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The Basngi I knew 24 years ago




THE supposed big rally reportedly from certain disgruntled group/s planned to stage within the vicinity of City Hall last Tuesday afternoon, failed to prosper, as they were said to have been stopped from coming in by a retinue of men in uniform securing the city’s seat of governance.
I was up there at the balcony of City Hall waiting for such rally to happen, but it never came during my long stay at the office of City Administrator Antonio  G. Orendain, Jr.

“I don’t think they’ll ever dare. In the first, they were never granted any permit to rally,” came the answer from the “Walking Tall.”

Jun O. who played center during his prime as a basketball star of the then Ateneo De Zamboanga(ADZ), now Ateneo De Zamboanga, University(ADZU) stands at over 6 ft. tall-- the reason why he’s addressed as “Walking Tall”, as well.

IN those days, if your height was that high, you could already play center in big basketball tournaments, even in Metro Manila.

NOW, back to the supposed rally that just went pfft!

WELL, I tell you, I went back to my news outfit( Zamboanga Today) practically empty-handed, as far as news of a supposed large rally was concerned.

NOBODY but nobody could tell the exact details of the nature of such a rumored rally to happen, but all guesses. One of which was presumed to have stemmed from the evacuees themselves defiant yet of the city government’s stern directive for them to transfer to the resettlement site in Brgy. Talisayan in the west-coast.

ANOTHER unconfirmed report pinpointed to a supposed outside faction, probably from Metro Manila in sympathy of the evacuees’ poor plight spawned by the recent two huge crisis that ravaged ZC.

I don’t know, perhaps my long lull in covering big events right on-the-spot, or where the action is, has given me a little dementia, but not that serious, of-course.

“Ma’as ya tu, pencing, poreso, dol nuay mas tu gana’ man cover. Ta bolbe yalang, maski nuay pa acaba mga major events. Komo alla kel ARMM affair na GOH, ya bolbe dao tu derecho pencing,” c Bogs, un chismoso ya pega pa canaton di-unames. Espera bos!


ZCPO Officer-In-Charge(OIC) director S/Supt. Dennis Basngi still remembers pretty well the infamous “Batalla siege” that happened sometime January of l989.

“Yes, I vividly recall, kasi junior officer noon assigned dito for the first time, right after my graduation sa PMA in l988,” he recounted to me.

AND he primarily reminisced the notorious escape of renegade cop(Pat.) Rizal Alih from that week-long bloody siege of the then Cawa-Cawa camp(now Batalla Camp in honor of the slaughtered Gen. Eduardo Batalla).

“THE next day, nandoon na sa Inquirer ang balita yon nag-hostage sa asawa ng isang (PC/INP) official. At ikaw na iyon sa Inquirer na tandaan ko,” Basngi went on to recall.

WELL, it’s very true, I scooped such a great story that even then AFP Chief Gen. Renato De Villa tried to refute the Inquirer Banner Headline about Rizal Alih’s great escape by first commandeering a jitney parked near the already leveled camp due to constant airstrikes pounded by the PAF’s helicopter gunships- killing more than a dozen people, mostly Alih’s followers. Among those charred to death were Batalla and his Chief of Staff the late Col. Romeo Abendan.

GEN. De Villa, after the AFP’s clearing operation at the devastated camp, immediately declared to the media that Alih was among those killed.

HOWEVER, about six months later, the injured Rizal Alih’s photo taken somewhere in Sabah, Malaysia where he escaped and later was captured and repatriated back to the Country, was shown in the Inquirer—hence it put to rest the issue about Rizal Alih as among the dead during that ghastly hostage-taking case of the late Gen. Batalla.

Alih (now very old) is currently locked up at the CIDG in Camp Crame Metro Manila, facing murder charges for the death of Batalla and Abendan. Exactly 24 years have gone, yet the Batalla hostage-taking case remains pending in court up to this date.
Ke clase de justicia tiene kta ki na pais!

BASNGI, contrary to certain critics of his, looks to me as a no-nonsense police colonel “who works silently but he produces good results,” as others attested.

I’m looking forward to seeing Col. Basngi in his office one of these days.

VPA Holds 2013 General Assembly

THE Volunteers Parole Aid(VPA) held its 2013 General Assembly last Monday afternoon at the Sangguniang Panlungsod(City Council) where its Pres. Datu Ahmad “Ðatz” Sampang gave his annual report that contained his programs & projects aimed to attain VPA’s goals.

“Of-course, this is initiated by the Parole & Probation Office under the DOJ,” Datz Sampang clarified.

THIS VPA, to my delight, has a big number of participants or are they all VPA members? During its GA affair, most if not all were elegantly wearing in their red uniforms.

Most of them, I found out, are barangay officials. Noticeably present in the pretty dense crowd were the brgy officials of Cawit led by its indefatigable Brgy. Capt. Rey Modillas whose barangay in the west-coast(some 14 kilometers from the city proper) I just visited last week.

BY the way, Datz Sampang was the former Brgy. Chairman of Campo Islam who ran but lost in the last May local polls for city councilor in district 1. Better luck next time Datz!

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