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Saturday, August 14, 2010


The life of Tommy Aguilar alias Boy Vergel was vividly chronicled in an article titled "The Short, Unhappy Life of Boy Vergel" by National Artist Nick Joaquin which was published in the Philippines Free Press magazine. Tommy, son of actress Alicia Vergel with her first husband, stepson to actor Cesar Ramirez and half-brother to actor Ace Vergel, grew up in the company of such notorious gangsters like Arturo Porcuna alias Boy Golden during the early 60s. Tommy, only 19, was shot dead in front of Odeon Theater on the night of June 10, 1962.

Joaquin writes---

Teen-agers in bloody strife daily loom, larger than life, on the screen of Manila’s Cine Odeon, which is currently showing West Side Story, the prize-winning movie on the teen-age gang wars in New York between Puerto Rican immigrants and “native” Americans. The film ends in a gush of gore and incongruous song, with three teen-agers dead, two in a knife duel, one in a shooting, the pinnacles of New York vainly striving, in default of stylish blank verse, to endow the morbidity with Elizabethan grandeur.

People who went to the Odeon on the night of June 10 emerged at around midnight to find the movie they had just seen being re-enacted, for real, on the sidewalk right in front of the movie house. Two teen-agers were being held at bay by five other young men. There were snarls and a flash of knives. One of the teen-agers fled toward the restaurant next door and was pursued by a young man brandishing a pistol. The terrified bystanders heard a shout: “Don’t run, Tommy--- I’ll shoot you!” The fleeing teen-ager was already halfway up the stairs of the restaurant when his pursuer fired. At the sound of the shot, the other boys dispersed. The gun wielder streaked across Azcarraga toward Rizal Avenue. The victim, bent over, arms folded over his belly, managed to stagger down the stairs before dropping to the pavement. A young man, apparently his companion, picked him up and carried him to the curb, where there was some argument with a taxicab driver who wouldn’t let the two boys board. A policeman had to bid him take the wounded boy to the North General Hospital.

The taxi sped away with its tragic fare and the folk who had just come out of the Odeon began to jest that they had seen two West Side stories for the price of one: the American original inside, a local version outside. The cultural time lag between Hollywood and Manila seems to have narrowed to a matter of days.

The shot boy died in the taxi as it entered the gate of the North General. He was Dead On Arrival, to use hospital and police parlance. His companion said that the victim’s name was Tomas Aguilar. The name rang no bells, but the boy, it turned out, had a famous kin. He was the son of movie star Alicia Vergel, the stepson of movie star Cesar Ramirez, and he himself was a star in his own world, the teen-age underworld of Manila, where he was known as Boy Vergel.
It became a front page news in 1962---

click images to enlarge


June 11, 1962---A nineteen-year old son of a local movie actress was shot dead by a University of the East student at the stairs of the Alex Soda Fountain adjoining the Odeon theater at the corner of Claro Recto Avenue and Rizal Avenue shortly before midnight last night. The victim, Tomas Aguilar, of ROTC Hunters street, Quezon City, suffered a gunshot wound at his back just below the left shoulder. He died on arrival at the North General Hospital. Aguilar is the son of Alicia Vergel.

Police identified the assailant as Adriano Meneses y Manuel, 21, a UE student and residing at Nacar street, San Andres Subdivision. He and two of his companions were nabbed by MPD operatives shortly after the shooting. They were brought to the police headquarters at Isaac Peral for investigation. One of Meneses’ companions, Roberto Pilpa, 20, of 14 Illinois Street, Quezon City, told police probers that he, the assailant and four other companions were going up the stairs of the Alex Soda Fountain when they met the victim. Pilpa said that Meneses accosted the victim and the two had an argument. Later, the victim reportedly whipped out a knife and Meneses pulled out his .38 caliber pistol. Seeing the gun in Meneses’ hand, the victim fled and tried to enter again the Alex Soda Fountain. But Meneses cut short his escape by shooting him at the back. Meneses admitted to police investigators during an intensive grilling at the police headquarters that he shot to death the victim.

Pilpa also told police investigators that the shooting was caused by a quarrel between Meneses and the victim over a certain Marivic Tanseco of Fargas Compound, Mandaluyong, Rizal. He said that Marivic was a sweetheart of Meneses. But last month Aguilar started courting the girl who showed signs of liking the victim. This angered Meneses. And he started looking for Aguilar. It was only last night that the two met. Police found the fatal gun at 1112 Kusang Loob street, Sta. Cruz. It was seen by Sixto Legarda who told the police that he saw it being thrown by some teenagers. Pilpa was nabbed while he was about to board a taxicab by Pat. Jesus Marzan, while Meneses was arrested by Det. Silverio Ramirez in a Rizal Avenue coffee shop. Quiray was nabbed atop the Arellano High School at Teodora Alonzo by Det. Cpl. Jerry Upina.

Police also disclosed that Meneses was also involved in a near-fatal shooting last week when he shot Bartolome Chaves, a relative of Fiscal E. K. Chaves of Manila. MPD operatives are readying corresponding charges against Meneses and his companions who are now detained at the MPD headquarters.
(Source: The Manila Chronicle)


kevinj said...

that was a nice item

kevinj said...

nice item

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting. It's pretty ironic on my part. I sent you an e-mail about the posters you had of Alicia Vergel and Cesar Ramirez. On my e-mail, I've also commented on the Boy Golden case. Thank you.

komandante said...

I know this story about two young tough guys during my time, and the cause of the feud between Boy Vergel and Adriene Meneses. Marivic Canseco also related to the great song writer, composer George Canseco, was a taxi girl raised in Quiapo. She's an associate of Baby Santos (aka Baby China) the movie. Just died recently in Bulacan of liver illness as I understand. To be honest she also became my girlfriend when I was still single during having a wayward time. I pray for her soul.

danny meneses said...

I am Danny Meneses, a nephew of Adrian Meneses and I was able to visit him before he died in prison from mysterious reasons. He was awaiting pardon after many years of imprisonment but he confided to me that the family would not allow him to see his pardon. Yes, he was guilty of having shot dead Boy Vergel and the incident is not far from teenage impulse, even these days. Uncle was truly remorseful of his deed and advised me to never loose my temper. Uncle Adrian was not a street hoodlum as what others may be made to believe. As the story of West Side Story shows, emotions tend to overcome teenagers resulting into actions that are truly to be regretted. I hold my Uncle Adrian in high esteem and pray that his soul will guide young men from acting on impulse. Thank you for this site for younger generations in our family to read about their Uncle Adrian Meneses.

danny meneses said...
This comment has been removed by the author.


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