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Public outrage over Dacera, Nuezca

 

BY ROBERT ROQUE JR.

 

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Public outrage is a blunt force. Often, it is delivered with uncalculated consequences. It is petrifying to be on the receiving end of it as an individual, but it can also lead to satisfying results when vented on offices in government known for sloth.

Take, for example, policeman Jonel Nuezca, who has been dismissed from the PNP 22 days after the video of the grisly shooting of his two unarmed neighbors caught fire on social media. The Internal Affairs Service (IAS) might want to convince us that public outrage had nothing to do with swift administrative justice in this case.

But wasn’t it just last week when PNP Chief Debold Sinas complained that a cop he had recommended for dismissal for drug use in March last year is still on the payroll? That was also under the NCRPO and the same IAS, wasn’t it?

I guess the outraged public needs more convincing, just as the court before which Nuezca pleaded “not guilty” does. As for Napolcom’s new chief, former Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, I hope he won’t be one of those learning the “dirty tricks” in the commission that could win Nuezca back benefits through reinstatement appeal hacks. Heads up, chief!

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Sometimes, I have to admit public outrage can switch Firing Line’s mode to automatic fire like in the Dacera case. Last week, I might have been too eager to condemn the people around Christine for her fate, based on the “rape-slay” claims of the Makati City police.

Now, there’s still a lot of fuzziness in what had caused her fatal aneurysm, although it’s getting clear that her closest friends seemed to have been faithful to their friendship to the end. Still, there are too many unanswered questions, and too many people left unquestioned to get to the whole truth.

As of this writing, the highest hopes for clarity are pinned on the NBI’s second autopsy, which reveals two vital yet vague points, so far – first, that a crime was committed; and second, that 100 ml of a bodily fluid was extracted. It’s also the NBI that has identified the mysterious people in “the other room” (Room 2207) at the City Garden Grand Hotel Makati and issued them subpoenas for questioning.

Oh my, if this were a basketball game… “tambak na ang PNP sa NBI, first quarter pa lang!” so my neighbor tells me. So much for wanting to recoup its image after initial “boo-boos” in this case, like the embalm-before-autopsy controversy.

Interestingly, I caught wind of one probable explanation from an insider for this “effed-up” procedure of PNP’s medico-legal officer. In the heat of the pandemic-forced lockdown, then-PNP chief Archie Gamboa uprooted medico-legal officers from their posts to augment understaffed COVID-19 testing laboratories.

As such, mysterious death investigations handled by the PNP were quickly disposed of in the interest of public health and the safety of front liners. Thus, individuals reportedly dying of natural causes were “treated” as COVID-19 cases, so they were embalmed first, subjected to a quick autopsy, and then cremated.

Unfortunately for all parties, if this were the disposition in Dacera’s case, it would remain a monumental lapse on PNP’s part. Must we wait for a bigger measure of public outrage to fix this?

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