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Rape suspect falls to police after 11 years freedom

September 23, 2012

The police in Region 8, very particularly under its present regional director, chief superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria, deserve QN’s congratulations and praises. At about 11:30 o’clock in the morning of September 18, 2012, elements of Regional Special Operation Group 8 led by inspector Constantino Jabonete Jr., armed with an arrest warrant, nabbed a village chief who had been either hiding or simply being off the hook for nearly 12 years after allegedly raping a sleeping beauty in year 2001.

Sacked was Dindo Centino Contridas, single (but with live-in partner) 33 years old punong barangay of Maputi in the island town of Zumarraga, Samar. The rape suspect was having a drink in year 2001 with his would-be victim, at Pier 2 in Catbalogan, Samar, until the latter fell asleep. The victim found out soon that his drinking buddy molested her and so she filed a criminal charge against him. Judge Agerico A. Avila of Regional Trial Court Branch 29 (in Catbalogan City) issued a corresponding warrant of arrest effectively authorizing the police to search for and get Dindo for the crime of rape as charged in Criminal Case No. 5678.

That being enough, the Regional Special Operations Group of Police Regional Office 8 set out and spotted the suspect somewhere at Pier 1, Brgy. 6, Catbalogan City, having a drinking bout with friends on September 18. Losing no time, the RSOG spread the dragnet on Dindo at 11:30 a.m. and locked him up behind bars at the Samar Provincial Jail. Prohibited by the court to post no bail for his temporary liberty, Dindo, while not necessarily enjoying his free detention, may be musing on two of several moral lessons: pier is not ideal for drinking and then raping someone, and, a rapist should not run for an elective post. After the rape incident, suspect reportedly went into hiding but surfaced in 2010 and won as punong barangay in the barangay elections.

With this development, PCSupt Soria is rekindling hopes that persons long wanted for various criminal acts in Samar, including those in my own hometown of Basey, will be found and also arrested soon by the PRO8’s Regional Special Operations Group. Soria may also want to probe into some other continuing failures of the police in Basey, which are being monitored, for more than 3 years now by various stakeholder groups. Let us see if Soria can solve these local mysteries, as observers put it – which, however, I cluster into only 1 mystery, the mystery of why the police in Basey cannot perform accordingly.

QN does not need to enumerate the particular instances of these failures. The general public know that, especially those whose eyes are closely glued on the police, some of whom are monitoring for President Noynoy Aquino, unless the police don’t know it. Among the police items monitored, aside from failed service of arrest warrants that date as far back as 1986 (by the way, RD Soria, can you clarify if it’s the police job to serve ageing arrest warrants, as old as 1972, or, what exactly is the police mandate on this matter which involves both personal and national security?), is the daily 3 numbers betting syndicate which, according to an old lady “usher” or bet taker, stopped last

For the moment, the Waray public can expect high from Soria’s leadership. PCSupt Soria has remarked on this light: “It is not enough that cases are filed against criminal suspects. Arrest of wanted persons plays a vital role in the performance of the PNP’s core functions. It is with this context (that) the PRO8 ha(s) intensified the implementation of LOI Manhunt: CHARLIE, the PNP’s campaign for the neutralization of wanted persons”.

Off tangent, I have wondered lately if the PNP regional chief has any relation to the Soria people in Leyte and Samar. In Tarangnan, Samar, there is a certain Roger Carreon Soria who sometimes wins a prize for his Waray verses or gets paid for his news items. The Soria men that I have known do fine community service, often on voluntary basis. I hope they keep up their good work pro bono publico.

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Today, September 23, a Sunday, is the fourth day of the 9-day novena transition leading to the annual fiesta day which peoples in such towns as Basey, and San Miguel in Leyte, pompously mark and celebrate in thanksgiving for Saint Michael the Archangel, their chosen patron saint. In Basey, as a daily routine, church bells are rung at 4:30 a.m., a “penetential procession” is conducted in a barangay starting at 5 a.m., and a novena mass clocks on by 6 a.m. at the parish church.

On the first day of the novena, a Diana was held “in all the streets of Basey poblacion to herald the beginning of the fiesta novena-masses”. The first penitential procession went around barangay Palaypay, with Mrs. Ruth B. Bajas, Dr. Reblaya B. Bajas, Basey vice-mayor Raul Sendic Bajas and Atty. Argyle Karen Labanen-Bajas and son Alfonso Raoul , and Dominic Lenin B. Bajas leading the list of sponsors for the Day 1 (Sept. 20, a Thursday) novena-mass. Palaypay is home to the family of the late Miguelito Colinayo Bajas, the 2012 Basey fiesta hermano mayor.

Today, the procession goes around Mercado. After the 6 a.m. novena-mass, at exactly 8:30 a.m., the patronal image of St. Michael will be in procession from Brgy. Sulod chapel to Basey District Hospital where 30 minutes later a Eucharistic celebration will be held, followed by a vigil. From the hospital, the image will be brought to the parish church by 4:15 p.m. in preparation for the 5 p.m. Eucharistic celebration at that church. At the stroke of 6 o’clock in the evening, the image will be in procession from the church to the chapel of Brgy. Mercado, there to remain for a vigil overnight until brought back to the church by 8:30 a.m. tomorrow (Sept. 24).

For the ever-grand fiesta celebration in Basey, conspicuous preparations begin the hanging of buntings (karaykay, karay-karay) on all streets in the town proper. Last Sept.16, Tiyo Miguel Espina spent one whole day closely supervising the installation of fiesta welcome buntings that add further beauty to the Espina Building in Brgy. Baybay. I think his buntings are unique. They include hanging balls of different colors.