Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pinoy Public Enemies: A look-back on people we once thought fictitious

Marcial Ama y Perez
alias "Baby Ama"

Baby Ama's biography was filmed in the 1976 movie "Bitayin si Baby Ama" starring the late Rudy Fernandez and actress Alma Moreno. According to the film, he was jailed for stealing money to support a friend's education. Inside the prison, he was nicknamed "Baby" because of his youthful good looks.

He was abused, including sodomizing him repeatedly by the inmates. His pregnant wife was lured to a small hut by a prison guard and was raped. These events led traumatic experiences to the couple, to the point that Baby Ama's wife committed suicide.

Baby Ama's transformation broke by becoming a "hit man" and "SIGE SIGE" gang leader in his own prison mob. He disposed his tormentors and led the biggest jail-riot in Muntinlupa Penitentiary history. He was sentenced to death via electric chair in 1961 at the age of 16.

The movie "Anak ni Baby Ama" which starred Robin Padilla was not really Baby Ama's son, but another prisoner who also became a gang leader, and as with Baby Ama, was electrocuted for the same reason.

Leonardo Manecio
alias "Nardong Putik"

Nardong Putik was a Filipino gangster turned folk hero. An amulet-wielding hoodlum from Cavite province, Putik credited his ability to survive and escape numerous ambushes and gunfights to his anting-anting (amulet). Nardong Putik's ability to elude the law and his enemies made him a legend to many people.

Manecio’s career started in the early 1950s when he participated in the Maragondon massacre where the mayor, police chief, and several policemen were killed with hunting knives. He was jailed as one of the suspects. Manecio escaped. Then his group encountered the group of Lt. Col. Laureano Marana, then Cavite PC commander. Marana and his men were killed on Election Day of 1957. Because of that incident, the biggest military operations in Cavite’s history was launched against Manecio resulting in his wounding and capture in Binakayan, Kawit, on May 22, 1958.

After several years of detention at the Camp Crame stockade, he was sentenced to a total of 182 years and two months for the killing of Colonel Marana and his men. He was transferred to the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa, Rizal, where he escaped on October 31, 1969.

Manecio became Cavite’s Public Enemy No. 1 again as he was able to organize a gang armed with modern weapons, including Armalites and AK-47s. His group engaged in carnapping, cattle rustling, planting and distribution of marijuana, smuggling, and other rackets, according to PC authorities.

Putik's life was made famous in the Philippines in the 1972 and 1984 movies Nardong Putik (Kilabot ng Cavite) which capitalized on the supposed incredible magic of Putik's anting-anting. The movies, which was loosely based on his life, depicted his anti-hero ways and was a very popular film in Filipino pop culture. Putik, in both movie versions, was played by Ramon Revilla, Sr., an action star turned politician, who was elected to the Philippine Senate and served from 1992–2004.

Warlito Toledo
alias "Waway"

Sometime in June 1969, the whole Metro Manila was in the state of shock when the so-called “Mad Killer” known only as “Waway” roamed, stalked and terrorized the whole populace. Metro residents preferred to stay home early fearing for their lives. A massive police manhunt was ordered and conducted for the immediate apprehension of the elusive criminal. A certain Juanito Arce was turned over to the police after he was mobbed. He was the man alluded to as “Waway,” the mad killer. He was sentenced to serve a prison term of the many crimes he committed. He was turned over instead to the National Mental Hospital. He escaped but was later killed by an unidentified assailant.

Years later, another “Waway” came up. According to police records, his name was Leonardo de los Reyes, a Tondo resident. De Los Reyes, a homicidal maniac was reported to have killed 37 people, Since most of his victims were policemen, he was tagged as cop killer. Famed police reporter Ruther Batuigas once facilitated the surrender of de los Reyes. He escaped but was also killed in an encounter.

Waway's life was made into movies like the 1984 Batuigas II: Pasukin si Waway which starred Rudy Fernandez and Johnny Delgado, and the 1993 Cesar Montano-starrer Alyas Waway.

Nicasio Salonga
alias "Asiong Salonga"

In the later part of the 40s and early part of the 50s, the name Asiong Salonga brought fears and chills to the residents of Tondo and its environs. Salonga, a dreaded and notorious gang leader, and the likes of Totoy Golem, Toothpick, Boy Zapanta and other toughies that time, Tondo became a bloodbath of gangland violence.

Sialonga was gunned down during a drinking session in 1951. He was only 27.

Nicasio Salonga, alias Asiong Salonga, 27, Tondo’s No.1 “tough guy,” reached the end of his shady career when he was shot and killed on Coral street, Tondo, at 5 p.m. yesterday. Apparently a victim of gangland vendetta and double-cross, Salonga toppled, mortally wounded in the head, from a sitting position atop a store counter at No.100 Coral down to the sidewalk gutters. A well-placed shot fired at close range from a Commando .38 caliber revolver by still unidentified assailant found its mark on Salonga’s head, the bullet entering his left temple and coming out of his skull. He was taken to the St. Luke’s hospital by his neighbors who saw him sprawled and bleeding in the gutters. Salonga died a few minutes after arriving at the hospital.

The police last night sought a certain Ernesto Reyes, identified as the alleged killer of Salonga. Several phone calls received by the police pointed to Reyes as the Tondo toughie’s slayer. Reyes is a henchman of Carlos Capistrano, alias Totoy Golem. Up to early this morning, the police were making contacts to effect the surrender of Reyes. The alleged killer was expected to give himself up to the authorities.

Police reserves were rushed to the scene as precautionary measure to avert further flow of blood as the former’s followers girded themselves to avenge their leader’s death. Three men, one of them identified as Carlos Capistrano, alias Totoy Golem, were being sought by the police for questioning. Although investigators believed Salonga was a victim of gangland vendetta and double-cross, another angle, that politics was behind the killing, is being probed. It was learned that Salonga, formerly a rabid Liberal Party follower, had shifted his alliance to the Nacionalista Party lately.

Preliminary police investigation established that Salonga, Capistrano and the two others came from a baptismal party on Ricafort street. From the party, they went to the store owned by Apolonio Santos on Coral street where they continued drinking beer. Capistrano, whose bailiwick is San Nicolas, according to the police, had been feuding with Salonga, whose bailiwick is Tondo. Investigators presumed that when the two met at the party they decided to patch up their quarrel, hence Salonga invited Capistrano to a drinking spree. The circumstances preceding the killing, as pieced together by the police from reluctant witnesses, stated that Salonga, Capistrano and his two companions seated themselves in front of the store. Capistrano and his companions occupied a bamboo bench, while Salonga sat atop the store’s counter. After downing several bottles of beer, Capistrano, apparently feeling sick, stood up and started vomiting. As if by a pre-arranged signal, one of his companions also stood up, backed up a few steps then pulled out the gun tucked in his waist and fired at Salonga once, then took to his heels losing himself in the maze of alleys in Tondo’s slum area.

Salonga, a sanitary inspector, had several brushes with the law with 12 charges mostly for illegal possession of firearms. His name had been linked to several murder and homicide cases but somehow had always managed to squirm out.

The police arrested Ernesto Reyes, 27, of 235 Leonor Privado street, Tondo and no bail was recommended. He turned in the murder weapon, a .38 caliber Commando revolver. Reyes denied he shot Salonga intentionally and claimed it was an accident. He said his gun went off accidentally during his scuffle with one of Salonga’s henchmen.

Grepor "Butch" Belgica

At 16, Butch Belgica was convicted in a celebrated homicide case.

After the conviction, he spent the next eleven and a half years in the National Penetentiary. 

He became one of the youngest gang leaders of the Philippine underworld; was radicalized and indoctrinated into a communist movement front organization. 

He then started writing for various publications in prison and exposed the unjust systems practiced by prison authorities in the penitentiary.

Released in 1976, he was a changed man, not because prison life reformed him but because the Lord Jesus Christ found him and touched him. 

He was called by God in an audible voice to proclaim His word.

In August 2008, Pastor Butch Belgica received his appointment from The Office of the President of the Philippines as Commissioner for Anti-Organized Crime.

Vicente "Bingbong" Singson-Crisologo

Bingbong, son of the Governor of Ilocos Sur used to make headlines terrorizing people in their province with guns, goons and gold. Eventually, he paid for his misdeeds in Muntinlupa when he was charged with double life imprisonment because of arson.

During his stay in jail, the once notorious political terror was changed.

He is the incumbent congressman of the 1st congressional district of Quezon City, having served in the 13th congress of the Philippines and was re-elected and serves for the 14th congress.

Bingbong is the son of the late Floro Crisologo who was the representative of the Province of Ilocos Sur from 1961 until his assassination and death in 1972.

He is a maternal cousin of Luis "Chavit" Crisologo Singson who is the incumbent governor of Ilocos Sur.

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