17 November 2008

HELP! BORACAY Family Under Seige

Dear Readers, PLEASE read this and give your opinion.
I will hyper link it later. I just want everyone to read this.

The SISTER of the MAYOR??????

Updates on Boracay Siege & Hostage-Taking
Message: Brian, pls. publicize the resort-grabbing that\\\'s happening in Boracay Sand Castles. There are two parts of Sand Castles resort. The nipa huts are on leased land while The Apartments (building) is on purchased land. Both properties are under siege. The owners are asking for help of everyone who can help publicize their plight. This link has all the updates coming directly from the resort owner who is held hostage and still trapped in the penthouse of Sand Castles Apartments with his family, including two young children.

Nov 13, 2008

Besieged at Boracay SandCastles

Hostaged Hutchinsons
I was informed by friends privy to my friendship with the Hutchinsons that thugs led by Evangeline Dalino, stormed into the Hutchinson's Boracay SandCastles Resort with weapons and not with any court order, and have taken them hostage together with their 2 children, Joshua and Jenet. As of this writing, they are still held captive against their will. Their internet USB wire was cut, Joshua is now afflicted with a blocked bowel, Greg is suffering from a mild attack of Crohn's disease, their food is dependent upon others outside and the Emergency Exit of the Apartments is blocked by a gas cylinder. Their captors have the upper hand in being able to choose to shoo away or welcome visitors. The PNP is there but not doing anything to remove Dalino's thugs. The Hutchinson's sources tell them that General Cuevas, regional director, reversed his own order. Greg and his family were informed Cuevas was called up by a congressman and a governor.

MEDIA RELEASE: November 17, 2008

Viveca Hutchinson 09205587188
Greg Hutchinson 09178193049
Lerma Rose Machado 09075244864
Atty Oscar Tagamolila 09177182108


One unfortunate consequence of the illegal occupation of Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort is that raw sewage is seeping through to the famous White Beach of Boracay.

The owners of the resort, besieged in their 3rd floor apartment since the takeover on November 5, have written to Environment Secretary Lito Atienza informing him of the violation after the Boracay Water and Sewage System cut off the sewage connection.

"Following the illegal invasion, my staff wrote to the BWSS informing them that we would not be liable for the invaders' use of water and sewage," owner Viveca Hutchinson said. As the invaders had previously left water and sewage bills unpaid, the BWSS quickly cut the service."

The Philippine National Police are well aware of the issue. Up to a dozen Boracay Police are providing security to the owners of SandCastles, Greg and Viveca Hutchinson, and they also have no access to safe, fresh water or sewage for personal hygiene. The Police are not mandated to prevent the invaders from violating sanitation and environmental laws.

The invaders, led by Editha Meren, sister of Boracay mayor Ceciron Cawaling, and Evangeline Dizon Dalino of Mindoro, may also be pumping water from the ground-illegal in Boracay unless a permit is obtained. The official reason for the ban is to preserve the water table and limit environmental damage. As we are confined AGAINST OUR FREE WILL to the 2nd and 3rd floors of SandCastles--The Apartments we have no way of verifying illegal tapping of ground water.

Until the Police had arrived at 2pm on Friday November 7, the Hutchinson couple, along with their 5-year-old twins and two housekeepers, suffered 40 hours of sheer terror from the armed invaders who tried again and again to forcibly enter their private apartment.

"No demands were made. We were cut off and helpless. The Police remained outside on the beach. We thought we were going to die," said housekeeper Lerma Rose Machado, from Looc, Tablas, Romblon, who is still holed up in the Hutchinson's apartment, helping care for twins Jenet and Joshua.

The Hutchinson family, Ms Machado and a 2nd housekeeper Ricci Gado, from Alcantara, Tablas, Romblon, are trapped on the 2nd and 3rd floors, constrained to roam any further.

"The Police have relayed the demand of our captors: 'You may leave but never come back'.

"I will stay until the properties are returned to their rightful owners," said Ms Machado, 19.

The invaders occupy the ground floor units of the luxury SandCastles-The Apartments and all 25 other guests rooms of Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort.

The Hutchinsons have pumped tens of millions of pesos into SandCastles.

"We are not about to relinquish it, especially at the point of a gun", Viveca Hutchinson said.

"My husband, a journalist and lawyer from Australia, built SandCastles from scratch and all the papers are in order: the land on which the Apartments is built is owned by our company Tribal Holdings and the land on which the Resort is built is leased for a further 11+ years. The authorities know this, but they are powerless, as one of the leaders of the takeover is the sister of the mayor," Ms Hutchinson said.

The lawyer of the Hutchinsons, Attorney Oscar Tagamolila, has written to the Police demanding the Police arrest the invaders, who are defying a STATUS QUO court order in favour of the Hutchinsons and are committing continuing crimes of illegal trespass and robbery.

He has also written to Department of Tourism Regional Director Edwin Trompeta to refute his statement that a contractual dispute underlies the current siege taking place at SandCastles.

"It is criminal activity by Dalino, the mayor's sister Meren, and their relatives and armed supporters after they've lost all the nuisance criminal complaints and cases they brought against us that are at the heart of this," exclaimed Ms Hutchinson. "Wake up Boracay!!!"

LATEST UPDATE: November 17, 2008

Over the weekend, we all took time to spend much more time with Joshua and Jenet. We have found a pleasing way to exercise and entertain ourselves: We play a version of "ice hockey" on the tiled roof deck of our penthouse apartment. Using an upside-down tin lid from an ice cream bucket and grabbing whatever we can find to move or hit the lid we try to take "goals". The goals are the spaces between the legs of two side tables, a width of no more than 18 inches. So it takes some precision, but Joshua has taken to the game like Ronaldo to football. Sorry, none of us know the names of any hockey players.

Water problems are bedeviling us: The water pump beside the Apartments on the ground is broken so water only arrives on the 3rd floor intermittently if we are lucky, relying on gravity feed when demand from the 300 or so Boracay resorts is low. After two days of pleas, finally our maintenance man, Edwin Endrico, was admitted inside The Apartments and came up to check the 2nd water pump on the roof of the penthouse. He found the capacitor had burnt out, "sinug" as he described it. Someone is off to Kalibo, the provincial capital, to secure a replacement.

We monitored some of the media: A South China Morning Post article on Sunday swallowed the Department of Tourism line that a contractual dispute underlies the siege at SandCastles. Our lawyer is writing a letter to Regional Tourism Director Edwin Trompeta, to refute this suggestion saying that crimes-continuing serious crimes-are at the heart of the siege. A copy of the Media Release about the environmental impact of the invasion and reaction to Trompeta's statement is published on this blog.

Food and drink wise we are better off now. Steve Murray, the consular warden of the Australian embassy, is worth his weight in San Miguel. He keeps us stocked up. I'm savouring the Grolsch beer-you know the one with the permanent cork? It's a delight!

Been up early this Monday doing a Media Release on the pollution that is resulting from the invasion. The sewage connection to Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort has been cut, admittedly at the instance of our staff, warning the Boracay Water and Sewage System that we won't be liable for the bill from the time of the invasion at 10pm on Wednesday November 5. The BWSS reacted very quickly. They have a long memory going back to 2005-06 when Dalino failed to pay her BWSS bills in the dying days of the now-cancelled sublease over a portion of Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort. Unfortunately, there is only one place for the effluent to seep or flow to and that is to the main White Beach: Another urgent reason why the Police should quickly deliver us our properties and unconditional freedom.

Chronology of the Hutchnson's Saga

  • 1989 Dec - Greg opened Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort on leased land for 20 years with option for Greg to renew another ten years
  • 1995 - Greg/Tribal Holdings Phils Inc bought 375 sqm land from Dr Onie & Eden Macavinta, former partners of Editha Cawaling Meren
  • 2004 - Greg built SandCastles The Apartments, the first absolute beachfront five star fully furnished accommodation in Boracay on the 375 sqm land
  • 2005 June - George Gaitanos and Michael Bailey sign a sublease contract using the "corporation" Boracay Dream Beach Resort (Evangeline Dalino was neither a signatory nor a witness)
  • 2005 Oct - Gaitanos and Bailey had an internal problem. Bailey supposedly was the investor and wanted to change the name Dream to another name. Gaitanos brings in an army led by the National Bureau of Investigation and overcame the staff of Bailey who was then in Sydney
  • 2005 Dec - Gaitanos refused to continue rental payments and committed 20-odd violations in the sublease contract; threats to the Hutchinson's life; 26Dec05 their goons were able to enter the kids' room through the glass doors adjacent to the main building occupied by them, luckily the Hutchinsons locked the kids' main door
  • 2006 Feb - Our lawyer sent them final notice to pay Gaitanos using girlfriend Evangeline Dalino and partner Michael Bailey filed nuisance cases:
    1. Estafa case - dismissed by the Dept of Justice Secretary; dismissed by Judge Sheila Cortes with finality the motion for reconsideration - in the Hutchinson's favour
    2. Grave coercion - dismissed by regional prosecutor
    3. Dept of Labour case using 2 disgruntled employees - the Hutchinsons won
  • 2006 Apr - Tribal Holdings made use of the provision in the contract of extrajudicial measure: Gaitanos' staff and Dalino's relatives were ejected from the property after repeated demands beyond Feb 06
  • 2006 Oct - Evangeline Dalino with armed goons tried to invade SandCastles: the Hutchinson's manager with his two blackbelt brothers overcame the armed goons and pushed them out of the resort
  • 2007 Oct - Editha Cawaling Meren wrote the Hutchinsons a letter terminating the contract. We filed a case against her immediately thereafter for Injunction and Specific Performance
  • 2007 Nov 6 - Court of Judge Biliran issued a status quo order in the Hutchinson's favour while the case was being heard
  • 2008 Jul 15 - all exhibits submitted for decision of Judge Biliran re Injunction
  • 2008 Nov 5 - Editha Meren and Evangeline Dalino lead a group of armed men in SandCastles without any court order to evict the Hutchinsons; Greg Hutchinson and family are holed up in the unit Hanuno'o. Meren and family now sleeping inside the ground floor units. The police hold the keys to the 2nd floor units except the Hutchinson's unit and an adjoining unit which is with the Hutchinsons. Dalino, sister, nephews, and goons are strategically placed in the 25 rooms of SandCastles.

Update 1: Prison Life Inside Your Own Home
The Hutchinson family wish to thank the Australian Embassy for the visit of Vice Consul Jayne Williams. After negotiations taking some 45 minutes on Saturday November 8, she was allowed to speak to Viveca and Greg for five minutes. Thanks also go to the consular warden Steve Murray, though he was denied entry as have all reporters: hence we have not been able to air our side of the issue. Limiting our ability to communicate has been the lack of power. Our captors cut-off power, gas, telephone, and water supply to our unit at 230 am on 6 November. These have been restored intermittently: we are at the mercy of our captors in our own property.

It was the first visit to the Apartment by an outsider since an agreement was reached with the Philippine National Police last Friday promising security for the Hutchinsons with a stipulation that there would be a demarcation line between Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort, which is on Hutchinson/Tribal Holdings' leasehold land and SandCastles--The Apartments, where their home is, and which is built on land bought some 12 years ago by the Hutchinsons/Tribal Holdings. That agreement, a copy of which was sent by the PNP to Australian authorities has not been honoured. The Hutchinsons are stuck in their apartment with the floor below occupied by their captors, who are giving instructions to the police.

The police made it a condition of the agreement that we refrain from speaking to the media: We agreed but after the agreement was dishonoured by the PNP and our captors, we have on the advice of our lawyer, been told to talk openly. If the demarcation agreement is honoured, we will gladly shut up at least until after a Kalibo court hearing on Monday.

While the agreement is not honoured, the Hutchinsons fear for their personal safety: We cannot be sandwiched in by our captors and we can't have the police dictated to by our captors. We want to press authorities to honour the agreement, a copy of which was sent in letter form to Australian authorities.

Both the resort and SandCastles--The Apartments were taken over and the Hutchinsons taken hostage by Editha Cawaling Meren, Evangeline Dalino and their armed supporters last Wednesday November 5 at 10:00 pm in violation of a "Status Quo Order" in the Hutchinsons' favour: Monday's court hearing is on that matter and this latest violation by the intruders.

Contrary to statements by the Philippine National Police and others, the Hutchinsons were not free to leave safely from their apartment unit on the top floors of SandCastles--The Apartments. A picture taken from the third floor of the apartments is attached that shows the Emergency Exit of the Apartments blocked by a gas cylinder.

The ability to leave only became feasible on Friday November 7 when the Philippine National Police gained entry--by consent of the intruders--into SandCastles Beach Resort and the adjacent property SandCastles--The Apartments.

The Hutchinsons did not leave on Friday however after their captor Dalino told the police and our lawyer: "The Hutchinsons can go but they can't come back."

The PNP had until that time only had a presence outside SandCastles on the beach. Curiously, the police did not intervene early to evict the intruders. Our sources tell us that an order to evict was reversed by General Cuevas, Region 6 director. We were informed he was called up by a congressman and a governor.

The PNP insist they have disarmed everyone in the premises: If this is correct, why haven't they released to the media a list of the names of those disarmed and their weapons? They said the people who entered the property were not "thugs" but licenced security personnel. Then why did they tie up and beat staff members and loot them of their possessions? If the people were indeed licenced security agents, from experience and practice, it is known the invasion would have had the blessing or at least forebearance of the police itself. Why is the police refusing to take statements from our staff about the invasion? There are many many questions unanswered.

We have been told by our security agency head that there were a total of seven shotguns and automatic weapons (M16s) and 10 revolver used in the invasion last Wednesday at 10 pm. In addition the staff of SandCastles had three relatives of Dalino point hand guns to their faces. Question: what happened with these? These people are now ensconced immediately across our children's bedroom. (These are the same people who actually entered that room back on 26 December 2005 and for which a report was made to the police but have taken absolutely no action.) No report has been made of disarming the relatives of the mayor, who are on the floor below the Hutchinson's apartment. You might ask how could the police do this when they are answerable to the mayor's sister for the pettiest of things, like entry of bond paper for our children to draw, the entry of a mini-generator to ensure we have power for emergency lights and communications. If as the PNP say, their mission is to secure and keep the Hutchinsons safe why would they refuse the entry of a generator, bond paper?

We are dead scared the police will hold off and should the mayor's relatives and Dalino and her relatives try to invade our apartment as they tried during some 24 frightening hours following the Wednesday invasion: these people invaded back in October 2006 and Dalino spearheaded with some National Bureau of Investigation elements the August 23, 2006 abduction attempt against the Hutchinsons, which left their twins besieged in their Paranaque house for three days without their parents. . Witnesses saw Dalino outside of our Paranaque house with a Caucasian and six carloads of men with long firearms.Viveca also suffered four attempts on her life back in 2005-2006 and Dalino is suspected of involvement in all four attempts Dalino's boyfriend, George Gaitanos, is the subject of an Australian Federal Police investigation for making death threats to the Hutchinsons over the telephone.

Update 2
The police continue to be dictated to by our captors as witnessed by Australian vice consul Jayne Williams who eventually gained entry into SandCastles Beach Resort to visit the Hutchinson family in their apartment.

Such dictation to the police persists despite assurances of proper policing from high levels in the Philippine National Police. The decarmation agreement reached last Friday remains unenforced with the captors holding sway over the Hutchinson leasehold on which SandCastles Resort stands and the adjacent SandCastles--The Apartments which incorporates our family home and which is owned as freehold. But nothing has happened, and the police at SandCastles appear more and not less compliant with instructions from our captors.

It again took some 45 minutes before Ms Williams got clearance: she was told by our captor Evangeline Dalino to submit a parcel--a radio--for inspection, and sign her name. She refused. The radio was to monitor reports and interviews by us and our captors. She told the police that her visit was see to the welfare of the children, prompting our captor Mrs Editha Meren, the sister of Boracay mayor Ceciron Cawaling and a local school teacher, to comment that she had seen them the day earlier and there would be no reason to see them again.

Ms Williams' visit was prompted by concern for the well-being of our children, Jenet and Joshua, five year old twins who have been holed up in the Hutchinson's two-level penthouse apartment since the invasion of SandCastles last Wednesday night at 10pm.

Ms Williams advised we might like to have the twins sent out of SandCastles for their own safety and state of mind.

Their mother Viveca and I are looking at various possiblities including flying them out of the Philippines to Australia.

Ms Williams' visit lasted some 30 minutes, irritating our captors whose loud, shrill voices two floors below alarmed the Vice Consul. She was escorted briskly out of the Resort by police as our captors took flash pictures of her.

Today, our captors and we are represented in court for a hearing of the STATUS QUO order, which was breached by Mrs Editha Meren, the sister of the mayor of Malay (Boracay), when she invaded the Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort and SandCastles--The Apartments last Wednesday.. The Status Quo order relates to a comparable invasion in October 2006, also participated in by Mrs Meren and Ms Dalino.

Update 3: 5am, 11 Nov, 2008
The Kalibo Court failed to rule on Monday after the lawyer for the intruders said his clients would not be bound by Friday's Gentleman's agreement that the parties would abide by what the court decided.

Around the time of the hearing, members of SWAT (Special Weapons Action Team) moved in to Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort, replacing the Tourism Police who were there. We aren't sure who is guarding us in the Apartments. We also have not tested whether the SWAT are in any way dictated to by the intruders as the police were.

We received a visit from two police who informed us of an impending visit by Brig-Gen Tuazon, deputy regional director of the Philippine National Police in Iloilo. We also received a call from Aklan Governor Marquez-the first communication with any official capable of directly influencing events. We are grateful to those who helped facilitate such communications.

The Hutchinson family feels a little safer, largely because the court failed to rule and the intruders are gloating about what they view as their victory and not angry and liable to harm us. We know this from one of our employees who bumped into Evangeline Dalino while shopping, saying she had won.

We have to get back control of the Apartments and put in security before we could feel comfortable leaving SandCastles-The Apartments. Getting back the leasehold premises of Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort will now take considerable time and going through the courts for relief is looking less palatable after the Kalibo Court's failure to rule on Monday.

Update 4: 12 November 2008

Greg and Viveca Hutchinson, 5-year old twins Jenet and Joshua, SandCastles housekeepers Lerma Rose Machado and Ricci Gado are still holed up in the third floor penthouse of SandCastles The Apartments, the land and building which is owned by the Hutchinson's company, Tribal Holdings Phils Inc. This is their seventh day in captivity.

On 11 November the Hutchinsons were visited for the second time by the Boracay Task Force led by Col Arnold Ardiente and PNP provincial commander Decena, with Gen Tuazon the deputy of Gen Isagani Cuevas of Region 6, CIDG region 6 head Col Renato Carbonnel Angara, among others. They reiterated that the security of the family is their concern and that we are free to come in and out of the apartments with their men as escort. They refused to refer to copies of our legal documents when we offered to enlighten them about the ownership of the land and improvements on the 375 square meter area where SandCastles The Apartments is built. They said it's for the court to decide. I explained that this particular property did not have any pending court case. The ground floor apartment units are now being lived in by the family of Editha Cawaling Meren, sister of Boracay/Malay Mayor Ceciron Cawaling, whose term is up next year. She has not shown any proof of ownership on the 375 sqm land; the falsification information she filed against us and the former land owners Onie and Eden Sy Macavinta were dismissed by the Kalibo prosecution. Meren's mere physical presence and her word seemed sufficient to keep her squatting on our property.

Since the police are allowing the freeflow of Meren and her group in the apartments, and they are assuring us of our unhindered and secure movements, we requested that we be able to make use of the emergency exit of the apartments and the beach front gate, at least to avoid confrontation with our captors. The police said they would have to consult Mrs Meren. Meanwhile, food supplies and other needs are brought in through the main SandCastles entrance, until yesterday still screened and painstakingly listed by the sister and nephew of Evangeline Dalino, co-conspirator of Meren. Dalino is the girlfriend of George Gaitanos, one of the two Australians who the Hutchinsons cancelled the sublease contract back in Feb 2006 for failure to pay rentals and committing more than 20 violations on the sublease contract. The Hutchinsons survived horrific legal battles and all the nuisance cases got dismissed. It took three years for Mr Hutchinson's permanent resident visa to be processed due to the estafa case that Dalino filed, which was denied with finality by the Department of Justice and by Judge Sheila Cortes, whom Dalino's lawyer has now filed a certiorari case against.

The Hutchinsons have not received any call or visit from any government official, except for Aklan Gov Marquez and Antique Gov Sally Perez. Text messages were exchanged only yesterday between Viveca and Department of Tourism Region 6 Director Edwin Trompeta, who advised that we leave it to the courts to decide, get back to run our business and continue our lives. SandCastles is our only business, so there is nothing to run because Dalino and Meren have unlawfully seized it. We cannot live a life holed up on the third floor unit, fearful of leaving our home because the PNP quoted Dalino that we are free to go but will not be allowed to get back in.

We requested the PNP to allow and escort our maintainance personnel to access the electricity, water and gas utilities so that we can be assured of these basic needs. So far, this has been possible, except for the waterpump that has stopped working on the roofdeck of the apartments.

Our children Jenet and Joshua, who were in kindergarten at St Mary in Sagada, Mountain Province, were due to move to their new school in Coron, Palawan. However, this has changed due to the illegal take-over of the armed men with Meren and Dalino on 5 November 10 pm. The twins have now added goons in their vocabulary, and are jumpy when they hear noise. They witnessed how terrified staff and guests were herded together inside the front desk of SandCastles as the twins' bedroom on the second floor of the apartments is right across. The Australian vice consul Jayne Williams has on two tension-filled occasions visited to check up on the children.The embassy has suggested that we entrust the kids to a friend but we are afraid for the children's safety. In Aug 23, 2006 six carload of armed men tried to abduct us from our Manila home -- witnesses identified Dalino as the woman who was smoking cigarette pacing back and forth to the cars that were parked infront of our home -- our kids were inside with only two staff members.

Update 5: 13 November 2008

Greg: Getting very hard for the twins: found Viveca's internet USB wire cut, kids saying later they wondered why we spent so much time with the computers and not them. Joshua, recently finished medication for a blocked bowel, has got it back again. Cannot do exercise and can't take their afternoon swims as we are warned by captor Evangeline Dalino that if we go we won't come back. Don't want a separated family, given especially the history of the abduction effort by the same people against us. Separation would also play into the hands of the invaders. Diet is also an issue. Difficult for Joshua and me--he needs soft food and me a lot of protein. Our menu is dependent upon others outside buying and the food and drink that eventuates is delivered to us circuitously up on the 3rd floor.

Viveca: Our captors have the upperhand in being able to choose to shoo away or welcome visitors, sit down comfortably and talk with officials who visit to check up on the situation in SandCastles. It was reported that Evangeline Dalino shed buckets of tears when higher PNP officers visited two days ago. Apparently she was asked why she barged in with weapons and not with any court order, she defended herself by saying that there must be a million pesos worth of her jewelry that was used in the construction of the apartments. In our cramped quarters, and usually without power for airconditioniong during the day, it becomes stifling.

Greg: Viveca received a visit from some people from the office of Aklan Governor Marquez inquiring about our well being and our guests that had been displaced. I begged off from the meeting, suffering from a mild attack of Crohn's disease. Bit better now, but it is better that I remain in the background. One of the effects of Crohn's for me is that I become a little temperamental--sometimes more than a little, and impetuous, as well as anxious--not good when your captors can also be hotheads and we are sandwiched between them. Guests are being dispersed to various resorts. Arrivals today are next door in Andy Haberl's Aquarius rooms.

Special Weapons Assault Team members have vacated today, gone to the province we were told by one police officer. Another said they will be back tonight. Will see.

There is also a new provincial director of the Philippine National Police in Kalibo, Colonel Clarence Guinto: we await justice as does the islanders. (PNP provincial office: 036 268 4431; 036 268 6815)

Comment: The Philippines wants to be known to enforce laws and to follow the rule of law. The country and Boracay also wants to avoid people taking the law into their own hands. Correct? Then isn't it good policy that the police enforce the STATUS QUO order of the Regional Trial Court of Kalibo? It sends a positive message whereas as things stand now the message being heard here in Boracay is that you shouldn't bother about getting a court order when the police won't enforce it. The police failed to eject the intruders when the invasion first took place, which was lamentable and has put the safety of my family in grave peril.

But time has not expired when serious crimes take place especially when the crimes against the Hutchinsons and housekeepers Lerma Rose Macado and Ricci Gaddo are continuing such as robbery, trespass etc. My having to write this update from detention in the top floor of SandCastles--The Apartments speaks volumes about continuing crimes.

Update 6: 14 November 2008
On the evening of Thursday, 13 Nov our white Labrador dog Jaydah was put down by the vet. Earlier, we asked she be buried in the SandCastles premises. The police said the invaders denied permission. I told Colonel Clarence Guinto that if the police are in control of the premises as they say they are then there should be no problem in acceding to a reasonable request of ours as the dog had lived all its life at SandCastles. He indicated that it would be done. The dog was buried by police and SandCastles security man Adier, who was allowed in for the purpose.

This was the first time the police had acted independently: throughout our ordeal the police have treated us as though we are the hostage takers and not victims, doling out the occasional concession and future promises of further liberty while maintaining tight constraints on our freedoms. We are expected to feel grateful for their largesse. I was again reminded by Colonel Decena on Friday night about the police's efforts over the dog.

Col Decena accompanied Boracay Foundation board members, President Loubelle Cann and Mark, an Australian, from Seven Stones, a condominium development on Boracay. Apart from Jayne Williams, the vice consul, and the vet, this was the first visit other than by police or the governor's representatives. Viveca and I apprised the BFI representatives of our situation. They wanted documents, copies of which we couldn't provide: the invaders had taken many of our records and all computers, scanners, faxes etc. We have ordered a scanner from Craft's department store which Steve Murray manages for delivery to SandCastles. Col Decena said he would need to get authority, by this we assume it will also mean the say-so of the invaders, who will certainly deny entry of it. The police are not sufficiently cognizant that in the absence of access beyond our apartment, we need resources like the scanner to pursue our rights over the property: the invaders no doubt are intimately aware of what a handicap for us our lack of resources is. Police at the Boracay level still have their role confused: we are told through the police that the other side won't allow us back in if we leave. If the police were truly in control they would apply the same standard to the invaders and prevent re-entry, thus reducing the number of people inside and easing their security burden. This is the exact reason why they won't allow us to have the keys for the other two apartment units on the 2nd floor--it will add to the security burden. We have the answer: let our staff stay there and we will be far more secure.

A letter signed by Viveca and me (but written by our lawyer Oscar Tagamolila) is with the legal department in Camp Crame making the case for police intervention to release us and return the properties to us. It has supporting documents. Viveca's sister Vivian Orquiza met the new provincial director Col Guinto on his arrival in Manila Friday night to deliver a copy of the letter to him and discuss our situation.

Overnight, Joshua was in agony with a blocked bowel: his diet and lack of exercise has taken a large toll on his health. We need the invaders out very, very soon, especially for the children's sake.

A Plea from Greg's Mother: Joy Hutchinson
Joy HutchinsonI am the 83 year old mother of Greg Hutchinson who is, with his wife and five year old twins, being held captive on his own property on Boracay Island. I am devastated for my son and his family. Having done so much to promote tourism in the Philippines, he deserves better. All he wants is fair play within the law!!!

He has suffered much from the group trying to corruptly take over his interests on Boracay. Is there no justice for my son and his wife and small children?

One expects behaviour such as this in the 3rd world, but not in a so called civilized country like the Philippines where I HAVE previously spent many happy times enjoying the Island of Boracay. I Plead with you to do what you can to help my SON!!!!!!
A letter from South Africa, from Greg's nephew and partner: Chris and Debbie
Dear Greg and Viveca,

Mum has forwarded your recent e-mail's. We can't imagine how difficult and testing it must be for you all at the moment.

I'm not sure what Debbie and I could do to help, but if there is anything, please don't hesitate to ask.

I guess it's really a matter for you guys to keep strong and determined that justice prevails.

Our thoughts are with you.

Chris and Debbie
A Plea for Boracay resort & establishment owners to take a stand

At 10.10 pm, on the night of Wednesday, November 5th SandCastles Beach Resort and SandCastles-The Apartments was invaded by armed men and taken over at the point of a gun-10 long and 10 short arms to be precise.

The invasion occurred DESPITE a court order in SandCastles' favour. The Philippine National Police in Boracay, whose duty it is to intervene to uphold a court order AND owner property rights, refused.

To this day, the Boracay police still refuse DESPITE the continuing crimes taking place of trespass, robbery, grave threats etc., by the illegal occupants: The police have been co-occupiers with the invaders of SandCastles since 2pm on Friday November 7th, when they finally entered SandCastles Resort and Apartments. They can see with their very own eyes the robbery and trespassing and other crimes still going on.

The local police claim they are providing security to the properties, and protection to the Hutchinson family with their 5-year-old twins who are holed up in their 3rd floor apartment, their own HOME.

For 42 harrowing hours the Hutchinsons, with no assistance from police, had to defend themselves from the invaders who tried again and again to force their way through their secure doors into their home. Our children are deeply traumatized as a result, as are two 19-year-old female housekeepers, who were inside the Hutchinson family home when the attack was launched and are still here keeping vigil over the children and us their parents.

We implore fellow residents of Boracay and friends of this incomparable holiday island to come together and press the Philippine National Police at every level to do its job properly. Before you decline consider that what is happening to the Hutchinson family could equally happen in Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, anywhere in fact that is covered by Presidential Decree 1064, the decree recently confirmed by the Supreme Court that is sparking lawless land-grabbing:

We own the land on which our home-SandCastles-The Apartments stands. It is within the alienable and disposable area. We built the building and set it back more than 30 metres from the shore, complying with the law. It is on tax dec, the next best thing to title in its absence, and there's no case on it. It's in our Philippine company name and has been for well over a decade. We have all necessary licences, permits, ECC etc. Suddenly, people enter with guns and take it over, occupy the ground floor of our very own home, preventing us access. The invaders relay to the police on the 40th hour of our terrifying ordeal when the police finally have the heart to enter the property: "You can go, but you can't come back."

It's a slightly different but equally sinister scenario for the adjacent Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort, which is built on land leased from Mayor Ceciron Cawaling's sister, Editha Meren. The lease has 11 years more to run, she's been paid up until December 2010, there is no case against us in relation to the property. To the contrary we have a case against her and a prevailing STATUS QUO order to prevent her from entering the property and prematurely cancelling the lease.

We appeal to you, the residents and friends of Boracay to urge the Police who insist they control security in SandCastles Beach Resort and SandCastles-The Apartments to deliver the Hutchinson family their properties, release them from captivity, ensure their safety and security, and arrest those who have broken the law and continue to break the law.

If Philippine National Police fail to act to uphold the law and enforce the most fundamental of property rights, we fear the siege of SandCastles will continue and continue well past Christmas-New Year and into the summer holiday period. The Hutchinsons are not about to sacrifice their hard-earned investments-certainly not their HOME.

Awareness, not of Boracay's rich tourism assets, but of its peace and order liabilities, will grow immeasurably due to the media focus. Already, a Google search brings up 40+ references to the November 5th takeover, the 40-hour hostage crisis and the ongoing siege and illegal occupation by the armed invaders of Boracay SandCastles Beach Resort and SandCastles-The Apartments.

Resorts have reported a stream of cancellations since the invasion. SandCastles, with its owner/manager besieged and its records stolen by the invaders, is hard-pressed coping with its arriving guests who, when they are located wandering the beach, are transferred to other resorts by the displaced staff of SandCastles.

Instead of killing the messenger, we plead for EVERYONE to take the message of this injustice to heart. Urge the Philippine National Police to do its duty TODAY, setting a precious precedent that might prevent what has happened to us ever happening to you!!!
    Text your concern to the PNP all the way up and down the chain:
  • PNP Police Chief Director General Jesus Verzosa 0916 603 9194
  • Gen (Dir) Leopoldo Bataoil 0920 970 3227 police community relations
  • Gen Isagani Cuevas 0919 621 7631 regional commander region6
  • Deputy Tuazon
  • Col Clarence Guinto 0905 265 6411 OIC, Aklan Police Provincial Office (newly installed); 036 268 4431; fax 036 268 6815
  • Col Decena 0920 458 0275 Boracay Tourist Police Task Force Head
  • Col Renato Angara 0919 299 1149 regional officer CIDG

Call to Action
The Hutchinsons are one of the most decent people I've met and I feel strongly against this crass and blatant show of force against them by lawless elements who take the law into their own hands with utmost impunity. We can't just sit down and watch this travesty take place. I implore everyone out there to call their friends in 'high places' to help the Hutchinsons. React by writing on your blog, writing letters to newspapers, lobbying politicians; getting the Dept of Social Welfare and Devt to pressure the police to end the situation by arresting law breakers and removing the intruders. Copy-and-paste this blog and spread it around. This lawlessness has to be stopped!!!!

--- TheLoneRider

Comments? Email webmaster@thelonerider.com

blog comments powered by Disqus