TANAUAN, Batangas?Return to sender.
This was stamped on a letter that Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza sent to the Philippine National Police?s Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) to appeal his dismissal over charges of extortion.
It could also be what drove Mendoza, a decorated policeman, to commandeer a tour bus and take hostage Chinese tourists inside it, according to relatives who awaited the arrival of Mendoza?s body a day after he was killed during a police assault on the bus.
Arturo Castillo, a close friend of the family and retired police officer, recalled seeing the letter shown to him by Mendoza?s daughter, Grace. It was sent and returned just this month.
It was addressed to a certain Attorney Clarence Quimpo of the PNP-IAS.
The envelope still looked new when it was returned to Mendoza.
?It wasn?t even opened and was marked return to sender,? said Castillo.
He said this could be used as a piece of evidence to show PNP failure to act on the case of Mendoza, who is known among neighbors as Kuya Rolly or Kuya Lando.
Family members, however, kept mum on details of the case that prompted the hostage-taking.
Relatives and siblings of Rolly had refused to talk, out of fear of getting a brother, SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, into more trouble after he was arrested by police for allegedly aggravating the hostage situation.
Castillo said he and the family of Mendoza only wanted ?to restore Rolly?s dignity.?
He said he won?t advise Rolando?s wife to sue the government. It won?t prosper, he said.
Rolando?s body was brought home by his wife, Aurora, and youngest son, Bismarck.
Malou Mendoza, 46, sister of Rolando, said family members weren?t able to see Rolando?s body after his death.
?We went to all hospitals but we did not find his body because policemen wouldn?t tell us,? she said.
Villagers accustomed to calling Rolando ?Kuya Lando? or ?Kuya Rolly? said they felt sad seeing the hostage-taking and assault on TV. Rolando had been a good neighbor to them.
Carlos Barrion, a neighbor in Barangay Banadero, said people in the community have been convincing Rolando to run as village captain in the coming barangay elections ?so he would have something else in mind aside from his dismissal.?
Rolando, Barrion said, could have been a good candidate. He never walked around in the community with a gun and busied himself with gardening.
Barrion said Rolando had been quiet about his grievances.
?When you ask him for help, he would make you feel you?re always welcome to his home,? said Barrion.
Efren Mendoza, 55, an uncle of Rolando, said he wanted to say sorry to the families of the victims in the hostage-taking.
Like many other members of the Mendoza family, Efren said he knew of the hostage-taking only on TV.
?I?m sorry,? said Efren.