To make everything clear before anything else, I don’t intend to glorify, much less justify the ghastly scene caught in that torture video leaked to the media (oh and if the point is not yet driven home emphatically by now – for the record, it was an exclusive by ABS CBN).
Such barbaric and inhuman act simply has no place in a civilized and dignified society we live in.
Or is it a civilized and dignified society that we actually live in to begin with?
Just taking a step back one bit and thinking out loud here. What if we make the context closer to home than Asuncion area. Living in more upscale areas may provide a false hope of security; that one is not subject to the harm and terror at the hands of these criminals, so why bother giving it a thought?
But then again, we will always use our roads, pass by areas teeming with these hoodlums to go about our daily lives. What if we’re actually dealing with chronic, serial criminals here who have absolutely no regard for the law, makes a mockery of the ideals of a justice system whose aim is to reform and rehabilitate more than to punish?
They point their paltiks or balisongs at their victims, get their stuff, subject them to anguish and may be a life time of trauma. Worse would be some sexual abuse here, non fatal stab wound there or if they feel like it, or if they are too drunk or too drugged to think about it, install a gripo on the side of the abdomen or bore a bullet hole on their heads. Every day these morons play their role to the fullest. On a bad day they may get caught,spend a night or two in a cell, get out as fast as you can say “torture” then off they go to the streets again, on the prowl, waiting to grab on to their next meal ticket.
What if these misguided souls (by choice and occupation) happen to chance upon your parents, siblings, sons and daughters, etc.? What if one of your family members is the unwilling recipient of their next thrust of the knife or their bullet?
These criminals have rights; but so does the citizenry and the state. Why should the rest of the population live in constant fear and terror at the hands of these hooligans? That they should be given a chance to reform and mend their ways – at the expense of what? Your wife’s and child’s lives? Your parents’? Yours?
Lack of education is not an excuse to not understand the words: “Masamang magnakaw.” And a grumbling stomach is not a justification either. Try working, no matter how menial, stupid.
But in the same breath, torture is still not justified despite the repeated heinous offenses of the culprits.
In a way, by consciously living a life of crime without a tinge of regard to life and limb of their fellowmen, and no remorse for their past acts, these monsters have effectively signed up this kind of fate – just not through this cruel and graphic manner I guess. But the fact remains, deep inside in each one of us, there’s this thought that actually longs for all evil elements to just be eliminated or contained. The only uproar here is in the manner manifested to us by which the lawbreaker was eliminated or contained.
Articles on summarily executed individuals are just daily fare in the tabloids; paperwork related to these cases just pile up in the CHR. Ivan Padilla will just end up to be a statistic. Harrowing ordeals of inmates and detainees are for everyone to listen to and get a glimpse of when visiting the national penitentiary. Being confined within those walls for a significant part of one’s life by the way is still torture, albeit not of the physically brutal kind.
These are not media scoop material though. And we are partly oblivious to them.
At the end of the day, I think the prevailing subconscious sentiment is: just get these thugs as far away from us as possible. And don’t make it messy in doing so. It’s not primarily because these hardened criminals can still be considered human beings.
It’s because the rest of us still are.