Friday, August 1, 2014


I WAS IN THE MIDDLE of shaving my jaw stubble in the morning of October 1994 when The Cranberries video was shown on MTV. The tune struck some chords in my emotions as my mind tossed me back to a quarry that had slipped. The razor sliced my skin as I stared into a face yet pain was nowhere. I felt like a zombie. Numbed of a failure that had never been mine.

I am talking about a killer that got away. A vicious serial soloist. Blending in the night with GI wires and scissors. A real zombie. Without remorse and feelings.

He begins to take shape in my consciousness after a robbery-homicide incident on a businessman in El Filibusterismo Street, Cebu City on August 24, 1994. The lone killer took 700,000 pesos all by himself, a huge sum of money of that day. Nobody knows the guy. A complete stranger. More like a ghost!

I am a former cop. An operative of a special unit under the Theft and Robbery Section. I helped follow up this case and got some leads until it led to an apartment at the back of the Holy Cross Church in Basak-Pardo. My unit and two full teams from the TRS laid a trap on the night of September 30, 1994. They all botched this up and let the quarry get away.

I was a couple of minutes late at the scene and I took pursuit among the dark alleys not knowing where the killer had gone to. I could only second-guess and it was raining hard. I was drenched as I pursue the search alone and went over the fence inside a public school. I went over another fence into a huge university campus and still came up with nothing.

When I came back to the scene, it was almost daylight. The things and the money that the killer accumulated thru his criminal activities were seized and confiscated. What I got was just a small ID picture of the man and a name. As if in consolation, I got a hint that the man was a suspect in a sensational crime in Luzon.

I enlarged the picture in a photo shop and it was with me breakfast, lunch and dinner. I stared into the eyes and it revealed nothing. The two earrings on the right ear were a dead giveaway, that is, if we bump into each other on a street corner which is close to impossible at that moment.

I begun to work alone and away from everyone. I gathered more information and I learned more of the man. He was involved in a multiple murder case in Cainta, Rizal on April 22, 1993. I got a real name this time.

I combed all the police blotter backwards in all the precincts of Cebu City from the date he escaped our police dragnet going back to the day of the “Cainta Massacre”. I got 40 to 60 cases that was similar to his M.O. but I got fifteen that was really his, including one after his escape. The tools of his trade were GI wires and scissors. He later used a small handgun.

      “Another head hangs lowly,
      Child is slowly taken.
      And the violence caused such silence.
      Who are we mistaken?...”

The lyrics sung by Dolores O’Riordan penetrated deep into my psyche. It produced an ember of anger within me and I promised myself that I will catch this serial killer on my own. I have to be a zombie myself to take on a zombie.

January 5, 1995. I was alone at TRS when a phone call from a security guard of a bank in General Maxilom Avenue came through. A document was faxed from another bank in Davao. The man intends to retrieve his savings left here!

With the document, I worked really hard to convince my superiors to track the man, which they did, but with reservations. Although I was given the privilege to choose people for my team, they gave me just a little support. Aside that, the prohibition of firearms will start on January 10 for the May ‘95 senatorial elections. I just have a few days to legally operate outside of where I am assigned. Just a very tiny window of success.

I chose just one man for my team to the surprise of my superiors. Got my mission order and faxed a copy, including the warrant and a request for exemption to the Commission on Elections and the devil be damned! We leave Cebu two days later for Davao via Cagayan de Oro without any idea where our quarry will be.

January 8. While riding in a bus, I see Mount Apo in the distance. Been there last April. I needed a sign. Appearing suddenly in slow spiral motion was a Philippine eagle. I always hold dear the sight of an eagle since the time I encountered one so close in the jungles of Leyte in 1992. A spark inside me burst alive. I knew in the instant that this hunt would turn out right in my favor.

January 9. The killer did not go to the bank in Davao as was indicated in the document. The banker mentions a name that led to another name and another and then another one until it led to a tattoo shop. The shop was closed. It was noon time. My two-man team was beefed up by a team of Davao’s Finest.

We went to the tattoo artist’s residence in Matina and waited. I saw near the subdivision guardhouse a man sitting in a tricycle and something glinted from his right ear. Two earrings! The man alighted and stood up to his full height. In my excitement, I left the unmarked police vehicle without any word to the others.

I stalked the man as he walked towards a small roadside store. I drew my gun. I was quick. I grabbed his short crop of hair from behind and yanked his face upward and slammed him hard to the storefront. He was pinned, unable to use his strength. I managed to inform him his rights during the scuffle.

Meanwhile, the six other cops inside the vehicle were confused at my sudden leaving. Then they saw me wrestling somebody and ran towards my direction. They arrived just in time to handcuff the killer which took some great difficulty.

From there, we whisked him to city hall where Mayor Rodrigo Duterte sat waiting. He congratulated me and the rest for the successful arrest. It was good publicity for Davao City. Good for investors. Finally, I got my redemption!

      “In your head, in your head,
       Zombie, zombie, zombie,
       Hey, hey, hey. What's in your head,
       In your head,
       Zombie, zombie, zombie?...
       ...they are dying...”

I returned to Cebu on January 14 without my quarry. I was placed off-limits to media interviews. I liked to shed a tear but I can’t. I was devoid of emotions. I was stunned by the sudden turn of events.

The serial killer was shot while attempting to grab a Davao cop’s gun when being escorted to Sasa wharf on January 11. Dead on arrival. He was my ticket to an instant promotion. With a cadaver, I could get less; at the most, a medal. Which I did.

My zest to serve in the force spiralled down even when my audacious mission caught the fancy of my fellow cops in both Davao and Cebu and in the media. Popular TV host Noli de Castro looked for me. He featured this story, nevertheless, in his TV program, Magandang Gabi Bayan. I was not interested with all this attention. I had already turned into a zombie.

Document done in LibreOffice 3.3 Writer

1 comment:

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