by Fernan A. Gianan
Wednesday last week, after arriving from the mainland, I was handed a piece of paper which said I had to return a call from a certain Noel Flores through cellphone 09553765595.
I sent a text message to the number, asking him who he was and what he wanted.
Instead of replying, the man called, introduced himself as Flores and said he was with Kumander Dante of the NPA.
The rebel group, he said, wanted to talk to me. I wondered to him if I was really talking to the New People’s Army. He then handed over the phone to a man who claimed he was Kumander Dante and that he was with the committee.
“Mayroon na kaming mahigit 400 na bagong recruit sa lugar niyo at kailangan namin ng tulong para sa kilusan. Kinakausap namin ang mga negosyante sa lugar ninyo at nakalikom na kami ng P6.2 milyon.
Ngayon, ang hinihingi naming tulong ay pambili ng limang Baby Armalite, ang bawat isa ay nagkahahalaga ng P150,000,” he told me.
“Ngayon, kung gusto mong makasiguro na kami nga ang kausap mo, susunduin ka ng tao namin at dadalhin ka sa aming kampo. Tatawid ka lang naman ng apat na bundok pero hindi ka lalakad. Isasakay ka sa kabayo ngunit ang mga mata mo ay pipiringan. Kung ayaw mo naming sumama, kahit isang miyembro ng pamilya mo ang pasamahin mo,” the alleged NPA commander said, adding that he would like me to view the surveillance video taken of my activities.
Naturally, I refused and said I wanted to think it over.
“Ngayon bibigyan ka namin ng 15 minutes para makapag-isip, tatawag kami uli…,” said the man on the phone.
I was no longer able to hear what he said afterwards as we took our lunch and left the phone on the side table. It rang thrice 15 minutes later but I had already decided not to answer.
According to the police, there is no Kumander Dante listed in their order of battle for local NPAs. And the guerillas don’t call themselves as “Kumander” anymore. The only Kumander Dante I know is Dante Buscayno, who founded the NPA in 1969 and served with the guerillas until he was captured in 1976. He is now a cooperative organizer in Tarlac.
Someone from San Andres also claimed that they knew one Noel Flores who had indeed connections with the NPA. Now, whether he or Dante was telling the truth last week or were just trying to pull a scam remains to be seen. It makes you wonder whether they also contacted other business owners on the island.
Last week’s piece of Pandan Mayor Honesto “Olog” Tabligan II was based on an interview with some members of the local media in his office and was apparently intended to counter social media chatter about his alleged failure to come up with the cash in real estate deals when he was still in the metropolis.
He had explained how the deals, which involved Pag-IBIG-funded subdivision properties about to be foreclosed, even led to his having had to use his own money to pay what was due, leaving him to run after those who owed him.
Now, there are unconfirmed reports that all is not that rosy in the Tabligan administration, that all that some concerned officials need is for someone to act on the allegations.
True or not, these reports would have affect the mayor’s leadership to some extent if not properly addressed this early in his three-year term.
CONTEMPT OF COURT. A New York man was forced to take a day off from work to appear for a minor traffic offence, He grew increasingly restless as he waited hour after endless hour for his case to he heard.
When his name was called late in the afternoon, he stood before the judge only to hear that court would be adjourned for the next day and he would have to return.
“What for?” he snapped at the judge.
His Honor, equally irked by a tedious day and the sharp query, roared, “Fined two hundred dollars for contempt of court. That’s what for!”
Then, noticing the man checking his wallet, the judge said, “It’s all right. You don’t have to pay now.”
The young man replied, “ I’m just checking if I have enough for two more words!”