They shoot good men, don’t they?
By Recah Trinidad
29 Feb 2012
THE distress call sounded as though it was filtering in from under a dungeon.
“Patay na si Vic, Vic Ong is dead, pare” said the trembling male voice.
It was my loyal friend, a native of Malabang town in Lanao del Sur, calling from Makati.
The voice was choked with grief and anger.
Sorry, but I’m not at liberty to identify the caller.
He said Ong, 66, was shot three times.
This was on Tuesday afternoon.
When was he shot?
“Kanina, mga two hours ago.”
Was it a robbery?
My friend, a self-made contractor specializing in swimming pools, called back yesterday to say Ong was in the process of closing his store for the day, pulling down the metal blinds, when shot by a lone gunman.
There was no clear motive. The victim had no known enemy in Malabang.
But, on second thought, my friend said the slaying could be the offshoot of Ong’s successful intercession that recently prevented the planned abduction of another priest in Malabang.
The Ongs, successful and philanthropic traders, are respected and well-loved in their town.
So why did they have to kill him?
“We don’t know if it was the Abu Sayyaf,” my friend said.
There could be other motives, angles.
It could not be denied though that Ong’s killing highlighted how things have truly gone out of hand in the area, where terrorist bands continued to successfully target priests and civilians alike.
Vic Ong, tall, fair, mild-mannered, was my friend’s guest in Makati last year.
He called the other week to say he would visit again in May.
My friend often had a problem because it was Vic who would treat them out, not the other way around, whenever he was here.
He just loved to be of help, spread cheer and goodwill.
So it’s another good man gone—just like that.
The least we could do is condole with the family.
“But don’t even mention the names of his immediate relatives,” my friend begged.
What about you?
“No, huwag na rin pare, delicado.”
My friend said he should be in Malabang to bury his boyhood chum.
He felt devastated that he could not make the trip home.
He’s now doubly convinced there’s not a single safe corner in his old hometown.
Meanwhile, there had been no single mention of the crime in popular media.
This was understandable.
The big-hearted gentleman, who never knew how to say no to needy souls, was not a significant media insect.
But shouldn’t Vic Ong’s slaying also help tell this insensitive government that terrorists in Mindanao were obviously in the process of preventing an oversupply of good men in their midst?
“Let me see you, please,” my friend told me an hour before I sat down to rush this piece.
He sounded lost, devastated.
He wanted to shut out all this mess.
He said we should talk.
He also badly needed a drink.
He must’ve felt desperately sick as that member of the prosecution who covered his ears in surrender at the height of a savage lecture from a vitriolic female senator during yesterday’s impeachment hearing at the Senate.
Enough of this madness, please, God oh please!
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