By Alex P. Vidal
“New media and mobile entertainment are revolutionizing the way people learn about the world.”—Stephen Kinzer
WE credit the excellent media coverage since day one of the sensational murder of Iloilo businesswoman Claire Diergos because it caught national attention and police authorities were able to dig deeper and didn’t blink from the start until they managed to recently file a murder case against 10 suspects led by former San Dionisio, Iloilo mayor Peter Paul Lopez.
If not for the sustained and aggressive coverage of Iloilo reporters, the case would still be part of the police crime statistics until today—with due respect to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO), of course, should be lauded for working silently and professionally while doing their homework behind the scene without any loud droplet.
Criticized for being “slow” and seemingly tentative, the IPPO stuck to their exhaustive investigation and patiently pursued all leads and possible angles before the slam dunk. “Better late than never,” the police must have humbly said.
Without the press, the case certainly wouldn’t warrant the kind of attention and publicity it has been getting since Diergos’s dead body, which had multiple stab wounds, was found inside her Mitsubishi Montero Sport on Oct. 26, 2021 afternoon in Barangay Inangayan, Santa Barbara, Iloilo.
Different criminal cases have stockpiled in various police precincts and their preliminary investigations have gathered cobwebs, but Diergos’ case was among those given utmost priority and importance probably because of the manner she was executed, its impact that shocked the Ilonggos amid the pandemic.
And because one of the suspects is a prominent personality, the case became even more larger-than-life now that additional possible motives with resemblance to Hollywood crime and romance films have floated.
We aren’t saying that the case has already been solved and Lopez, et al are guilty. In the first place, they have not been rounded up yet and placed behind bars.
When police file charges against the suspects, they normally brag that the “case is solved.”
It depends on who is declaring it and on what basis, or whose criteria of the term “solved.”
“Solved” after the suspects have been “identified” and formally charged in the prosecutor’s office is different from “solved” after the accused (once the case has been approved and elevated in the trial court they are no longer called suspects) have been convicted beyond reasonable doubt.
Most recent email I received from New York State Governor Kathy Hochul:
Alex, On Wednesday (January 5), I delivered my first State of the State Address where I outlined a plan to create a New Era for New York by embarking on a bold, far-reaching policy agenda that advances our recovery and restores New Yorkers’ trust in government.
I have spent my lifetime in public service. I know the people, the places, and the challenges across New York, and I know the path we must take forward to lift up each and every New Yorker.
That’s why I proposed an ambitious agenda to: Rebuild our healthcare and teacher workforces, Provide tax relief to those who need it most, Speed up economic growth and create good paying, middle-class jobs, Strengthen our infrastructure and confront climate change, Secure public safety and make housing more affordable, Ensure every New Yorker has a roof over their heads, And enact bold reforms for our State government.
My fellow New Yorkers: This agenda is for you. Every single initiative is filtered through the lens of how it will help you and your families. I encourage you to learn more about our over 220 proposals to help our state come back stronger than ever before. Ever Upward, Governor Kathy Hochul.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)