ONE NIGHT IN June, my friends Lilibeth Initan, Joy Tongco, Noel Delante, Andrew Flores, Grace Ventic and a guest from Dumaguete City, Jofer, went out to dine at Da Vinci's Pizza in Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City. They just came from a CeMS Execom meeting at The Outpost in Lahug. It was Thursday, the 26th of June 2008. I was at that meeting and we parted ways after 11:00 PM.
After lingering for a while sitting around a small circular table located outside, they were in a joyous mood, exchanging jokes and pleasantries. At around 3:00 AM, two armed men came from the direction of Visayas Community Hospital and behind Lilibeth, one of them pointing a cocked pistol (a caliber .380) at the guys while another grabbed the shoulder bag of Lilibeth from behind her. It was just a meter away from the entrance and it was well-lighted! Lilibeth thought it was Noel or Andrew playing tricks on her, so she grabbed her bag back laughing. But the tug from behind her was stronger this time and she looked behind her for it was kind of unusual.
She stared into the eyes of two strangers and one of them threatened to shoot her if she won't let go. So she released her shoulder bag and off went her Olympus digital camera with its precious photos of our recent traverse climb at Mounts Dulangdulang and Kitanglad, her two Nokia and one Sony Ericsson cell phones, credit cards, ATM cards, ID cards and other items and Php1,500 cash. Some two meters infront of them was a lone security guard sleeping on his post – sitting on a bench with his back to a narra tree!
Was he asleep or just feigning sleep to avoid the hassles of tangling that armed duo? The latter probability is quite credible and, damn be the Eleven General Orders that he memorized by heart and damn be his client that paid for his services to protect the establishment and its paying diners! Damn all of you, I want to be left alone to feed my family. I don't wanna be a hero! A dead hero, I meant.
Another guard from Jollibee tried to intervene but was stopped in his tracks by the muzzle of the cocked pistol aimed at him and forgot all about the crime in progress, probably shaken out of his wits or more probably wetting his pants from sheer fright! He never even had the guts to ring the Fuente Police Station which was only 250 meters away or call the Mobile Patrol, which is much faster in response time, by just dialing only three numbers --- 166! This other guard just suffered a “thought-less” malnutrition.
Back to the two highwaymen, they just walked away as if nothing happened crossing Osmeña Boulevard into an alley in between CAP and the V. Sotto Hospital Nurses' Home. Lilibeth and her companions were shocked and shaken from that untimely episode. It took them a long while when they decided to have that incident blottered at Fuente. Whatever the reason, it seemed, the police took it much longer to get their acts together and by the time they have that idea, the two suspects were now beyond their reach and have eluded them, as always. By 5:30 AM, exhausted and droopy eyed, they went their separate ways.
Lilibeth went back to the police station together with Andrew and Jofer, then to Da Vinci's Pizza to complain about their bungling security guard. She met with the manager who alleged to have not seen yet the guard assigned to their store. He promised to act on the matter and would call her. The call never came.
She went again to Da Vinci's Pizza to see the manager but, this time, he allegedly defended the guard arguing that his guard was not sleeping after all during that incident. Sounds funny. You know what, he changed the security agency and rewarded the guard by retaining him and have him absorbed with this new agency. Sounds strange, maybe the guy doesn't have a license or having with an expired one which she reported anyway to FESAGSS in Camp Sergio Osmeña, headquarters of the Police Regional Office 7.
I advised Lilibeth to focus on the incident and not on the guard. He's just a poor guy caught in a binge not of his own making but it would be better if you stop patronizing Da Vinci's Pizza forever and evade it like a plague!!! The management there doesn't seem to have that innate sense of courtesy to paying clients. What they've got is a public relations epidemic that doesn't augur well in marketing their business here in Cebu.
I goaded her to go see my friend, Police Inspector Michael Bastes of the Theft and Robbery Section at Camp Sotero Cabahug. There, she might find luck with the suspects' identity if ever their photos would be found in their voluminous “rogue's gallery”. SPO3 Edgar Pugoy never let her down as she was shown the album that contained the pictures of her two most wanted criminals and clinched halfway her personal vendetta against the two.
Last I heard of, she filed a criminal case at large against the two John Does in the City Fiscal's Office in Capitol but the items she lost to them could never be recovered, especially those precious pictures. Her anguish against Da Vinci Pizza somehow would never play second fiddle to her grief of losing her valuables. Right now, she started this campaign with this article and I could appreciate that she trusted bloggers like me to take the cudgels for her.
This is a message from Lilibeth: Don't take us for granted! We mountaineers and outdoor-loving environmentalists loved to band together to fight for a common cause; how much more if one of ours is given the run around and deprived of a simple and coherent explanation that she justly deserved which this alleged manager of this Da Vinci's Pizza are wont to give justifiably.
It would seem to us that maggots are lurking around unconscious profiteers who made a killing selling those bland pizzas in town.
So off with you then...
Document done in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer, Trebuchet MS font, size 12.