I purposely refrained from writing about Jason Aguilar Ivler even after the mistaken deportation of overseas worker Jason Vivar Aguilar. It makes my blood boil when the government engages in a no-holds barred manhunt for a suspect when the victim is a government official or a member of his family, a dedication hardly shown when the victim is some unknown whose family does not have enough clout to move mountains and part seas.
For those still unfamiliar with the Ivler affair, here’s a snippet from “Jason Ivler wounded during QC arrest,” ABS-CBN News, January 18, 2010:
Ivler has been the subject of a police manhunt after allegedly shooting dead Renato Ebarle, Jr., the son of assistant secretary Renato Ebarle, Sr., during a traffic altercation along Boni Serrano Avenue in Quezon City on November 18, 2009. Ebarle died of 3 gunshot wounds in the body.
I am writing about Ivler now but for a different reason. This is a story about a boy coddled by a mother – a mother who thinks that responsible parenting means hiding her son so that he wouldn’t have to face the consequences of his actions.
The death of Ebarle as the ultimate result of a traffic incident is some kind of deja vu. In 2004, Ivler was involved in another road mishap that resulted in the death of Presidential Adviser Nestor Ponce Jr. From “Suspect in Ebarle slay was in 2004 car accident that killed a Palace exec,” GMA News, November 20, 2009:
According to a report by The Honolulu Advertiser, Ivler is an American citizen born in Massachusetts… The PNP said Ivler was charged in court and a hold departure order was issued against him in 2004. Ivler was later arrested by National Bureau of Investigation and Immigration agents in Zamboanga City while he was about to sail for Malaysia. Ivler was reportedly out on bail when he purportedly shot 27-year-old Renato Ebarle Jr…
Ivler, who was also injured in the 2004 incident, was brought to the hospital. Thereafter, an “open letter” started to circulate (thanks to fellow print media writer and blogger Michael Aquino for a link to the full text of the letter). Signed “Marlene Aguilar Filipino Citizen, mother of Jason Ivler, Wife of ADB Official under Diplomatic Status in the Philippines”, the letter claimed that Ivler’s life was in danger from the police and that he was being treated as a criminal before trial:
The very real danger of being a foreigner in this country is not known until you are involved in an accident, or an incident; most especially if this involves a government official, and the country’s law may not apply.
Assumed guilty before trial. Assumed drunk, on drugs, with no due process of law. Is there no need for due process because you are a foreigner and as a foreigner you are assumed to be guilty? Not only immediately guilty but subject to police harassment, subject to threat of retribution, subject to threat of death.
What risk working as a foreigner, working for ADB, IRRI, the UN, or WHO, or working for a foreign country, or to even visit as a tourist? The real risk is, as a foreigner in the Philippines, for your and for your family, due process of law may not apply to you.
It is tempting to dismiss the 2004 open letter as a fake but the incidents surrounding the arrest of Ivler yesterday shows that his mother does have a habit of “protecting” him and deflecting blame. In 2004, it was an attempt to raise alarm in the diplomatic community with a conspiracy theory despite statistics that show that, except for suspected pedophiles, foreigners do get lenient treatment in this country. When NBI agents came to her Blue Ridge house yesterday, she denied that her son was there then screamed and shouted when the agents found the underground room where he was holed in.
I can understand that a mother would want to protect her child from every possible harm. But when the child is in the wrong, is it the obligation of a responsible parent to make sure that he never faces the consequences of his actions? You know, this is the reason why I am angered when the misdeeds of a wayward toddler is simply dismissed by adults with the usual, “Eh, bata kasi (A child, after all).” A child who never learns to face the consequences of his actions often turns into an adult like Jason Ivler – he doesn’t know there are limits because he feels that his parents will always be there to take care of the bad consequences.
In Twitter, Marlene Aguilar has been called “Mommy Macbeth” and many feel she deserves being arrested and handcuffed for obstruction of justice. Carlos Celdran calls her a “bad, bad mom.” Tech bigwig and former media writer Jim Ayson says, “Let’s see ADB hubby get her out of that.” Pastor Prudy Mopera Verzo calls her love for her son “wrong love.”
And what are people saying about Jason Ivler?
Actress Maxene Magalona: “Guys like him need to learn their lesson. Bawal mayabang!”
Blogger Alexei Villaraza: “With Ivler caught, there’s one less road maniac on the streets.”
Vajeijei Bandigan: “Puto ka Jason Ivler! you wasted your life, sayang gwapo ka pa naman…”