“You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.” AL CAPONE
By Alex P. Vidal
If our unimpeachable sources are to be believed, the cold-blooded mob-style rub-out of Antique Gov. Evelio Javier murder accused Jimmy Punzalan could be compared to the gangland killings that rocked Chicago in the roaring 30’s where mobster boss Al “Scarface” Capone executed both his partners in crime and rivals in illegal activities with ferocious intensity and in a macabre fashion.
Javier’s killing on Feb. 6, 1986 helped trigger the EDSA Revolution that ousted Marcos and his minions.
Sources said Punzalan was an odd man in illegal gambling rivalries that allegedly involved the henchmen of “Bogart” or the capo di tutti capi himself. “Pare Jim”, as Punzalan was known, was allegedly whacked by the group in a mob-style war over control of illegal gambling activities in the metropolis.
Sources added that Punzalan, 64, known as “Robin Hood” to his friends for always sharing his blessings, was allegedly taken out “to prevent him from spreading his tentacles” in illegal numbers game “first two” or “bookies” that could decimate his rivals operating under “Bogart’s” tutelage.
It won’t hurt if investigators review the circumstances surrounding the raid in the house of a suspected gambling lord in Jaro district a few weeks back where several gambling paraphernalia and betting money worth about half million pesos were seized. Punzalan’s name surfaced as among those who allegedly tipped off authorities.
Meanwhile, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO6) Regional Intelligence Division and the Jaro Police Precinct, which conducted the raid, should explain to the public why they zeroed in on the house of a village chief who had a spat with former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. but ignored other known lairs of illegal gambling activities in the city and province that are more sophisticated and more “big time”.
How often do they conduct raids? How about the other gambling joints in Molo, La Paz, Arevalo and the City Proper? Do they conduct raids according only to the behest of their superiors who have links with shady characters in the underworld?
“Bogart”, known for his expensive tastes and explosive temper, himself has strong connections in the police and media. Rogue cops and unscrupulous mediamen look up to “Bogart” as all-season Santa Claus. He was never indicted of any crime even if his nefarious activities are already common knowledge. During election time, “Bogart” is a friend both of politicians, who run for public office, and thugs who act as the politicians’ bogeymen.
By using baby Armalite riffles and treachery, the killers, believed to be hired hit men, made sure Punzalan would not survive. Punzalan, who always carried a short firearm, would have engaged his attackers in a fierce gun-battle had he anticipated the sneak attack. An assassin with a short firearm wouldn’t dare cross Punzalan’s path as he was known to be a good shooter being a former member of the defunct Philippine Constabulary. The hit men must have also learned that Punzalan was always accompanied by his fellow Rotarian and best friend, Frank Atas, himself a sharp-shooter, every time he had dinner in a small shanty adjacent the Papa Jim Sea Bounty, Punzalan’s restaurant inside the complex; thus they assaulted Punzalan when Atas was not around.
Punzalan would not leave his house in Brgy. Cubay, Jaro without a gun. A few years ago, he lost an expensive .45 caliber colt and cash from”bukas kotse” gang when he failed to lock his car at the parking lot of SM City.
The group that terminated Punzalan must have planned the hit for several weeks and was able to finally find a perfect opportunity when there were few customers present in his eatery in the Boliland Garden in Brgy. Bolilao, Mandurriao district at about 9 pm last August 7.
Underworld characters in one particular jurisdiction know each other very well. In the St. Valentine’s Day massacre in 1929, seven well-dressed henchmen of George “Bugs” Moran, Capone’s rival, were lined up against a wall, with their backs to their executioners and shot to death in a “take-no-prisoner” fashion because they probably knew their killers.
Gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was murdered in his Hollywood mansion 66 years ago by East Coast mob cronies who suspected him of skimming from the $6-million Flamingo Hotel casino in Las Vegas.
Did the people who wanted Punzalan eliminated consult boss “Bogart”? If they did, either “Bogart” rejected the project but the conspirators defied him, or he “did not want to be part of it”. Or did “Bogart” himself, to protect the interest of his own empire, order the rub out?