Maj. Marvin Indammog, Capt. Irwin Managuelod, Sgt. Jaime Velasco, Cpl. Abdal Asula.
These are the four AFP members that were killed in a ridiculous backtracked “misencounter” that plainly looks murder. The incident proved, yet again for the nth time, that the PNP as an institution badly needs reform. Although this call is not new, in fact, in various regime changes, it was always on the plate of every administration. So, what’s new? Or maybe, what should be new?
What happened in itself is rare as these two forces only differ in civil and military contexts. But what is never rare and always in picture is police brutality.
The four AFP members were on a mission in locating the Islamist extremist terrorists in the area. However, death stopped them on the way. The “nanlaban” narrative, that is continually being used against the underprivileged drug suspects, is used once again.
Former AFP chief Ricardo Visaya lamented that “many violations” have been made in the handling of the crime scene and, the “habitual violent incidents” conceived by policemen should not be covered up by Camp Crame. In the video, the former AFP chief pointed that if they (the PNP) “cannot instill discipline in their organization,” it’s time for them to go.
These “habitual violent incidents” created the dangerous norm of impunity that the recent UN report for human rights highlighted. As of this writing, in the report, only one court conviction has been made from the 20000+ deaths-under-investigation since 2016. This normalized culture by this authoritarian administration should have been the reason for a change of tactic. The systematic implementation of violence does not solve the problem at all. It merely enrages the never-ending combustion of oppression to the poor. And in a few days before the signed Terror bill becomes effective, the fatalities will only be more drastic than ever before. The only difference now is, everything will be legal.
In an internationalist lens, we can see that all people are in a common struggle against fascism that perpetuates police brutality.
In the current social unrest in the US, made by systematic racism under the hands of the police, many protesters have been pushing for the defunding of the police’s budget. The rhetoric is this: instead of funding the law and order, why not reallocate the funds to the root causes of social disorder like healthcare, education and housing to name a few. Though it does not strictly demand for the abolishment of the police, it is a better solution in this society rigged by inequality.
This opens the discussion for a more holistic change in the policing system. As history tells, the more the state oppresses, the more the people will rebel which we can see during the dictatorial rule of Marcos that many historians call as the top recruiter of the NPA.
The global fight for an equal and democratic society only shows that most of the time, the police are only there to serve and protect the interests of the state, not the people. Now, more than ever, in the days ahead, we will see the defense mechanism of this oppressive state when maintaining its elitist interests. All I can only say is 1312.
Art by Marienel Calma