Saturday, July 30, 2005

Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

A night after watching a movie about good cops (The Untouchables was showing on HBO), we ran into a couple of bad ones.

My sibs and I were on our way home from dinner in Greenbelt. My brother was driving, and we were singing along with The Who blaring away on the car stereo. Suddenly 2 cops were in front of our car, waving us down. We stopped, my bro rolled down his window, and one of the cops told him he had just seen him run a red light. Bens reacted in outraged disbelief, for we hadn't even come from the direction the cop was claiming. A heated debate ensued, with Bens yelling at the cop and refusing to hand over his license, and the cop harping on the same imaginary traffic violation and refusing to give his name. The scumbag kept saying he wouldn't give my brother a ticket if he just showed him his license, ''kasi madali lang naman kaming kausap.'' That of course is police code for ''madadaan kami sa lagay.''

I kept jumping in to back my brother up, while trying to be the placating voice of reason in the verbal tussle. Hanks got our mom on the phone, who advised us to just give the cop a hundred bucks and get it over with. However, it didn't have to come to that, because finally, I think we managed to wear him out with our arguments and incessant protests. The cop caved and showed us his name, my bro showed him his license, which the cop returned with a perfunctory warning to be more careful next time (but not without another ''madali lang kaming kausap'' which we ignored), and that was the end of the drama. I guess either the cop was intimidated by our apparent righteous anger and invocation of citizens' rights, or he figured that we were just too dense to take a hint and give him something to buy a midnight snack with.

My brother was shaking with fury as we drove away. He is the least confrontational of the 3 of us (my softspoken sister hides a terrifying temper and is prone to violent outbursts), and he could even be called a pacifist, so it was surprising to see him flare up like that. I could sympathize though, because nothing makes me more angry than to be falsely accused of something and be unjustly punished for it.

On hindsight, it was foolhardy and even dangerous to have had a shouting match with an armed cop at such a late hour. It would have been easy enough to slip him a bribe and settle the whole thing. But as my brother said, still seething as we drove home, he would have rather gotten a ticket than given the bastard money.

After that incident I had newfound respect for my brother (whom his big sister usually regards with exasperation because of his irresponsibility and happy-go-lucky ways). I give him credit not only because he had the guts to stand up to a cop and defend himself, but more so because he had the backbone not to stoop down to the sleaze's level. I just hope he doesn't have another run-in like this again, because crooked cops don't give a rat's ass about principles, and moral fiber does not make one bulletproof.


At Monday, August 01, 2005, Anonymous Jac said...

Ah man, that just sucks. One of the things i don't miss about the Philippines, corruption! Argh!

It's a good thing you didn't give that buwaya some money! Good for ya! Hmph! Stupid policeman!

Publish his name for more humiliation! Let the people know about him! Tsk tsk tsk. Sorry for being mean here! Wheheehehhee. Work made me insane.

At Monday, August 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yikes. you should've just intimidated the cops with your straight English! haha :) it worked for my cousin. hehe.

miss you ms. lim! :)


At Monday, August 01, 2005, Blogger Anica said...

You know, you could look at it in another way, from the policeman's probable point of view.

Our world right now is not as perfect as we would want it to be. Now, it's all about survival. The cop could have been doing just that--surviving, or at least trying to. Who knows, he may have started out okay, but others influenced him to commit such acts only to make ends meet. He could be in serious financial trouble that 100 bucks would give him much help. Or maybe he needs to bring back at least some extra money to his family in order for them to live.

You could say that I should not take the side of this cop or that once you give in to one, you give in to all. However, just think of it as an act of charity. These are people who are less fortunate although they may seem to be heartless creatures with basically no morals. Think of it as giving alms to the beggars who seriously need to buy food. Think of it from his POV. If you were in his shoes, wouldn't it sometimes cross your mind to do something that's extreme or against your personal morals? It's all about surviving. After all, nothing is free.

Then again, it is against the rights of a citizen to be charged of something he did not do. But think about it. The value of 100 bucks to him could be ten times more than it is worth to others. Besides, what you give you will receive a thousandfold. ;)

At Monday, August 01, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Ida: I miss you too. :) I was contemplating using the straight English tactic but I was afraid of ticking him off further. He might have accused me of being an elitist, among other things.

Ange: I'm sorry but I refuse to see it that way. Life is hard but that doesn't give anyone an excuse to trod on the rights of others. I don't care if that hundred bucks might have been going to his child's tuition or his wife's medical fees. There are many honest, decent ways of getting the money. Extortion isn't one of them. Besides, in that situation, he was the oppressor, even if a hundred bucks means more to him than us. AND no one picks on my little brother and gets away with it.

At Monday, August 01, 2005, Anonymous Laura said...

Nice point to bring up, Anica. I disagree though. I don't believe in rationalizing the incident. The police may be trying to make ends meet for his family. But that doesn't really justify his actions. He's a policeman, for goodness's sake. He's supposed to uphold the law. His act totally contradicts his occupation.

Society won't function properly if we're all driven by compassion and pity. I mean, look at the Philippines. The spirit of charity is all well and good, but if it's leading people to think they deserve things they don't work for--well, that isn't right.

In fact, we can't keep on blaming society for our problems. True, it perhaps is the main source, but each individual is responsible for his own actions. You choose what type of person you are.

If I were your brother, Ms. Lim, I would have run that cop over.

Or maybe not. Most probably not. :P I loathe crooks.

At Monday, August 01, 2005, Anonymous Laura said...

Edit: Society won't function properly if we're -always- driven by compassion and pity.

LOL. I made myself sound like some sort of heartless monster.

At Tuesday, August 02, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

"Heartless" is relative, isn't it Laura? (like most students think their teachers are "heartless" when they are actually very nice people ;p) Oftentimes the right thing to do is easily perceived as heartless, because justice seems to override mercy. But justice is nothing more than tough love, and given a choice I prefer it over mercy. Mercy is kind, but not always fair, and in any type of ordered society, fair is more important than kind.

At Monday, August 15, 2005, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Laura, Pau told me about what happened to your family. Now I understand why your last comment seemed so strongly-worded. I sympathize. I'm just glad you guys were unharmed.

Would you mind giving me your blog link, by the way? Pau mentioned you wrote about the incident, and I'd like to read your thoughts on it.


Post a Comment

<< Home