No room for violence

A show of determination is needed to convey to politicians with a streak of savagery that the government means business in halting partisan violence.

The sense of community volunteerism or Bayanihan was a key factor that pulled the country through the two-year pandemic and has made the recovery phase quicker.

Defense Secretary Carlito Gálvez Jr., a veteran of the war against Covid-19, is now harnessing the strategy this time to defeat a similarly festering blight which is the crime wave that threatens to again engulf the nation.

The assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo last 4 March is feared to signal the start of open season for deadly killings preceding the 2025 national elections.

Violent repercussions in political rivalries were effectively contained in the previous administration, culminating in orderly and credible elections.

The Department of National Defense is calling on the public to pitch in information about the killing of Degamo which followed four other politically-motivated attacks.

Several questions on the brutality that Degamo suffered have been surfacing lately.

Presidential chief legal counsel Juan Ponce Enrile indicated that among the nagging issues is the motive of the killers.

“To kill him, what for? Who paid them? Who egged them to do it,” these are questions that must be answered, according to Enrile.

The veteran public servant said simple logic should always guide the investigators.

He agreed with the suggestion to focus on the possible involvement of the security men of Degamo in the crime.

“If the security personnel are disloyal to you then there’s trouble,” he said. “Take it from me, I’ve been through that.”

He added: “Officials should make sure that their security details are 101 percent loyal. They must be ready to die for you, but only if they’re doing it as a dangerous job.”

Enrile said the assailants seemed to have memorized the layout of the area where they killed Degamo.

“That means they had been casing the place for some time,” he added.

No sane person, he said, will commit a crime unless it is planned.

“Who was the possible source of the details of the compound if not for a person familiar with it,” the ace lawyer added.

Galvez said the government would use all information gathered “to get the justice everyone deserves.”

The government formed a joint special task force, which consists of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, that would be made accessible to civilians, Galvez indicated.

He said the special task force was formed on the instruction of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to suppress lawless violence in Negros Oriental.

The specific instruction of PBBM was for Galvez to make sure that “such incidents do not happen again.”

“The President was very firm in his guidance to solve the case as swiftly as possible and bring these lawless elements to justice,” he said. “There is always time for reckoning and this day is that time.”

A show of determination is needed to convey to politicians with a streak of savagery that the government means business in halting partisan violence.

Power should not emanate from the barrel of the gun but from the results of the ballot.

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