October 23, 2017, 3:43 pm
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‘Joe Taruc’

The PNP leadership now thinks that because the crime volume has gone down, as it claimed, its public image would be restored despite a critical and irate public. 

To this day, the PNP has not overcome its media agenda for manipulation of crime statistics which was believed stopped during PNP Chief Jesus Verzosa’s time. 

Any public reversal cannot come this early and not with the use of statistical trickery.   Apparently, the so-called reduction of total crime volume by 7.18 percent from January to August this year does not cover the thousands of vigilante and police killings of suspected addicts and pushers. The   spokesman of the PNP, Chief Superintendent Dionard Carlos  now denies any extrajuducial killings under the current administration. After all, more than half of the killings had always been regarded as the result of legitimate drug operations for which no one in the national force had been charged in court. He tries to hide the fact that like him the   Internal Affairs Service of the PNP is not doing this country any good. 

Senate President Koko Pimentel is aghast over the mood of celebration the PNP is out to relish for the drop in crime. He said the police are citing the overall decline in the general incidence of crime which includes petty crimes. He berated the PNP, “You shouldn’t be happy with the decline in pickpocketing, swindling and the like when murders are on the rise. Are we supposed to applaud you for this?” And it means little to Carlos that, based on the recent SWS survey, more than 60% of the people now fear for their safety and those of  their loved ones.  . Have we have finally woken up to the fact that today the PNP has been using crime to fight crime?


The very familiar radio voice that intoned with a rare mass appeal even to the remotest parts of the country is gone. 

Joe Taruc sucumbed to heart failure and was buried in is hometown in Gapan, Nueva Ecija   October 7.

He was 71 years old and had been in the radio business for almost five decades. He was the one and only news reporter of the prominent commentator Johnny de Leon and then Rod Navarro of the top-rating DWWW, the forerunner of ABS-CBN’s DZMM today. I was a DJ at the pioneering jazz station DWWK-FM right next to the booth of DWWW at the Marcos-controlled KBS Broadcast Plaza in Quezon City. I would witness Taruc’s remarkable talent that no one in the broadcast industry has so far equaled. Almost daily he would read from the English broadsheets and tabloids translating the news stories instantly in Tagalog on-air. The radio station did not employ any writer for its early morning newscasts and Taruc had to do the job, as well. But he was not a proficient writer and would take him “hours” to complete a script. Now and then I would observe him and De Leon’s sidekick Ngo-Ngo of the local cigarette “Bataang Matamis” commercial fame in a heated exchange along the radio corridor. By this time Taruc has also learned to cultivate another unusual talent - conversing fluently and responding well to one afflicted with a harelip whose speech was hardly discernible. Noli de Castro was a program pinch hitter then and notable for giving time-checks. His iconic coverage of the events at EDSA would eventually catapult him to the top of the radio news industry and later to the vice-presidency.

Gritty and imbued with an unwavering professional zeal Manong Joe forced a face-off with Marcos at a press conference in Malacañang with the dictator’s mother seated beside him. Headlines of the alternative press were awash with persistent stories of Marcos ordering the hunt for the golden budhha treasure and arresting those who knew where it was kept. Taruc asked a question on the dictator’s masterminding the search that promptly angered Marcos. Marcos half-shouted at Taruc, “Marami ka naman dapat itanong pero yon pa importante sa yo! How dare you embarrass me in front of my mother! Hindi kita makakalimutan, Taruc!”    Marcos threatened him,” Tandaan mo yan! Tandaan mo yan, Taruc!”  Manong Joe would later take over as manager of the news department of DZRH and become its station manager. A hard boss to please he would bring a new vigor and a fresh powerful insight in news reporting, coverage and commentary. 

Known to be extremely demanding with his reporters he would not, with expletives beside, settle for nothing less than with immediacy and prominence especially regarding breaking and huge stories. He would repeatedly badger them, “Kung hindi nyo makuha ang balita, nakawin nyo!”.. But, inside the stern veneer he was compassionate and exceptionally generous to his staff at DZRH and many others whom he never turned away. As his funeral convoy entered Gapan,   his family and DZRH Operationn Tulong volunteers suddenly beheld the sight of almost five thousand barrio folks and school children lining up the main highway in what turned out to be stunning hero’s welcome for a “son” of Gapan. The children were waving white flags as a sign of grief. Most in the entourage were moved to tears. Manong Joe’s son, Jay Taruc of GMA 7’s Public Affairs said, “Kinikilabutan kami.” Mae Binauhan, Public Affairs Directyor of DZRH, said several residents of Gapan told her that this was the first time in recent memory that such a huge welcome had been accorded anyone in Gapan or it seems in the entire Nueva Ecija. 

During natural calamities that hit Gapan and other towns Manong Joe would not let up the pressure during his daily program on national and local officials, as well as disaster and relief agencies, for their immediate and long-term response. The people have not forgotten.
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