Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 Ramon Borre and his wife “Rose”, whose real identity shall be kept for security reasons, lived a peaceful life in Caloocan City. But in 2002, when their family grew, they decided to transfer to a bigger place in Nagpayong, Barangay Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City.
For almost two years, they continued to live quietly. Until the new neighbors arrived.
The Palanas family seemed friendly enough. In fact, Ramon and the Palanas’ head of the family, Bernabe, a security guard, became good friends.
Years passed and Ramon’s friendship with Bernabe, also known as Abe or Aspog, became deeper. “Naging kumpare na namin siya nang buo,” Rose tells ABS-CBN SOCO. “Meron sa kapitbahay naming nagpabinyag tapos kinuha silang dalawa na ninong ng anak nila.”
|Reenactment. Through the years, SPO2 Ramon Borre and Bernabe Palanas’ friendship deepened.
But on 2004, an untoward incident caused the friendship to turn sour. Ramon’s wife, Rose, was blamed for ratting out the Palanas’ illegal electrical jumper.
“Siguro naniwala siya doon sa tsismis,” Rose says. “Umiwas na po kami dahil pinagbibintangan niya po ako.”
The dispute worsened when one day, Aspog who’s been drinking with his friends since morning, made a scene. Ramon, being a policeman, tried to intervene. But Aspog turned on him instead. “Bigla na lang siyang lumabas at tinutukan ang asawa ko ng .45,” Rose remembers. “[Tapos] bigla po siyang sakay sa motor, nagpaputok nang nagpaputok,” says Rose.
Ramon decided to report the incident to the Barangay Captain. “Hindi raw niya palalampasin ‘yong ganoong pambabastos sa kanya,” Rose says. Eventually, the two were made to sign waivers promising that there will be no more violent rows in the future.
After that, the Borre family went back to their peaceful lives.
Or so they thought.
On March 2006, another untoward incident occurred that again fuelled the dispute between the two families. Aspog’s assistant made a sexual pass on Ramon’s daughter. This angered Ramon who retaliated by beating up Aspog’s assistant.
Because of this, the Borre family expected Aspog to strike back. But days passed and nothing happened. Little did they know that a tragedy was about to befall their family.
Around 6 a.m. on March 26, 2006, Ramon went out for a run. After jogging, he went home to pick up his grandson and went back outside. A few minutes later, five gunshots reverberated in the village.
|Best friends turned enemies. (L) SPO2 Ramon Borre (R) Bernabe Palanas.
Instantly, Rose rushed outside and was shocked by what she saw. “Nakita ko ang asawa ko nakabulagta tapos bumabangon po, tumatayo, at sabi niya dalhin daw siya sa ospital,” she says.
The neighbors rushed Ramon to the hospital while Rose went back inside to make sure their grandson was unharmed. After she was convinced that the baby was okay, she rushed to the hospital. When she arrived, Ramon was barely alive. But he was able to muster enough energy to tell rose that whatever happens to him, Aspog was to blame. And then a few minutes later, Ramon passed away.
Based on post-mortem examination, Ramon sustained five gunshot wounds. And according to the authorities, the gunshot wound found on his forearm indicated that he shielded his grandson from the attack.
The Pasig City police immediately responded to the crime. Taking a cue from Ramon’s last words, the authorities went to their neighborhood to search for clues. Unfortunately, their search was futile. “Ang daming usisero nang dumating tayo sa crime scene,” SPO2 Rogelio Baltazar tells ABS-CBN SOCO. “Puno ng tao ‘yong pinangyarihan ng insidente. So kung merong naiwang mga slug doon na dapat sana eh very vital na kunin nating ebidensya, muddled na, na-contaminate na ng mga tao.”
But luck struck when a one Roderick Castilla surfaced to tell them what he witnessed.
According to Roderick, he was talking to one of their neighbors just in front of the Borre residence when Ramon came out with his grandson. “Tapos may dumaang isang lalaki na naka-sumbrero ng bilog, naka-fatigue, parang may hinahanap,” SPO2 Baltazar says. “Naglakad [‘yong lalaki] papuntang iskinita nila, noong bumalik, sinita nitong witness.”
Roderick says the man walked away, stopped at the corner to send a text a message then went back.
And then to everybody’s shock, he pulled out a gun and fired at Ramon. According to Roderick, the victim was still able to put his grandson down.
The suspect, meanwhile, quickly escaped. Roderick followed him and saw that a man on a motorcycle was already waiting for the shooter. The witness then hailed a tricycle and continued to tail the two. Upon reaching Eusebio Avenue, the two suspects stopped and the driver removed the bandana covering his face.
Roderick identified the driver as Aspog, the Borre family’s neighbor.
Because of the eyewitness accounts and the victim’s ante mortem or dying statement, Bernabe Palanas a.k.a Aspog and the unidentified shooter were charged with murder at the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office.
But during the trial, Aspog didn’t show up. The judge then issued an arrest warrant for Aspog.
But the suspect has already gone into hiding. And slowly, the Borre family’s hope of getting justice for Ramon’s death began to diminish.
After eight months, hope resurfaced when the family received a tip on Aspog’s whereabouts. “May tumawag sa bahay ng biyenan ko, hindi po siya nagpakilala,” Rose says. “Ituturo na raw po kung saan umuuwi yong Abe Palanas na ‘yan.”
They were told that the suspect was in Paranaque and the family immediately coordinated with the Paranaque City police. In no time, Aspog was finally arrested.
The continuous search for justice
During the trial, Aspog pleaded “not guilty” to the crime. In his counter-affidavit, he stated that on March 25, 2006, one day before the crime took place, he was in Paranaque with his ailing father. And on the morning of March 26, 2006, Aspog claims that he drove his friends to Balut, Tondo to attend a christening event.
|Suspect in denial. Bernaba Palanas a.k.a Aspog claims that on the day of the shooting, he was in Balut, Tondo.
Despite his denial, the court found Bernabe Palanas a.k.a Aspog / Abe guilty beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Aspog is currently detained at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. ABS-CBN SOCO visited him for an interview but he refused to give a statement.
In the meantime, while the pain and loss is still fresh for the Borre family, they take slight comfort in knowing that the man behind the killing of Ramon will finally suffer behind bars. March 4, 201
|Justice for Ramon Borre. The Borre family hopes that one day, the victim’s shooter will be apprehended and justice will finally be served for Ramon.