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Monday, August 1, 2016

Road or Online Rage: Which Should You Fear More?

Wazzup Pilipinas!
"Today, the Philippines is gaining a reputation for a rampant and nationwide campaign of extrajudicial killings. 
Voters knowingly endorsed this when they elected the incumbent president and his anti-crime platform that tacitly included extrajudicial killings. 
Citizens knowingly endorse extrajudicial killings when they post and comment death threats online against an erroneously identified road rage murderer or a college student critical of the incumbent president. 
Filipinos knowingly endorse the deaths of innocent fellow Filipinos as acceptable collateral damage with their silence and lack of outrage." - Romano Cortes Jorge

Now that the real killer of the cyclist from a recent road rage incident has been caught by the authorities, people now rant against him instead of the previously mistaken killer who was tagged by a popular online site and thus has gone viral due to a frenzy of shares on social media.

The suspect in the Quiapo road rage slay, Vhon Martin Tanto, apologized for the death of bicycle rider Mark Vincent Garalde. But sadly, any amount of apology won't bring back the victim to life. He could rot in jail but that won't return the lives of people from both the victim and accused side back to normal.

The ex-Army reservist who was caught by intelligence operatives in Masbate was seen on surveillance footage shooting a cyclist to death after a road altercation. He now faces murder charges after this arrest. PNP Chief Bato Dela Rosa says a "villain's welcome" awaits Vhon Tanto in Manila. The Manila police already has taken custody of the suspect.

A second victim, a scholar of the Manila City government, remains in an intensive care unit when a stray bullet from Tanto's gun pierced the left side of her back and grazed her kidney.

Cyclists held a memorial in honor of fellow cyclist Garalde. Please remember that cyclist have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to same rules and regulations. Motorists must look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes, and opening doors next to moving traffic. Respect the right-of-way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you.

What bothers me the most is not just the road rage incident but also how social media contributed to the smearing of reputation of the innocent causing possible harm and stress to both the wrongly accused and his loved ones. Please cut Top Gear Philippines some slack. They have done more good than bad for this country. It's also the gullible people that are responsible for many of them have shared without verifying facts.

People who accepted and shared the wrong information are as guilty as the first who shared the news. No matter how good are intentions are, we are liable if we did not validate our information as accurate and correct. A slight variation from the truth will always be nowhere near our search for fairness and justice.

The online bullies ranted and cursed like they know what really happened even though we only see a blurred video footage with no audio. The surveillance video showed no clarity of what really transpired before the incident. We don't hear any of the verbal exchange of assaults between the two individuals involved. Yet, many netizens quickly harassed the suspected car owner wrongly accused due to a wrong plate number.

I fear that we have gone more violent online where no one can prevent us from going wild and crazy.

We can also see from the CCTV footage that both personalities involved in the road rage were both violent in nature. I am just wondering that if the cyclist also had a gun with him, he could have done the same as what the car owner did.

Road rage is never cool and causes more harm than good. We should keep our cool when driving eventhough other motorists, or commuters, act irrational and abusive. It's probably the horrible traffic congestion we encounter everyday. It's probably the stressful realities happening all around us that has been so overwhelmingly turned us into savage beasts ready to strike anybody who crosses us.

However, with the rise of a new President with a reputation that is nowhere near decent, Filipinos today are more encouraged to openly curse and wish other Filipinos dead - following the example of the new leader of the country with a history of violence. 

Everyone is worried to be accused or mistaken for criminals, especially the drug users and pushers. Even Filipinos who might threaten the power of the idolized leader, including those who disagree with the leader's supporters, are not safe to roam the streets now.

Nowadays, people get killed and authorities will dismiss it as normal and reason out that the fatalities resorted to fighting back. However, it has always baffled us why they would kill and not incapacitate instead. The many bullet holes would say otherwise as just a means to protect themselves because that will be too much as defense to their safety. One bullet can already stop anybody who intends to hurt you, so why multiple shots are often seen at crime scenes.

Disturbing to know also that only the small time and lowly suspects gets busted and eventually killed. Seldom do we see big time criminals get caught, or even killed.

The road rage incidents happening is an indication that people are getting so confident in abusing their rights. Knowing the President endorses vigilantism and immediate killings of even the accused, more and more people are finding the nerve to kill when opportunity allows.

Are we blaming the President for the several occurrence of road rage, irrational killings by policemen, cardboard justice for drug pushers, snatchers and the likes? Maybe, maybe not. 

Remember that we should not be attacking the person but the behavior that he or she indulges. We are persecuting how gullible Filipinos are for patronizing Duterte justice and order, and not Filipinos in general.

Please take note that no matter how impressive it seems that "Change is Coming," we cannot welcome a change that puts us into violent times. We would never support a nation filled with raging hearts, may it be on the road or at the comfort of our homes behind our computers, smartphones or tablets. 
"This is not the Philippines I can be proud of. This is no longer the Philippines I can call my own.  
I want my country back. I will stand my ground."

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