Cabbie returns ¥2-M to despondent Japanese employer
- Leo Solinap () - December 12, 2002 - 12:00am
ILOILO CITY — Will you accept two million yen — the equivalent of P862,000 — to kill your suicidal employer upon his own request?

Taxi driver Rolando Pantillo said no and returned the two million yen in cold cash given to him by Chikahiro Yasuma, who has had several unsuccessful attempts to kill himself since learning that his wife was having an affair.

Pantillo, a driver of Hiro Taxi, told The STAR that he was given two million yen and P4,000 by Yasuma to kill the Japanese last Tuesday night. If Pantillo could not do the job, he was reportedly instructed by Yasuma to give the money to "a better assassin."

The driver admitted that he thought of taking the money and fleeing without doing the grisly job, but that his conscience got the better of him.

He also said that he owed Yasuma because the Japanese had bailed him out many times in the past when he was financially hard up.

Pantillo said the money was given by Yasuma in the presence of one Lanie Ang, the alleged niece of the man who was supposed to be having an affair with Yasuma’s wife.

Scared, Pantillo, who drives one of 10 Hiro taxis, went to Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo, where he was interviewed by station manager John Paul Tia. Aksyon Radyo is the local radio station of the Manila Broadcasting Co., which runs dzRH in Manila.

The cabbie said he was afraid of being tagged as a suspect if something untoward happened to Yasuma, especially since Ang saw the payoff. He was also worried that the money might fall into the wrong hands.

The Japanese already tried four times to take his own life, the last two instances last Tuesday afternoon just before he handed Pantillo the intended blood money, the cabbie said.

Pantillo said his employer’s suicidal obsession was due to his wife’s having an alleged affair with a man whose own wife was abroad. Yasuma’s wife had not returned home since Sunday and the Japanese believed she was with her lover, Pantillo added.

The radio station manager, Tia, promptly instructed his reporters to help the confused cabbie seek police assistance.

Police officer Hervert Balligo of Jaro district went to the radio station to get the story of Pantillo, who related that all of Tuesday afternoon he had the money with him – two million yen consisting of 200 bills in 10,000 yen each and the P4,000. The Japanese currency he had with him was equivalent to P860,000 at present rates.

Pantillo said he had always been the one who saved Yasuma from doing himself in, including the latest attempt in which the Japanese tried to hang himself.

The police logged all the serial numbers of the bills and left the money at Aksyon Radyo overnight for safekeeping.

Yesterday afternoon, SP01 Alex Gadi together with Balligo and a group of radio reporters from Aksyon Radyo went to Yasuma’s residence to return the money.

Balligo said it was good timing because Yasuma’s lawyer Hermogenes Nardito Jr. was there when they handed the money to the Japanese. Ang was also present at the turnover.

Yasuma reportedly did not leave his room but simply signed the papers confirming that the money had been returned to him.

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