Call it the revenge of the nerds. If anyone reading this has ever been shaken down for money by some corrupt “officer of the law” on some trumped up charge – and this happens so often enough to ordinary citizens it is no longer funny – you might get a kick out of this little tale. Revenge is a dish best served by a viral e-mail, apparently.
This morning I got forwarded an e-mail from photographer and blues aficionado Eddie Boy Escudero that originated from his La Salle alumni yahoogroups. It described a scenario so despicable it might make you curl your hands into fists of rage, railing at the injustice of it all.
Here’s how the original e-mail went (in all caps, at that):
THANKS FOR THE E MAIL. I’D LIKE TO TELL YOU MY SON’S EXPERIENCE WITH THE MANILA POLICE LAST WEDNESDAY EVENING AT ABOUT 10PM.
CHRISTIAN WENT TO THE CONDO AT THE CORNER OF VITO CRUZ AND TAFT AVE. TO RETURN HIS COUSIN’S LAPTOP. HE HANDED THE LAPTOP TO HIS COUSIN AND WENT BACK TO THE CAR. WHEN HE GOT TO THE CAR, THERE WAS A COP ASKING HIM WHAT HE WAS DOING THERE, WHY HE WAS PARKED ON A NO PARKING AREA. CHRISTIAN SAID, IF IT WAS A NO PARKING AREA WHY IS IT THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF CARS PARKED. THE COP SAID OPEN YOUR TRUNK AND CHRIS ASKED, WHY YOU HAVE A WARRANT?
ANYWAY, THE CAR DOORS AND WINDOWS WERE OPEN AND ANOTHER COP SEARCHED THE INTERIOR WHILE ANOTHER OPEND THE TRUNK. IN THE TOOLBOX THEY FOUND THE PLASTIC END OF SPARK PLUGS. THE COP SAID PARAPHARNELIA. THE SAME COP BROUGHT TO THE TRUNK USED PLASTIC SACHETS OF SHABU AND STARTED TO SHOUT DRUGS TO, DRUGS.
SO THEY TOOK CHRISTIAN AND YOU KNOW WHERE, TO THE ATM OF BPI. THEY SAW HIS CARD AND ASKED HIM TO WITHDRAW ALL HIS MONEY. FORTUNATELY HE DOES NOT KEEP HIS MONEY THERE. ONLY HIS SALARY IS DEPOSITED THERE. SO THE COPS WERE INISTING THAT HE WAS A USER. AND MY SON WAS SAYIN DO A TEST NOW SO THEY’LL SEE IF HE’S POSITIVE. HE SAID I CANT WORK IN MANDARIN AS A CHEF IF I’M A USER. HE SAID HE HAD TO GET POLIICE, NBI, BARANGAY, COURT AND MEDICAL CLEARANCE BEFORE HE COULD START WORKING. SO THE POLICE TOOK HIM TO THE HEADQUARTERS AT UN AVE. AND THERE FORCED HIM TO EAT SHABU. IT TOOK A WHILE BEFORE HE ATE IT. SIX COPS WERE PUNCHING HIM AND SCARING HIM WITH THEIR GUNS. TILL THR POOR GUY PEED IN HIS PANTS OF FEAR. HE HAD TO SWALLOW THE DRUG. THEN THE COPS STARTED TO LAUGH. NOW WE’LL SEE IF YOU ARE NEGATIVE OF SHABU.
200,000PHP AND WE’LL LET YOU GO. OR THIS WILL BE AT THE FISCALS OFFICE IN THE MORNING .CALL YOUR FRIENDS AND PARENTS. THIS ORDEAL STARTED AT 10PM. HE WAS ABLE TO CALL ME AT 5AM THE FOLLOWING DAY. POOR SON OF MINE WAS REALLY TRAUMATIZED. A FRIEND OF HIS CAME WITH TWENTY THOUAND THE COPS GRABBED IT AND LET HIM GO AS IF NOTHING HAPPENED. I WAS IN LIPA ALL THE TIME THIS WAS HAPPENNING. CHRIS LATER FOUND OUT FROM HIS COUSIN THAT SEVEN OF HER FRIENDS WERE ALSO APPREHENDED BY THE SAME GROUP OF COPS AND ALSO TOOK THEM TO THEIR ATM’S. THEY GOT ALL THEIR MONEY IN THE ACCOUNT. THIS COP IS CAPT.MENDOZA OF THE MOBILE GROUP AND SARGENT GAVINO.
YOU GUYS KNOW INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN THE SERVICE, PLS LET THEM KNOW ABOUT THIS.I WOULD ALSO LIKE FOR THEM TO GIVE THE MONEY THEY TOOK BACK TO MY SON SO HE COULD GIVE IT BACK TO HIS FRIEND. THE MORE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THIS SO CALLED POLICE OFFICERS THE BETTER. THIS IS THE TYPE OF GOVERNMENT THAT WE HAVE NOW. DISARM THE POPULATION AND THIS TYPE OF ABUSE HAPPENS. THANKS AND PASS IT ON.
A horrific tale indeed. But who was Bob? I replied to Eddie Boy by e-mail.
An hour or so later came the reply, in snippets of forwarded messages.
From Didi Guannzon-Lucindo came the explanation:
Ref your text message earlier today…
The e-mail was forwarded to my husband TONY’s La Salle Engineering e-group by a classmate, who is a friend of the victim’s father, MR. BOB KALAW of Lipa, Batangas.
I checked with TONY’s classmate from Engineering who forwarded the e-mail of his friend BOB, and ED SANTOS e-mailed me last May 13 that
“Bob Kalaw is a friend of mine and this really happened… my email happened to reach Pnp Chief Sonny Razon thru my friends in masonry…He had an investigation launched thru their internal affairs and you know the policemen involved got back at them and personally apologized for the incident. Unfortunately though, the P20k was not returned.”
The following day, May 14, I got a call from an officer of the Manila Police District, who then e-mailed me :
“I am POLICE SUPERINTENDENT Eleazar Pepito Matta, I gave you a call you this afternoon regarding the email “Beware of a group of Manila Cops”, at present I am the Chief of the General Assignment Section of the Manila Police District, which has jurisdiction over erring police officers in violation of the existing laws, rules/policies of the PNP.
As a backgrounder of the said case/issue, our Office already received orders to conduct investigation regarding the matter as early as April 17,2008. Last April 25,2008, Sr Insp Mendoza and PO3 Gavino were sanctioned administratively, they were relieved from their present assignment with the District Mobile Patrol Unit (DMPU) and was subsequently transferred to the District Mobile Force (DMF).
We also exerted effort to contact and locate Mr Bob Kalaw and Ed Santos thru email and in any available ways but our efforts were futile. We would like to request assistance from you to help us locate and contact both Bob Kalaw and Ed Santos, this way we will have the chance to further our investigation regarding the matter at hand and also to regain our image as a members of the Manila’s Finest and the PNP as a whole.”
And then yesterday afternoon, MAYOR LIM himself called me after the forwarded e-mail got to his attention. He asked for an update, said that the relief of the cops involved is not sufficient, because they should be charged administratively and criminally. Thereafter, I e-mailed him the updates from ED SANTOS and PSUPT. ELEAZAR MATTA above.
I am now trying to reach MR. KALAW through my husband’s college Fellows, one of who said BOB KALAW is his cousin and another guy who texted me and turned out to be the younger brother of another of their Fellows from La Salle Engineering, who is also from Lipa and knows MR. KALAW.
I only hope BOB KALAW and his son are not intimidated and will file the necessary charges so that stronger action can be taken against the errant cops.
At the very least, this whole experience has shown to me that there are many citizens like you showing concern, and waiting for results… and there are government officials like PSupt. Matta and Mayor Lim who have their ears on the ground and are responding to reports like MR. KALAW’s.
Apparently it does work to send out an indignant e-mail, as long as it gets passed around to the right people. Officers Mendoza and Gavino, you scum bags got served – by a mail server. Now how about the P20,000?