On Wednesday, Bureau of Corrections lawyer Fredric Santos was shot near his daughter’s school as he was on her way to pick her up. He is the fifth such BuCor employee to be killed since November 2018, and the 15th since 2011.
Santos had previously testified at the Senate hearing on the granting of Good Conduct Time Allowance to inmates at the national penitentiary. He was supposed to do a “tell all” of the irregularities in the implementation of the law, but had backed out before he could shed more light on the matter.
We remember, of course, the public outrage that ensued upon our discovery that the law could in fact allow convicts, even those of who had committed heinous crimes, to regain liberty in exchange for “good conduct.” How “good conduct” was defined was an enigma, especially since numerous convicts had already been released, or were due to be released, before all this became public knowledge.
In September, the Office of the Ombudsman suspended Santos alongside 29 others for allowing the questionable release of prison convicts. The Senate hearings also painted a clearer picture of what is happening at the national penitentiary, where it appeared some quarters were more equal than others.
The public outrage over what was going on at the BuCor, as always, eventually gave way to outrage over a string of other issues.
It does not mean that the cause for the outrage has disappeared. Oh no, it has not—far from it. Santos’ death is a clear, unequivocal warning to those who might be tempted to even consider speaking out.
There are many things in our country that makes us want to retch. The extent of the corruption and cover-up in some agencies is just one of them.
May our outrage, then, not be finite—may it never just flow from one issue to another. May we be capable of being angry over many things and of refusing to forget how brazen some of our officials are. It is only outrage—not passive resignation—that will move us to correct the many ills threatening to devour us.