CEBU

Bzzzzz: Lacson recalls kidnapping of Gokongwei daughter in Cebu

MANILA. Cebuano tycoon John Gokongwei Jr.'s daughter, Robina Gokongwei, (left) and Senator Panfilo Lacson. (Photos from Cebu Pacific website and SunStar Archives)

Caretaker during break

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will take a three-day break or rest, starting Tuesday, November 12 until Thursday, November 14.

Unlike in a number of instances before, when he just disappeared from public view and was not heard from, this time, the break or rest is announced, along with the naming of a caretaker.

Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the caretaker is not Vice President Leni Robredo because "she is so busy with the drug war." His tongue was visibly on his cheek when he said that. In past leaves of the President, it was not Robredo who was named OIC.

Malacañang didn't say if Duterte would've medical checkup during the leave. He could be just "resting" in Davao City.

Senator reminisces

Senator Ping Lacson recalled the kidnapping of Robina Gokongwei, eldest daughter of business tycoon John Gokongwei, in 1981, presumably in Cebu because as Metrodiscom chief, Ping was then based in this province. Ping tweeted that he advised the businessman he shouldn't "project himself as being too scared nor sound arrogant and antagonistic."

Ping narrated that John snapped at the kidnappers when they asked for P10 million. "P10 million. Do you know how long it will take me to count that much money? You can have my daughter!"

Lacson didn't say if John wouldn't take the trouble of counting the bills (the highest bill at the time was P100) or wouldn't want to lose P10 million. Besides, didn't banks do the counting?

The senator didn't go into the state of mind of John then. Ping wistfully capped his tweet with, "Do I miss police work?"

The ransom was not paid as Robina, with a cousin of hers named Celina, was rescued by Lacson's team. John offered the police P400,000 reward but Ping said he didn't accept it. Instead, John donated police equipment.

Interestingly, this was the time rumors circulated in Cebu about alleged money-making by police in rescuing kidnap victims. No complaint was filed though and Ping instead later faced, as an anti-crime chief, accusations of rubout of robbery suspects in Manila, which also did not prosper. What led to Lacson into the life of a fugitive was an alleged murder, for which he was eventually cleared.

John's 'three bad Cs'

GOKONGWEI TRIVIA: [1] Business titan John Gokongwei Jr. said he took only Vitamin B complex. He used to take ionized yeast during the prewar era.

[2] His three "Bad C's" in business: connections, cutting corners, and chamba or chance. Just as he didn't believe in luck, he also distrusted feng shui.

[3] The ages his ancestors died: his great-great-great grandfather, at 28; his great-great grandpa, 66; his grandpa, 68; his pa, 34. He beat them all on longevity; he died at 93.

[4] His children (one son and five daughters) are Lance, Robina, Liza, Marcia, Faith and Hope. His grandchildren: 12.

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