QUEZON CLASH

Kin find incredible activist led double life

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Tirso “Jun” Lontok Jr.has been implicated by retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz in jueteng operations.

LUCENA CITY—People who knew Tirso “Jun” Lontok Jr. as a  rabid environmentalist and a  champion of the rights of farmers found it incredible that he would die being tagged a member of a gun-for-hire and gambling syndicate.

But sources told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on condition of anonymity that Lontok began living a double life barely three years ago when he entered the dangerous world of illegal gambling.

In an interview before a press conference in Dolores town, also in Quezon, Thursday, Lontok’s wife, Marife, denied that Lontok was involved in shady activities. “He will not allow himself to become a dummy of anyone, especially in connection with illegal activities,” she said.

In the press conference, the family cited a witness account of the Atimonan incident that Lontok came out of the vehicle to ask law enforcers what the checkpoint was all about.

“Reports said Jun even raised his arms signifying that he meant no harm but he was still peppered with bullets,” Marife said.

Lontok was one of the 13 people who were killed in an alleged encounter with policemen and Army soldiers in Atimonan town in Quezon on Sunday. Law enforcers claimed the fatalities belonged to a big-time gun-for-hire syndicate, private armed group and operator of illegal gambling.

According to one source, Lontok was the “link” of a prominent Quezon political clan to alleged big-time gambling operator Victor Rimas Siman, or “Vic Siman,” one of the 13 slain in Atimonan.

“Jun was the front man of the Quezon connection,” said the source, himself a former operator of “jueteng” (an illegal numbers racket) in the Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) area.

Bishop’s remark

Lontok has also been implicated by retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz in jueteng operations.

Cruz, who is known for his zealous antijueteng crusade, said Lontok was not on his group’s list of major jueteng lords but his  name always cropped up as part of the illegal gambling network.

Lontok’s sister, Evangelista, dared the prelate to provide evidence to back up his accusation. “He is a bishop. He should know that it is not good to accuse anyone without evidence,” she said.

Ariel Lontok Saliva, Lontok’s first cousin, who is acting as the family spokesperson, said in the press conference that Lontok was killed in “a bloody massacre of innocent persons” at the police checkpoint.

“We don’t know anything about the so-called rules of engagement but what we’re sure of was that there were serious violations in the standard operating procedure at their checkpoint,” Lontok’s eldest daughter, Bianca, 20, said in a statement she read.

“The policemen and Army soldiers want to make sure that dead men will tell no tales,” she said, noting that the bodies bore bullet wounds in the head to indicate that the operation and the killings were well-planned.

For members of his family, his colleagues in Kapatiran at Alyansang Alay para sa Kaunlaran ng Bayan–Quezon (Kaakbay-Quezon) and friends, like activist priest Robert Reyes, what were being said of Lontok were all “lies.”

Reyes called Lontok “one of those down-to-earth, passionate environmentalists who you will not find in an air-conditioned office.”

Belle Lontok-Evangelista, a younger sister of Lontok, was angry that her brother was linked to gambling bookies in Southern Tagalog. “If that is true, his family should now be rich and his children not studying in public schools,”  she said.

 

Front man?

But according to the source from the underground gambling business in Calabarzon, Lontok served as the link between Siman’s jueteng operation and a member of the influential clan in Quezon.

The gambling tie-up has been operating the illegal numbers racket in Laguna and Batangas since the start of the Aquino administration in 2010, the source said. He did not elaborate.

“He was an environmentalist and community organizer. He was not a gambler and did not have any connection with any jueteng operator. All jueteng allegations against him are baseless and perverted lies,” Saliva said.

Lontok and Siman were friends, he said, but “it did not necessarily mean that Jun was also into Siman’s business.”

Access to NPA

In an earlier interview at the funeral parlor in Lucena City, another relative, who did not want to be identified, revealed that Lontok had once helped Siman in dealing with insurgents in Laguna who had been harassing Siman’s STL (Small Town Lottery) operations in  Calamba City. Lontok was known in Quezon to have access to the communist New People’s Army (NPA).

Marife confirmed the friendship, which, she said, began after her husband helped Siman with his problem with the NPA rebels.

The relative said that a day before the encounter, Siman had asked Lontok to join him in his trip to Camarines Norte once more to stop the insurgents from harassing his STL operations in the area. But the relative did not know why policemen and soldiers were escorting them.

According to Marife, Lontok joined Siman in his trip to Bicol to visit Siman’s gold mining operations in Panganiban town in Camarines Norte.

Banahaw protection

Jay Lim, spokesperson of Kaakbay-Quezon, said Lontok helped organize the multisectoral coalition with activist priest Raul Enriquez in the early 1990s to oppose a plan to extend the South Luzon Expressway to the slope of Mount Banahaw.

He also led the fight to protect and rehabilitate Banahaw and Tayabas Bay, Lim said. “On mountains and seas, Jun will be always there to embrace its protection cause,” the group spokesperson said.

“He would have given his life to protect the mystical water, timber, wildlife and rich minerals of Mount Banahaw,” Father Reyes said.

He said he first met Lontok as one of the core leaders of the opposition of Quezon residents against the plan of the Metro Manila Development Authority to dump trash in the province.

Sanctity of outdoors

“Jun preferred the streets, rivers, rice fields and mountains to do his work,” Reyes said. “People like him made me recognize the sanctity of the outdoors and the utter brutality of those who worshipped progress at all cost.”

Francia Britania Malabanan, Lucena public information officer, said her generation of Banahaw protection advocates and mountaineers would always look up to Lontok as their “inspiring light” to continue his crusade.

Councilor Alex Tolentino of Sariaya town remembered Lontok’s contribution to the municipal government environmental protection programs in 2004 to 2007, when he was then municipal administrator and executive assistant to Mayor Connie Doromal.

A native of Dolores, Lontok left behind a wife and three children. He will be buried on Saturday.

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  • batangpaslit

    bakit nasa listahan ng Archbishop si Lontok kung hindi sia involved?
    hindi naman impossible na kung go between si Lontok between the Jueteng Lord and the polilical warlord; go between the Jueteng Lord and the insurgency lord ay hindi sia nakinabang sa payola from jueteng.
    eh…ang taong naglalaro ng apoy, hindi pa puedeng masunog?
    sa ngaon siguro dipa nia nilalantad ang pera nia. marunong eh magtago.

  • farmerpo

    Might be hackneyed but, birds of a feather flocks together. When the hunter shoots, he does not ask which shall I bring down? In this case, the hunters cannot afford a live catch. Ampatuans, eat you heart out. Coming soon in Pampanga.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MVFD4BILVPVGXWC3EPKWNBXAYE wyl5326

    I have no idea of what is really the Truth, but it looks like some innocents got into the crossfire for their thin social connections who was cleverly used as a protective shield as in being used by hostage taker from getting pinned down.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NXV3F6YUQWDOA4HPYOFN5F2N3U Danyel

    Jueteng talaga ang ugat niyan…..

  • NAGMAMARUNONG

    SEEMS LIKE SCENES OF THE GODFATHER. 

  • regd

    Maybe he has a split personality?

  • glg_ph

    “marife confirmed their friendship” kung sabihin natin mabuting tao si lontok kasi kaibigan siya ng mga environmentalists, masamang tao din kaya siya dahil kaibigan siya ng mga gambling lords? 

  • fidel jr asor

    In sensitive stories such as this, sources should always be identified. This should be the policy of newspapers. The readers may never know if the reporter/editor is being used by these supposed sources to destroy the reputation of people for a hidden agenda.

  • milespacker

    It is difficult to be community-active in Quezon and not rub shoulders with the notorious, there are just too many of them, and most of them also go to Church. If you are an unassuming environmentalist who gets along with everyone, then you will mix, socialize and even do business with everyone. Most criminals also have a legit business that innocent people go into partnerships with, but perhaps in the eyes of the intelligence community which lacks in peripheral vision, this could be misconstrued as being in syndicate with criminals.

  • http://twitter.com/r_eyesian ian reyes

    TELL ME YOUR FRIENDS AND I WILL TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE……….

    • LeoSanMig

      Ahh… it is always so easy to besmirch one’s reputation and character just by basing it on unreliable news reports, isn’t it? I do not know the guy personally and so I’ll just hold my judgement of him later. Heck, why should I even judge the person! Based on what I have been reading, there are attempts to muddle the issue. Lest we forget that the real issue here is if it a shootout or a rubout. Even a criminal, and I am not saying that Mr Lontok is one, deserves a day in court.

  • Ed Molina

    environmentalist whose friend has gold mining operations?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3RMNEZCQQHXWOQRXJROQ2CORFU Homer Guo

       yan din ang tanong ko? kelan pa naging mag “friends” ang 2 agenda na yan?

    • koolkid_inthehouse

      I’m not against mining if done properly without ruining the environment

  • dukling

    Lontok is just being a real Filipino who lives and operates like a “lagaring halon”. Kumakagat pasulong and kumakagat sa paurong.

  • virgoyap

    Lontok’s life is as intruiging as the Atimonan incident.

  • http://www.yellowmythbusters.gov.ph/ Weder-Weder Lang

    It’s always easy to destroy a man’s reputation by associating him with bad elements. Especially now that he’s dead and won’t be able to defend himself.

    Ninoy also had many HUK friends and this he admitted openly. He also dealt with commies.

    Cory also rubbed shoulders with Cardinal Sin a lot. Cardinal Sin is not exactly known for his vow of poverty or his temperance. Judging by his girth and the unchristian reputation of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Sin could also be portrayed at times as the epitome of avarice or insatiable appetite. Or any one of the seven deadly sins. And yet Cory had no qualms associating freely and publicly with him.

    The late Haydee Yorac, who was once a COMELEC commissioner, also had to many dealings with dangerous elements in the south. But she succeeded in imposing gun ban and conducting relatively peaceful elections in Mindanao.

    The best living example that we have today of someone who could be easily besmirched is of course Pres. PNoy. He’s a nice guy but he associates with the likes of Rico Puno and Paquito Jojo Ochoa. His Tito Peping, who does not enjoy a good reputation, is allowed to stay in POC. His Tito Danding, who is a Marcos crony, now has special place in PNoy’s heart.

    Jun Lontok is the sore thumb in this case. In death as it is in life, Lontok stood for his beliefs even before environmentalism became in vogue. If PNP and people in the palace want to dismiss this as thieves killing thieves, they have to destroy Jun Lontok’s reputation first. The reporter of this article is complicit. So is PDI.

  • tarikan

    “Lontok helped organize the multisectoral coalition with activist priest Raul Enriquez in the early 1990s to oppose a plan to extend the South Luzon Expressway to the slope of Mount Banahaw”. Now that that Lontok character is out of the way, DPWH could extend the SLEX to the southernmost tip of Bicol. That would truly justify the name South Luzon Expressway. It would then be more fun driving in the Philippines and see the countryside. 

    • koolkid_inthehouse

      dont you like Mt Banahaw prestine forever?

      • tarikan

        If there’s no alternative route, why not? Driving in a two-lane highway is a pain in th A. Not to mention the high risk of accidents. How many lives do you think were already lost in that two-lane highway? Progress man, progress.

  • cleoan

    Is STL legal? If not and Lontok helped Siman to keep its operation smooth by mediating when the NPA harassed it before, then i dont think he is as holy as they are trying to present him to be. No disprespect to the dead. I am just saying him mediating could be interpreted as him condoning STL.

    • Tonypogi

       STL is a government operation.

    • 1GeorgeTolentino2

      STL is legal, it is operated by the PCSO to counter the inlfuence of jueteng. It has been renamed by Pnoy as Loterya ng bayan which will start operating by the middle of this year.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XALR35ENV2XKV327BZGZ7Q5Z5Q Ernesto

    wrong place at the wrong time

  • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

    baka: Kin finds activit’s double life incredible.

  • JosephNess

    where do you hide yourself if you don’t want other people, especially the authorities to find you? where else but by introducing yourself of what you are not…no doubt, there are so many philanthropist who are living like this…double life…but, let’s not judge abruptly one man’s character, let the investigation show its proof to likewise know the true identity of the man…just maybe, he was not what most of the readers thought him to be…just maybe, he’s what people who knew him was the real person…this will need concrete facts and evidences to  back what the investigation partially claimed…no cover up please!!!

    • 1GeorgeTolentino2

      Why do you hide yourself under the avatar of alfred neuman and under a false name if you are really passionate about your opinion?

    • koolkid_inthehouse

      PNP can accuse dead peple whatever at their whims.  Dead can’t defend themselves.  There are no evidence that why they don’t have Arrest Warrant or Search Warrant.  The tip is just hearsay.  If they stop them and search the vehicle they have to produce a search warrant.

      Obviously PNP is lying from the beginning.  The PNP updates depends on the evidence that can’t be covered up. 

      When Ochoa disowns the massacre, PNP top brass was silent you can hear the pin drop.

      So shut up

  • Tonypogi

    “But sources told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on condition of anonymity
    that Lontok began living a double life barely three years ago when he
    entered the dangerous world of illegal gambling.”

    If this isn’t one of the most despicable way of reporting, I don’t know what is !!!!  Philippine Daily Inquirer, please clean your journalistic act, If you cannot reveal your source, then don’t publish any accusations against the dead that is impossible to defend . The more I read about this massacre in Quezon, I cannot help but form the opinion that your newspaper is an accomplish before if not after the fact of the killing.

    • HoyGago

      Anonymous sources are an integral part of journalism, and journalists are protected by international law to keep the identity of their sources secret. Dahil taga California ka, I’m sure kilala mo kung sino si Deep Throat.

  • Komen To

    Is it really STL? If Lontok is truly an environmentalist, could illegal logging be a reason? Who is into it, protecting it and receiving the logs and the one stopping the activity are questions in my mind. Apparently, Lontok and his relatives are not that rich to imply being into jueteng. If ever, he looks small, too small to be in the order of battle. I’m just amazed at the reports, first gun for hire, then jueteng lords, what’s next?

    • koolkid_inthehouse

      just look at the news:
      Front man?
      But according to the source from the underground gambling business in Calabarzon, Lontok served as the link between Siman’s jueteng operation and a member of the influential clan in Quezon.

      Who are the ‘influential clan in Quezon’?  They have to name that clan otherwise it’s a hearsay connecting Lontok to that clan.  Why not ambush the influential clan too? 

      PNP/AFP is sowing confusion and lies.  This is very obvious that the massacre was planned by the PNP.  They never planned to apprehend the suspects because they dont have evidence therefore NO Warrant of Arrest.

      PNP is trying to fool the Filipino people.  Purisima has to make himself clear which side he is in.

  • resortman

    “in order to catch a chicken, one should not look like a fox”….think about that…

  • joshmale2004

    Were there no civilian witnesses or other motorists who happened to be at he incident area at that time? Or did they intentionally set up the check point in a remote area where no once can witness what will transpire?

    • koolkid_inthehouse

      there are witnesses but not talking out of fear. 

  • padre_damaso

    “He is a bishop. He should know that it is not good to accuse anyone without evidence.”
    well what do you know.  He is a bishop.  Heck, he even accuses Adam and Eve of original sin, not knowing that they didn’t exist.

  • m1600

    Ang tagal ng may koneksyon ang JUETENG sa mga salot na NPA hindi makakapag operate ang jueteng pag walang patong sa mga mandarambong na NPA wala ng idelohiya ang mga yan pag PERA ang pinag usapan sindikato na ang mga yan na pinatakbo ng mga MAFIA SA NETHERLANDS.

    • kalikasanipagtanggol

       Hindi ba kasama ang pulis at mga sundalo sa mga namatay? may ranggo pa di ba? sino ba kasama nila ng mapatay sila?

  • tagatabas

    To Make people understand the shootout/rub out scenario Lontok is a signal man of Cong. Suarez of Quezon

  • Ommm

     We live in the Philippines. Some of our police are assassins and justice can be bought or manipulated by those with money and agenda. 

    It is but a shadow or mimic of the real world where truth prevails. A democracy on paper but in reality a fascist state . We could change that with heroes willing to die for freedom, unfortunately apathy rules…..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4R3GZTGML26TV2VGS6RVHP2THM Fred

    There is one bag that has not been turned over by the PNP SOCO to NBI. This bag was found in one of the bullet-riddled SUV as shown by a picture taken by a reporter.
    Inquirer, can you please write a story on this? Thanks.

  • boybakal

     It all boils down to this Bishop Cruz.
    This bishop instigated all. He made jueteng a very simple fun games for poor families as the evil of all devils.
    This Bishop Cruz should be investigated too.
    He is exposing left and right about jueteng and yet he has no study whether jueteng is good or bad for the people.
    Enough of your crusade, Bishop Cruz, more people are being killed in your crusade than jueteng.
    Jueteng is not violence, it is fun…but Bishop Cruz made jueteng a very violent game.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/AX7A65HBPOATKIEDV77LOLRVUM Colokoy

      its fun! holdup sa harapfun

  • opinyonlangpo

    Other articles says otherwise. It is the same PDI but this article seems to demonize the victims, or are they? Obviously the media is being used by both sides to twist public opinion. Its better to wait and see the results of various investigations.

  • Sinugba

    This is not news. This article is full of “sources” and “according to”. It means that this is only a black propaganda by somebody. All accusations being leveled here can not be checked and authenticated. 

    Anybody with money and a PR team can malign anybody by hiding in such innocuous words like “sources” and “according to”. Definitely somebody is trying hard to hide the truth from the public. 

  • John_Galt_II

    Environmentalist lang kunwari para maka dilihensiya!

  • 1GeorgeTolentino2

    I have known Jun Lontok since 1994 when he began his training with us as a community organizer – “gun for hire” & “jueteng front man” accusations are not only incredible but fantastical. It would have made me laugh but am too sad, and numb. These things only hurt his family, who have already sacrificed so much over the years for the son, panganay, na inalay na nila sa sambayanan. Napakahalaga ni Jun, napakalaking kawalan. At para lang sa petty, petty police and their stupidities … disbelief, shock. Dagdag na sa stupidities ang counterpropa piece na ‘to. Bakit kailangan gawin ito ? Kay Tisoy ? Bakit ??

  • AlexanderAmproz

    Environment activists are moved by nature love a mandatory necessity, double standard didn’t fit. Environmentalists have sadly the same destiny as Journalist. In the Philippines everything is fake, lies and corruptions, truth and honesty are unwelcome. 
    What did the Clergy during 450 years ? 
    For sure he failed to teach any moral values !
    Hope the true will prevail soon.
    Philippines is a very sick country leaded by the worst kind of criminals,
    strangely it’s mostly the case in every Spanish former colonies where the Clergy used by Spaniard as a tool for raping the wealth and enslaving peoples.

    Sorry for Jun Lontok family

  • boybakal

    Poor guy, victim of jueteng execution.
     

  • AllinLawisFair

    The parts of the puzzle that are appearing piecemeal are beginning to give shape to the true picture.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WIWYLFLU4LPKS7B2ZLLRVFKS3Y vir_a

    The bishop should have peace of mind now. His crusade had bore fruit. At least, some of those he referred to or mentioned as involved in gambling operations have just been executed.

  • Roman31

    The wife of Lontok claims that her husband was a good friend of Siman. Lontok was said to have helped Siman deal with the NPA so that his STL operations were not to be harrassed or be protected. But the PCSO completely denied that there ever any permit nor license to operate STL ever issued to Siman. So where does it put Lontok and his wife?  

  • Platypus09

    Congrats Bishop, good job..

  • pulis

    Lumabas na po ang mga katarantaduhan ng mga Jueteng Lord, NPA at mga Sundalot, Pulis..Sila po ay nagkakaisa pag tungkol sa pera..Segurado kasabwat dito si Supt. Dumlao…Sana tama-an ng kidlat ang hinayupaks na yan…Mabuhay si Gen Palparan!

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