MANILA, Philippines -- The reluctance of the management and staff of Valley Golf and Country Club to shed light into the tee house brawl between the families of Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, and businessman Delfin de la Paz has frustrated Antipolo police.
"Nobody wants to talk. We sent investigators there to talk to eyewitnesses [on Sunday], but nobody wanted to talk to the police. Of course we couldn't force them to speak," said Superintendent Raul Bargamento, Antipolo police chief.
He said each camp would be bringing its own set of witnesses once the charges and countercharges had been filed with the city prosecutor's office.
"It would be better if we had neutral witnesses, but each camp has its own witnesses. They talk freely to the other parties but not to us. I can't understand it," Bargamento said.
Officers of Valley Golf also have not made themselves available for interview with police investigating the allegation by De La Paz and his 14-year-old son that they were beaten by Pangandaman?s son, Nasser Jr., and several golfing companions last Friday.
As of Monday noon, the complaint for physical injuries in relation to Republic Act 7610, or the child abuse act, had not been filed with Prosecutor's Office, since no prosecutor had reported for work, Bargamento said.
In the meantime, the De La Pazes are finalizing and making last-minute changes to their complaint, such as rectifying apparent errors in the names of some of the respondents.
For instance, Nasser Jr. was identified in the complaint as "Angel Pangandaman." The agrarian secretary has an 8-year-old grandson named Angelo.
Bargamante also confirmed that the respondent "Mohammad Hussein," initially tagged as one of Nasser Jr.'s companions, was actually his brother Hussein Pangandaman.
The other respondents are Faisal Abdula, Adnan Pacasum, Rene Maglanque and Arnel Estacio.
In a statement e-mailed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the elder De La Paz reacted to the statement by the DAR secretary claiming that it was De La Paz who started the fight, which stemmed from an argument about golfing etiquette.
"As a father, would I go into battle with my 18-year-old daughter and my 14-year-old son against five grown men? Would I, as a father, risk the safety of both my children, and the emotional trauma that this would cause them, as indeed was what had happened?" he said.
"Could my 14-year-old son, my 18-year-old daughter, and myself, a 56-year-old man, beat up a 27-year-old man with four or five grown men with him?" De La Paz said.
He said that as he and the younger Pangandaman were arguing, the son of the agrarian reform secretary told him to not raise his voice, and that De La Paz had replied "humbly" that he was not raising his voice.
"The atmosphere was getting tense, so I stepped back and closed the umbrella I was holding, and that was when the mayor attacked me and I fell to the ground, and I dropped the umbrella," he said.
Pangandaman said De La Paz attacked first by hitting his son with an umbrella.
De La Paz said one or two of Pangandaman's flight mates then rushed to his aid, "throwing punches at me, stepping on me while I was on the ground."
"My 14-year-old son did nothing but break up the fight, asking them to stop, and this is when they hit him as well," he added.
"At the fifth hole, there were no bodyguards present. We were only mauled by the Mayor and his flight mates. Apparently they were not satisfied, as a second beating of my son and I took place at the clubhouse, where the bodyguards with guns were present," he added.
"On our way to the clubhouse, I called my wife and asked her to pick me and my children up because I can barely walk and did not think I was capable of driving to the hospital," he said.
Maglanque, in a December 27 letter to club management, said that De La Paz called his family, including "the oldest son [who was] carrying a baseball bat [and] the wife in a duster with a bladed weapon in hand."
De La Paz thanked Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno for sending him and his family security detail.