Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Nadakpan na si Gringo!"

Gringo Honasan is once again in the news. "Nadakpan na si Gringo" (Nahuli na si Gringo) was the typical conversation starter yesterday. Scanning today's reportage on the incident, I think Manila Standard TODAY has the best photo which they aptly captioned "End of the Line." The photo of a gray-haired Honasan being wheeled away on a wheelchair seems to say it all: Gringo is now a tired, old, "broken" man. His former Senate colleague Tito Sotto is at his side, looking on with grave concern. Inquirer reports that Honasan fractured his left foot jumping from the roof of the Greenmeadows townhouse where he was located by authorities. During his heydey as a dashing Special Forces colonel), Gringo could probably jump from a two-storey building without breaking his leg. But the fact is, he is no longer in his prime. Honasan is now but a shadow of his former self.

Another conversation topic yesterday closer to home was the shooting incident inside the Iloilo Provincial Capitol involving members of the politically prominent Nava clan of Guimaras province (JC Rahman Nava is currently the Governor). The Nava vs. Nava confrontation involved Sumakwel Nava (father of Plaridel Nava who is currently the Provincial Legal Officer of Guimaras) and Napoleon Nava, his nephew, a local "media practitioner" - meaning he is a blocktimer for Aksyon Radio. According to reports, Sumakwel Nava (the Uncle) got pissed with his nephew (Nap Nava) because the latter was using his name when asking for money from politicians. Uncle berated Nephew for tarnishing the family name with his illicit "fund-raising activities." And when Nephew answered back, Uncle shot him in the leg with his .45 caliber pistol. At present, Nephew is in the hospital and Uncle is nowhere to be found.

Now, people are asking how Sumakwel was able to bring a gun inside the Governor's Office. Board Members Niel Tupas, Jr. and Domingo Oso are now blaming the security guards for the "lax security" at the Capitol and are planning to conduct an inquiry into the matter. Are you kidding me? If they body searched all the mayors (who were conducting a meeting at an adjoining room when the shooting incident occured), I'll bet most of them were carrying firearms. It is no secret that almost every politician in Iloilo packs a gun for his/her protection. The same is true with most local journalists. If you are an ordinary security guard, would you have the audacity to frisk a mayor or a reporter and ask him to relinquish his gun to you? Remember that these people are in constant fear for their lives. Asking them to surrender their guns would be tantamount (at least from their point of view) to asking them to entrust their lives to you. I honestly doubt if these people would entrust their lives to some security guard they do not know. The only time politicians and local journalists agree not to carry their pistols is everytime President Arroyo visits Iloilo because the PSG absolutely prohibits guns (not their own) near the President.

Please, Board Member Oso, Board Member Tupas, spare the guards. They are just doing their jobs... No, they just like to keep their jobs. If you really like to solve the problem, you must lend your name and political will into the "No-Guns in the Capitol" campaign. You must be prepared to lose much political capital and kiss a promising career in politics goodbye. For most mayors/reporters consider their guns as their security blanket and stripping them of it would really piss them off. The Capitol guards must be able to say with conviction to a complaining mayor or gun-toting journalist: "kay Board Member Oso, or kay Board Member Tupas na lang kamo magreklamo ser. Gina-sunod lang namon order nila." But if you are unwilling to lose political capital over this issue, it is best to just let the issue die a natural death.

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