A LEGAL Management student e-mailed us recently to narrate a very disturbing incident involving theft on campus. Apparently, after an event at the Engineering Sports Complex, a purse was missing. The place and the surrounding vicinity was searched, to no avail, until a security guard advised them to go to the Office of Security Affairs and check for lost or stolen things turned in.

True enough, not only had the missing purse been turned in, the University’s security force had also nabbed in the act the would-be thief, who, according to the student’s description, was a burly six-footer. As he had resisted arrest, he was clobbered by the guards before he could be handcuffed and taken to the Security office. His head was bleeding.

But that’s not the awful part of the story. What was more shocking to the conscience happened when the police came to take the guy away. Our storyteller says the police come from the P. Noval station of the U-Belt Police. It was discovered, after the police asked him questions, that the would-be criminal is a graduate of the Emilio Aguinaldo College and is allegedly the son of some retired colonel who supposedly belonged to the batch of military bigwigs like Edgardo Aglipay and Panfilo Lacson. The students were discouraged from pressing charges against the said military scion.

Well, they were not discouraged. In the student’s own words, they were “demoralized”. Who wouldn’t be, considering the advise came from they who are supposed to uphold the law?

Last semester, in an effort to improve the welfare of Thomasians in and out of the University, UST through the Office of the Secretary General initiated talks with the local officials of all the barangays surrounding the University. The initial meeting, to which this writer was invited, revealed that the most urgent issue to be resolved is the issue on security.

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The barangay officials were all gung-ho on getting the bad guys. Some even said that it is the students who back off from filing cases, causing the crooks to walk away free and raring to strike again.

The e-mail we received is proof enough that there are students who are willing to take on the fight, if only to put the crooks behind bars and reduce their number on our ever-more dangerous streets.

What our barangay officials are referring to as “backing out” might really be so-called law enforcers convincing hapless victims to just walk away and forget about it. No wonder snatchers and other robbers become less and less the Lupin type. Robbery and thievery does not involve cunning and slight of hand anymore. The street robber practically just asks you to give him your belongings then WALKS away.

Quo vadis, dear country?

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