Seares: If someone shoots you, would police form a task force to solve the murder?

Pachico A. Seares

SITG for Ginatilan killing

CHECK OUT THE REQUIREMENTS. You probably didn’t know this before, now you do.

There’s a PNP unit called Special Investigation Task Group (SITG), which was created after Ginatilan, Cebu Councilor Maria Liza Toledo. was gunned down Wednesday, March 11 just outside the municipal building after she had attended a Municipal Council session.

Provincial Police Office Chief Col. Roderick Mariano said an SITG was created because Toledo was an elected official.

An SITG is ad hoc, formed, then disbanded when the crime is considered solved upon the filing of charges against the suspect or suspects. The police has standard operating procedure for “creation and activation” of an SITG to handle heinous and sensational crimes, issued last Jan. 6, 2011.

A heinous/violent crime is one “directed against politicians and elected government officials, officials appointed by the president, judges, prosecutors, IBP lawyers, media practitioners, militant party-list members/leftist activists, foreign nationals and other nationals through shooting, bombing, strafing, assault, and other violent overt acts resulting in death and incapacitation.”

A sensational crime is any one of the above crimes and the incident has “attracted national/international public scrutiny.”

Note the persons who are in the list.

[1] Elected officials, even barangay councilors, are listed. Appointed officials have to be appointed by the president. Cebu City Councilor Nina Mabatid qualifies but an appointee of Mayor Edgardo Labella does not, unless he is an IBP member or, yes, a politician.

[2] Lawyers are included but they must be Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) members-–card-bearing, with no unpaid dues?

[3] Media practitioners are in (yeee!) but would they quibble over the definition of “media practitioner”? Would radio block-timers and bloggers qualify? How about “fake- news” media and Facebook gossips?

[4] Party-list members don’t have to be members of the House and, like leftists/activists, only have to be “militant.” I suppose the PNP rates who will qualify.

Note that the victim to deserve an SITG has to die or become incapacitated—I suppose disability must be within the meaning of the Labor Code—by an “overt violent act,” preferably by “shooting, bombing, strafing, assault.”

Even more qualified is one who meets all those requirements and, drum roll, the crime “attracts” national or international “attention/scrutiny.”

No guarantee

IT’S MOSTLY HYPE. Forming an SITG for the murder of a politician, elected official, presidential appointee, media practitioner, or militant activist/leftist does not guarantee early solution of the case by the capture and prosecution of the suspects.

There were murder victims for whom SITGs were formed but until now no one has been indicted for the killings.

An SITG brings importance and hype to the case, gives it weight, the “gravitas” to keep the wheels of police investigation and detection moving but the happy ending—the “sense of justice” that solution brings—fails, more often than not, to come.

‘Brutal epidemics’

LIST OF MASS KILLERS. President Duterte didn’t mention them all, in chronological order, but he managed, in that famous “The kit is the kit” speech recently, to make his point that “every generation, no epoch,” has its killer epidemic. Adding “brutal” to “epidemic” is supposed to lend horror to the description, like the adjectives “deadly” or “virulent” to “virus.”

The worst pandemics in recent history, some of which the president failed to mention, include:

[1] HIV/Aids pandemic in 2005 to 2012; toll: 36 million;

[2] Flu pandemic in 1968; toll: one million;

[3] Asian flu in 1956-1958; toll: two million;

[4] Flu pandemic in 1918; toll: 50 million’

[5] Cholera pandemic in 1910-1911; toll 800,000+

And others which include more of flu (the Spanish flu) and cholera and the Black Death or bubonic plague (toll 75 to 200 million).

‘Jailing’ Speaker Cayetano

ALAN PETER’S PROMISE. House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano made a promise, apparently to convince skeptics that he is serious about not shutting down ABS-CBN operations until “such time as the House/Congress will have made a decision” on the network’s franchise. And the promise is he would be willing to be in jail “in anyone from ABS-CBN will be imprisoned for operating while hearings for its franchise are still ongoing.”

I can’t see a situation where ABS-CBN will defy an NTC cease-and-desist order but assuming that it does and a network executive is imprisoned because of that, how does Speaker Cayetano keep his promise? He will go to the House sergeant-at-arms and ask him to lock up Cayetano at the Batasan? No other jailer in the country will put him behind bars for that unfulfilled commitment to ABS-CBN.