Philippine Kidnappings on the Discovery Channel

There’s a new show on the Discovery Channel titled, “Kidnap and Rescue“, and it is putting the Philippines in a bad light because it has so far already featured two kidnapping cases in the country. In both cases, foreigners were involved. Here is their official website: Discovery Channel’s “Kidnap and Rescue” Episodes

One episode I have not yet seen, but detailed the above Episode Guide was about a Fil-American kidnapped by a Taxi Driver.

Another episode not yet in the Episode Guide and aired more recently was about a Chinese businessman kidnapped in Manila by a terrorist organization, and then rescued by the “Guidry Group”. The group is a private security organization, which offers various private security services, including Kidnap Retrieval. They have operatives who are mostly former law enforcement and military personnel. Here is their official website: The Guidry Group

The was shameful for the Philippines as it showed how corrupt our law enforcement officers were, asking the company for money to help rescue the kidnap victim and capture the kidnappers.

Although the group was able to retrieve the kidnapped Chinese businessman, they paid a big price for it when one of their own operatives was later taken at a Manila Hotel by the kidnappers as payback. That operative was tortured, a audio tape of his ordeal was sent to the Guidry group as a warning. His body was never found, its assumed he was killed and his body dumped somewhere.
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Petty Crime and the Philippines

For the ordinary Filipino like me, petty crime is very much a part of our everyday lives. Let me share this recent story and reflection so people will know what most Filipinos have to go thru. Between 200-2007, I lost about three celphones, and two wallets to thieves. Three celphones from your neighborhood “celphone-pitik” persons, and two wallets from pickpockets. And those are the only ones I can remember.

Between 2008-2009, though, I had not lost a celphone or wallet to thieves. But that was because I was out of the country 80% of the time. And also since around that time, I had learned to put my wallet into my right front pocket. That’s a basic survival tip in the Philippines: Put your wallet in your front pocket.

As 2009 came and nearly went, I thought I would have at least two years of break from petty thieves. BUT, that was not to be, because as the year 2009 came to a close, a close call incident took place, which showed how rampant petty crime really is in our country.

‘Backpack Stealing Attempt’
The incident occured in late December 2009, on the overpass between the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) and Robinson’s Galleria. I carry a black North Face backpack, but I usually don’t carry anything valuable in it. Just an umbrella, an extra ‘bimpo’, some papers, ballpen, etc., certainly no electronic device. I usually slung it over my right shoulder while walking. Having parked my car at Galleria, I proceeded to cross the overpass to the POEA.

That overpass tends to be crowded, so its natural to have people crowding you in front, and behind. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then I heard a lady behind me talking about something. Then I feel a press on my backpack towards my back once. Then it happened twice, and then thrice. After the third press, that’s when it just suddenly occured to me: Someone is trying to access my backpack from behind.

I immediately stopped, stepped to the side, and swung my bag in front. And true enough, the zipper of my backpack was open, when it should’ve been closed. I let the person who was behind me pass, and then looked. It was a lady about 5’2″, with shoulder length hair, probably in her mid to late twenties. She didn’t look like a crook at all, dressed like your average Pinay on the street.
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Holdap!!! Part 3

‘In cahoots’
Now that I learned that the Philippine Corinthian Liner has had a reputation of bus drivers and conductors consorting with criminals, I did find it strange that the bus driver and conductor of the bus I was on didn’t act as if they really wanted the criminals to be caught.

If they were really serious about catching the guy, they would’ve stopped the bus, allowing the passengers and/or they themselves to trail the holduppers. Instead, the driver continued driving the bus at a slow speed, therefore not allowing anybody in the bus to follow the criminals.

Also, if they could’ve stopped the bus, and tried to make a ruckus to draw attention from possible passing police authorities. It was an emergency, after all.

I also found it suspicious that they did not stop to ask the help of the MMDA Enforcers when we passed them. We had to ask them to stop so we could report the incident to those MMDA Enforcers.

PHILIPINE CORINTHIAN LINER. Remember that name, next time you ride an aircon bus in Manila.
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Holdap!!! Part 2

‘The Getaway’
When we reached the Estrella overpass, the man got off the bus, then I saw him run up the Estrella overpass to cross the highway. It was only later after discussing with the other passengers did they point out that another man wearing a light yellow shirt got off at the same time the holdupper got off the bus.

The guy in the yellow shirt never uttered a word during the entire incident, relying on the perp with the black baseball cap to do all the work. He obviously was the backup, keeping an invisible profile, but ready to assist if something happened to the main guy.

As soon as the perps got off, I rushed to the front of the bus to tell the bus driver to look for a Policeman we can report the incident to. One of the passengers wearing a black shirt went to the door, with the intention of going after the perps. But the bus driver didn’t stop, he kept the bus moving at a slow pace, so the passengers couldn’t get off the bus.

‘MMDA Enforcers’
Before we reached the Guadalupe MRT station, I saw some MMDA Enforcers trying to ticket some motorists. Funny how the bus driver didn’t point it out to me, good thing I saw them. I immediately asked him to stop, went down, and reported the incident to the MMDA Enforcers.

All they could do was text the details to their Headquarters, or so they say. It took awhile for them to complete the text and send it out. In the end, they told me to report it to the police since it was a police matter. So I asked them where is the nearest Police Station? They couldn’t remember, and just told me to call and report it to “117”. It was only later we learned that there’s a police station there at JP Rizal near the Guadalupe MRT station.
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Holdap!!! Part 1

I will always remember July 19, 2008 as the day when I first got victimized in a bus hold up in my thirty plus something of existence. And the immense irony of the whole thing, was that I was on my way to a GUN SHOW when it happened.

It all started like any of the hundreds, if not thousands of bus rides I have had over the years. I got on an airconditioned bus (“The Philippine Corinthian Liner” body number 1203) at the Ayala Avenue bus stop near the Makati Medical Center at around 3:30 pm, on my to the SM Megamall to attend the latest gun show.

‘The Hold up’
I was seated near the rear of the bus, loss in thought, staring outside the bus window, and didn’t notice anything unusual until the bus started going up overpass on the Ayala Avenue and EDSA intersection. It was then when I heard some commotion out front. I initially thought there was a fight out there, since I heard somebody curse in Tagalog.

A guy wearing a black baseball cap, white T-shirt and backpack started saying loudly as he was walking down the aisle, “Ilabas ninyo mga celphone ninyo! (Bring out all of your celphones!)”. It was then that I knew it was a hold up.

The b@st@rd was about 5’4″, looked like he was in his late 30s to early 40s. As he passed by my row, I saw him holding close to his left thigh a revolver. It looked like a stainless steel piece, and I couldn’t make out the make and caliber.
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Pickpockets At The Cuneta Astrodome

* I never really felt unsafe at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay, despite the presence of all those seedy characters scalping tickets in that area. That was the case, until this evening, when I had my wallet picked at that goddamn venue after watching Game 1 of the the Red Bull vs. Purefoods Semi-finals series. I lost about P1.3k of hard-earned cash, P1k of which I had allocated to pay for my credit card bills.

‘Modus Operandi’

* The seats below the gallery was filled about 95% for the game, but when Red Bull ended up behind by 20 + pts. w/ only 2 min. to go in the game, a lot of people were making a beeline for the exit. I don’t know exactly how the pickpockets got my wallet, but there are 2 possibilities;

* First, as we I was heading for the exit while still inside the stadium, some jerk from the Lower Box seat suddenly shouted at the court, “Hoy kalbo, umupo ka na, kanina ka pa dyan!”. I’m not bald, so I knew it wasn’t intended at me, probably inside the playing court. I did find it strange why somebody would shout such nonsense in such a loud voice, because I did get distracted. Looking back, that shout could’ve probably been meant to distract not only the victims, but also the people who could’ve observed the crime taking place. In that second where everybody got distracted, somebody probably bumped me & took my wallet.

* Its a variation of the “Laglag Barya” modus operandi, where instead of dropping coins to distract people, they used a shout.
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Glorietta 2 Bombing

* I work in Makati, & the first inkling we knew something was wrong was the constant ringing of ambulance sirens below. It went on for quite some time, every couple of minutes you would hear a vehicle w/ a siren passing by. Somebody in the office was texted about the explosion, & that’s when we started trying to get details from the internet.

* My two-cents about the bombing:

– The bomb was reportedly set off in an LPG storage area. If so, then this is probably one reason why the police initially thought the explosion was a result of an accident involving LPG tanks.
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