EDITORIAL – Erring on the side of caution
() - October 20, 2007 - 12:00am

What is wrong with the Philippine National Police? Why is it now looking into the “possible liability” of a company that warned its employees, by text messages and e-mail, of a gang initiation rite that could prove extremely dangerous to motorists.

The warning involved a supposed requirement for membership in a gang called Bloods in which prospective members are asked to drive around at night without lights and then to shoot and kill the first motorist who blinks his own lights as a matter of courtesy or warning.

If the company actually issued the warning to its employees, a warning that eventually leaked to the general public, then it did the proper thing. Instead of being eyed for possible liabilities, it should be commended for its prudence.

On the other hand, if the company erred in issuing the warning, then it erred on the side of caution. It is both wrong and unfair to call the warning a hoax just because it is erroneous. A hoax is a falsehood that is deliberately spread as truth with an intent laced with malice.

Besides, even if the specific warning is a hoax (as a concession to the love affair of the police with the word), it does not preclude the hoax from evolving into something very real, considering the great capacity of evil minds to absorb crazy ideas.

The warning issued by the company to its employees is an internal matter and it cannot be held liable if the warning eventually got passed on to the outside world out of a genuine concern of some employees for the safety of their own friends and relations.

That is why it is consternating to know that instead of taking the matter seriously, the police are quick to dismiss it as a hoax. Hoax or not, the emergence of gang-related violence is a new criminal phenomenon that the police have miserably failed to address.

When will the police consider something as serious, when they start counting dead bodies? Not only will it be too late, it will be criminally negligent, considering the unresolved summary killings which have metamorphosed into drive-by shootings and now possibly this.

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