Cellphone Thieves and Honest Filipinos

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Some of you might know Zach Escudero, a 19 year-old boy who got killed as he fought it out with cellphone thieves. His parents were mutual friends and because of his death, we started a signature campaign to pressure the Senate to act on the prevalence of cellular phone theft . Even the IMEI marking initiated by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), did not deter cellphone thieves. In fact, there are many electronic technicians around who know how to unblock a blocked cellphone unit, which are then sold as ““used” or ““reconditioned” cellphones.

To recall, Villar filed Senate Resolution 99 directing the Senate Committees on Public Order and Illegal Drugs and Trade and Commerce to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation on the proliferation of [tag]cellular phone theft[/tag], most of which are reported to find its way back in shopping centers, with the end view of recommending measures as may be necessary to protect the citizens from cellular phone theft and protect the consumers from substandard products. Source

Really, our government should do something. Based on police records, cellphone theft already accounts for over one-third of robbery cases nationwide.

My daughters have been victimized by such thieves and I thank God, they were not harmed. I always tell them to give their cellphone away in case they get held up. So when Lauren lost her second cellphone in a span of one year, I could only shake my head. The first incident took place while commuting in the MRT. She swears that the cellphone was located deep in her bag and she didn’t feel a thing. I told her that cellphone thieves are masters of magic. Of course, I felt a bit peeved the second time it was stolen because I bought the phone in an installment plan. It wasn’t even fully paid. She told me she took a jeepney from Ateneo to UP and it could have been stolen in the jeepney.

So it was bye-bye phone!

Then surprise! someone sent a text message in her SUN cellphone number . I found your phone. Can we meet somewhere in Fairview?

That freaked her out. I think this person wants money. He wants to meet me in Fairview.

To appease her, I volunteered to get the phone. Then she feared for my safety. Bring a bodyguard. She imagined the person as a criminal out to extort money.

I was in for another surprise. Thinking the person was a man, I didn’t expect a nice office executive, a woman working in Makati but lived in Fairview. Definitely not a criminal. How she found the phone is another incredulous story.

She found it in a cab. Lauren said she lost it in the jeepney. Huh? Another baffling mystery from the cellphone thieves?

I offered reward money but she refused. She smiled “I’ve lost so many cellphones and I know how it feels”. That stumped me.

Inspite of the dangerous cellphone thieves around us, this heart-warming incident affirms my faith in honest [tag]filipinos[/tag].

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  • baba escudero


    i would like to thank you for your article. I just came across it now. I do hope that our government will do something about this senseless murders. Since Zachs death There has been 3 more cell phone related murders. Thank you also for helping with the signature campaign.
    I hope in time I too will be able to find a new normal. Do you hav meetings with the compassionate friends? Would be nice to attend one of this days. Take care and God bless you.

    Baba A. Escudero

  • Baba: I feel so sorry for your loss and hope we can find something to prevent this from happening to other people. It’s just so senseless. I just emailed you about “The Compassionate Friends”. When you’re ready, just give me a call. Take care.

  • My son just lost his phone in Ateneo, at Moro Lorenzo gym. I hope his story will have a happy ending like the one you recounted above. Otherwise, I’ll just be grateful he wasn’t harmed when someone took it. Thank you very much for your post. Gives me hope.

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