What makes criminality in the Philippines unique from other parts of the world?
“Advance akong mag-isip.”
“Pa’no mo nasabe?”
“Malakas po ang guardian angel ko sa likod!”
“Uulit-ulitin ko pa ba?”
“Wala na, finish na!”
Sounds familiar, isn’t it? The Internet becomes a large part of human interaction, and memes becomes a huge chunk of it. With the creative minds that Filipinos have, this kind of content went rampant to the point of memes being born each day. While the socials don’t miss a step with regards to hilarity, almost three years ago, it also had an odd obsession of creating memes out of criminals with primetime newscasts as their goldmine. Definitely, these materials have its stories behind them that made them occupy the most viewing time of people in television. Some might find it hilarious, but most will surely get their lessons out of their spiels.
1. "Pa'no mo nasabe?"
Robert Nocos, a butcher, stabbed a waitress to death during a drunken rampage in a videoke bar in Tondo, Manila. The victim, named Aniceta Sialogo, 41, was declared dead on arrival in the hospital. The suspect also attacked the bar’s lady cashier, Cecilia Tamayo, 41, who tried to pacify the commotion. The latter sustained two stab wounds. Nocos was arrested shortly after the incident.
Investigation showed that Nocos and Sialogo had a drinking session when the suspect made an indecent proposal. The victim refused and left the table. The suspect then went out of the bar but returned with a knife. He entered the bar again and stabbed Sialogo in different parts of her body. Tamayo tried to control Nocos but the suspect also stabbed her twice. Nocos hurriedly left the place and did not pay his bill. Few minutes later, the suspect was arrested on Zaragoza Street in Tondo, Manila.
Nocos uttered the words “Pa’no mo nasabe?” after the reporters asked him if he is under the influence of illegal drugs, which the witnesses claimed. He will face murder and frustrated murder charges.
2. "Wala na, finish na!"
The 25-year-old Bethoven Delmar, Jr. was arrested after he barged into a house and attempted to rape a woman. Bragging that raping women is just his “hobby”, Delmar said he took a knife from the kitchen and threatened to kill his target if she refused. When asked why he did such horrible act, he proudly admitted that he craves for sex and carry out the crime while under the influence of illegal drugs and intoxicating alcohol.
Despite what happened, Delmar was still thankful that President Rodrigo Duterte is not yet the one sitting at that time. He said, “Swerte pa ‘ko kasi hindi pa si Duterte ‘yang nakaupo. Eh kung si Duterte, wala na! Finish na!” Ironically, the suspect was abducted in Cubao, a commercial district in Quezon City where Duterte’s rival, 2016 presidential candidate Mar Roxas, lives.
3. "Advance akong mag-isip!"
Albert Mangapit, a 25-year-old call center agent, was caught in an undercover operation against illegal drugs in a parking area of a commercial establishment in Antipolo City. While his pay is enough for him to get by, the suspect expounded his pure intention in the illegal narcotics business with co-workers and students to collect funds as he was a “forward-thinker.”
The self-confessed drug dealer said, “There’s a lot of things you can do about the money from the Kush, 1.5 per kilo. I can change the Philippines. I can run for politics. Advance ako mag-isip. Look at Antipolo, how much is the land, land area of Antipolo? Unused. Good for farming marijuana.”
The police recovered the marked money used in the transaction as well as the marijuana tops which is more expensive than dried cannabis leaves and more sellable due to its smooth effect, according to Antipolo Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Unit.
4. "Uulit-ulitin ko pa ba?"
Nestor Delizade, Jr., a barangay watchman, stabbed to death a bank executive along with her mother and their household helper in their house in Sta. Cruz, Manila. The bodies of Evelyn Tan, 40, assistant vice president of Banco de Oro’s loan department in Makati; her mother, Teresa, 75; and their maid, Kristina Bartolay, 22, were found in the living room of their house after a driver who was to bring Evelyn to the airport for a Beijing trip tried to contact her but did not receive any reply.
Delizalde, charged with robbery in 2010, admitted his participation in the crime and his addiction to illegal drugs. He boldly said, “Hindi pa ba sapat ‘yung narinig n’yo? Uulit-ulitin ko pa ba? Ako ang pumatay!” An initial police investigation showed that he took 19,000 pesos cash and valuables from the victims.
Days after his arrest, the suspect took a bullet in the forehead while in the custody of the Manila police. There are two versions of his death: (1) he was shot by one of his escorts after he tried to grab another officer’s firearm in a police car on the way to the City Prosecutor’s Office, and (2) in the tight scuffle inside the car, Delizalde somehow ended up shooting himself.
5. “Malakas po ang guardian angel ko sa likod!” “Ginaya ko lang si Battousai, binaliktad ‘yung talim.”
What was supposedly a gruesome incident ended up with a strange reconciliation between friends. In a closed-circuit television footage, one man was caught him his friend in the back with a bolo. Children around the area were shocked with what happened. A woman within the place hurriedly brought his child inside their house while the man holding the bolo was threatening his friend to stab. The suspect was about to leave but threatened his target again upon seeing him reaching a broom.
The following day, the suspect attempted to strike his friend for the third time while carrying his child but his wife pacified the situation. The barangay officials then reconciled the two and they became buddies again. The victim said in an interview, “Malakas po ang guardian angel ko sa likod!” but the suspect replied “Ginaya ko lang si Battousai, binaliktad ‘yung talim.” The root of their confrontation is of course, money!
Have you wondered why bad things happen to good people? It shatters our hearts when gruesome and uncalled-for things happen to people with a golden heart.
In October last year, Gerardo Amolato Maquidato Jr. was one of the driver awardees of Grab Philippines recognized for giving a courtesy ride to a sick passenger. His story went viral after the passenger's family posted about him on Facebook.
Divine Lactao Ornum booked a GrabCar for her sister, Prima, who was on her way to Quezon City to pick up bags of blood for her dialysis.
Maquidato was in the area and was less than a minute away. Maquidato picked her up but did not ask for payment for the trip out of kindness.
Unfortunately, a year after winning the award, Maquidato became a victim of one of the most grisly killings that have happened to a Grab driver in the Philippines.
On the early evening of October 26, 2017, Maquidato was found dead after assailants shoved him out and stole his silver Toyota Innova along Bonanza Street in Pasay City. Witnesses near the scene heard gunshots which prompted them to report to the police.
The authorities immediately asked Grab for the victim's recorded passengers. The largest ride-hailing company was compliant and told the media that they have provided the Philippine National Police with all the necessary information to help with the investigation.
In a statement, the transport company said, "Grab is one with authorities in making sure that justice will be served and perpetrators will be put behind bars.
Our prayers and sympathies go out to Mr. Maquidato's family. He was a good father to his four children, a good friend to many of his fellow drivers, and a good driver who was always willing to outserve his passengers."
Grab also offered a P100,000-bounty for information that can lead to the capture of Maquidato's killers.
During that time, there have been six recorded cases of carnapping incidents involving Grab's partner-drivers. The suspects all booked and rode like regular passengers.
A few weeks later, the authorities had a significant break when they identified one of the suspects. One of them is Narc Tulod Delemios, also known as "Miko."
He was identified through Giselle Capati, his live-in partner, who coordinated with the Pasay City Police and admitted that her cellphone was used by Delemios to book a Grab car.
According to the initial investigation, Delemios and his cohorts booked a ride with Maquidato on the eve of his saddening death before eventually killing him and stealing his vehicle.
This was not Delemios' first time killing a man. Earlier, he was a prime suspect in Gino Balbuena's killing, a 19-year-old boy that was shot to death. Delemios also had a standing warrant of arrest issued by a Parañaque court in 2015.
Meanwhile, another witness, who requested not to be identified for his or her safety, told the police the Delemios killed Balbuena while playing cara y cruz on October 10, 2014, Baclaran.
However, Balbuena's sister said a possible motive for her brother's killing was a petty quarrel in a basketball game and that a certain Jeric Lim was an accomplice of Delemios.
On November 7, 2017, a day after being identified by the authorities as the suspect for Gerardo Amolato Maquidato Jr's killing, Delemios surrendered to the authorities and confessed to them what he did to his victim.
Gino Balbuena's relatives rushed to the Pasay police station an hour after Maquidato surrendered to the police. However, they were not allowed to see the suspect as his statement was still being taken by the police.
Still, it was a welcome development for Gino's mother, Gaillee. She said, "This will be a good Christmas gift to our family from God. We will finally get justice."
Gaillee insisted it was Delemios, a friend of Gino's at the time, who shot her son on October 10, 2014, near the corner of Bagong Sikat and Narra Extensions Streets in Baclaran, Parañaque City.
She recalled that Delemios and her son were then playing basketball when Gino accidentally struck him with an elbow. She said, "Delemios was fuming mad when he left. A few minutes later, he returned on a motorcycle and shot my son three times."
The police then conducted a press conference in Camp Crame where the suspect explained why he killed Maquidato. He said, "Pera lang po ang gusto kong kuhanin sa kanya, pero ininsist po niya, Lumaban po siya kaya ko po nagawa na ganoon."
The suspect was also confronted by Maquidato's widow and mother during that time. They told Delemios that he should have let his victim live instead of killing him.
Two days after Delemios' confession, the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, with the Pasay City police's help, has arrested Jeric Lim, his co-accused in Gino Balbuena's killing inside a mall in Dasmarinas City, Cavite.
Several months have passed, the Maquidato case took a dramatic turn of events when Delemios took a page out of the US hit TV series Prison Break after escaping prison at night through the roof. Subsequently, the police launched a manhunt against the suspect and vowed not to let justice slip off the next time they see Delemios.
Delemios escape led to the firing of the jail warden, Superintendent Bernie Ruiz, and six custodial officers.
Three months later, the cops had a tip from a concerned citizen regarding Delemios' whereabouts. According to the unnamed source, the fugitive was hiding at Barangay 148, Zone 16, in Pasay City.
Police Senior Inspector Manuel Taytayon and 8 police officers quickly went to Delemios' hideout where he was armed and dangerous.
After seeing the cops who were pursuing him, he suddenly fired his pistol several times in their direction, which caught Inspector Taytayon's body several times that eventually killed him.
The remaining cops then overpowered Delemios and shot him dead on the spot. Finally, putting an end to the fugitive's life.
As for the bloody crime scene, the authorities recovered Delemios' 9-mm Taurus gun, 18 pieces of fired cartridge cases, 3 fired bullets, and 5 live ammunition pieces.
The PNP honored Police Senior Inspector Manuel Taytayon's service by awarding him a medal of merit for sacrificing his life and promised to take care of his family. Delemios' ways of wreaking havoc finally came to an end.
It starts out simple. An attractive girl adds you on Facebook. You start talking. Things get steamy. You take your conversation somewhere more private. She takes off her clothes. She asks you to do the same. She starts masturbating. You do the same thing. Things end with at least one of you feeling good.
Then a few moments later, a video of you masturbating surfaces on YouTube. The uploader threatens you that she would send the link to your family and friends unless you send USD 3,000 to a Western Union account in the Philippines. If he followed her instructions, she would delete the video.
You aren’t the first, and definitely, not the last to fall victim to such a scheme.
Maria Caparas-Regalachuelo is the inventor of this scam; hence, earning her the title: Queen of Sextortion. She’s currently in jail due to international pressure.
Maria boasts about the fact that it only takes her 30 minutes to convince ‘stupid’ men to get naked and perform sex acts via Skype. After the deed, she’ll post videos on YouTube then threaten the victims and their families—unless they pay up.
Maria is not alone in this scheme. She has her crew of “chatters”, composed of young girls, as young as 13 years old, who scour the internet, looking for targets. Once they have found their clueless victim, they would play a pre-recorded video of an Asian woman performing a striptease, followed by a string of racy text messages. When you’re in that mood, there’s no more thinking rationally about what could happen afterwards.
The ‘chatter’ would capture their victim performing a sex act on camera, then upload that video to an unlisted YouTube page. The chatter’s boss is the one who gets in touch with the victim, threatening the latter that a link to the video will be sent to their family and friends via Facebook if they don’t pay up right away.
Maria and her gang have it down pat. They go through the same thing on every victim they could find. But in 2013, they were to blame for the suicide of 17 year old trainee mechanic, Daniel Perry, who leapt to his death, after being told by his online tormentors that he would be “better off dead.”
Daniel, who lived in Dunfermline, Scotland, fell victim to the scam after being contacted by someone he was led to believe was a girl in the United States.
After being tormented to pay more and more money, he sent a final message to his blackmailers saying “bye, bye” before jumping to his death from the Forth Road Bridge.
After being targeted by strangers online, he was left so traumatized that he chose to take his own life. For Marie’s gang, he was just another victim to exploit for cash.
Many others after him have fallen victim to the scam.
Among the victims of Maria and her gang include a millionaire pop star and a tycoon’s son who paid a large sum in repeated blackmail demands before going to the authorities. Maria was once arrested, but denied being the gang’s ringleader, saying that she was just among the many chatters.
“We tease them to get them comfortable and we work to a prepared text. Some of the chatters can barely speak Engish and many are young gay men, but they only communicate by text then show a pre-recorded video so that the victim would never know,” Maria recounts the play-by-play of their scam.
Seemingly regretting her actions, she said, “I did feel sorry for some victims. In one case, I told my victim, ‘Don’t flirt on the internet again. Look what happens.’ I am ashamed of what I did. I am so sorry for the victims. I was terribly shocked and sad when I heard about what happened to the boy in Scotland. I don’t know anything about him, but I’m very sad for his family’s loss.”
Maria has been suspected of continuing her syndicate from behind bars. She wept as she was in Bulacan Provincial Jail. The mother of five said, “I have to sleep in the hallway at night. I’m praying to Jesus to let me be with my kids again. I ask for forgiveness. Please have a heart for me. I love my children and I have put them to shame. I promised them I will give up cybercrime and stay at home and run my shop.”
Maria even added, “How could an uneducated woman like me organize a criminal syndicate?” She was asked about what she thought of her victims falling for the scam. Inconsistent with her statement about feeling bad for the victims, she replied, “They are stupid.”
Maria has insisted that she had nothing to do with Daniel’s death. She worked as a chatter for only eight months, racking up Php 800,000, before quitting after her first arrest in 2014 following Daniel’s death.
Damning evidence of her significant role in the syndicate included pictures of her 13 year old son, covered in banknotes, taunting those who oppose her cybercrime activities.
Another set of pictures showed a group of her chatters celebrating their earnings at a Christmas party, donning t-shirts in honor of their boss, Maria, calling themselves the “Ceecelle All Stars.” Ceecelle was one of Maria’s aliases.
The profits earned by the gang have brought about a fleet of cars, up to 10 cars, flat screen TVs, iPhones, iPads, and Samsung smartphones, among others. North Hills Village in the Bulacan District was the home of Marie, wherein much of the population was said to be involved in the sextortion activities. Marie’s home served as a place for her to allegedly recruit teenagers for her syndicate. A room, lined with 19 computer cubicles, was believed to be where her chatters would seduce and blackmail foreign men online.
Marie’s gang was believed to have blackmailed at least 500 victims, with the amounts ranging from £200 to £15,000. The demands would continue until the victims have run out of money or gone to authorities.
Marie’s initial charges were dropped amid suspicions that she bribed officials, but was arrested again in 2016 as the sextortion activities continued; putting international pressure on the Philippine police. While in jail, Marie was able to keep a smartphone, as she was one of the wealthier inmates there, bribing others to turn a blind eye.
Residents in North Hills Village insisted that Marie was the mastermind in the sextortion scheme. One resident said, “This is a poor village made up of people relocated from the Manila slums but look around and you'll see all the young kids have designer clothes. That’s because 70% of the households here make their money from sextortion. The only difference is they do it from their own homes since Caparas was arrested. It's still going on because it's easy money and money means everything in a place like this.”
The gang's activities are thought to have contributed to a surge in 'Sextortion' cases in Britain with four more suicides in 2016 and a doubling of reported cases compared to 2015.
There could still be a number of cases out there wherein sextortion schemes are rampant; especially for a country that's so in-tune with social media and more young people being targeted to take part in it. The internet can be a really dark place. You can’t just trust anybody, especially when you’re being told to do lewd acts. Think twice before sharing any information about yourself. Better safe than sorry.
On December 23, 2018, a woman's lifeless body was found wrapped in a black garbage bag and sealed with duct tape inside a brown box. On the other hand, authorities immediately uncovered the two male foreigners that had something to do with the young woman's killing.
The victim's name is Tomi Michelle Masters. She is a 23-year-old girl from Indiana, USA. Earlier, she arrived in the Philippines together with her boyfriend Troy Woody and Mir Islam. Both men are said to be American hackers that have business ventures in the Philippines.
Authorities were alerted when John Kenneth Quimba, a Grab car driver, reported that two foreigners booked a ride from Avida Towers in Mandaluyong City to Robinson's Place Mall in Ermita, Manila.
However, the driver felt something was wrong because his two passengers also loaded a sizable brown box at the trunk of his vehicle and requested the driver take both of them to Baseco Compound. This area is beside the Pasig River and has substantial amounts of crimes that happened.
As they arrived at Baseco, both men unloaded the box from the vehicle and swiftly dumped it on the river. After disposing of the box, the passengers then insisted the driver bring them to their original destination at Robinson's Place Manila, where they both got off.
The driver was utterly suspicious about both men's actions, which led him to quickly report his doubts to the Manila Police Department.
The police went straight to Baseco and found the naked body of Tomi Michelle Masters wrapped in a black garbage bag and sealed with duct tape inside a brown box.
In a follow-up operation, policemen arrested Woody and Islam at a nearby condominium unit in Robinson's Place Manila that belonged to Islam. Before locating their whereabouts, the cops coordinated with barangay officials near the Robinsons mall in Ermita, who showed them footage taken by CCTV cameras that helped them track down the suspects.
According to initial reports, the victim was believed to have been strangled to death inside the condominium unit she shared with her boyfriend at Avida Towers in Mandaluyong City either on Saturday night or early Sunday morning. The condo unit was reserved by both Masters and Woody online before they arrived in the Philippines.
As for the testimonies of both suspects, the lead investigator said, "If you ask the boyfriend, he will point to his friend as the killer. But if you ask the other suspect, he would say it was his friend who killed her."
Authorities also conducted a medical examination on the suspects that uncovered scratch marks all over Woody's body, which means the victim could have probably fought hard to stay alive but was overpowered by the two suspects.
Both suspects were charged with murder and are currently on trial.
Amid the on-going trial, Woody and Islam requested to be moved to a particular detention facility for foreigners accused of violating the Philippines law. Since their arrests, both men, who had visibly lost weight, complained of their cells' conditions. However, the judge assigned to their case did not grant the request.
The men's stories had changed significantly from the days after Tomi Michelle Masters' death when each implicated the other in the killing. In a separate interview with BuzzFeed News, Islam claimed that Masters died from asphyxiating on her own vomit and that throwing her body in the river had been a misguided attempt at a burial.
Islam implied that he and Woody had told false stories when they were initially apprehended because they were hungry. He said, "When we were arrested, we weren't given any food or anything, so we were both very delusional."
He also said that his defense was being hindered by the FBI and claimed its agents had threatened to plant drugs on his Filipina fiancée — whom he said he had proposed to after his arrest — if she took the stand in his defense. According to Islam, the FBI was obsessed with him because of his past hacking offenses, for which he served several years in federal prison.
Meanwhile, Woody, the victim's boyfriend, insists that he was truly innocent and that he truly loved his girlfriend. He also said that they got engaged because they were ready to be married.
The two men claimed that the FBI, working with the US embassy in the Philippines, illegally seized their property without authorization, including laptops that Woody said contained a large amount of bitcoin.
So far, there are no updates in the trial.
More than half a year ago, high-profile convict Jaybee Sebastian died inside the New Bilibid Prison allegedly due to acute myocardial infarction, with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a serious factor contributing to his sudden demise. Last week, notorious carjacker Raymond Dominguez was found lifeless inside the national penitentiary with “natural causes” as the reported cause of death, while waiting for the official medico-legal report. This series of notable deaths within the corners of the correction now leaves the eyes of the public to the rockstar of Bilibid, Herbert Colanggo.
Herbert, also known as “Ampang Colanggo” gained his prominence being the head of a notorious robbery group linked in several gruesome crimes in the early 2000s. He was also reported as the leader of well-known gangs such as Waray-Waray and Ozamiz robbery gang.
On May 16, 2008, eight bank employees, a security guard and a depositor were lined up and blown out their heads after a group of men robbed the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Science Park Branch in Cabuyao, Laguna. This summary execution-style robbery was tagged as the bloodiest bank robbery in the history of the country, as they were all sprawled on the floor with a single gunshot to their head.
One of the suspects narrated the incident to the media due to his “troubled conscience”. He said a vehicle carrying five suspects arrived at the bank between 8:15 to 8:20 A. M. Three of them went out and registered themselves at the guard’s logbook. A guard went out and let the suspects in. The other two followed them inside the bank. As the suspects entered the establishment, several gunshots rang out. The residents in the area heard no gunshots coming from the area. The incident was discovered only after the bank failed to open and customers alerted authorities. Police recovered empty bullet shells of .9mm and super .38 calibers.
According to a police report, the five suspects introduced themselves as cops. However, investigators failed to find the names used in the logbook in the roster of Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel. Based on the logbook, the suspects surrendered an armalite and a magazine ammunition upon entering the bank. The vehicle used was also found out with no plate. Apparently, the suspects have taken around 12 to 15 million pesos.
The Ampang Colanggo robbery group was implicated as being behind this grisly crime now known as the “RCBC Cabuyao Massacre”.
After years of being evasive in spite of a trail of bank robberies organized by his group, Herbert was eventually arrested in January 2019 in a checkpoint in Iligan City.
In October 2014, Paranaque Regional Trial Court sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Inside the national penitentiary, Colanggo made an overhaul as he pursued his musical career, following in the footsteps of his idols such as Michael Jackson, Martin Nievera, and Freddie Aguilar.
From the notorious “Ampang Colanggo” to the new music icon “Herbert C”, he was able to release an album entitled “Kinabukasan” through his complete recording studio within the maximum security jail. A music video for one of its soundtrack, “Pano ‘Yan,” was even shooted inside the correction with apparently a complete set of crew. The album, under Ivory Music, reached gold and platinum status. He was even awarded as the New Male Recording Artist of the Year by the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) in 2014.
However, his musical ambitions ended after the luxurious living inside Bilibid was discovered by the authorities. The amenities formerly built were demolished and the illegal paraphernalia were confiscated. The 19 inmates behind the anomaly, known as Bilibid 19, were also transferred to different cell facilities with the hope to “dismantle the syndicates inside the prison.”
Days after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, Colanggo was tagged as one of the drug lords operating inside Bilibid and warned him together with Peter Co and Peter Lim that they would die if they stepped out of jail.
A year before the tragic 2017 Ozamiz police raid, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, Sr. confirmed the relationship of his daughter, Vice Mayor Nova Princess, with Colangco, which according to him he wished would end. Parojinog said Nova Princess had just been annulled to former basketball player Edgar Echavez, who is the Chairman of a barangay in the city. Nova Princess was detailed at the Camp Crame Custodial Center after the bloody police operation which killed his father and other relatives.
Colanggo was last seen in a congressional hearing testifying the involvement of former justice secretary and opposition Senator Leila De Lima in the illicit drug trade inside the high-security prison. De Lima was acquitted in one of her 3 conspiracy to drug trading charges by Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court.
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