Asked about his thoughts on Eddie Gregorio’s murder carried out recently by motorcycle-riding men in Laoag City’s business district, Mayor Michael V. Fariñas said what any common politician is expected to say. He called the shooting of the 28-year old lawyer an “isolated case.”
Firmly believing that “the situation in the city is still peaceful,” the father of the city may have had the best intentions in mind. He wanted to keep an atmosphere of calm and sobriety among a people still distraught over someone so young, so brilliant, and so promising to be so dead.
What perplexes me though is his succeeding statement, “A crime can happen anywhere, anytime.” In broken Iluko, he continued, “no agplano iti maysa a tao, hanna a pilien whether in the morning, lunch time, malem wennu rabii.”
An average student of logic would not miss the inconsistency in the mayor’s pronouncements. First he says the incident is an isolated case and then concedes that such crime can be planned and executed anytime, anywhere.
The mayor gave two contradictory statements which cannot be both correct. If one is true, the other must be false, and vice versa.
I buy the second statement: crimes can happen, and in fact they do, anywhere murderers decide to, even here in Laoag.
Gregorio’s was the eighth death in eleven years among lawyers in the province. Add to this the still unresolved murder of Vice Mayor Jimmy Chua and of ordinary folks, and you could either acknowledge that the situation is a cause for alarm or buy the mayor’s stance and continue to live in denial.
The local chief executive may be right to say that Laoag is a peaceful place if statistics are to serve as basis, and comparisons are to be made with crime rates in other cities. But peace, dear karikna, is not a matter of frequency but of probability.
Provincial Board Member Kris Ablan hit bulls eye when he delivered a privilege speech lamenting that human life has gone so cheap that anyone can get the services of hired guns for as low as five thousand pesos. (Some say the price can be even lower.)
“Everyone is now a target. This madness has to stop immediately,” Ablan urged.
What apo bokal considers as madness, apo mayor dismisses as “isolated.”
Until the mayor himself can walk confidently in the streets sans security detail, I say: No, sir, peaceful we are not.