The Edgar Bentain case
September 22, 2009 § Leave a comment
Before the Erap regime went caput, a Pagcor video operator was reported to have been kidnapped by unknown persons. The victim was never found and believed to have been killed.
That victim was Edgar Bentain.
I personally covered the Bentain case since this is a case closest to my heart. Edgar is one of my frat brothers. And it pains me that one of the former head of our organization got caught in this unfortunate tragedy.
Before he disappeared, Edgar was working for the Pagcor as a video operator. According to accounts at that time, Edgar took a video of former president Joseph Estrada playing baccarat with known gambling lord Atong Ang.
That video clip caused a sensation because first, it is illegal for a president to be seen with a known criminal vice lord and second, it was at the height of calls for the abolition of jueteng, an illegal numbers game.
It was former PCSO chairman Manoling Morato who exposed the video to the public. That video reinforced public suspicions that Erap was actually involved or hob-nobbing with illegal gambling royalties. The masses understood and probably did not take a special notice about Erap’s “indiscretions”. Yet, the issue became big because of elite protestations and middle class led protest actions.
Days before Morato’s expose, armed men snatched Edgar Bentain in Manila. Bentain was allegedly with his girlfriend when he was taken away. Bentain was last scene being mauled by these armed men and put in a white van. The van sped towards the direction of Cavite.
After that, nothing was heard from the victim. No ransom demand note was given to his relatives, especially his brother, Edcel Bentain, who became the most active among the Bentains in the pursuit of truth.
Today, Panfilo Ping Lacson rose from the rostrum and hinted that Erap may have been the mastermind behind the abduction and possible murder of Bentain. Lacson said Bentain was ordered kidnapped by Erap and taken to Laguna where he was brutally killed.