THE failed attempt on the life of Dr. Ricardo Tan, Bacolod’s No. 1 councilor and his wife, Nita, cannot be explained except by accepting it as a miraculous escape. Of course to those who do not believe in Divine protection can continue to look for answers, but to those who believe in God’s loving shield, it is enough.
Consider the reported number of bullet holes on the windshield, the rear window and the side doors and wonder how could they had been missed by 35 slugs.More empty shells were found. They got wounded only very slightly with glass splinters but nothing more. Their fear, of course, cannot be estimated.
This is the first time that a top city official was attacked with intent to kill. Bacolod’s politics had always been heated, but they remain in the realm of spitting more saliva than resort to violence.We had barangay level officials who were killed or wounded in a violent assault but not this high. Indeed we just buried a barangay chairman who was killed by riders in tandem. There were killings in the past but rarely.
The police have not determined the motive and so far they only know of a car and three possible gunmen but nothing more.
The difficulty in this attempted assassination is that there is no apparent motive. Dr. Tan has decided to stay away from the present political exercise and therefore removing him would serve no purpose. He has been cleared time and again by the authorities from the barangay to the national level of the illegal drug enforcement agencies, he is known for his generosity with his employees and there is no known land conflict. The only one I know is the right of way from a lot outside of his own but he has offered to buy them and they refused. I also know the brother of the owner of that lot and the family is not a violent one.
Some people are looking at a business rivalry. His family business is in auto and truck parts that had been operating for years. In this kind of business, the competition is usually friendly and they are mostly of Chinese ancestry. Councilor Tan is not a gambler as to owe lots of money from a syndicate.
Is somebody envious of the success of the Campuestohan Highland Resort who thought that a peace and order problem in the area would cause potential visitors to stay away? Perhaps, but that the premise is unstable because in due time people come after a while for something good. Moreover, if a resort there succeeds, another can likewise succeed.
It is not our intent to cancel out possibilities, but from our point there is no apparent reason for anyone to take him out.
The police have so far not made any progress in its investigation. Of course, they will not tell the public whatever leads they have. That is understandable in order not to prejudice their inquiries.
What bothers the people of this city is that there had recently been a series of assassinations and the police have not been able to come up with arrests. This places the Bacolod police in a low grade level in people’s perception. Of course, nobody can ever predict how and when a criminal will strike but there is also a public reaction of concern about the competence of our police force to secure the city.
We are glad with the nightly checkpoints that are surely deterrents, but as the case of Councilor Tan shows, these are not enough. For instance, the place where Councilor Tan and his wife were ambushed – between Campuestohan and Barangay Alangilan- is practically deserted. The closest police station is in Barangay Granada. The councilor had to drive to that station to report and then move on to check in the hospital in Bacolod.
Is not a roving patrol, day or night be a matter of course? Considering that last month a house in Alangilan was ransacked and almost burned down is an indication that there are criminal elements in the area. Was there police present there? Now we know there was none enough to deter an ambush.
We are glad that Councilor Tan had the presence of mind to assess the situation well and escape. God has still a mission for him.