At a time of “red-tagging” and alleged “tanim ebidensya,” an “arestoguinaldo” prank is hella tone deaf.
Apparently the Philippine National Police (PNP) is now pranking Filipinos using fake warrants. Dubbed “Arestoguinaldo,” members of the Cebu City Police Office and the Philippine Airforce pranked two employees of a fast food chain yesterday by issuing a fake arrest warrant and escorting them to the police car, only to reveal that it was a prank. The employees were subsequently given gifts or “aguinaldo” as part of the act.
A similar prank was done by the Land Transportation Office on December 13, with motorists flagged down for alleged violations. Instead of being ticketed however, they were given Christmas gifts.
Well, maybe they’re well intentioned, but such pranks have netizens worried, since the police have never quite lived down its rep for issuing arrest warrants (some of them unwarranted) for various offenses, including trumped-up charges. With Oplan-Tokhang still in full force and red-tagging being the latest government tactic to stifle dissent, such pranks could easily ratchet up people’s fears and mistrust of law enforcers. The possibility of being the next target of a police operation is definitely among the worst nightmares of ordinary folk under this dispensation. After all, how many people have already been arrested for crimes they did not commit?
At the very least, police officials can’t just go about pranking people who are busy doing their jobs and trying to earn a living in these lean times. Playing on people’s fears and anxieties or publicly humiliating them through fake arrest warrants just doesn’t make sense.
For an act that seems ridiculous in a heavily politicized climate such as ours, giving it a pass and saying “issa prank bro” doesn’t make it less wrong. We are living in a nation where red-tagging, tanim-ebidensya and politically motivated arrests are flooding the daily news.
Call us butt hurt, but let’s face it—it’s powerplay at best.
Photo from Inquirer.net