Murder, we write

    O, ANGELES din ito.

    TV Patrol’s Noli de Castro introduced thus his Kabayan Special Patrol clip on the still unresolved June 2015 gruesome killing of bank teller Tania Camille Dee allegedly by her estranged husband Fidel Shieldon Arcenas inside posh Sta. Maria Subd. in Barangay Balibago.

    De Castro’s overtone slashing further at the city’s tattered image, coming in the wake of a slew of news on the twists and turns rising out of Jee Ick-Joo’s abduction and subsequent execution by police elements.

    No more queries of “Where’s the mayor?” now, what with the Honorable Edgardo Pamintuan having had his solemn presence impacted – on national television yet – beside a fuming General Bato de la Rosa punishing the city’s kidnap cops last week with pushups.

    And, officially, personally, sincerely expressing his deepest condolences to Jee’s widow in memorial services at Camp Crame Monday.

    The question du jour is: What is happening to the city? As I gathered from not a few caffeinated heads at the Starbukcks, Krispy Kreme and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf I frequented.

    No, it does not take the mayor to answer that question. I can very well do that. As I did, indeed, with my coffee confederates, thus: What is happening to the city now that has not happened to it before?

    The killing of a Korean?

    We listed five fatalities in some previous column: Her Tae Suk, 65, shot dead while walking with three other Koreans toward Prism Hotel in Clarkview Avenue on Feb. 19, 2014; Park Youn Jae, 60, owner of Royal Hotel in Barangay Cutcut, shot dead inside his offi ce at the Koreatown along Friendship Highway here on Sept. 17, 2015; two males and one female with gunshot wounds in the head dumped at the FVR megadike on Oct. 12, 2016.

    Murder – being victims of it – is far from exclusive to Koreans in the city.

    Much as the terror that gripped Koreatown in the wake of Jee’s kidnap-murder, fear engulfed the Australian community in July 2008 when, in a span of three weeks, one Tylar Hammond, 64, was found hogtied and stabbed inside his residence in Balibago; tourist Keith Joseph Cook, 68, was killed in the city’s entertainment district; and one Raymund Arthur Kelly, 56, was seriously injured after being shot at point blank range by motorcycle-riding robbers.

    As with the Koreans now, the Australians then feared they had become specific targets of criminal gangs in the city.

    The single attack on foreigners in the city with the most number of casualties remains the killing of three US servicemen and one Filipino mistaken for an American by NPA partisans in separate places on October 27, 1987. As fresh as the blood spilled on that day, a recall of the names of the victims: A1C Stephen Faust, SSgt. Randy Davis, Sgt. Herculeano Mangente, and furniture maker Joseph Porter – all shot dead as “targets of opportunity.”

    The “city of friendship,” as Angeles was hailed during the mayorship of Blueboy Nepomuceno, quickly morphed into “murder capital” with – sound the dirges now – sisig queen Aling Lucing, businessman Arwin Ting, trader and disc jockey Heherson Punzalan, half-brother Joven Pineda Deala, Angeles City oldtimer American national George Lavalley, Barangay Pulung Maragul chairman Edilberto Cayanan, American tourist Jerry Melton, former Barangay Malabanas chairman Thelmo Lalic, to name just the high-profi le victims.

    Much earlier, there was the so-called “festival of death” in May-June 1988 chronicled by the Angeles Sun where some 40 individuals were murdered – the city engineer Filomeno Bonifacio, human rights lawyer Ramon Cura, medical practitioner Pat Santiago, a number of policemen and militants killed in a war of attrition between urban partisans and right-wing vigilantes; the common criminals pouncing on a whole family of seven, a couple and their three house helps, a jeepney driver, a retiree, the ordinary folk.

    It took no less than then-Rep. Carmelo F. Lazatin, noting how the resurgence of violence in Angeles had reached alarming proportions, to call on the military and civilian authorities – and sit down with them – to craft “pre-emptive actions” to confront the deteriorating peace and order situation.

    Murder, we wrote about then. Murder, we write about now.

    Aye, what is happening to Angeles City now that has not happened to it before?

    Why, even the city police corps is – now as then – the bumbling, inept, idiotic Keystone Cops of silent-movie Hollywood. Or, in the local parlance, the pulis patola and the pulis pansitan combined.

    With the few exceptions rising to the challenges of “tokhang for ransom” or pushing up to extortion and thievery.


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