Road rage killers
While attending Sunday Mass yesterday, I received a call informing me that my classmate Maj. Gen. Rodolfo Canieso, former commanding general of the Philippine Army, had suffered a stroke and was in critical condition at the ICU of Doctors’ Hospital in Bacolod City. While his physicians continue to do their best they have also informed members of the family that everything is in the hands of the Almighty.
Rody Canieso will be remembered as the first appointee of President Cory Aquino to head the Philippine Army after the Edsa Revolution. In this capacity, he faced a number of coup attempts, but the one that people will not forget was when he ordered his howitzers to be aimed directly at Philippine Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio. Rebels had occupied the building and were making all kinds of threats and demands. After they were finished, General Canieso, taking a bullhorn, shouted back, “Ako naman. If you do not surrender or leave the premises immediately, I will order my guns to demolish the place and send you off to where you came from.” (Not exactly in those words but close to the sanitized version in Filipino that he used.) And, of course, knowing Canieso as a man of his word, the rebels disappeared quickly.
That was Rody Canieso. He didn’t say much, he was all action. His messages were straightforward and direct to the point. He was “the soldier’s soldier” who was idolized by his men knowing they had a leader who would take care of them. One could say, he was the ultimate “fighting machine.”
For those of us who knew him more intimately, he was also a deep thinker, one who could discuss intelligently all the vital issues of the day and offer possible solutions. After retirement, he continued to serve in government as director general of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency. At our last class reunion held last week, he appeared to be in relatively good health and joined in the fun and laughter over the usual corny jokes and stories that old classmates love to relate over and over again, as though these had never been told before.
We continue to pray and hope for the best, and our thoughts are with Anita and the children.
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Last Friday, road rage killer Vhon Martin Tanto was captured in Masbate after four days of evading arrest by police authorities. When presented to the media, Tanto claimed he actually surrendered and had no intention of evading arrest. But it appears that after the shooting, he proceeded to Bulacan and then went north to Nueva Vizcaya, where he left his car and firearm with a brother-in-law. He then turned around back to Manila, picked up his wife in Quezon City, and proceeded to Masbate. If his intention was really to surrender, he could have done so easily in any of the places he visited. Too often, criminals who are on the run go into hiding but when caught or cornered, they come out with similar tales.
PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa provided some comic relief during the presentation of Tanto who sported a black eye and some bruises on his face. “Bato” told Tanto he was willing to give him boxing lessons so that he could defend himself better without resorting to the use of firearms. He also advised Tanto to practice deep breathing exercises whenever he was on the verge of losing his cool so as to better control his temper and actions.
There were two victims of Tanto’s road rage. One was biker Mark Garalde with whom he had a dispute; the other was an innocent bystander, 18-year-old Rocel Bondoc, who was hit by a stray bullet. She remains in critical condition at Mary Chiles Hospital.
Somehow, I am reminded of another road rage incident 25 years ago (July 1991) involving Rolito Go and Eldon Maguan. Maguan was a 25-year-old DLSU engineering student who was on his way to buy pizza. Driving along Wilson—a one-way street in San Juan—he met another car driven by Go who was going against the traffic. Go, a construction businessman, who just had a fight with his girlfriend, got out of his car, and shot Maguan in the head.
Days after the shooting, Go turned himself in to San Juan police. After a two-year trial, he was convicted of murder and received a 40-year jail sentence. A few days before conviction, he bolted his jail cell but was recaptured after three years. He was transferred to the New Bilibid Prison where he had a cottage outside the main prison building as a “living-out” inmate. (Who gave him this privilege is anyone’s guess.) In 2012, he again escaped but was recaptured. In 2015, the Court of Appeals ordered his release after “serving full sentence.” I am not aware of his present status.
Although there were no fatalities in this case, another road rage incident occurred sometime in November 2014. An MMDA traffic enforcer, Jorbe Adriatico, was dragged by a Maserati car driver from the intersection of G. Araneta and Quezon Avenues to Scout Chuatoco Street in Quezon City. According to news reports, the traffic enforcer was using his cell phone to photograph the driver of the Maserati making an illegal U-turn. The driver noticed him and went back, grabbed his cell phone, and allegedly insulted and mauled Adriatico.
When shown a picture of Joseph Russel Ingco provided by the Land Transportation Office, Adriatico identified him as his attacker. MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino vowed to file charges against the driver. Since then, there have been no progress reports on the case.
Some thoughts on the Tanto road rage incident.
- We need better gun control regulations. Too many people are roaming around with deadly firearms. Why do we allow our citizens to have permits for so many firearms? Tanto had three. Are neuropsychiatric tests being properly conducted to ensure that permits are not issued to mentally or emotionally unstable applicants? I realize that this sounds like whistling in the dark but, perhaps, “Bato” dela Rosa can check this out and bring about stricter control measures.
- We congratulate the police, particularly units of Police Regional Office 5 under Chief Supt. Ramon Buenafe and military units, including the 9th Infantry Division and elements of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who by their dedicated efforts put pressure on Tanto, making it difficult for him to hide, resulting in his capture or surrender.
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