Justice for Tara Santelices

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.

8 thoughts on “Justice for Tara Santelices”

  1. Wow… I read the article just now and I was shocked. I really hope Tara recovers, but the article states that there’s only a 10% chance of that happening. 🙁

  2. hi, please support the concert for tara on sept. 24th at bistro. would you like a copy of the poster so it could be posted here? thank you.

  3. Thanks for being so honest. My own selfish reasons to be political these past few years boil down to this: I don’t want to raise a family in this kind of society (I blame government for past relationships that have ended badly, though it might have been that I’m naturally anxious about commitment), and I think going abroad is the cowardly option. I may eventually choose to be practical but that only means I’ll be heading out.

  4. @ JONJ, yes please send over a copy of the poster so we could post it at our family’s blogs. Thanks

    @BRIANB, I know it’s a bit disheartening for a young guy like you who’s thinking of starting a family to see all the corruption, violence and venality around us. But I believe there’s still hope for our country. We must not give up the dream of a better life for our children, hopefully here and not abroad.

    @ LUCAS, we can still pray and not give in to despair. We can still pray despite the anger and bitterness in our hearts.

  5. Hi,
    Thanks for doing this blog about Tara Santelices. We are not entirely helpless in the face of this desperate peace and order situation in our streets. We can still try to do something, if not for Tara and your son, may be for your daughter and others like her. There’s an online petition in behalf of Tara. I hope you can visit the site and sign it and spread the word to others. The link is: http://gopetition.com/petitions/justice-for-tara-santelices

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