His story appeared in TV reports and online news platforms, about how he was such a diligent architecture student who would not give up his life’s work for his life. Despite being only in third year college, that plate and his bag must have equaled 90% of his waking life or maybe even more. That was probably why he didn’t give them up. Watching the CCTV footage, he didn’t seem like a quitter. Even after multiple stab wounds, he was able to stand tall and straighten his arm for one last hitchhike, a ride that would have saved his remaining life except that no one wanted to get involved.

Like typical metro traffic, public and private cars inched their way down a street half-dedicated to one-way traffic and half-dedicated to parked cars. People slowly drove by as this young man who was at one point hitchhiking and another second lying dead on the ground. His body lay on the asphalt road for a couple of minutes, captured by an unmanned CCTV. His life ticked down as the recording device continued to count forward in time. There was no movement with the body of the on-came protagonist as if the scene was frozen in time allowing the viewers to fathom what had just happened, but life went on according to the recording device. There was no live audience.

The next day, people expressed rage. But what for?

This is a culture of die first, investigate later. This is also a principle many criminals leverage on whatever heinous act they decide to commit that day. After all, no one speaks immediately after the moment of crime. It takes a lot of musing and even years to muster enough courage to speak up or even just speak about it. Case in point: Benhur Luy in the Napoles case. Even the current president name-dropped only when he was sure he had absolute power. Imagine how many more people have stories about news-worthy crimes that can get the entire country at a standstill but have yet to muster enough courage to disclose them.

It’s like being an accomplice to something forbidden – not necessarily a crime but just anything socially unacceptable. When you see someone do something forbidden, say friends touching each other’s thighs on a crowded train, you turn a blind eye. When you see a stranger held at ice pick-point in a crowded jeepney, you ignore it unless you want that ice pick through your thigh instead. When my phone was nabbed on a public utility vehicle just waiting for the green light, no one asked if I was okay but instead they texted their friends thankful that they were not as stupid as this dorky girl who got her phone stolen because she panicked when two juvenile delinquents donning kitchen knives announced a hold up.

Third parties and fourth parties get involved but only in rumor and gossip, only to talk about what is already done.

***

Read about Nick Russel Oniot, just one of the many victims in a system characterized by unmanned CCTVs:
http://news.abs-cbn.com/focus/10/21/16/walang-nagmalasakit-cries-dad-of-adamson-student-stabbed-multiple-times

Watch the CCTV footage here: http://all-about-juan.info/2016/10/uncut-cctv-footage-of-adamson-student-stabbed-to-death-in-taguig/

Image Source: ABS-CBN

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