Leonardo Flores, the 80-year-old man who was arrested for allegedly stealing mangoes, and Robert Hong, the caretaker of the property in Pangasinan, have agreed to settle their case, presidential aspirant and Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said. on Saturday.
Flores’ case got tremendous attention online. He was arrested on January 13 and jailed for allegedly stealing mangoes in Asingan.
Lacson said he went to Asingan to talk to Flores and caretaker and the complainant Hong.
Lacson said the two “agreed to amicably settle their case in court during the latter’s scheduled arraignment on February 8.”
Flores was arrested by virtue of a December 20, 2021 warrant issued by Sarah Marcos-Martin of the 7th Municipal Circuit Trial Courts of Asingan-San Manuel.
Information from the police said Flores harvested some 10 kilos of mangoes from a tree near his property, but which he claimed he planted.
The area where the mango tree was planted and Flores’ house have the same owner. The property owner had died while their children were in Manila and abroad.
Only the caretaker lived in the house where the mango tree was planted.
After a week in jail, Flores was released on Thursday after paying the P6,000 bail with the help of police personnel and Asingan residents.
According to Lacson, Flores was the former caretaker of the property. The senator added that Flores “did steal three (3) sacks of mangoes worth P12,000, not ten (10) kilograms as earlier claimed. He sold the mangoes in the local ‘talipapa’ and had already spent the proceeds.”
Reports said Flores wanted was to sell the fruits so he could buy food.
Hong, whose complaint led to Flores’ arrest, is in hiding and could not go to work as a truck driver after he received threats from bloggers and netizens—a case of bullying stemming from unintended inaccurate information.
“This is the best that we can do to serve justice to all those who deserve it. It behooves us to look at the bigger picture. While ordinary thieves get the whip surely and fast, the big, powerful crooks stay big and powerful. It’s simply unfair and sad,” he said on his Twitter account Saturday morning.
Last Thursday, Lacson dug deeper into the “mango theft” case, which went viral after Flores was arrested for stealing mangoes from a property where Hong worked as a caretaker.
Lacson said helping bring the truth to the public is the most he can do in the case of Flores and Hong.
“Yet, it cannot be denied that the big and powerful crooks are still out there, free to continue abusing their power and stealing from ordinary taxpayers,” Lacson said, as he reiterated that the people must regain their sense of outrage against such injustice.
Lacson has vowed to maintain a single standard in ending wrongdoing, including crime and corruption, with a combination of stern discipline and leadership by example—as he had rid the Philippine National Police of erring cops when he headed the institution from 1999 to 2001.
This is in line with his campaign to improve the lives of Filipinos (“Aayusin ang Gobyerno, Aayusin ang Buhay ng Bawat Pilipino”) and to finish off theft and robbery (“Uubusin ang Magnanakaw”).