Big bad egg
LOOKING ASKANCE - Joseph T. Gonzales (The Freeman) - May 17, 2020 - 12:00am

It’s a fact of life. There is a marked disparity in treatment when the instrumentalities of government are dealing with people in power versus the powerless. Why do we think people run for elections, anyway? It’s no longer about a need to serve. It’s about attaining power. Being in power. Wielding power.

Take the case of Police Major General Debold Sinas.

If it were an ordinary citizen celebrating his birthday in the middle of a community quarantine by inviting lots of friends over, serving alcohol in the midst of a liquor ban, ignoring physical distancing and face mask requirements, and overall having a jolly good time, there would be swift, implacable justice meted out to the offender.

And most everyone watching from the sidelines, who have been suffering mightily during this lockdown, would rally behind the prosecution, rightfully incensed at the blatant disregard of all the safety measures that have been imposed for the common good.

But if it were a general, as Sinas was, especially one tasked to enforce law and order, and therefore with the men and arms at his disposal to demonstrate the use of force, who embarked on the fete described above, what would we get?

First, superiors, colleagues or counterparts that are quite ready to listen to an alternative explanation --one that would mitigate, if not exonerate, the carousing partygoers. And not just that, we might even get superiors who themselves take up the cudgels for the accused, ready to go on a messaging offensive for their brother.

Then we would get craftily spun-out narratives designed to, well, spin. Alternative facts, as they say. Just a harmless celebration. It was a surprise. No alcohol was served, never mind the beer cans lurking under the tables. The general had to be polite to his guests. All these whitewashing and revisionism tactics, even gaslighting. New weapons we have gotten used to in this current political term.

We might even get troll armies. Fresh from defending the administration’s as-yet unsuccessful response to the virus, the troll farms could then be redeployed to churn out support for a beleaguered official.

Yes, that’s what they are in power for.

But we deserve better than this. We deserve accountability (my favorite word, nowadays), we deserve good governance. Otherwise, we would have descended into a banana republic not designed to better the welfare of all, but the welfare of only some. And we didn’t sign up for that. Not under the Constitution we approved.

Trolls have critiqued that we should be kinder to General Sinas, as he is a frontliner who is also dedicating his life to the service of the people. Some have equated and conflated Sinas with the entire police force, who is precisely here to serve us.

But this argument does a disservice to the many soldiers and policemen who not only enforce the rules, but likewise do obey these very same rules. In fact, if it were a lowly corporal that hosted this party, do we think we would be seeing this resistance and foot-dragging from the powers-that-be?

Nope. They might even be the first to offer the theoretical corporal as a sacrificial lamb.

The sins of Sinas cannot be washed away by the purity of the men he leads. In fact, it is to preserve their characters and the reputation that they may still enjoy that we should deal with Sinas like we do any lawbreaker. For only then will this bad (and massive) egg, once removed from the ranks of the clean, cease spattering the rest.

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