During the past week, there were at least three incidents where three kinds of public servants shone
in their display of honesty, namely the police, barangay and airport police.
Two of these happened in Manila. In one incident, 36-year-old Ronnie Gatburton of Binondo,
Manila, was nabbed in Tondo and is now facing appropriate charges after allegedly stealing the
cellphones of two young boys with whom he had an ‘eyeball’ after befriending them on Facebook.
His arrest was made by Manila Police District-Station 7 who were then patrolling the area and
whose help was sought by the teenage victims.
The victims told Senior Inspector Ness Vargas that they arranged a meet up with Gatburton in
Puregold in Tondo, where they said they were brought to a fastfood to eat. They then asked the suspect
to look after their bags as they went to the comfort room.
Upon their return, Gatburton and the cellphones which they left in their bags, were gone.
Fortunately for them, there were two policemen patrolling the area so they sought the cops’ help and
the suspect was arrested just as he was heading out of the establishment.
The policemen, whose names I failed to get, recovered the cellphones and returned them to the
A couple of days later, a group of barangay watchmen or tanods responded to screams for help
by 37-year-old company manager Marie Christine Bengson, after her pouch containing her cellphone and
money was snatched by suspect Arvin Asintado, 33, a construction worker residing in Bgy. Sta.
Catalina, Quezon City.
The victim was walking on Felix Huertas in Sta. Cruz, Manila when the suspect snatched her
pouch. She yelled for help while chasing the suspect, drawing the attention of barangay watchmen and
residents, who joined the chase, eventually cornering the suspect and beating him up. The pouch was
recovered with its contents intact and returned to Bengson.
Topping these of course, was the incident at the NAIA Terminal 2 where Airport Police
Department (APD) members under the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) were commended by
airport Manager Ed Monreal for helping a Korean-American expat recover his computer bag with its
contents intact, among them some P.5 million in cash, a high-end cellular phone, passport and other
items of high value.
What’s even more laudable in this particular case was that the said airport policemen, namely
APO2 Aldref Manuel, APO2 Vic Casem, APO2 Vilma Doyon, APO1 Eli Portacion, APO1 Arthur Rosal, APO1
Marvyl Cloyd Abalos and APO1 Jeffry Mergilla, did not only help the passenger recover his money and
valuables in record time of only six hours. They also politely declined the reward offered to them,
saying they were merely doing their job. They also avoided interviews and did not want any fanfare for
what they did.
General Manager Monreal had all the reasons to express pride for having them in the MIAA’s
employ, describing them as ‘shining examples of what a public servant should be’ while patting them on
the back for a job well done.
The remarkable deed only came to public knowledge after the expat, identified as Mike Kim, 50,
posted his pleasant experience on social media, where he expressed his gratitude, saying he was
‘shocked’ that he was able to get everything back. Kim reported to the MIAA having left behind his bag
in a cab he hired as he headed straight to a meeting in a posh hotel upon arrival.
“Things like this don’t happen. Usually, if a bag like this is lost, it will never come back
especially with all the contents it had. But everything came back and I’m absolutely overjoyed by the
result of the police operation on this. I want people to know that gentlemen like these exist in the
Philippines. These men did their jobs and they deserve some kind of recognition or medal for their
efforts. They did great. These guys are true heroes. The Philippines will be a better place because of
them,” Kim said.
In all three incidents, the valuables were recovered intact and returned to their rightful
owners, without expecting anything in return. Sadly, in this day and age and more often than not, even
if a suspect is arrested, the valuables are never recovered, leaving the victims wondering if such is
true or the arresting officer pocketed them, although this has become commonplace at the NAIA
Indeed, occasions of exemplary display of honesty such as what I’ve mentioned are truly rare
these days and, indeed, as Kim had said, ‘shocking.’ Congratulations are therefore
in order for the said cops, barangay ta-nods and airport policemen who helped those who needed their
assistance and made sure their belongings were recovered and returned intact. May their tribe
Jokjok (from Mary Joyce Hernaez of Makati City) -- BOY: Ayoko na sa bahay na ito!! Lahat na lang ng
ginagawa ko mali! I am not a good son to you, hindi n’yo ako mahal !! Huhuhu…/DAD: Anak, hindi ganu’n.
Nagkakamali ka!/ MOM: Oo nga, tama ang Daddy mo. ’Wag ka ganu’n mag-isip. Mali ‘yun!/BOY: O, kita mo
na ! Mali na naman ako!!! Waahhhhh….
Direct Hit entertains comments, suggestions or complaints. Please have them emailed to