"There appears to be a breakdown of peace and order in this part of Quezon."
It’s quite saddening to hear that there seems to be a breakdown of peace and order in some part of the Bondoc Peninsula in Quezon province, particularly in the towns of San Andres, San Narciso, and San Francisco—the farthest towns in Quezon where the Bondoc Peninsula joins the sea (Ragay Gulf) toward Masbate strait. And it most ironic because the area is where known leaders and personalities close to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte hail—or shall we say, the place where Duterte Boys throw their weight around?
Killed last Aug. 20 in the home of his sister in Lucena City was San Andres Vice Mayor Sergio “Popoy” Emprese. Just like in many other places in the country, upon reaching the compulsory three 3-year consecutive term, Emprese, former mayor, slid down to vice mayor in 2016 as his son, Serson, ran for mayor. The younger Emprese lost.
The older Emprese and his wife Sonia ruled the town for several decades, establishing a political dynasty until the Duterte boys came around.
Winning the last mayoral race in San Andres was Giovanni Lim, a son of lawyer Alfred “Fred” Lim, the president of Pagcor, classmate and fraternity brother of Duterte. You have to be really close to the appointing power to be able to clinch such a juicy post as the presidency of the state gambling monopoly.
If this Fred Lim’s name rings a bell, well, it is because it was in Lim’s birthday party at his residence in Dasmariñas Village some three years ago where two other San Beda frat brods, then associate commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration (Michael Robles and Al Argosino), reportedly took several bags of currency—a total of P50 million—from the City of Dreams casino to former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre who was partying then with other brods of Duterte’s fraternity, Lex Talionis. Associate Commissioners Robles and Argosino were said to have taken the bags of money there presumably to ask the advice of the Justice secretary on what to do with the bribe from casino junket operators.
The bribe money was said to be from Jack Lam, earlier handed to the two officials by Wally Sombero.
All these details are sourced from the records of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee.
But back to the Bondoc peninsula. Speaking of Aguirre, the now-discredited former Justice secretary is from Mulanay, and while not holding any important position now, still wields considerable influence in Quezon just because of his perceived closeness to the President.
Aguirre shares the same hometown with the gentleman Tito Ojeda, former mayor of Mulanay and owner of Quezon province’s No. 1 television and radio network. The two magkababayans
reportedly do not see eye to eye, but this has no bearing in our initial thesis about the breakdown of peace and order in the peninsula.
PNP Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar is a shoo-in for the position of director general of the Philippine National Police, and as chief of the NCRPO he is not really connected with the breakdown of peace and order in the Bondoc peninsula, save for his being from nearby Tagkawayan, Quezon, and that his brother recently won as mayor of that town.
With all these brass and police-connected leaders in the Bondoc peninsula, why is it that killings, violence, and harassment still persist in these parts?
A cursory perusal of media reports and official police reports would show that we are not totally judgmental in pointing out that in the Bondoc peninsula, peace is in shambles and people are afraid for their lives.
Note the following: (a) Calmar Homes, Ibabang Dupay, Lucena City. Vice Mayor Sergio “Popoy” Emprese, 60, dead on arrival at a hospital in Lucena, gunned down on Aug. 20, at his sister’s home. Case unsolved up to this day, with police investigators complacent in saying that the suspect is a former triggerman of the victim who switched sides;
(b) Barangay Talisay, San Andres. Edigardo Paradero, a campaign leader of then mayoral candidate Giovanni Lim of San Andres, a son of Fred Lim, was stabbed dead inside his house on May 1, a dozen days before the elections;
(c) Barangay Tala, San Andres. Jebby Oro Sr. and one alias Lando were gunned down by policemen of San Andres police chief Joseph Ian Java in a supposed shootout. Oro was a supporter of suspended San Andres Mayor Sergio Emprese and the suspect in the Paradero murder;
(d) Barangay Abuyon, San Narciso. Armed men in the presence of policemen reportedly harassed members of the Board of Election Inspectors of the Comelec on election day, May 13. This resulted in casting of votes until near 12 midnight, when the polls should have been closed at 4 p.m. The spouse of a candidate was also seen feeding the ballots in the Smartmatic machine readers;
(e) Barangay San Juan, Rizal, and White Cliff, San Narciso. Police established Comelec checkpoints without the proper Comelec signages, manned by cops not in uniform, and in dimly lit areas; (f) Hacienda Matias, San Francisco. Armed men, purportedly rebel fighters of the New People’s Army, are still harassing farmers and tenants here, with serious threats and intimidation, both verbal and written.
(g) Barangay Rizal, San Narciso. A group of motorcycle-riding men intimidated voters and residents by driving around the mountain barangay, forcing residents to stay home on election day. The men wore black T-shirts printed with “No. 2;” and, (h) Barangay Lakdayan, San Narciso. Residents complained to media recently that local policemen were engaged in “tanim bala and tanim baril” during legally sanctioned searches, with the cops finding firearms in unlikely places like inserted in roofs and tool boxes in the garage, after meticulous searches inside the houses proved negative. It is interesting to note that victims of these searches are all supporters of a particular mayoral candidate; and
Incidentally on the night of the election and on election day itself, PNP Col. Hansel Marantan and his group were seen conducting patrol operations in the peninsula.
Marantan gained notoriety for the scandalous Atimonan, Quezon massacre in 2013 where 13 persons were killed in an alleged shootout or rubout, and for which he was purged from the PNP. He was reinstated in 2017 even to the vehement objection of then PNP chief General, now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
Marantan’s CV also included the Anton Cu-Unjieng, Francis Xavier Manzano and Brian Anthony Dulay massacre in Valle Verde in 2005.
And upon his return to the PNP, his first assignment was reportedly as chief security of DOJ Secretary Aguirre.
That is how well-connected Marantan seems to be.
How come there seems to be a pattern of a breakdown of peace and order right in the turf of Duterte’s boys? Well, the ball is in their court now. People are dying, being harassed, slapped with trumped up charges, etc. and there is a total breakdown of peace and order, and what are they doing?