Friday, August 29, 2008

If It Bleeds, It Leads

The spate of high-profile murders in recent weeks has given Iloilo City a bad rap. The city's image as a peaceful and genteel community has been eroded by the grisly slayings of a number of prominent people. First there was the American businessman murdered in Arevalo and then there was the shooting of a certain Eddie Pedrajas. Last Friday, Provincial Fire Marshall Casiano del Castillo was assassinated while walking home by two motorcycle-riding men (again in Arevalo). The latest victim is an aunt of Senator Miriam Santiago, Adelina Palma-Bermejo, whose dead body was found in her Jaro home.

That the victims are prominent citizens may partly explain why the local media have given front-page treatment to the murders. But then the local media have always reported on every rape and killing incident irregardless of the stature of the victim (remember the editorial adage "if it bleeds, it leads"). On the whole, Iloilo City is still a peaceful enough place for grisly crimes to still merit front-page treatment in local papers unlike in other big cities like Manila where killings are an almost daily occurence. People not only talk about it but truly get upset every time there is a murder in Iloilo City. If Doland Castro and Gus Abelgas were in Iloilo their crime reports would lead the local prime newscast each time.

I am truly befuddled by the recent rash of killings and the surge in petty crimes (which usually go unreported in the local media) in the city. The alleged motive for the murder of the American businessman and Inday Miriam's aunt is robbery while the assassination of Fire Marshall del Castillo is attributed to anomalies in the Fire Department. More mysterious is the death of Eddie Pedrajas whom many claim may have something to do with the city's nefarious illegal drugs trade. It is clear that the murders are unconnected and quite random.

The flashflood that hit Iloilo City last June may have something to do with the rash of criminal activity. The flood has brought about great destruction and left many poor people even more destitute. Some may have become desperate enough to commit murder. The murders occurred just when Iloilo City has a newly-installed chief of police so it may also be that criminal elements are just "testing" the mettle of Senior Superintendent Bartolome Tobias. The spate of violence is a great challenge for the incoming chief of police. Since he is new, Senior Superintendent Tobias has to show his competence by solving the high-profile crimes at the earliest possible time and give the people peace of mind. If I were him, I would increase police visibility all over the city to prevent the commission of more petty crimes and assign all my best investigators to solving the crimes. Otherwise I'm afraid the people of Iloilo City might clamor to have him replaced if he doesn't meet their expectations.

1 comment:

AdB said...

This is alarming...

Why the rash of crimes indeed.