ON TARGET

A grave injustice

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Four officers and two enlisted men are detained at the Philippine Navy camp in Fort Bonifacio for a crime most of their Navy comrades believe they never committed.

The six gave themselves up to their superiors after warrants for their arrest were issued by a Manila court.

They are charged with the murder of Ensign Philip Pestaño (“alleged” should be stressed) in 1995 aboard  BRP Bacolod City.

The six are Commander Reynaldo Lopez (Philippine Military Academy Class ’92); Lt. Cmdr. Luidegar Casis (US Coast Guard Academy Class ’92); Lt. Cmdr. Alfrederick Alba (PMA Class ’94); Lt. Cmdr. Joselito Colico (PMA Class ’94); Petty Office 1 Wilmenio Aquino and Petty Officer 1 Sandy Miranda.

* * *

Despite overwhelming evidence that Pestaño, a member of PMA Class ’93, committed suicide, the Office of the Ombudsman still filed the murder case against the six suspects.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and Western Police District (WPD) all ruled out murder and said Pestaño killed himself.

Even the private forensic expert that the victim’s parents hired said  the young Navy officer shot himself.

Two weeks before he died, a reportedly despondent Pestaño had slashed his wrist and was confined at the Southern Command (Southcom) Hospital in Zamboanga City.

Found beside his body aboard BRP Bacolod was a suicide note.

The Office of the Ombudsman committed grave injustice when it charged the six Navy officers and enlisted men with conspiring to murder Pestaño.

* *  *

Let’s admit for the sake of argument that Pestaño became despondent after he discovered that  BRP Bacolod City was carrying illegal drugs and illegal logs—as claimed by his parents—that’s why he slashed his wrist and was ganged upon by his shipmates two weeks later.

Let’s further admit—again, for the sake of argument—that all of Pestaño’s fellow officers and subordinates on that ship were corrupt and allowed illegal drugs and illegal logs to be carried on board.

Didn’t it occur to the investigators at the Office of the Ombudsman that Pestaño’s fellow officers, if they conspired to murder him, could have just thrown him overboard instead of killing him on board the ship?

After throwing him overboard, the “conspirators” could have shot him while he was struggling at sea.

Sharks, which can smell blood for miles, could have feasted on his bloodied body.

The other officers and enlisted men aboard BRP Bacolod could have claimed that Pestaño accidentally fell overboard and was lost at sea.

* * *

Barangay Captain Lino Cayetano, brother of Senators Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano, should resign from his position if he can’t control his subordinates at Barangay Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

Noel Bulaay, a taxi driver, complained that he was taken to Cayetano’s barangay hall after he figured in a minor accident involving  Cayetano’s van on Edsa in Pasay City.

Bulaay was brought to Barangay Fort Bonifacio, even if the accident happened outside its jurisdiction. He claimed guards and policemen assigned at the barangay handcuffed him, beat him up and took  his day’s earnings and P5,000 in cash.

For a minor traffic incident, why should Bulaay be handcuffed and beaten up?

I tried  to get Cayetano’s side but his aides said  he was too busy.

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  • go88

    Kotong columnist tulko: 95% pro criminals who can give him enough money, 5% pro real victims for P.R. purposes and the criminals involved are small fish not worth the squeeze (guards, tanods, simple policemen …).

  • Noel

    Bobo is what I could describe Tulfo’s stupid analysis of Pestano’s death. Once again, Tulfo could have been paid for coming up with the defense of those accused Navy personnel. If the suspects threw Pestano off board the ship, shot him and let him be eaten by the sharks, the accused would be more in trouble for failing to produce Pestano’s body. Who would believe that Pestano fell off the ship? So, killing him inside his room then making it appear he committed suicide was a better idea.

    • diamond_digger

      You are right in many respect, Noel. However, I wouldn’t call Mon ‘bobo’ but stupid. He argues and talks like he has more evidence in his hands than the Ombudsman’s and wanted to make it appear that he is more intelligent than Justice Morales and her prosecutors. His defense of the navy brass is his way of paying for the services of the two navy personnel assigned to him for free for quite sometime now and for some of the ammunitions he fire on the shooting range. Now, who is the crusading crook here, Mon?

  • pepito gwaps

    In PMA, he received maltreatment from his upperclassmen and being exposed to” hazing” while being bombarded with too much academics but instead he never quitted or became insane. For Gods sake it is not logical to say that by mere discovery of an illegal items in his ship will put him in suicidal mind..that is unacceptable.

  • Barak_O

    kung kailan tumanda pabobo nang pabobo si ramon
    maporma lang sa simula kabobohan lang pala ang kahinatnan
    english tayo

    didn’t it occur to ramon that if pestano was thrown overboard he could just dive down to avoid the bullets shot at him?

    and then he could cling in the rear end of the boat where nobody would notice him thereby surviving the assasination attempt?

    and then because they thought he is gone he could track all of them one by one and enter their bedrooms while they’re sleeping then draw a smiley face on their mirror with a lipstick? that would scare the sh!t out of those bad guys

    but then those guys got connections with a big shot journalist who is a martial arts black belter, this is where pestano really has a problem

    so then he befriended a matrona chick named claudine who would bait ramon into a shouting match that would then become a catfight that ends up with the tough guy having a black eye

    • milespacker

      Oh no, not the lipstick smiley face on the mirror! That would really puzzle SOCO.

    • ARIKUTIK

      Lipstick sa imong Mata ! nya……hahaha…….

  • Kumander Chameleon

    NAPAKA BOBO NAMAN NG REASONING MO RAMON TULFO! NAG SA-SUGGEST KA NANG GANYANG KLASE NG PAGPATAY, IHUHULOG SA DAGAT, BABARILIN, AT IPAPAKAIN SA PATING? NAPAKA-INUTIL MO TALAGA! OK KA NA SANA KASO BAROK KA! OLD SCHOOL ANG PARAAN MO NG PAGPATAY! AKALA KO BA MAHILIG KA MAGBASA NG LIBRO? WALA KA BANG NABABASA TUNGKOL SA MURDER? HINDI NA USO YANG NASA KOKOTE MO! MGA PIRATA LANG NUNG UNANG PANAHON ANG GUMAGAWA NYAN! HINDI MO BA ALAM NA ANG MGA SINASABI MONG MGA INOSENTE AY PURO MGA DEKALIDAD NA MILITAR? PALAGAY MO PAPATAY YANG MGA YAN NA SILA AY PAGHIHINALAAN? ANO KA BA NAMAN? NAAAKSAYA ANG ORAS KO SA PAG LECTURE SAYO, INUTIL KA!

    • mrcrabdribble

      LOLOLOL! Yan na yan din ang nasa isip ko. Haler!!! Tulfo?

  • tulfowangbo

    huwag naman kayong masyadong malupit kay tulfing. wala naman siyang masyadong sinabi. masarap bang matadyakan ni claudine ha tulfing?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DKOWYENNEP3EIYJOVKU5SYPKUU Dok

    Nag mamagaling ka na naman Tulfo..mas magaling ka pa ba ? kesa mga former justices na nasa ombudsman? nag lalaba ka ng baho ng iba pero baho mo di mo pa nalabhan….

  • feargo

    i’ll take the ombudsman word anytime over tulfo’s ‘could have’ musings. it’s evidence, not ‘could have’, that matters.

  • TT Knew

    Not sure why you called it grave injustice. They still have to be tried in court to determine if they are guilty or not. Looks like your trying to sway the public opinion in favor of the accused. Why not also also publish the reason for the murder charge given to you by the Office of the Ombudsman (My mole in your office told me that you have that information).

  • JosengSisiw1

    To be more balance Tulfo should also include the reasons why after the 3 govt. agencies presented their evidences, the Ombudsman still filed the murder charges against his fellow officers. Could they also have an overwhelming evidences why Pestano was murdered? How sure is Tulfo that those investigators didn’t conspired to make the crime appeared as suicide? And how sure is he that those Navy comrades he was interviewing with were not part of this conspiracy?
    Also Tulfo’s suggestion that dumping and shooting a man in the sea guarantees that the body will disappear eaten whole by sharks is totally brainless. Anyway this column is part of the Inquirer Metro so shall we should consider this as tabloid story without so much on it?

    • koolkid_inthehouse

      Rampant conspiracy in the Phil. armed forces are rampant. Look at the recent Atimonan 13 massacre, conspiracy up to the top. Even Pink Lacson suggested it’s not a rub out. He’s an expert on rub outs.
      Brotherhood in PMA graduate officers creates conspiracy.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YO4QYV7TG6VV5TSKPZXNKQHKUE Brando

    Kung alin ang popular, doon ang support ng government agencies even if justice is sacrificed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YYOJ2WINSKVNVPXEPKFLD64F6U Sabrina

    Yan naman ang ayaw ko sayo tulfo eh kapag medyo namantikaan ka eh nagiging animated un utak mo daig mo pa un cartoonista, panu mangyayari na magkaroon ng pating sa manila bay sige nga?at saka kapag itinapon ang bangkay ni pestano around manila bay mapapadpad lang yan sa dalampasigan around manila bay, mas magiging kahihinala di ba?navy officer nahulog sa barko?walang nakakita?kaya nga napili nila yun eksenang “suicide” dahil mas kapanipaniwala.

    • mrcrabdribble

      Hahahaha! Navy officer nahulog sa barko! Ang talino ni Mon!

  • http://twitter.com/gfarishta gibreel farishta

    kinatay lang ni claudine.. :D

  • TEAM PNOY

    Tulfo, you cannot even solve your own case against Atilano, CLaudine and Raymart.

    Stop lawyering for the accused for you are not a lawyer. Let the court settle that case. The private forensic expert you are referring to was not yet an expert at that time when she examined the dead body. She was a pseudo-expert at that time. Nobody in this world can say with absolute certainty that a man committed suicide – only God knows.

    If there is an active case already, you should be charged for contempt of court – sub judice rule..

    • 26ponks

      tama ka team pinoy…nang -aabogado di man abogado…and using the media…inquirer specifically…tapos yung write-up nya parang sure na sure sya na si pestanio talaga ang pumatay sa sarily nya na parang hindi pwedeng magbigay ng other opinion..nandun ba sya when it happens..tapos nag propose ng pwedeng ginawa ng kasamahan nya na sana itinapon sa dagat..palabasing na out balance at nahulog ..taz babarilin para kainin ng pating…parang kwento ng grade 1, he means to say mga PMAer ang mga nandun ganun ang ifafabricate na story…betchbygollywow mr. tulfo…sa tiktik ka na lang mag sulat…

  • koolkid_inthehouse

    No justice in this country. If there is one, it slower than a turtle in reverse. If the family wants to sue the Navy should be it. If the court found them innocent, it should be on the news ‘not guilty’.

    Baranggay Captain Cayetano behaves like a member of a political dynasty. A stone age mentality of justice. He should be charged.

  • Mamang Pulis

    ‘dre—may basehan ang korte–ikaw tsismis lang at istoryahe ng mga admiral naririnig mo sa golf course…

  • $5699914

    Mon, check the investigation done by the insurance company….if it was really suicide, dapat hindi nagbayad ang insurance company…pero nagbayad sila….bakit? kasi, hindi suicide ang tingin nila sa pagkamatay ni Pestano!

  • albert Santiago

    Pag itinapon sa dagat si Pestano maraming makakakita, pero ang mamatay sa kuarto ng barko at magpakamatay daw madaling palabasin ganito. Ang PMA’er ba ganuon kadaling masiraan ng loob ngayon at nakita niyang may smuggling sa barko?? I don’t believe. Kung minsan nakakaduda na ang mag imbestiga a branch din ng military. NBI man napi pressure din if nasa matataas na katungkulan ang sangkot.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WT5ZX5O7ZBC6Z3LXFA4UIQZC3I emajega

    If they threw him out of ship then it will became obvious that he was murdered by his peers. Who on his right mind will jump out of ship?

    • mrcrabdribble

      Much more a NAVY officer. Not HAPPENING unless they encountered a Perfect Storm, like in that movie with George Clooney and Life of Pi.

  • indiosbravos2002

    Tulfo– bayarang journalist! Nuff said.

  • koolkid_inthehouse

    This is a racy tabloid section. He shouldn’t be in the Inquirer. His article didn’t have any in depth research but a lot of fictional scenarios. Is Tulfo a reporter or manure spreader?

  • boybakal

    Ombudsman Probable cause vs Tulfo’s Possible cause.
    Let’s the Justice or Injustice determine by the court.

  • JOSE RIZAL

    walang walang kasusta sustansya ang mga argumento ni mr. mon tulfo. parang masustansya pa ang argumento ng day care. hahahahaha

  • Brownfly

    I’m a little bit convinced to what Mr. tulfo said regarding the killing of Pestano aboard that navy ship. If the killers were out of their minds, they could have just dumped the victim’s body overboard in the dead of night for the sharks to feast on. But they didn’t do that. What were they thinking when the incident took place? Were they afraid that some of the enlisted men aboard the ship could have been aware of what they had done to the victim? Nobody knows for sure. How did the Office of the Ombudsman arrive at its conclusion, nobody knows, too. For sure, it’s only God who knew what really happened!

  • UrHONOR

    HOW much this time?

  • jga94

    Ito na naman si Tulfo…..mahilig magtagpi-tagpi ng story….masyadoing kulang details about this taxi driver….the driver “claimed” this and that….was this backed up by medico-legal findings….may formal complaint ba? I think this is why Tulfo only writes short pieces of commentaries…not even full articles because he does not have facts to back them up….puros sound bites…..

    And the item regarding the filing of charges by the Ombudsman…so one-sided….why-oh-why does the Inquirer continue to keep him….

  • kilabot

    mon was defending hubertwebb vs vizconde massacre; he was vindicated;
    he was defending usmarine smith vs pinay rape; he was vindicated;
    he was on the side of esmeralda vs gatdula; he was vindicated;
    he exposed ex-fg protecting smugglers; he was vindicated;
    he was on his own side vs santiago couple; couple self-destruct; he was vindicated;
    he is on the side of duterte vs human rights; duterte support overwhelming; he is vindicated;
    he is on the side of kiram vs noykapon siding with malaysia; noykapon castigated; he is vindicated.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BL2GYU35SO6HTJUEAUTXS3QFYM George Lapulapu

    Lightning seldom strike twice. But mon Tulfo is very lucky guy. He first predicted that Hubert Webb is not guilty and spent several columns saying Hubert Webb did not reape and murder Carmela V

    Now Mon, galing mo talaga, you are saying na not guilty na naman tong sa Pestano case…
    Bravo!!!!

  • Pio Gante

    huwag ka ang umepal dyan at hayaan mo na lang na ang hukuman ang magpasya

  • leonsayanib

    I wonder how you continue to lawyer for other people when you could not even win a personal serious physical injury charge… or was it frustrated murder(?) allegation… against the Santiagos (Raymart and Claudine)… in that notoriously anomalous, arrogantly recurring meddling-into-other-people’s-business personality of yours!!

  • Pio Pusli

    tsismis na naman si tatang mon. dapat dito barbero, nahilig sa haka haka kuro kuro.

  • Pio Pusli

    i remember this tulfo published a series of “patok na patok” of evidence against pinkie lacson, about his hidden wealth in the usa. also pinkies alleged murders and “salvaged as a young metrocom officer up to kuratong balling. it was all written during his bff affair with the ex-big-fat-gen. now tulfing, as of this moment bokya pa rin, nakawagwag pa rin ang mga daliri ni pinkie at ikaw, tsismoso pa rin.

  • wakats

    I keep wondering why the prestigious PDI still employs mon whose bias towards his friends’ foes keeps surfacing on this mainstream media.

    The office of the ombudsman won’t file a case unless a thorough preliminary investigation would show probable cause – unlike tulfo’s arguments that are bereft of legal finesse but full of immature perceptions and one-sided conclusions much like his brothers in their tv5 program “Tulfo 3′ Kapatid Sagot Kita”

    Mon is not a lawyer but he acts like a prosecutor and judge at the same time….

  • $23455908

    Eto na naman si Ramon. Tumirada na naman eh wala naman siya doon. Kapag ganyan ang usapan, huwag mo nang pasukan lalo na’t wala ka naman sa pinangyarihan ng krimen. Hayaan mo na lang ang batas ang humatol. Me mga suggestion ka pa eh hindi naman ganon kadaling gumawa ng krimen sa barko. Dati akong phil. navy at walang maaaring maitago doon kasi kahit gabe hindi lahat ng navymen eh sa compartment natutulog. Nakakalat kami sa barko. Kanya-kanyang diskarte kung saan hihiga. Sorry to say, hanga na sana ako ulit sayo, ginago mo na naman kame. Naalala ko tuloy yung visconde massacre na halos ikaw na ang mag-chief justice para pawalang sala mo si hubert. Lumalabas tuloy na parang bayaran ka kapag ganito na ang tema mo.

  • Spidekick

    In reversing its earlier ruling dated June 15, 2009 dismissing the
    murder complaint, the Ombudsman said it has found compelling reason to
    reconsider its previous pronouncement that the evidence submitted by
    spouses Felipe and Evelyn Pestaño, parents of the slain navy officer,
    were insufficient to create a prima facie case.

    “The totality of circumstances before, during and after the
    ‘discovery’ of the death of Philip (Pestaño) prima facie points that
    respondents conspired to kill him. And the attempt to cover it up
    solidifies the prima facie conclusion that respondents committed a
    premeditated act to and did kill him, hence, probable cause for Murder
    lies against them,” the Ombudsman said in its resolution.

    Belying the theory that Pestaño shot himself were the following details:

    absence of tattooing, smudging or burn mark around the gunshot wound
    indicative that the firearm was not in contact with the bullet entry
    point;

    absence of blood spatters, bone fragments or other tissues on the wall of the victim’s cabin;

    blood pooling on the pillow and other spots of Pestaño’s bed;

    the autopsy report noting that the trajectory of the bullet passing
    through the dead man’s head and the location of the bullet mark on the
    cabin wall do not tally against each other as the wound was downward
    while the slug was fired upward;

    the finding of Western Police District – Central Crime Laboratory
    that the handwriting on the supposed suicide note and the signature on
    it were written by different persons; and

    the use of a gun assigned to respondent Aquino when Pestaño has his own firearm assigned to him.

    The Ombudsman also considered newly-discovered evidence embodied by
    the AFP investigation report, made available to the Pestaño family only
    in 2006, which questioned the fact that BRP Bacolod City took two hours
    to reach the Navy headquarters in Manila from Sangley Point, Cavite – a
    trip that usually takes only 45 minutes.

    “The unexplained delay of about one hour and 15 minutes raises the
    presumption that the prolonged trip was occasioned by the time it took
    respondents to create the suicide scenario,” the Ombudsman pointed out.

    The same AFP report showed several pages on the gangway logbook on
    the ship were torn off again without any explanation while the Passenger
    Manifest that would have shown all crew members and other persons on
    board was missing. – Rappler.com

  • Spidekick

    n reversing its earlier ruling dated June 15, 2009 dismissing the
    murder complaint, the Ombudsman said it has found compelling reason to
    reconsider its previous pronouncement that the evidence submitted by
    spouses Felipe and Evelyn Pestaño, parents of the slain navy officer,
    were insufficient to create a prima facie case.

    “The totality of circumstances before, during and after the
    ‘discovery’ of the death of Philip (Pestaño) prima facie points that
    respondents conspired to kill him. And the attempt to cover it up
    solidifies the prima facie conclusion that respondents committed a
    premeditated act to and did kill him, hence, probable cause for Murder
    lies against them,” the Ombudsman said in its resolution.

    Belying the theory that Pestaño shot himself were the following details:

    absence of tattooing, smudging or burn mark around the gunshot wound
    indicative that the firearm was not in contact with the bullet entry
    point;

    absence of blood spatters, bone fragments or other tissues on the wall of the victim’s cabin;

    blood pooling on the pillow and other spots of Pestaño’s bed;

    the autopsy report noting that the trajectory of the bullet passing
    through the dead man’s head and the location of the bullet mark on the
    cabin wall do not tally against each other as the wound was downward
    while the slug was fired upward;

    the finding of Western Police District – Central Crime Laboratory
    that the handwriting on the supposed suicide note and the signature on
    it were written by different persons; and

    the use of a gun assigned to respondent Aquino when Pestaño has his own firearm assigned to him.

    The Ombudsman also considered newly-discovered evidence embodied by
    the AFP investigation report, made available to the Pestaño family only
    in 2006, which questioned the fact that BRP Bacolod City took two hours
    to reach the Navy headquarters in Manila from Sangley Point, Cavite – a
    trip that usually takes only 45 minutes.

    “The unexplained delay of about one hour and 15 minutes raises the
    presumption that the prolonged trip was occasioned by the time it took
    respondents to create the suicide scenario,” the Ombudsman pointed out.

    The same AFP report showed several pages on the gangway logbook on
    the ship were torn off again without any explanation while the Passenger
    Manifest that would have shown all crew members and other persons on
    board was missing. – Rappler.com

  • cris lozada

    Galit ka na naman ACDC mon kase hindi ka pinatulan ng aide ni cayetano! Wala kana kasing patol

  • cris lozada

    Si claudine lang naman ang katapat nyan eh!

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