One ought to be careful with one’s words and actions these days. The accessibility of hand-held devices that can take photos or videos and even stream events as they happen makes it difficult, if not impossible, for people to deny whatever they have said or done.
Take for instance that video showing how a vehicle of the Manila Police District rammed over protesters in front of the United States Embassy on Wednesday.
At the start of the clip that has now been shared numerous times over social media, the driver of the vehicle, whom the police refused to identify, went backwards, sending the protesters running to avoid it. After a while, the driver stopped and advanced again, and like a madman did not care who were standing in his way.
Any doubts as to the extent of the injuries from this episode alone, and the mindset of the driver, will be extinguished by the video. And yet the chief of the National Capital Region Police Office says the driver was merely extricating the patrol car from the rallyists who were trying to flip it over.
Among the 50 or so injured were students and indigenous peoples demanding the removal of US presence in the Philippines —oddly enough, sharing the sentiments expressed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The image of the patrol car does little to convince us of the official line that Filipinos now feel safer walking on the streets at night. We recall with horror how the two masked men, on board a motorcycle, who gunned down an anti-crime advocate turned out to be men in uniform themselves. The considerable percentage of the more than 3,000 suspected drug dealers or users also died in the hands of police officers who were arresting them. They reportedly died in the struggle.
We condemn the violence that seems to be the norm among some law enforcers even as we trust that the number of decent, conscientious cops still exceed that of the power-hungry ones. The police leadership must know what to do with its members who lend notoriety to the organization instead of truly making the people feel safe.