Human Rights

Grand Gestures

Thankfully, yesterday’s hostage-taking incident ended peacefully, with Jun Ducat releasing the kids and surrendering on 7pm as promised. I checked out the coverages of ABS-CBN and GMA (since we chose not to cover it) and found out both networks filled their news with stories relating to the incident. It was all they reported. Except perhaps the showbiz news, about some Viva Hot Babe joining showbiz or something. Not a second was spared for other events like Jovito Palparan’s filing of candidacy as nominee of Bantay party-list; Bayan Muna’s filing of candidacy; and UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston’s initial report on RP extra-judicial killings to the UN Human Rights Commission.

It was as expected. A drama like that makes for great television. I remember that Costa-Gavras film where John Travolta played a security guard who held up a museum full of kids. Like Jun Ducat, the Travolta character too was a sweet guy, good to the kids, kind, and forced only by circumstances to do something criminal. In Travolta’s case, it was his job. He got fired by his boss in the museum. Ducat’s intentions, he says, are much more noble, that is, the education of the very kids he held hostage. Nevertheless, the drama was just as cinematic.

Ducat obviously has a keen sense of how to use the media — before negotiating with the cops, he called up Ted Failon, who was then on air in DZMM, to ask him to mediate. The media was all over the incident, even CNN made a live feed of the surrender, a respite from all their sensationalist coverage of the bombings in Iraq and the Middle East.

I suspect he did watch those hostage negotiation films including that Travolta-Dustin Hoffman film (whose title I forgot…inatamad na ako mag-Google for it, hehe…). Or that at least he was also keen of the workings of negotiations with politicians. People like Chavit, Atienza and especially Bong Revilla (although one could question if he can convincingly deliver a line or two. I haven’t seen any of his movies.) know how to make promises. And this being the season of promises (elections) — I’m actually surprised Prospero Pichay didn’t show up at the negotiation; he could have tried his “pangarap ko ang pangarap mo” line on Ducat to see if he can be convinced — Ducat made sure the politicians’ promises were broadcast live before surrendering.

Ducat’s kids say they are proud of what he did. He was “selfless and heroic”. That may very well be true. His intentions may be good, but in the end all he did was make more money for the Lopezes and the Gozons. We did manage to have Chavit and Amable Aguiluz promise to send those kids to school. But will that promise hold up after he had been locked up? And will the future of those kids now be secured for sure if they do get their diploma at AMA?

In any case, I’m sure the incident will be talked about for a few more days. And then it will slowly be forgotten, just like that guy who held up the airport tower, demanding reforms in government (he got bludgeoned with bullets), the muslims who held up Bicutan prison (they were massacred), and even the soldiers from the Oakwood mutiny (remember Maestrecampo’s hysterics?).

***
CONSPIRACY THEORY: With the military’s penchant for making up fantastic and often ridiculous stories of crimes to pin on people like Satur Ocampo, its very possible Esperon will very soon pin the blame of the hostage-taking on Ka Satur or the other militant leaders. I’ve heard from an “oldie” activist that Ducat was an activist in his youth. Maybe Ka Satur and his breathren had influenced him somehow to take those children hostage. Maybe Ducat did it, and in Manila, within the territorial responsibility of the Manila Police District, as an expression of sympathy for the detained congressman’s plight?

Ducat, as far as I know, is currently in the custody of MPD, like Ka Satur. See the connection?

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