Reckless endangerment?


I have long been cautioned by family and friends about dwelling into “dangerous issues” like corruption, illegal drugs and crime in Iloilo City. The concern is valid. There is a history of violence against media people who bravely report stories, and make commentaries, about them. In fact, law enforcement authorities have issued advisories that “clear and present threats” have existed against me specifically. Why push the issue? I am always asked.

My answer has always been the same. If I don’t expose these stories, then nobody will. These criminals (to include public officials engaged in graft) will feel free to do as they please, and the situation can only turn from bad to worse. To my mind, my personal efforts might seem puny, and futile, against the rising power of corruption and organized crime in Iloilo City. But at the moment, it’s the only serious effort to stem the tide.

I feel bad that many agencies mandated with stopping corruption and crime are failing at their jobs. The Commission on Audit and the Ombudsman have moved at a snail’s pace in investigating complaints against corruption. It is frustrating. As I wrote a top COA official recently, lives have been put at risk for the sake of exposing corruption, and yet the agency isn’t giving the issues the urgency that these deserve. The Ombudsman is moving quicker and faster than during the time of Tanodbayan Merceditas Gutierrez, but it still takes too long for cases to be resolved. One needs to be persistent in doing follow up work on these complaints to prod them to action.

The Philippine National Police is losing the war against crime. In Iloilo City, several policemen have been killed, or wounded, in drug-related violence. Unfortunately, no suspects have been identified. No prosecution of cases has been carried out. It definitely does not create public confidence to see the PNP unable to pin down even those who kill or wound uniformed men and women. If cop killers can get away with murder, then it follows that killers of ordinary people will find an easier time eluding the wheels of justice.

My commentaries won’t be able to stop corruption, illegal drugs and murder. But I can’t give up on trying to awaken those officials who might just be able to restore decency and a sense of justice to our society. I can’t stop writing to inform our people about the ugly things that are taking place in the hope that they, too, will convey a message of collective anger over the situation.

 

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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