Anthony Mendoza was on his way home on his motorcycle, his older brother in tow, when he was nearly hit by an SUV driving recklessly. Yelling at its’ driver, Mendoza cautioned the offending party to be more careful. The incident enraged the driver of the SUV, Fredison Atienza, who then exited his vehicle to shoot Mendoza in the head – killing him instantly.
Mendoza had just proposed to his girlfriend of 13 years, Marian Reginaldo, when his life was mercilessly taken away from him because of a petty traffic altercation. The suspect Atienza is now in hiding, the target of a nationwide manhunt by the police. The victim’s brother who was with him positively identified Atienza from a police composite sketch, while a CCTV footage also verified the vehicle that was used by the suspect during the incident.
The evidence is substantial but the question now is: will Anthony Mendoza and his surviving relatives find justice after this ordeal?
The suspect is undoubtedly well-off, given his choice of service vehicle. It was also discovered that Fredison Atienza is a professional poker player who is employed by a gambling lord, this makes him well-connected and could possibly be enjoying protection from his boss. The fact that several police officers are on the payroll of known high-rollers could mean that factions of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are coddling the fugitive as well – which could explain why a week after the incident he still remains at large.
These fears were compounded when this week, the PNP released photos taken from the holiday island of Boracay showing the suspect seemingly relaxing himself. As expected Atienza is in hiding, but what is surprising is how comfortable his current situation is. He is not cramped in a dark tunnel or sleeping in a tent deep in the forests, but is living rather well in a popular tourist destination – enjoying the luxurious amenities there.
The brazenness of the fugitive is testimony that he is not off the radar to avoid detection, because a well-visited tourist hotspot is not a location for one to go into hiding. But rather, Atienza is laying low away from the capital waiting for all the attention on him and what he did to wane. If the authorities were indeed serious about locating Atienza, they would have stormed the holiday island by now and dragged him to Camp Crame.
This is one of the perks of being affluent and knowing people in high places, you get away with doing just about anything. Fredison Atienza has been photographed in Boracay, the PNP need to do their duty and serve the arrest warrant. Not only do they need to produce the suspect and bring justice to the family of the victims, they also need to explain why it took them so long to accomplish their duties.