Sign an online petition for Tara and other victims of violent crimes:http://gopetition.com/petitions/justice-for-tara-santelices Please spread the word to others
It took awhile for me to write this post, for the simple reason that gathering my thoughts and stilling my feelings was so difficult and painful. I hesitate to write about it even now, as I know I can’t do it dispassionately.
When I read Cathy Guballa’s article on the shooting of Tara Santelices, I wave of emotions went though me. I was discombobulated (there, I finally had a chance to use that word).
But truly, I could barely breathe while I was reading it. I’m hyper-ventilating even now. I remember my own painful experience so many years ago when I first got word of my son’s mishap. I was stunned and disbelieving, even as I ran around like a madman trying to find a way to save his life. I can honestly say that I know how Ms. Santilices’ parents and loved ones must feel. I’ve been there.
The vicious crime hit another very personal chord as I too have a daughter, also a recent graduate of ADMU, who also plays the guitar in a band and who has kept me up nights waiting for her to return from many a “gig”. Not her fault. She has every right to live her life as pleases, within certain societal and familial boundaries, of course, and for which I hope we have properly set the guideposts. But my daughter has every right to stay out late, to explore the world, to engage it on her own terms. And to come home safely to us.
And so, aside from shock and sorrow from what befell Tara, I’m also very angry. Angry at this murderous criminal still roaming free. Angry at the local government officials of Cainta, where no police authorities could be found to look after a major thoroughfare, one of two or three main roads linking the town to the rest of the world, one of the busiest on our side of Metro Manila. The place where she was held-up and shot inside a jeepney is barely a kilometer away from a principal transport junction and commercial district, where 2 huge malls are located, and the traffic of people and vehicles is incessant, 24/7. I know because I live nearby.
Where the hell are the cops when you need them ? What’s the Honorable Mayor Mon Ilagan, the media-savvy chief executive of Cainta, doing about it ? Isn’t this an incident worthy of ABS-CBN T.V. Patrol coverage ? It’s outrageous and sickening. This is a town where an entire call center inside a building was held up just a few weeks ago. Think about it. An entire call center.
I’m angry at a society that can allow this to happen, where the rule of law is of so little value that a gun-toting maniac can have his way with his innocent and defenseless victims in one of the most heavily-populated parts of the metropolis. I’m angry at myself for my impotence and helplessness.
And I’m also angry at God, irrationally and against my better self, for allowing this to happen. The old, unanswerable questions have resurfaced : Where is God when things like this happen ? Why does he allow evil to roam the world with impunity ? Why do the righteous suffer and the wicked thrive ? Why did this happen to Tara ?
But who else can we turn to in the darkness ?
In the meantime, while I grapple with my own demons, I join Tara’s family and friends in seeking redress for this unspeakable crime.