Pray for the Philippines

Charity begins at home.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) may want to consider the above saying in relation to the situation in Ukraine.

The association of clergy leaders asks its faithful to pray for Ukraine, which is under attack from Russia.

Why doesn’t the CBCP instead ask for prayers for our country, which is beset by corruption in government, poverty and insurgency?

Ukraine’s problem of being invaded by Russia is minor compared to our country’s problems.

Besides, Ukraine will soon be able to get over its crisis because its tormentor, Russia, has become a pariah to the rest of the free world.

Russia can’t afford to have its assets in other countries frozen and its products for export, like crude oil, banned in western countries.

Yes, Pope Francis is right in his grief over the worsening condition of Ukraine, but he should also look at the conditions in the Philippines.

After all, the Philippines is the only predominantly Catholic country in Asia, so the pope should also ask prayers for our people.

Praying for the suffering in Ukraine is like a poor family feeding its neighbors when it has no food on its table.

* * *

“The CBCP is one with Pope Francis in his grief over the worsening condition of Ukraine,” CBCP president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said in a statement.

The good bishop noted that the attacks on Ukraine by Russia happened on the same day that the Philippines commemorated the 36th anniversary of the bloodless EDSA revolution that supposedly restored democracy in the country.

What’s the connection between the situation in Ukraine and EDSA? Non sequitur (it does not follow), as a Latin saying goes.

Hasn’t the CBCP issued an edict to its priests not to use the pulpit to campaign for any candidate?

But isn’t David making a broadside attack on a presidential candidate who’s way ahead in the surveys?

Doesn’t the Bible say that the sins of the father should not be visited upon the son?

* * *

Who can protect us, law abiding citizens, from criminal law enforcers?

Honestly? Nobody.

If a civilian victim of an abusive cop turns to the police, his complaint may fall on deaf ears.

Adrienne Dominique Castor, a 22-year-old college student, was shot and wounded by Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Cpl. Reymark Rigor for no reason at all except that the cop was drunk.

Rigor’s fellow cops at the QCPD tried to downplay his offense.

Castor was on his way home aboard a Grab passenger car when he and the driver saw a man, who was riding a motorcycle, pick up something on the road.

After picking up the object, which turned out to be his gun, Rigor walked, zigzagging, toward Castor’s vehicle and pointed a gun at him and the driver.

Castor didn’t realize Rigor shot him until other motorists told him there was blood on his chest.

Luckily for Castor, his wound was not fatal.

Two investigators, Senior Sgt Bryan Busto and Cpl. Jaycee Tordil who went to Castor at the hospital, listed his wound as caused by mere “physical injuries.”

Rigor surrendered days later with his firearm and admitted being drunk at the time.

Rigor would have been charged only with “physical injuries” by the two investigators had not Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte intervened.

Castor’s parents complained to Belmonte about the apparent attempt at cover-up by Busto and Tordil.

It was only after the mayor intervened that the case against Rigor was changed from physical injuries to frustrated murder, a much graver offense.

Busto and Tordil are now in hot water for trying to protect their fellow cop.

Aside from Busto and Tordil, several policemen are also facing charges for not responding to a crime that was being committed near their station.

Chances are they may also get the axe like Rigor, aside from being charged with neglect of duty in court.

Let’s see how the frustrated murder case against Rigor and the neglect of duty against Busto, Tordil and several other cops play out in court.

The judge might acquit Rigor, Busto and Tordil because the prosecution failed to prove their guilt “beyond reasonable doubt.”

We saw that in the case of the two police commissioned officers in Mindoro, Senior Insp. (Capt.) Magdaleno Pimentel and Insp. (Lt.) Markson Almeranez, who shot and killed an anti-crime crusader in 2016.

Tried by the Manila Regional Trial Court, Pimentel and Almeranez were acquitted because the judge, who tried the murder case, decided that the prosecution could not their guilt “prove beyond reasonable doubt.”

Reasonable doubt? The two ranking cops were caught and wounded in a firefight with pursuing policemen.

They could have been killed had they not identified themselves to their pursuers as fellow cops.

* * *

It seems Dionardo Carlos, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, is far behind his immediate predecessor, Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, in disciplining abusive cops.

While Eleazar, who’s running for senator, would blow his top over reports of abuses by policemen, Carlos seems to take them lightly.

Carlos’ reaction to Rigor’s abusive behavior and the attempt at cover-up by his fellow cops could only be described as phlegmatic.

That is kulang sa libog, in street parlance.

* * *

The Paranaque City government may want to investigate the construction of a 24-storey building at the Marina Palm Coast village.

The construction site has no safety nets.

Objects from the construction site have fallen on the roof of a house nearby.

The objects, one of them a hammer, could have been fatal to a person.

The building contractor, Ironcon, has not given attention to the complaint of the owner of the house.

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