Dondon Rivera

Dondon, an occasionally employed house painter, was in the kitchen about to cook noodles for his pamangkins when three masked men barged into their home and asked his sister-in-law, "Si Dondon?" Before she could respond, she was shoved out of the way and a few seconds later, shots rang out. The masked men casually walked out; their neighbors had all locked themselves in their homes.

No photo of Dondon alive

On another ramble with graveyard-shift news photographers (aka night crawlers) tonight, we were driving to yet another wake in Navotas when our convoy sped in a different direction after one of the photographers got word of a fresh shooting in Barangay Batasan Hills in QC.

We got there in time to see the Eusebio funeraria folks carry a body out on a stretcher from a dark, narrow alley. A friendly cop said he didn’t know anything. Inside a tiny shack in the alley, we saw the bloody spot where bachelor Dondon Rivera, 35, fell.

Dondon, an occasionally employed house painter, was in the kitchen about to cook noodles for his pamangkins when three masked men barged into their home and asked his sister-in-law, “Si Dondon?” Before she could respond, she was shoved out of the way and a few seconds later, shots rang out. The masked men casually walked out; their neighbors had all locked themselves in their homes.

Dondon was a “drug surrenderee” in Barangay Batasan Hills; meaning, he voluntarily submitted himself to community rehab and periodic drug testing. I documented the rehab program in this barangay last year where a heavyset retired cop led surrenderees in zumba sessions and threatened them with death if they relapsed into addiction. The authorities knew their addresses.

His relatives said they were not aware if he had started using shabu again. His home was not easy to find for us, yet witnesses said the assassins knew exactly where he lived and did not need to ask anyone for directions.

We asked his sister-in-law if there was a photo of Dondon around. She said the only picture she knew of was in her cell phone. But the phone was still in a pawn shop.

With Dondon dead, she and other family members will now need to pawn off much more to bury him.