Hostage-taking ex-cop actually was an extortionist

Ex-cop Rolando Mendoza, who took tourists hostage last year to protest charges of extortion, which he said were used to extort money from him, actually was an extortionist, says the Court of Appeals.

In a 19-page decision, penned by Associate Justice Francisco Acosta, the CA’s Thirteenth Division, eventually cleared the names of (former ombudsman Merceditas) Gutierrez and (former deputy ombudsman Emilio) Gonzalez after it affirmed their ruling that Mendoza, who was killed during the hostage-taking, and his men were indeed “extortionists” which warranted their dismissal from the service.

The appellate court has junked the petition for review filed by petitioners Mendoza, P/ Insp. Nelson Lagasca, SPO1 Nestor David, PO3 Wilson Gavino and PO2 Roderick Lopeña.

Mendoza insisted he was innocent (of extortion, at least) and that his dismissal from the service was unjust. He was killed in a failed rescue attempt that night. Gonzalez lost his job after the incident for supposedly delaying action on Mendoza’s appeal and for supposedly trying to extort P150,000 from the dismissed cop.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., who signed the order dismissing Gonzalez, said: “The circumstances surrounding the charges of gross neglect of duty and gross misconduct lent credence to Mendoza’s accusation during the hostage-taking incident that Gonzalez was extorting P150,000 from him in exchange for a favorable decision.”

Now, this development doesn’t mean Gonzalez didn’t try to extort money from Mendoza but it does sort of demolish the narrative that Mendoza was an honest man forced by a corrupt system to take over a bus of tourists to protest that corrupt system. Mendoza was, apparently, dismissed from the service for cause. Gonzalez was removed over, in the end, nothing.

The appellate court ruled that the Office of the Ombudsman was correct in ruling that Mendoza and their men should be sacked from the PNP roster.

“Besides, questions remain unanswered: We could not understand why the petitioners extendedly kept or detained Kalaw in the police station when the purported basis was just a mere traffic violation, i.e., illegal parking and/or driving without required license; and why the petitioners put so much attention on Kalaw’s alleged traffic violations when primarily it is their job to apprehend traffic violators in the City of Manila,” the decision stated.

Gutierrez resigned as ombudsman in March after she was impeached by the House of Representatives for her supposed lack of action on corruption cases, especially those concerning former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Gutierrez defended and cleared Gonzalez of any wrongdoing.

Well...this is awkward, isn't it?

Murders Most Foul

The All Saints’ weekend was not good to relatives of celebrities: the half-brother of an actor-senator was shot and killed, and the estranged father of an international singing sensation (cringe) was stabbed and killed.A


The authorities tried their best to make it up to the celebrities themselves, though. Catching and charging suspects in record time, all under the glare of media klieg lights.


Angel Capili Jr., now charged with the murder of Ricky “Charice’s Father” Pempengco, surrendered to authorities after being on the run for a few days, sleeping in bus terminals with his cellphone turned off while police “tracker teams” hunted him down in Southern Luzon.


The killer is in this very room.


Police also have custody of Ramon Joseph Bautista (aka Revilla) and two of his alleged accomplices in the murder of his brother Ramgen “Ram” Revilla (aka Bautista). Police say Bautista, the two other non-celebrity suspects, and his sister Ramona Revilla (aka Ramona Bautista) conspired to have Ramgen killed for P200,000. Supposedly, a family squabble over a P1-million monthly allowance given to the Genelyn Magsaysay chapter of the Revilla clan came to a head with Ramgen’s murder.


They let him hide his face


Police say the two cases were not given undue attention because the victims were relatives of celebrities. Still, Laguna and Cavite officials offered a P200,000 reward for Capili and Revilla is related to Senator Ramon Revilla Jr.(aka Ramon Bong Revilla Jr.), so, surely, that made the two cases extra important? Still, the police say the cases were treated just like they would treat regular murders.


The same cannot be said for how suspects in the two cases were treated, however. Capili was brought from Cavite to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Manila for what was essentially a glorified perp walk. Laguna and Cavite officials were there to turn over the suspect to Laguna police (before he was brought back to Laguna, which is nearer to Cavite than Manila). Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo even came over to give a statement.


What? The guy in the middle?


Through it all, Capili was in full view of television cameras and all local stations cut their programming to bring viewers and listeners a blow-by-blow account of the “bad guy” in what was essentially a drinking spree that ran its natural course.


The Revilla/Bautistas, on the other hand, were treated with kid gloves. Ramona Revilla/Bautista/Horn was not subject to the same scrutiny and Senator Revilla was quick to both ask for privacy and to excuse his half-siblings, both suspects in a murder. He called for a reinvestigation and hinted the police may have mucked up their jobs (which, to be fair, is actually quite possible.)


There was no perp walk for Ramona Revilla, who initially said the killers abducted her but later recanted when police showed she faked the supposed kidnapping. She was even interviewed on ANC so she could deny everything.


That night, ABS-CBN (which owns ANC) reported her leaving the country on a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. Immigration officials couldn’t stop her because they had no authority to. She was also reportedly accompanied to the VIP lounge by a “male escort.”


"You'll never catch me, porkchops!"

People who know about these things say someone with clout–a senator, or a congressman, or a mayor–had to have helped her get the VIP  treatment. Ramona Revilla/Bautista is related to a senator, at least two congressmen, and at least two mayors. That doesn’t even count her semi-relatives on the Ynares side of the family.


A visibly angry Revilla said he was shocked at Ramona’s flight and denied knowing anything about what happened. Some found his statements unbelievable and hinted the senator himself is the powerful figure behind Ramona’s flight from justice. After all, better a suspected murderer in the family than a convicted murderer.


Others were quick to say the episode could derail Revilla’s political plans for the 2016 presidential elections. This is true whether he knew about Ramona’s escape or not. If he did know about it, then he put his family above the justice system and his pronouncements of “I am a senator of the Republic, not a senator of my family!” are just fluff and showbiz make-believe.


If he did not know about it, then what does that suggest? If relatives have been accused of murdering their own brother, and risk dragging the Revilla name into the mud like former action star and senator Ramon Revilla Sr. was in Nardong Putik, should he have not kept better tabs on those relatives? If his own relatives can pull the wool over his eyes, then how about people who are not his relatives?


Also interesting, but probably easily explained, is that Ramona Revilla/Bautista boarded the Cathay Pacific flight at 8pm. The news broke at around 10pm and the Revilla clan only began reacting at least half an hour after that.


Now, if an ABS-CBN crew was at the airport in time to catch her waiting for her flight, could they not have asked Revilla about it before breaking the news?  At which point, presumably, Senator Revilla would say “Anak ng Teteng!“, put on a cowboy hat, and head to the airport for a confrontation with the half-sister he was defending just hours ago.


Or he could catch her himself.

Indolent Internet Weekly Digest 5

Every weekend, Indolent Indio tries to come out with a short and hastily-done roundup of things we’ve found on the Internet (pinoy chapter, of course.)

Quality, quantity, content, and success may vary.

Boracay island is aghast over the President referring to their island as “Bora” just like everyone else has in the past 10 years.

A Filipina in Hong Kong throws herself in front of a bus to save her young ward, thus redeeming us for that other incident involving Hong Kong people and a bus.

A Christian church marries eight gay couples in Baguio City.

When you are in a rap battle and you try to follow up calling your opponent a bitch by calling him the “bitchest,” consider admitting defeat:

Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former President,  holds a press conference to score the Aquino administration and its lack of leadership. As this happens, her hometown and congressional district  gets flooded because of heavy rains.

Lawyer H. Harry Roque, crusader for justice and publicity hound, wants the Supreme Court to scrap a guideline on live coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial that bars networks from cutting to commercials. He said the rule infringes on editorial freedom and on the media’s right to make money. [Note: allowing live coverage was already a concession.]

Pinoy Gonzo talks about the anguish of writing: “Ilang nobela ko na ba at short stories ang parang mga programa ng gobyerno — puro simula lang — dahil sa sobrang gipit ko sa oras ay nawalan ako ng gana sa kanila?”


Expel a congressman for drug possession? It depends

Ilocos Sur Representative Ronald Singson could lose
his seat in congress if convicted for drug trafficking
charges in Hong Kong.

Pleading guilty to simple possession might make his colleagues
at the House of Representatives more forgiving, though.
read more »

Miriam hits HK for acting like they’re all that

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has just filed a resolution against “provocative statements from a certain official of the Hong Kong administrative region” that were sent to Malacañang. (She means you, HK Chief Executive Donald Tsang.)

read more »

Pinoy defense mechanisms back in place

Now that we’ve said our official apologies, it’s time to massage our frail national ego be the defensive, onion-skinned people that we are.

Or, at least, that seems to be what Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto wants. At a joint congressional hearing of the Senate committees on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, and Justice and Human Rights, Sotto fired the first shot in a battle to restore the high regard that we have for ourselves.

read more »

House fact-finding team on Singson case knows nothing

The House of Representatives recently sent Marikina Representative Romero Federico Quimbo to Hong Kong to watch over Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson who was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport on suspicion of bringing in cocaine.

read more »