A loving father’s life was ruined because of a dark secret he kept from his children, a secret that engulfed him in a world of crime and drugs which eventually led to his bloody demise.
Kind-hearted, thoughtful, and loving. That’s how Rina (not her real name) described her father, Edgardo Evarbia.
“Mabait po siya, hindi po siya nagkukulang sa’min,” Rina said. “Kumbaga po kahit broken family kami, lagi naman po siya nandiyan para sa’min.”
Edgardo was also well-liked in their neighborhood.
“Wala po silang masasabi sa Papa ko kasi si Papa po talaga, ‘pag nandito siya, lalo na ‘pag may pera siya, handang tumulong,” Rina added. “Tapos si Papa po, komedyante na kapag kasama mo siya, tatawa ka talaga. Marami po siyang barkada, wala po siyang kaaway dito.”
But despite his jovial demeanor, Edgardo had a dark secret.
“Kasi si Papa po, kung aalis siya ‘di naman siya nagpapaalam,” Rina says. “’Pag nawawala po siya ng two weeks, nagte-text na ‘yan sa’kin na ‘Anak, nandito ako, ‘wag mo ako hanapin’ para po hindi [kami] mag-alala.”
On October 4, 2011, Edgard left home and never returned.
“Umalis po siya, ‘di ko lang po sigurado kasi wala po ako dito, pero may mga nakakita po na sumakay siya ng jeep papuntang Siniloan,” Rina recalled.
Days, weeks, and months passed by without a word from Edgardo. His family searched for him in the different towns of Laguna but saw no sign of him.
|Where is Edgardo? On October 4, 2011, Edgardo Evarbia left their home and never came back.|
Meanwhile, on December 1, 2011, the Laguna Police received a tip about a holdup gang roaming the towns of Laguna. The informant was a member of the gang.
“Makikita mo sa tao nung dumating sa akin, talagang may takot siya,” PC/Insp. Vicente Cabagtingan of the Laguna Police Special Task Force said. “Dati siyang kasamahan sa grupo. In fact, nakulong na rin siya. Hindi na rin niya nakayanan sa kunsensya kaya gusto na niyang umalis. In fact, nagtago siya sa Quezon, hanggang sa Quezon, pinupuntahan pa siya ng grupong ito kasi gusto siyang patayin, patahimikin.”
The informant explained the gang’s modus operandi.
“Tatapatan nila ang motor, hoholdapin nila at gunpoint, tutukan nila, tapos paghuhubarin nila para hindi na makahabol sa kanila,” PC/Insp. Cabagtingan said.
The informant identified the members of the gang as one Noah Macabasco, an ex-convict imprisoned for drug-related crimes and murder; one Ivan Huge Asedillo, also an ex-convict; and one Felicisimo Perez, a tricycle driver.
The Laguna police immediately applied for a warrant of arrest and on December 2, 2011, went to Macabasco’s home to apprehend the three. After apprehending the suspects, the authorities confiscated evidence of their illegal undertakings, which were found inside Macabasco’s home. The evidence seized included balded weapons, helmets, uniforms, and motorcycle spare parts.
However, aside from robbery, the informant revealed that Macabasco and his gang were also involved in the murder and hacking of a man.
|The arrest. Noah Macabasco and his gang were arrested on December 2, 2011. Seized inside his home were evidences of their illegal undertakings.|
According to the informant, on October 24, 2011, Macabasco and his gang killed and hacked a man’s body to pieces.
“Sabi nga niya, nung 4:00 ng hapon, binaril nila [‘yung lalaki],” Police Chief Inspector Cabagtingan said. “Tapos sinimulan nilang i-chop-chop 8:00 ng gabi hanggang 11:00 ng gabi. Pati siya, pinabaril din siya para daw lahat sila babaril. Hindi nalaman ng kapitbahay nila kasi nilakasan nila ang sound system sa loob. By 12:00 m.n., tapos na nilang i-chop-chop ‘yung tao at sinilid nila sa tatlong trash bags.”
The authorities went to the location where the informant said they left the trash bags.
“Ang sinabi ng informant natin, akmang-akma, tugmang-tugma kung saan nila itinapon ‘yung tatlong trash bags, doon namin na-recover,” Cabagtingan said.
The informant identified the victim as Edgardo Evarbia, also known as “Tatok.”
|Chop-chop. On October 24, 2011, Noah Macabasco and his gang killed Edgardo Evarbia and hacked his body to pieces, slid his body parts into three trash bags, and dumped them in Laguna.|
A family’s grief
Edgardo’s family was immediately notified.
“Noon pong December 2, may nagpunta dito na mga pulis at hinahanap po ang pamilya ni ‘Tatok’,” Rina said. “Sabi may natagpuan daw pong katawan dun sa may bandang Pangil tapos po nun nataranta na dito kasi matagal na nga siyang nawawala.”
When they arrived at the scene of the crime, Rina felt the wind knocked out of her. They were able to identify their father because of the pair of shorts he was wearing when he disappeared.
“Chop-chop na po, apat na plastic, malaki po tatay ko, 5’10” hanggang 5’11”,” she said. “Nakita po ‘yung apat na plastic, bukod po ‘yung ulo.”
Worse, their father’s killer, Noel Macabasco, was actually a friend of his.
“Ang tinatanong namin, bakit ikaw?” Rina said. “Kung talagang may kasalanan siya sa’yo, pero hindi naman po naming alam ang kasalanan niya, kung papatayin mo, patayin mo na lang ano, ‘wag mo nang chop-chopin pa.”
Life on drugs
According to the authorities’ informant, aside from robbery, Macabasco’s group was also involved in drugs.
“Marami itong kasi sa drugs. In fact, noong 16 years old pa ito, meron na siyang pinatay na kalaguyo niyang bakla, matanda, around 60 years old, so nakulong siya dahil dun,” Cabagtingan said.
“Nakalabas din siya tapos meron din siyang standing case sa Infanta, sa drugs naman at galing din siya dito sa provincial jail natin. Itong si Felicisimo Reyes at saka si Ivan Huge Asedillo, nagkakila-kilala ‘yan sa loob ng kulungan, panay drugs ang kanilang kaso.”
And drugs was also the reason they killed Edgardo.
“Ito namang is Tatok, involved din siya sa drugs,” Cabagtingan said. “Kasamahan nila dati, nagde-deliver ng drugs, nagka-onsehan. Kasi may dala siyang drugs na worth P25,000 ata ‘yun. Hindi na kayang bayaran ng lider nila na si Noel Macabasco, right then and there sa loob mismo ng bahay, pinatay nila.”
Justice for Edgardo
Macabasco, Reyes, and Asedillo were charged with possession of illegal drugs, illegal possession of firearms, and frustrated murder.
On December 5, 2011, on their way back from an inquest proceeding, Macabasco attempted to escape.
“Nagkaroon ng scuffle, nagpambuno sila,” Cabagtingan said. “Hanggang nalaglag sila doon sa labas. So itong isang escort, ‘yung back-up, wala nang magawa. Nagkaputukan na. Halos naagaw ni [Macabasco] ‘yung baril ng isa nating escort eh.”
Macasbaco was injured and was rushed to the hospital. However, he was declared dead on arrival.
For Edgardo’s family, it was too much an easy way out.
“Sa totoo lang po, natuwa ako atsaka nainis kasi napakadali ng pagkamatay niya,” Rina said. “Hindi dapat ganoon. Mas brutal pa doon ang gusto ko tulad ng ginawa niya sa tatay ko.”
The authorities believe that the arrest of Macabasco’s group will reduce the number of criminal incidents in some areas of Laguna, which will serve as a warning for people thinking of getting involved in the manufacturing and trade of illegal drugs.
April 27, 2012