What a day it was last Monday.
In all government offices, the week starts with a Monday morning assembly of employees in front of their respective offices for the flag-raising ritual. Everybody stands still, puts the right hand over his or her heart while singing the Philippine National Anthem. The highest official of the office usually gives a short message and then everybody is off to work.
The shot that rang out at the Tanauan City Hall immediately reverberated in the country through radio, TV and the internet. In an hour, the assassination of Mayor Antonio Halili was the talk of the town.
The brazen murder of the mayor, surrounded by employees including his security team in front of the City Hall by a sniper about 150 feet away, dominated the conversation that day as we all went through our tasks for the day, surviving the purgatory that is Metro Manila traffic.
In a basketball-crazy country, a basketball game is a stress reliever. Monday night, there was the game between the Philippine National Team Gilas Pilipinas and Australia at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan in a FIBA World Cup Qualifier.
With four minutes left and Gilas trailing by 31 points (79-48) the basketball game turned into a free-for-all street brawl.
Emotions were high with both sides having their own version of who was at fault. I’ll rely on lawyer and broadcaster Mel Sta.Maria, who watched the game and tweeted this: “Pogoy bumped Goulding who flopped making it appear Pogoy charged. Still that was normal basketball physicality. Then Kickert deliberatly elbowed Pogoy. That elbowing started fight. Visitors should have been respectful. Pinoys should have controlled themselves. Both are at fault.”
There’s a heavy feeling that the disorder and uncivility that we witnessed in the basketball game have become part of our psyche nurtured by the example set by an uncouth president.
In the same way that the killings, disturbing as they are, are actually not surprising after two years of Kill, Kill - peppered speeches of Duterte.
But it was still a cause of distress to hear another mayor shot dead. Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija by two motorcycle-riding assassins in Cabanatuan City, less than 48 hours after the murder of Halili.
We have hardly recovered from the brazen murder of Fr. Richmond Nilo in Nueva Ecija behind the church alter while he was preparing to say the Mass.
Dark alleys are no longer the only killing spots. They do it everywhere, any time. That’s impunity.
Meanwhile, a bigger crime is in the works against the Filipino nation: Charter Change.
Let’s not be distracted.
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.