Last PC-INP chief Ramon Montaño dies at 87

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Last PC-INP chief Ramon Montaño dies at 87

CHIEF. Then Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police chief Ramon Montaño (left) pins a medal on a man in uniform in this undated photo.

Ramon Montaño wake photo

Montaño led the capture of then-rebel soldier Gringo Honasan in December 1987, and was also head of the Metro Manila police force during the bloody Mendiola massacre in 1987

MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP) chief Major General Ramon Montaño died on Tuesday, July 2. He was 87. 

Montaño, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1958, was the last chief of the PC-INP before the force was civilianized during the Cory Aquino administration with the creation of the Philippine National Police in 1991. 

He was instrumental in the capture of then-Army Colonel Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan in Valle Verde, Pasig City, in December 1987 after the rebel soldier and his Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) colleagues’ failed coup attempt against President Cory Aquino four months earlier in August.

“A seasoned investigator and detective, he kept a thick file of index cards of known criminal syndicates helping the defunct PC-INP arrest notorious con men, bank robbers, car thieves and kidnappers,” said veteran military and police beat journalist Manny Mogato in a Facebook post.

“His capture of Honasan in a posh residential village near Camp Aguinaldo was a classic case of sleuthing. He interviewed journalists who had gone on clandestine meetings with Honasan and recreated the interior of the house as well as location. Honasan was taken by surprise one day when soldiers swooped down on the village. Thanks to the reporters’ description of the mansion, the curtains and sofa and interior design,” the 2018 Filipino Pulitzer Prize co-winner said. 

Montaño also played an important role in defending the Aquino government during the December 1989 coup attempt which almost toppled the democratic government. 

Mogato recounted that “when rogue soldiers fired upon at the PC-INP headquartered in Camp Crame, setting it on fire, he moved his command post to a concrete bunker at the intelligence compound. Concerned with the safety of journalists covering the coup, he gathered them and took them to his bunker. We all stayed there until the threat was defeated.”

Montaño was also the head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) during the Mendiola massacre in January 1987 where 13 farmers died during a bloody dispersal of farmers marching to Malacañang hoping for a dialogue with Aquino. Although he was not on the ground at that time, he offered to step down as the Metro Manila police chief.

Montaño, whose family hails from Iloilo and Guimaras, ran twice for a Senate seat but lost, first in 2004 under the Partido Isang Bansa Isang Diwa party, and again in 2013, as an independent.

During his 2013 campaign, he expressed disappointment over the failed reforms promised during the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.  “Many, many decades later, the aging participants of that People Power Revolution for true reforms and for people empowerment are witnessing its utter failure…and the dream of EDSA ’86 remains a dream,” Montaño had said of his supposed “last hurrah.”  

His wife, Fe Pareja-Montaño, served as mayor of San Jose, Negros Oriental. 

Montaño was arrested for inciting to sedition in 2006 after he urged the police and the military to break away from the Gloria Arroyo administration over allegations of corruption. The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office later dismissed the complaint filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group due to lack of evidence.

His wake is at the Heritage Memorial Park. Viewing starts at 7 pm on July 3, and at 3 pm on July 4 and 5. Interment is on July 6. –

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