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‘Bato’ rocks

SO everyone expected Senator Leila to beard the lion in his den? As it turned out, top cop “Bato” had the senators lapping up his every word, congratulating him for a job well done and thanking him for his and his men’s sacrifices in the war on drugs.

It was supposed to be a hearing in aid of legislation, to discover the intent and extent of the extrajudicial/vigilante killings and DUI (deaths under investigation) of hundreds of drug pushers, dealers, traders, users, but even before the meeting could be adjourned, it was clear that the man in the hot seat, he with the high-maintenance, clean-shaven pate, had emerged as the idol of a new fan club. The only time the general felt the heat, he raised his hand to ask for permission to take a leak; it had been four hours since he sat down to answer the inquisitors’ questions.

By then, he had secured their unsolicited promises to increase funding for salaries, firearms, patrol cars, fuel, training facilities, lawyers’ fees. Oh how the senators loved him, though such expression came 24 hours after he had openly confessed, “Mahal na mahal ako ng media.”

Under Senator De Lima’s riveting “cross-examination” of her witnesses, including two women who had separately lost one spouse and one set of parents, the public was able to confirm what they had long suspected: Bad cops recycle drugs. What was new was how “30 or 40” of them took turns delivering the shabu for “repacking” to people like Mary Rose Aquino’s parents, who “remitted” R50,000 on what was to be their last trip, before they ended up dead the next day. What was new was General Bato immediately summoning to his office two of the cops named by the witness and announcing they were now under “custodial investigation.”

The twist to this story? If there’s a cop nicknamed Bato, there’s an Attorney Bato who was the lawyer of the Mayor Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, the “personality” who not long ago begged his son to surrender when the latter was identified as a “drug lord” by DU30. Atty. Bato was shot and killed Tuesday, same day General Bato was rocking the Senate with his straight answers. (Jullie Y. Daza)

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