Bato…Bato … Picks …

Tempo - - Editorial - Atty. Ig­na­cio R. Bunye

IT is get­ting to be a habit for the PNP Chief Bato de la Rosa. First, he made Marawi City – where our best and bravest have fought and died – as a dump­ing ground for po­lice mis­fits. The or­der drew the ire not only of De­fense Sec­re­tary Loren­zana but also of con­cerned Marawi City of­fi­cials.

Then, just last week, Bato re­in­stated Supt. Mar­vin Mar­cos, whom the NBI ear­lier im­pli­cated in the mur­der of Al­buera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr, while in po­lice cus­tody. The mur­der charge was later down­graded to homi­cide.

Sen­a­tor Pan­filo Lac­son, him­self a for­mer top cop, did not hide his frus­tra­tion and dis­gust when he hurled Pres­i­dent Duterte’s fa­vorite in­vec­tive.

But then again, the poor guy is just fol­low­ing or­ders. This much is clear.

In a press con­fer­ence, months back, Bato told re­porters that he re­ceived a tele­phone call from a “kum­pare” ask­ing him to take it easy on Mar­cos. He did not iden­tify the caller but ev­ery­body, even my driver, knows who called Bato.

***

The Marawi siege is near­ing its end. One indi­ca­tion, ac­cord­ing to the mil­i­tary, is the de­creas­ing vol­ume of re­turn fire from the Maute group. This can only mean that the ex­trem­ists are low on am­mu­ni­tion and sup­plies. This is in marked con­trast dur­ing the early days of the siege where the Mautes ap­peared to have am­mos in abun­dance.

Pres­i­dent Duterte is con­fi­dent that things would be over in 15 days or less. Of course, the Pres­i­dent could be wrong. Re­mem­ber that he ear­lier pre­dicted to fin­ish the drug men­ace in 3 months.

For ev­ery­body’s sake, we do hope that Pres­i­dent Duterte is proven right. In­ter­na­tional ob­servers feel that the longer the con­flict con­tin­ues, the more the ex­trem­ists can draw sup­port from in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ist fi­nanciers.

What­ever the out­come, we have to plan the task of re­build­ing and re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing Marawi. And the job ap­pears daunt­ing. We still have to fully re­cover from the dev­as­ta­tion of Yolanda and sub­se­quent nat­u­ral calami­ties. Al­ready, gov­ern­ment re­sources for Marawi are be­ing stretched just to pro­vide im­me­di­ate re­lief and med­i­cal ser­vices to thou­sands who have been dis­placed by the fight­ing. The gov­ern­ment plans to ear­mark

₱20 bil­lion for the re­hab but given the city’s dev­as­ta­tion the funds would sim­ply be not enough. And we are just talk­ing of the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture. Much work also has to be done to mit­i­gate the psy­cho­log­i­cal dam­age to peo­ple, both civil­ians and sol­diers, who were af­fected by the con­flict.

Sec­re­tary Ernie Per­nia has an­nounced the in­tent of in­ter­na­tional agen­cies to par­tic­i­pate in the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion task. How­ever, ini­tial par­tic­i­pa­tion seems to be lim­ited to a sim­ple needs as­sess­ment. It would be a safe bet that Pres­i­dent Duterte would be knock­ing at the doors of non-tra­di­tional donor coun­tries, namely, China and Rus­sia, for much needed help.

***

I can not agree more with some sports an­a­lyst, in­clud­ing Chino Trinidad, who feel that the fight­ing days of Manny Pac­quiao are over. Manny will be 39 in De­cem­ber.

Even Fred­die Roach com­mented that it may be time to talk to Manny about re­tire­ment. If Mommy D had her way, Manny should have hung up his gloves long ago.

Manny has al­ready es­tab­lished his le­gacy as one of the world’s great­est fight­ers. No­body has ever won cham­pi­onships in 8 dif­fer­ent weight classes. An­other fight with Jeff Horn, win or lose, will not im­prove or de­tract from that le­gacy.

All ath­letes know that at one point re­tire­ment is in­evitable. No­body wins against Fa­ther Time. The tragedy is very few know ex­actly when to stop.

An­a­lysts say that the GOAT (the Great­est of All Time) Muham­mad

Ali should have stopped af­ter the Thrilla in Manila when he fought Smok­ing Joe Fra­zier for 14 bruis­ing rounds. Ali was then 34.

An­other box­ing great, Joe Louis, then age 37, wanted one more fight. The come­back­ing Louis got knocked out cold by a ris­ing Rocky Mar­ciano, who went on to be­come world heavy­weight cham­pion. Mar­ciano learned well from Louis. In his last fight, Mar­ciano fought an over-aged Archie Moore. Moore, then 42 (!), dropped Mar­ciano early in the fight. Mar­ciano ral­lied and stopped Moore in the ninth round to re­tain his heavy­weight belt.

Mar­ciano quickly an­nounced his re­tire­ment –un­de­feated- at age 32.

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