Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Video of Cops Torturing criminal in Tondo Manila: A slice of reality

I watched the alleged video showing a cop torturing a notorious criminal snatcher. The alleged video was shared by a concerned citizen with TV Patrol. The citizen says he also got it from another source, and the source had already gone into hiding, for fears of reprisals from cops in the Tondo Manila who took part in the alleged torture.

See the video here.

This video comes at the time when people are still discussing about the death of a young carnapper by the name of Ivan Padilla. Padilla, as some alleged, was killed by cops.

Torture, really, has no place in civilised society. Cops, especially, should not get involved in such a thing. Sometimes, however, you can't really blame cops for doing these things. I covered the police beat for years and I know how cops get frustrated every single time they catch somebody stealing someone's items and they see these thieves again on the streets.

Habitual delinquents should be taught a lesson. For example, in India, cops are known for being brutal especially to habitual social deviants. Cops curb crimes in a particular area by "sampling", meaning, they get some notorious criminal out there and make a sample of him either by killing him or torturing him. That significantly lower crime rate by 80%.

Cops assigned in highly urbanized poor communities such as Tondo Manila, try to cope with the culture of the place. And the culture is rooted in dominance. You need to dominate the people to earn their respect, that's what Tondo sub-culture is. You can't effectively curb crimes in the area without sending a clear message to the habitual delinquents in the area.

Such practices are tolerated in the police establishment because it is an effective deterrent against crimes. When a series of reports showing bodies of notorious criminals floating along the Pasig during General Alfredo Lim and General Robert Barber's time in Manila, crimes significantly eased back then. The strategy is simple--violence is the only language notorious criminals know, and to earn their respect, cops should speak their language.

I am not rationalizing what these cops did. I am just presenting an alternate viewpoint. Most people would definitely agree with me, especially those living in dangerous areas in Manila. Some, however, would not. 

That criminal, notorious or not, enjoys some rights in a democratic society. Those rights are enshrined in the Constitution. Sometimes, however, people themselves negate the very exercise of these rights for one simple reason--their very acts. When they habitually harm the populace with their illegal acts, and get away with it, they negate these rights. Rights, as defined, have an attached responsibility in them. When people act in an illegal manner, they negate this responsibility and sometimes, society, through its instrumentalities, has equal right to withdraw these rights from the perpetual social deviant.