MANILA, Philippines – Just a few hours before the January 6 "shootout" in Atimonan, Quezon where 13 people died, a lone gunman shot and killed Robinson Magpantay in Talisay, Batangas.
Magpantay’s mother, Amor, said as early as October 2012, her son told her that his life was in danger.
“Ang sabi lang sa akin ay marami daw siyang nalalaman. So ipinapapatay siya, ang patong daw sa kanyang ulo ay P200,000,” she said.
Police have yet to identify the gunman behind the killing.
“Ang sinasabi lang ay may nakita silang van na dumaan at may sumakay na isang lalaki. Possible talaga na ‘yung lead talaga namin ay ‘yung van na ‘yun,” said Sr. Insp. Domingo Ballesteros, officer-in-charge of the Talisay Municipal Police Station.
But the driver of a trusted aide of Vic Siman, “Jun” (not his real name), said Magpantay was a hitman of the rival Fajardo Group.
Jun said the Fajardo Group has encroached into the illegal gambling territory of Siman in Calamba, where they have a bookies operation in Barangay Bonggo.
Jun said that after the November killing of some of Siman's trusted men, he also became a target.
He then approached Magpantay to explain that he was just a driver and not involved in the gambling operations.
“Natatakot po ako…kasi hindi basta bastang mga tao ito. Ikinuwento ito ni Robinson Magpantay sa akin, kasama siya sa operation, ‘pag may kukuhanin o bibirahing tao. Bata siya ng mga Fajardo eh,” said Jun.
Those close to Magpantay said he had begun distancing himself from the group to focus on his seedling business.
They said Magpantay wanted to turn over a new leaf, but his past caught up with him.