By Alex P. Vidal
“If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.” — H. L. Mencken
POLICE Regional Office (PRO-6) director Brigadier General Leo M. Francisco was alarmed by the sudden upsurge in political violence victimizing local chief executives all over the country, the latest of which was the brazen massacre in Pamplona, Negros Oriental on March 4 that killed Governor Roel Degamo and eight others.
Francisco vowed to safeguard public officials in Western Visayas even as he offered to undertake a threat assessment to determine if there’s a need to rev up their security.
Government officials in Western Visayas must be ecstatic. For sure, they also trembled in fear, in one way or the other, when some of their fellow elected officials and their bodyguards in other regions were gunned down in bloody killings these past weeks.
Francisco’s gesture was laudable. At least it’s tantamount to helping prevent a gigantic problem rather than be caught flat-footed and start to initiate a pound of cure.
If all the Philippine National Police (PNP) officials in the country think like General Francisco, some of those ugly ambushes and political killings would have been minimized if not totally prevented.
But, unlike some politicians in other parts of the country, public officials in Western Visayas aren’t known to be violent.
Thus it’s a remote possibility that ambuscades and massacres in the name of politics like what happened in Mindanao and Negros Oriental recently will escalate in Western Visayas.
There were some reported heated political rivalries in Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, and in some Iloilo municipalities, but they were far from spiraling from a simple debate into bloody shootings.
Unless some of those who can’t accept defeat in the elections happen to be lunatics, political vendetta in the form of gangland-style killings is far from happening within General Francisco’s turf.
We noted that most of those who lost in the recent elections in Western Visayas didn’t bellyache openly and vowed retribution.
They opted to nurse their heartaches privately and waited for the next election to try their luck once more.
Defeat in any election was not the end of the world for most Western Visayas political aspirants.
Many incumbent public officials in Panay and Negros Occidental are professionals or degree holders who will not run amuck if they lose to their challengers.
Western Visayas politicians are not utak pulbura or trigger happy. They settle their conflict after the polls like sportsmen and women and act like statesmen and women. After a defeat, they know how to assuage their feelings. With moral support from their families, they move on with their lives.
No heartache means no violence.
Those who resorted to violence and mass killings in other parts of the country were probably hoodlums and psychos who accidentally became political figures. Shame on them.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. The skin of our faces has a certain amount of color of its own, but the main part of the color of the face–at any rate, among people with light-colored skins–is the color of the blood shining through the skin. It is the heart that drives the blood through the skin of the face.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. How hot is the sun? The temperature of the surface of the sun is estimated at about 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun’s interior may be 40,000,000 degrees. At these temperatures, molecules of matter can not “hang together.”
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. There is a certain amount of salt in all our food, and one of the properties of salt is to draw water from the tissues toward the kidneys where the waste liquids are filtered.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)