A 10-year-old story
This story should have been told 10 years ago, although it would have been better if there was no story to tell at all. But there is, and the story is long overdue.
It’s about a man whom people called Boyet. He lived and grew up in Manila, but he always enjoyed spending time by the sea. He was a very good swimmer, and he particularly liked swimming far into the sea.
When he was 40, Boyet decided to leave the life he had known in the city and go somewhere quieter, near the beach, where he could draw and write. He packed a backpack with just the necessities, got on his motorcycle and began his search for a new home. He scouted around, looking at one beach cottage after the other. He was looking for something cheap and low maintenance. He was, after all, a man who prided himself in having simple needs.
His search for a seaside residence came to an end when he found a cottage on a beach resort called Montero Royal Beach Resort in Real, Quezon. It was far enough from Manila, but not so far as to be inaccessible on his motorcycle. He turned it into his home.
Angelita “Gie” Montero, the wife of Hartman Montero, owned the beach resort. Boyet put some of his money for the renovation of Gie’s resort. He had an agreement with Gie that he would receive a share of the resort’s earnings.
We do not know the details of Boyet’s relationship with Gie. People say they were friends. But they were not friends in the same way that Gie Montero was friends with Brando Verzo.
Brando Verzo worked at the resort, helping Gie with the daily operations and upkeep of the Montero Royal Beach Resort.
Boyet, Gie and Brando were probably friends. The used to go to a local bar for some drinks at night. And that was what they did on the night of April 20, 2001.
For some reason, the night of drinking at the bar with friends did not end on a friendly note. Words—angry words—were exchanged. The details of this we do not know, but we do know what happened after the trio left the bar.
Boyet returned to his cottage to try to get some sleep. It must have been quite late when he heard knocking on his door. As soon as he opened it, he was hit by a lead pipe. Verzo and his friend Ramon Nazareno stood menacingly outside Boyet’s door.
Boyet fell from the blow but didn’t lose consciousness. He got up and began to fight back. He was quite a big guy who stood almost 6 feet tall. But his size advantage could only take him so far when facing two men with weapons. In the end, do Verzo and Nazareno overpowered Boyet. They stabbed him to death.
Verzo and Nazareno then dug a ditch on a secluded part of the beach resort, and buried the body of the man called Boyet there. Boyet’s body remained undiscovered in the ditch for two months. (We know this because there were witnesses who recounted it to the police which filed it as Medico Legal Case EN-01-34.)
Boyet’s family hadn’t heard from him for months. But they had just assumed that he needed some time out from the life he had previously known because that was what he told them when he left just before Christmas in 2000. So they were panicked when they received a phone call from a bank manager informing them that someone had tried to withdraw money from Boyet’s bank account with a forged signature. Maverick Montero, the son of Gie Montero, attempted to withdraw money from Boyet’s bank account on June 13, 2001.
The call from the bank manager prompted Boyet’s family to start searching for him.
We don’t know how much longer Boyet’s family would have been oblivious to his death if the forgery had not been detected and if Maverick Montero hadn’t failed in his attempt to withdraw money from Boyet’s account. Verzo and Nazareno were luckier; they were able to withdraw from Boyet’s account at the LandBank branch in Infanta, Quezon. Computer records show that there were withdrawals from his account between May 11, 2001 and June 14, 2001. By then Boyet was already dead for several weeks.
Verzo and Nazareno went to prison. Gie and Maverick Montero did not, despite Boyet’s family’s attempts to bring them to court.
For Boyet’s family, justice delayed is, indeed, justice denied. While time heals all wounds, some wounds leave scars, and people have to go on with their lives disfigured by those scars.
Ten years has passed since all this happened. I don’t know what good it does to tell this story now.
Boyet was the son of Arce and Dominador. He was the nephew of Liwayway and Arsenio. He was the younger brother of Joyce. He was Kuya to Popoy and Sally. He was the husband of Ryssa. His legal name was Domingo M. Bascara II, but everyone called him Boyet. Except for me and my brother Ardie. We called him Dad.
Rachelle Bascara, 28, received her BA in philosophy from the University of the Philippines and her MA in philosophy from the University College London. She is working toward her PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London.