By Martin Sadongdong
A child contestant in a noontime show recently shocked the viewers with his concept of what police officers do, saying they are just “shooting at people,” apparently triggering red signals from the public on the seemingly deteriorating image of cops.
Carl Nathaniel Garcia was a contestant at the “Mini Me” segment of ABS-CBN’s noontime show “Showtime” where children of ages 12 and below portray popular people while showcasing their talents. In the said segment aired on July 17, Garcia portrayed actor Coco Martin who is known for his current character as a cop-turned-fugitive in the television show “Ang Probinsyano.”
In one part of the segment, Mccoy de Leon, one of the show’s mainstays, appeared while dressed as a cop. Hosts Vhong Navarro, Karylle and Ronnie Alonte asked Garcia why he wanted to be a police officer. He answered “to keep the community where I live in safe from criminals.”
The hosts then asked which item Garcia would give to a cop. Among the items presented were a megaphone, trophy and alarm clock — to which the child answered the megaphone. Navarro then asked Garcia why he won’t give a trophy to a cop, even describing them as superheroes since they arrest bad people.
The child answered: “Ano pong hero? Nambabaril lang ‘yan eh (What hero? They just shoot [people]).”
This elicited awkward laughter from the live audience and hosts as they tried to explain the child was just confused with what he’s seeing in the television and in news reports.
Prior to this, Garcia was also asked by the hosts what do police officers do to trouble-makers, and the child said: “Para po niyang binabaril o sinasaktan” (It seems they shoot or hurt them). The hosts clarified that the cops only arrest the trouble-makers.
The clip of the show immediately went viral in social media, particularly in Twitter and Facebook.
Mixed reactions from the public were posted with some expressing concern while others “praised” the child for being “woke” or aware of the social realities.
According to Facebook user Regino Yumul Jr., it was saddening that some of the children perceive cops as individuals who just shoot people and not as law-abiding enforcers.
“Kalungkot pati bata iba na pagkakakilala sa mga pulis,” he said.
Twitter user Oliver Espejo said: “Even kids are noticing the culture of violence and impunity our peace officers are unfortunately put into.”
Meanwhile, others are quick to relate the perception of the child contestant to media reports on cops and the anti-illegal drugs campaign.
When the government’s campaign against illegal drugs was launched in 2016, it was noted that the number of suspects who were killed in police shootouts significantly increased while other crimes decreased.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said bloody encounters often happen because drug suspects choose to fight and resist arrest.
Relatedly, latest records from the PNP showed that a total of 1,040,987 crimes were reported from July 2016 to June 2018, which is lower than the 1,325,789 cases reported during the same period from 2014 to 2016.
However, murder cases in Metro Manila increased by 112 percent: a total of 3,444 cases from July 2016 to June 2018, higher than the 1,621 cases recorded from July 2014 to June 2016.
The situation in Ilocos region, Central Luzon, and Cordillera region were also the same as the murder cases increased by 35.48 percent, 3.20 percent, and 1.4 percent, respectively.
As for the drug suspects, more than 4,200 have already been killed in police operations nationwide.
PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde previously insisted that there is no culture of impunity or violence in the country.
He also assured that the men and women of the PNP are working hard to ensure the safety and security of all Filipinos, and all operations to arrest criminals are being done in accordance with the law.
This reporter has already reached out to the mother of the contestant but she has yet to respond.