Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In the Line of Duty

The circumstances of Leticia Ramos' and Nellie Banaag's deaths struck me personally. Nellie Banaag, public school teacher, and Leticia Ramos, pollwatcher, where burned to death when Pinagbayaran Elementary School was burned at dawn of the day after the elections. They died while doing their respective duties.

Their death struck me because of my mother. She is a public school teacher. It may sound melodramatic, not to mention morbid, but it really could have been her. She is now the principal of her assigned school thereby not tasked to count the votes but before that, tallying the votes was her job during elections. Had one circumstance be different, that is my mom and Banaag switching places, then what happened to Bannaag could have happened to my mom. Such accounts of senseless election violence, specially when such innocents were caught in the crossfire of mindless political wars. This is the reason for my anxiety every election day until the counting and the delivery of the election returns to the municipal canvassers. It does not matter that our place, God forbid, have yet to experience election violence of this kind. (Our place is notorious for indiscriminate gun fire and dangerous weapons related violence and death on regular days but not election period.)

That is why my mind would not allow itself to understand or comprehend why some people will result to anything, even senseless killing, just to place themselves in power. Some will resort to this just to prolong or prevent others from winning even though they themselves would not. It is indeed a shame that these things happen. The thing is, I am not the one who should feel ashamed. Sadly those who should don't.


The commission of the crime resulted in many other injuries. One victim,Victim Guillermo Malaluan, 44, died 7 days later while being treated at a hospital in Manila. He was thus the third fatality in the dawn burning of the Pinagbayanan Elementary School a day after Election Day.

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