An open letter to a killer


YOU pulled a gun and alighted from your puny car to kill a man armed with a bicycle. You shot him in cold blood while your little child was crying in the backseat of your car. Then you drove away, unaware that your bullet penetrated the body of a young lady. Tell me, do you even know what she looks like?

It appears to me that you are the kind of guy who walks with a swagger not because of what you have accomplished, but by association with an institution created precisely out of the need for peace, namely, the Philippine Army. Your car window displays an Army sticker. Your car’s glove compartment houses your gun. When the cyclist reached out to extend a hand to you, the gesture was lost—all you saw was his bike leaning against your car.

I cannot believe that a guy who saw your Army sticker and had leaned in to shake your hand would curse you in front of your lady companion and daughter. He had clearly won the fistfight. The way he was walking toward home, not on his bike but with his bike, was a sign of dissipated anger. I think he sensed that something was coming but was still wishful that it wouldn’t be so. That is probably why he kept looking behind his shoulder, trying to gauge what you would do next.

Everyone knows your name now, Mr. Vhon Martin Tanto. In media reports, you were quoted as saying that the cyclist provoked your anger because of his aggressive attitude. “I honked at Garalde to know if he was okay when he told me I was too arrogant on my driving and even cursed me.” You should have just gone on your way. As an army reservist, you have had sufficient training to know when brute force ought to be used. Besides, when the altercation transpired your little girl was sleeping in the backseat and a woman, most likely your wife, was seated beside you. The man who cursed you was by himself, riding a bicycle—inconsequential to your day.

You have publicly apologized and even your wife continues to share that burden of forgiveness, as she tries to plead with the victim’s family for forgiveness. Your black eye will soon recover but the victim never will. You have silenced him, with every bullet blowing away his family’s dreams. Literally, you took his breath away.

And so I write this, out of pity for the Garalde family and with deepest sympathies for 18-year old Rocel Bondoc, an innocent bystander hit by a stray bullet that entered the left side of her back and grazed her kidney. Rocel is on her way to full recovery. Unfortunately, according to her aunt, the healing process may cause Rocel to drop out of school. Hey, Vhon. Are you aware that Rocel is a college scholar? You nearly killed an achiever, a young lady of whom much is expected.

I write this open letter because there may be more Vhon Martins out there. Some clad in real uniforms. Now that’s the scary part. A police or military uniform can serve as a badge of immunity when the killer has patrons for protection, and concocted stories that make executions a calling card for justice.

To bear arms irresponsibly because you can when most of us even don’t brings someone closer to the graveyard. When angered, know that there is virtue in being the first to walk away. We are all God’s children. You have no right to think you are more powerful because you own a gun. You don’t grow bigger balls because of it. You just end up behind bars where size does matter.


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  1. Malakas yata ang backer ng may sayad na ito. si Bato naman parang idiot talaga para magbiro pa.Feeling pa cute ang mukhang rhino..

  2. Thanks Mam Sen for your thoughts and open letter. my 2 cents even if Geralde acted arrogantly still he has no right to take life. he has no right to pull the trigger, he did it because of pride and ego. Incident like this brings back memory 13 years ago when my 19 year old son was brutally shot in the head got comatose and died too 2 days after and only to know and found out his case was just a mistaken identity. What a waste of life Geralde is a family man how sad. My heart bleds for the left behind family, God’s hand be upon them all through their lifetime. As for the pain it won’t go away you will just learn to live with it everyday and moment of your life

  3. Just last week there was a similar cases happen.. a nice guy going for his 1st day of new employment when he hit his own motorcycle to a car was killed by police.

    Similar cases this reservist Vhon Martin Tanto. .

    This PO3 & PO2 authority that should be the model for the nation and yet they were the one who are abusing.. taking advantage to a weak people…later…they will stich a twisted story just to protect them self from punisment.

    Ms Ople you should reveal more of this type of military or police, use your pen to the max so this governance will be corrected. “Thanx to you Ms Ople”

  4. That is the reason that there must be a prohibition on license to carry guns. I will never forget a general that shot himself in front of his mothers grave. How in the world can that happen ?