. Police have escorted a man, hair unkempt, clothes torn and bruised all over. These are common sights in Philippine police stations, as these beaten up pickpockets are arrested. How has this happened? When and why have Filipinos become so violent, they resort to anarchy beat downs?
. First reason would be the notoriety of criminal offenders. These robbers/pickpockets often would not hesitate to stab/shoot at their victims. If ever Filipinos resist successfully, it is inevitable the perpetrator would have serious injury, if not be maimed for life. Around 5 or more bystanders, men usually, would kick, punch and stomp at a thug lying down already. One would notice how even people from afar would come near and add another beating. The mercilessness of the criminals brought people to give them the same. Manila newspapers have stories of teens or office workers who were shot, just so snatchers could get their expensive cell phones, handbags, watches, wallets.
. Second reason is poverty. People hardly have enough money in Manila, so when a group of thieves are caught in the act inside a bus, the whole bus ganged up on them. With the average Filipino monthly salary of just around USD 250, getting robbed while on commute hurts a lot on the daily budget. No wonder some people put up a fight for their hard earned money. And people could scarcely afford a lawyer to prosecute caught offenders, hence just beat the guy up.
. Third reason is the time aspect. Victims of pickpockets want justice quickly, just as they were robbed quickly. At jeepneys where hijackers would announce a holdup, if the passengers ever were successful in resisting, count on everybody to want justice at once. There would be no year-long court hearing, or police investigation, but just the commuters beating up the criminal.
. Fourth and the main reason would be lack of justice for Filipinos. With the lack of police arrests and proper penalties towards offenders, people naturally sought matters into their own hands. There are even widespread rumors, and with good reason, that some cops are protecting pickpockets by releasing them when no one is looking. Add to that, the cops extorting a share in the pickpockets profits.
. These 4 main reasons do not justify, but rather explain the Filipino eagerly exacting justice on pickpockets.
. Rather than carnage, the best solution would be restitution of 20%, over the value of the property stolen. That should cover the crime and the damages. Prison would not help much but embitter the offender and turn him to a worse criminal soon after.
. A monetary penalty is better than a mob killing the offender. Pity the pickpocket who loses his life over a wallet with just around 10 dollars worth. What a waste it is also for a college girl to be stabbed and killed, because she wouldn’t give up the cell phone she saved up so much for. If a thief knows he would only be penalized and not imprisoned, he won’t see a reason to kill.
. As a society we have to enact proper justice for robbers and victims. Government and the people should not let beat down mobs continue for years to come.