Devil in blue

According to biblical lore, Sunday is when everyone is expected to take a break from a week’s work. However, it has transcended its religious origins – it has become a day to be lazy, to pick up and read the thick weekend paper, or to kill time by catching up on your favorite series.

But not for evil. As I know from years of Catholic school, it is said that the devil often works its way up in unexpected places, in unexpected times. As the night of March 28 fell, it seems that the devil had to work overtime, lest they be seen as quarantine violators (again!). In Canlubang, they killed Dandy Miguel, a well-loved and much respected labor leader. He was shot eight times while driving on his way home. Ka Dandy was wearing a shirt that says: “Sahod, trabaho, karapatan, ipaglaban!”

In the same area that night, another one of their demonical brotherhood shot and killed a 19-year-old worker. Leovil Brian Pelletero was killed by a Cabuyao police officer, after having an argument. “Binaril niya agad. Kaunting pagkakamali, papatayin niya agad,” a cousin of Pelletero told Rappler. How cruel was it to kill a drinking partner over a simple altercation, isn’t it? But then again, the devil works in cunning ways.

Moving on to the metro, it was a jarring surprise for rushing commuters and drivers to see a coffin in the middle of a busy road in Quezon City. Upon closer inspection, the coffin contained tarpaulins hitting the communist rebellion. As if that was not enough, the tarpaulins also desecrated the legacy of UP students, who chose the higher path of activism, as “victims” of the armed insurgency. One can only ask: who has the audacity to buy two coffins just for propaganda, when many people could not even bury their loved ones because of Covid-19?

Shakespeare said that “hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” Three incidents in one night – and we are reminded how legally and morally corrupt these so-called “law enforcers” are.

It was the police who tried to rubbish Ka Dandy’s hard work in fighting for workers’ rights as a mere front for his “communism” but in reality they have proven that they will resort to murder just to silence the people. Not only him, but scores of activists, environmental workers, peasant leaders – even doctors! – have been killed by “masked gunmen” after enduring a flurry of death threats and being at the receiving end of the government’s witch hunt against its critics.

It was also the police who killed Sonia and Frank Gregorio over a simple neighborhood quarrel. But aside from that, when they had the mandate from the government to kill anyone who crossed it under the guise of the war on drugs, the police also killed Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz, Reynaldo de Guzman, and thousands of other victims.

Most importantly, it was the police who enjoyed the government’s distaste for criticism. Along with the armed forces and their propagandists, they trained their sights and guns towards those who dissent and to the underprivileged. They are saying that they want to end the communist insurgency, but they are instead fueling the rebellion by ostracizing legitimate calls for change in our society.  They waste billions – P19 billion this year to be exact to serve themselves, fatten their wallets and put up cheap-looking tarpaulins and these immature stunts, as if that would solve hunger and inequality in our land. 

Shakespeare was right all along, but I think he forgot to specify that the demons beyond hell are wearing blue uniforms, with badges vowing to “serve and protect”. 

Graphics by Anjela Canlas

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