For Gene Boyd’s 7th death anniversary: a gathering and a cycling fundraising event

DAVAO CITY  (MindaNews/12 November) —  Relatives and friends of  photojournalist Gene Boyd Lumawag gathered at the San Pedro Memorial Park here Saturday noon to offer flowers, prayers and light candles to commemorate his 7th death anniversary. A mass was also held at the Assumption Church at 5:30 p.m.

Flyers were distributed at the memorial park for the November 20 “Padyak para kay Boyd,” the 1st Gene Boyd R. Lumawag Cycling Fundraising Event for the benefit of the indigent patients at the Mindanao Burn Center of the state-owned Southern Philippines Medical Center here.

Gene Boyd was gunned down in Jolo, Sulu on November 12, 2004, on his way back to the hotel after shooting the sunset from the pier.

The military and police claimed he was killed by members of the “Urban Terrorist Group” of the Abu Sayyaf. Five days later, the police filed a complaint of murder against the Sailani brothers, Iting and Omar. The next month, the prosecutor’s office charged the brothers in court.

Task Force Newsman, the body tasked to look into the killing of journalists, stamped Gene Boyd’s case as “solved” because “it is now in the courts.”

In early 2005, NBI director Reynaldo Wycoco promised the Lumawag family and MindaNews his office would conduct a “parallel investigation,” a promise that went unfulfilled. Wycoco suffered a massive stroke and died in late December 2005.

Sometime in October 2005, MindaNews and the Lumawag family were told by a reliable source in Sulu that a military intelligence agent, acting on poor intelligence work, killed GeneBoyd.

A reinvestigation was sought.

On November 9, 2005, then National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales promised Gene Boyd’s father, Rene, in front of other journalists in Davao City, that he would order a fresh probe into Gene Boyd’s case.

On December 10, 2005, Rene and MindaNews sent Gonzales a follow up letter. No action was taken by the NSC.

On September 4, 2006, MindaNews reminded Gonzales about the reinvestigation, Gonzales said he had given two orders already but neither the Lumawags nor MindaNews received copies of the orders.

On November 29, 2006, MindaNews reminded Gonzales about his promise a year earlier. Again, he promised he would look into it.

On January 12, 2007, MindaNews wrote Gonzales another reminder.

On February 23, 2007, NSC deputy director-general Milo Ibrado, Jr.,, writing for Gonzales, refered MindaNews’ request to Gen.Cesar Garcia, Jr., Director General of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

Sailani brothers

The NICA report said Gene Boyd was killed by the Sailani brothers.

Also on January 12, 2007, MindaNews wrote ARMM police chief Joel Goltiao for a follow-up on Gene Boyd’s case.

Goltiao in a letter on March 23, 2007 said “the investigators believe that he was suspected as a military intelligence agent and the identified suspects, Iting Sailani and Omar Sailani were known to be members of the ASG/UTG in Sulu Province and not as Intelligence Agents
of the military.”

Goltiao said Iting Sailani was killed on August 12, 2006 when the police discovered the safehouse of Sailani and company in Zone III, Tulay, Jolo, Sulu. A joint police-military team went to the place and engaged the suspects in a “firefight that lasted for an hour which
resulted in the killing of Iting Sailani and three other unidentified persons.” A policeman was killed and five from the government forces were injured.

“The other surviving suspect, Omar Sailani, is included in the watch list and still subject for manhunt,” Goltiao wrote.

But in early June 2007, barely three months after Goltiao’s letter,  Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro, then chief of the Western Mindanao Regional Police-Intelligence Division, announced in Zamboanga City that the reward money for the capture of the Sailani brothers had been raised to P3 million each, from a measly hundred thousand pesos each in November 2004.

Casimiro said the brothers were classified as high profile criminals with the offer of P3 million reward each for information leading to their arrest. He said the brothers had topped the reward list of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for their alleged involvement, among others, in an October 2006 operation that led to the death of 11 persons.

On June 21, two weeks after the announcement on the raising of reward money, the brothers were reported to have been killed in Basilan. There is no information as to who claimed the P6 million reward money.

 “Padyak para kay Boyd”

The “Padyak para kay Boyd” cycling fundraising event includes a 10 kilometer and 40 kilometer funbike, 10 km cosplace and end race.

The categories are Junior for ages 13 to 18; senior for 19 to 29; veterans for 30 to 39; master for 40 to 50 years old. There will also be a Ladies Open, and special prizes for children, cosplay and best dressed bike.

The 10 km route is from People’s Park passing through Legaspi, Magallanes, Rotunda, Almendras Gym, Bolton Bridge, Quimpo Blvd. Matina,  Bangkerohan, Quirno, Legaspi Ext. back to People’s Park.

The 40 km route is from People’s Park passing through Legaspi, Magallanes, Rotunda, Almendras Gym, Bolton Bridge, Quimpo Blvd, Matina, Ma-a, Diversion Road, Langub, Magtuod, Diversion Road, El Rio Bacaca, Bajada, Acacia, Ponciano, Palma Gil back to People’s Park.

Registration fee is P250 inclusive of souvenir shirt, lunch, certificate and a raffle. On site-registration is from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. on November 20 .

The event is brought to you by MindaNews, Mindanao Times, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Bandera in partnership with Federation of Off-Road Cycling Enthusiasts (FORCE) and raceLink race officers and promotions.

The event is also sponsored by Phoenix, Matina Town Square, Anflocor, San Miguel Purefoods, Yellow Fin Seafood and Restaurant,  Davao Light and Power Co., Merco, H2Zero, Sweet Advocate, Nature’s Spring, Ideal Vision Center, Initiatives for International Dialogue, BlueJaz Beach Resort and Waterpark, MegaTEXTS Phils. Inc., Edge Outdoor Specialists, Camera Club of Davao, Holiday Gym and Spa, and The Royal Mandaya Hotel. (MindaNews)