she wanted is only a two-hour extension. Will it make a difference? The Sunstar editorial wrote it well:

And that is what is lost in a lot of bureaucrats: the understanding that most of the time, the people, especially the masses, would just want their leader to be there when the worst hits them. Their leader need not even have to cause a demolition order to be stopped, and their leader may even just watch on the sidelines with them while their houses are ripped to pieces. For them, that is enough. Mere presence of a respected person, sometimes, is enough because in that mere presence, they find some assurance that somebody in authority has seen their situation, and thus will be able to think up of some concrete actions.

This was what was lost on President Benigno C. Aquino III when he arrived to visit the flood victims of Cotabato City more than two weeks after tens of thousands of evacuees have already been suffering from the floods. Thus, by the time he arrived, the people no longer saw in him the leader they believed in. No wonder both the Cotabato city mayor and the people did not have anything good to say about his visit. Apparently, still clueless about the nuances of leadership, Malacañang attacked the Cotabato city mayor instead and enumerated what has already been given - including the heavy equipment that was removing the water hyacinths from Rio Grande de Mindanao coursed through the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the sacks of rice coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Much like a father making up for his absence by delivering all that a child wants, when the child only needs his presence.

There are nuances of leadership for a people to respect and follow their leaders, and most of the time, these are not about material things and sweet promises. Leaders after all, are looked up to for their vision, guidance, and reassuring presence.

When Mayor Inday called for a two-hour hold so she can be there with the people, even after she said she can no longer do anything to stop the demolition, she demonstrated an understanding of this kind of leadership, and thus we can only applaud, but, let us make this very clear: not for the punches thrown but for the understanding.


What was also lost in the discussions are the guidelines on conducting demolitions. Who really violated the law? There is a 30-day allowance before the demolition will be conducted.

Manong Alex, the taxi driver I talked to from the airport has valid questions raised too! "Why is the piece of land bought by a Chinese businessman when the other side was already distributed to its settlers (or squatters, if you prefer)?" Why it was not checked that there are about 3-4 families who had titles on that area?" Questions that no one dared to scrutinize. Also, when Mayor Sara was punching him, she was muttering, "Kabalo ko naay nagpaluyo nimo nga dagkung tawo, usa ka negosyante...(I know there is someone behind your back, powerful people, a businessperson...).." but it was already lost in translation. Frenzy ensued and judgments were hurled.

Manong Alex' point of view is something to think about too. "Pag dili ka adunahan, kaluoy ra jud ka tawon. Ang atong balaod dinhi murag para ra man sa adunahan. Mulihok jud ang hustiya para nila. Kitang pobre maghulat ra tawon." (If you are not rich, you are pitiful. Our law it seems is only for the rich. Justice works for them swiftly. For us poor, we have to wait long)."

He has a point. And I could not argue for we know how excruciatingly slow our justice system is. Look at the Amptuans. And look what happened to the Vizconde case.

Manong Alex is even critical at how the case is shown. Look at how they treat the "news." Sensationalism at its core! Footages were shot by Davao-based reporters but the ones who report are their colleagues from Manila. And we know the power play in media. A Davao-based reporter declined when he was asked to make "an angle" and point the Duterte mafia-like rule. The "Dudirty finger" was one of those antics, perhaps?

No I don't say that punching Abe Andres justified Inday Sara. Not even the dirty finger. But when context and everything is blown out of proportion, we will be at loss.

Kuya Blogie Robillo also cried foul on the misleading news report from Inquirer about the demolition incident.




To have a better understanding on this morality vs legal ethics vs governance, try to read Randy David article on this. Or maybe Lourd de Veyra's funny, sarcastic way of seeing Sara as TNL would be better read.


Sana mas makakita pa tayo ng maraming ganito sa gobyerno. Sapakan. Mukhang mas may resulta pa ‘to kesa sa mga walang katapusang mga imbestigasyon at hearing (in aid of lecheng legislation). Wala namang pinupuntahan. Hindi sibilisado? Sa panahong ito, ano na ba ang depinisyon ng “sibilisado?” Ang magpakapormal na pakikipag-usap (malalim ng Ingles) sa lobby ng Manila Pen, pag-suot ng Amerikana habang ninanakaw mo ang pera ng taong bayan? Ang magkaroon ng bwarsh-bwarsh na accent sa korte habang pinagtatanggol mo ang isang pamilya ng mamamatay-tao?


And I presume, many reechoes Lourd's sentiments (as quoted above). And as Prof. Randy said, a new folk hero was born.

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