Jimmy Bondoc defends friend's family: They are not drug carriers

Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 24 2016 12:46 PM | Updated as of Dec 24 2016 12:56 PM

MANILA - Singer-composer Jimmy Bondoc defended the family of his friend, singer TJ Sarvida, whose father was shot dead last Wednesday in what police say was a drug-related case.

"It is clear to us that this is not a case of EJK [extrajudicial killings]. But we do not impose this opinion on anyone and we would rather that due process takes its course," said Bondoc in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News on Saturday.

TJ Sarvida is the vocalist of the Crib band and was part of the Takbo team of artists that urged then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte to run for president.

His father, Eleazar Sarvida, was shot dead last Wednesday in their home in Mandaluyong.

A Philippine Daily Inquirer report said a gunman waited for the older Sarvida to arrive home in Barangay Addition Hills before he was shot.

Case investigator PO3 Donald Bañes was also quoted as saying that the elder Sarvida was on the police intelligence unit watch list. His wife was also allegedly tagged by the barangay.

Bondoc, however, said a witness who was with the victim at the time of the incident had a different story to tell.

The witness, he said, was talking to Sarvida who just got home from a Jehovah's Witnesses worship service where he was serving as a pastor, when they heard a shot rang out and went out to investigate.

"Tapos parang binulabog sila parang niyuyugyug yung gate ng malakas at demanding to be let in. 'Papasukin niyo ako,'" Bondoc said.

When Sarvida refused, the gunman shot him.

"Ganun kalinaw ang kwento. Ang problema may mga circulating stories na parang pinapa-complicate pa yun. But that is the simplest and truest account of the situation," he said.

Bondoc, the current vice president for entertainment for PAGCOR, said Sarvida asked for his help to investigate the situation.

"Tumawag siya sa akin mismo humihingi ng tulong na baka sakali na pwedeng magpatulong either sa akin mismo o sa pangulo o sa kanyang nararapat na ahensiya to investigate the situation," he added.

NOT DRUG CARRIERS

Bondoc said the family found several erroneous facts allegedly provided by the police. The police investigator was quoted as saying that Eleazar's previous wife was charged with drug pushing and died in jail.

Sarvida did not have an ex-wife, Bondoc said.

"Wala naman siyang ex-wife. It also says na mayroon silang anak with that spouse who was killed in jail, syempre non-existence din yung son na yun dahil wala ngang spouse," Bondoc said.

He said it would be interesting to ask the investigator on where he got his information.

"TJ and the family are not drug carriers and in fact very good citizens. The father was a pastor at Jehovah's Witness, very fearful of the Lord and has no history or connection whatsoever to drugs," he said.

Both Bondoc and TJ Sarvida has been vocal about their support for the Duterte administration. Duterte appointed Bondoc as vice president for entertainment for PAGCOR.

Bondoc and his fellow artists have channeled their energy in ensuring the safety of TJ Sarvida's family and in helping them clear their names.

"Instead of grieving, the family is burdened with a new problem which is to clear their reputation and to keep them safe because of the accusations that they are involved in drugs," he said.

He said they are trying to come together--the musician community---to help the family financially and emotionally.

"Surprising as this may be, we do not want to use this situation in any political statement. The help we need is simply this: to just isolate this situation, not to connect it with any other ongoing heated debate on Facebook," he said.