Death by presumption and how to win enemies fast  

Winston Arzaga

PRRD’s war  on drugs recently claimed its youngest casualty in 5- year old Danica  Mae Garcia  of Barangay Manobo in Dagupan City. It  was  reported that  the child was on her way to school  when an unidentified man barged into the eatery of her grandparents and shot her grandfather  who was reputed to be a drug pusher in their neighborhood. A stray bullet  fatally struck Danica in the head  while his grandfather survived. It  was heartrending for Danica’s  neighbors to see the child took a bullet  for  her  grandfather. It  was a scene  sure to  linger in their memories for a long long time. Ironically  for Danica’s family, her senseless death had brought together  her estrange parents in a sad reunion at her wake. But  more so, Danica’s death highlights  once more the growing number of unnecessary  victims  of the drug war  either brought about by policemen themselves or  by vigilantes  obviously on a rampage of their own. Looking at the  manner  law enforcers deal with  most of their prey, it would seem  that the slightest  resistance or provocation  are  enough justification for a kill. Either the suspected pushers became suddenly suicidal to  shoot it out with the police or the  police finding  their targets with maximum precision, whichever, we have dead bodies to count day in and day out. There is just too much death by presumption in this raging  war .

And the death of  Danica is a grim  reminder  that  anyone who might be in the wrong place and time could end up as a collateral damage  in the growing statistics of the war on drugs.


The  call of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for the abolition of  Barangay Councils  all over the country is one proposal bound to be dead before it could even see the light. The Speaker’s off – the – cuff statement  must be one of those things that entered his mind  without  the benefit of a  thorough study. Abolishing  Barangay Kagawads  is  politically risky for  PRRD’s  administration that’s fast gaining critics for its war on drugs. If  ever, the Speaker’s  idea is a perfect lesson in “How  to Win Enemies and Outrage People”. It is certainly unfair to brand  kagawads  as do – nothing officials  unworthy of public expense. Kagawads provide the check and balance  to the power of the Chairman in the barangay. As  barangays have its own share of the Internal revenue allotment, it is the kagawads  who appropriate  the funds. To me, being guardians of the purse  is  an indispensable  function.

              But our worst fear  may just come to pass,  that by  removing   kagawads  from public service , we pave   the way for the rise  of petty  tyrants with unhampered access to public funds, a situation we cannot  tolerate in our smallest unit of  government.

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