Davao 1989 Hostage: 3 Men and the Real Story

This is about three men – presidential frontrunner and Davao City Rody Duterte, retired constabulary colonel Franco Calida, who is now mayor of a Davao del Sur town, and Michael Logico, an active army colonel.

I know, or to be more accurate I have met, all three men.

Duterte, 71, who is now in the centre of a controversy following a misstatement over the rape and killing of a foreign missionary 27 years ago, is a friend and a compadre and I am one of his most ardent supporters in his presidential bid.

Calida, outgoing mayor of Hagonoy, Davao del Sur and acknowledged father of the Alsa Masa movement in Davao City, is a friend from way back.

I interviewed him in the late 80s when I was senior copy editor for the Tempo newspaper.

Logico, a brilliant out-of-the-box military officer, was assigned in North Cotabato as a young lieutenant in the Army Special Forces whom I met when I was Governor from 1998 to 2007.

I am writing this story because of a post made by Logico, whom we called Logic way back then, about Calida being the real hero in the Davao City hostage crisis where a group of criminals who earlier escaped from the Davao Penal Colony led by Federico Pugoy held captive a group of Christian missionaries and then raped and killed an Australian preacher.

Logico cleverly inserted in his post a sentence which would imply that Duterte lied about his role in the hostage taking at the Metrodiscom Jail and that Calida was the real hero.

Read this: “Conspicuously missing from the three narratives is the name of a certain public official who claims to have been there, negotiating with the hostage takers, and getting involved in the shootout.”

Duterte supporter Michael Angelo Cabrera sent me a worried query about the mayor’s actual role in the 1989 hostage crisis saying that Logico’s post was being shared by supporters of another candidate who claimed that Duterte lied.

I checked the news links provided by Logico: http://www.ucanews.com/story-archive/
https://news.google.com/newspapers… after which I sent Cabrera my reply.

“There is nothing in the stories which proves to be inconsistent with Rody Duterte’s narrative. Remember, there were two hostage taking. The first was when Duterte, according to reports, offered himself as hostage in exchange for a baby. Here is a report on that: “The military negotiators then arranged the release of the hostages. But as some of the hostages were released, shots were fired, killing a total of 21 people, all the 16 prisoners (including Felipe Pugoy), and 5 hostages, including Hamill and the 9-year-old boy. Local authorities said none of the hostages was killed by the soldiers.
But just days earlier, Pugoy and his team also tried to escape from Davao City Penal Colony (DaPeCol). That time, Mayor Rody Duterte was the main negotiator and offered himself as the replacement for the prison guards that were held hostages. Shortly, Duterte was able to convince the group to go to the Davao City hall. But unknown to Pugoy, Mayor Duterte ordered a team to wait for them inside the city hall. Shortly, all the hostage takers were arrested and were sent back to jail, but this time to the cell where he and his team took hostages including Jaqueline Hamill. The incident led to 1992 movie titled Pugoy: Hostage Davao, starring Ian Veneracion,” I told Cabrera.

Duterte, for the record, never claimed to be the hero in the 1989 hostage taking at the Metrodiscom Jail but he was involved in the first hostage taking where he offered himself as hostage, according to reports.

There is no argument that Calida was a hero in that incident. In fact, he is a legend in Davao City for leading the organization of the anti-communist vigilante group Alsa Masa which fought New People’s Army (NPA) urban guerrillas in Agdao District.

Nobody, however, can refute the fact that Duterte was Mayor of Davao City at the time of the Metrodiscom Jail incident and that he played a major role in the first hostage taking.

Now, did he or did not participate in the action in the second hostage taking?

Duterte never said he was involved in the negotiations in the second hostage taking and his narrative on how he fired his gun at the hostage takers was not mentioned in any media report.

But the mere fact that this was not mentioned in the reports does not mean that his narrative was not true.

The fact is many other heroes in that Metrodiscom Jail Hostage taking were not even mentioned in many newspaper and media reports.

Again, let me emphasise two indisputable facts:

1. There were two hostage taking, the first was when Pugoy and his companions escaped from the Davao Penal Colony and demanded that they be transferred to the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa. It was during the first hostage taking that Duterte played a key role which led to the arrest of Pugoy and his men.

2. Duterte never claimed he was the hero in the Metrodiscom Jail Hostage crisis which was the second hostage taking done by Pugoy and his group.

Curious why Logico would post an intriguing article which could be interpreted as an attempt to discredit Duterte, I checked on his Facebook page.

At first glance, I immediately realised the Logico does not like Duterte, his personality and his politics.

While Logico, the master tactician that he is, carefully made sure that he did not endorse any candidate, he delivered subliminal messages showing his dislike for Duterte.

Here is one of his posts made on April 7 which gave away his true sentiments:

Something interesting happened last night. After watching Les Miserables at Solaire, Joy, Alexa and I decided to have a late dinner at Goodah Dona Soledad. While we were eating, I noticed a couple quarreling cross the street from Goodah. The guy was wearing a white sando with basketball shorts and a baseball cap. The girl was wearing a dark blue shirt short shorts. I tried to ignore them but…. nagmumurahan na sila… Nagpapalitan ng P*tang !na mo…Eh we had Alexa with us. Joy could also hear it. And she noticed I was paying close attention to what was happening. Actually, I was waiting for blows to be exchanged. Tapos ayun na. The guy started it. He slapped the girl. I stood up and walked towards them. Joy told Alexa to go inside Goodah. I walked to the edge of the street and yelled at the guy HOY!!! TIGILAN MO YAN!
The guy said “sorry ser, mag-asawa po kami.. Nag-uusap lang po kami”. I said “KAHIT NA MAG ASAWA PA KAYO… KAPAG SINAKTAN MO SIYA, TATAWID AKO AT KAKATAYIN KITA!!!
He stopped… Natakot siguro sa akin. But as soon as he did, it was the wife’s turn. She punched him in the face with a closed fist! She started beating him up… worse than what he did to her!
At that point, I honestly didn’t know what to do… So I walked over …. And asked them who they were voting for this election…they both said Duterte.”

So, what have we established in this article?

One, Duterte did not claim he was a hero in the Metrodiscom Jail Hostage taking but he played a key role in the first hostage taking.

Two, Calida is a real hero and is a legend in Davao City.

Three, Logico may be a brilliant psywar operator but he is just another human being who could not hide his true feelings. In the end, he showed his tail.| Manny Piñol