RELATIVES, FRIENDS, AND PEERS of Bernardino “Nandie” Bolatete of this city were supremely shocked to learn from the wires and the Net Tuesday, that he had been arrested by the FBI and the Jacksonville, Florida cops.
His lone crime, so far, is the procurement and possession of a gun “silencer” without Government Registration and Tracking -a Federal Criminal Offense. A Jacksonville, Florida federal judge denied Nandie a bail bond because (sic) ” he is a flight risk” because his family is still in the Philippines.
The Florida authorities ( and media and social network carried it) put forward a thesis that Nandie was a dyed-in-the-wool- anti-Muslim, violent, very sickly and despondent due to a 30%-working one last kidney left and was about to carry out his story of “mass murdering Muslims who would gather on a Friday at a mosque in the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida along St. John’s Road.”
Then, they copy pasted pictures of Nandie in a gun range showing his prowess in pistols and long guns – to prove he was a Deadshot with a gun “from 25 yards” and a war freak.
The soberest assessment may have come from Nandie’s brother Pete (who lives with him) in Eucalyptus Street in Jacksonville saying that Nandie’s alleged “plan” massacre of Muslims in the mosque (with him) shooting from the tower- was all “man talk”. A show of verbal machismo among men folk.
We hope that the American courts would consider the other side in evaluating his guilt.
For one, no one -like lone wolves- would ever discuss -even among family members that he would do a mass murder crime and to commit suicide. thereafter. Much less, share this with a stranger, he just met who was an undercover FBI agent.
It was this same agent who suggested to Nandie to buy a silencer as “you might need it” which Bolatete secured for $100 without papers. Having set him up apparently for a federal offense, they locked him and raided his house.
The cops said they found 12 assorted guns and rounds of ammunition in his house. No charges can be filed for under Florida gun laws one can own licensed shotguns, rifles, and handguns. The same law allows people to carry (concealed) no “open carry” guns. Carrying a handgun in his car is not a crime.
Wearing a vest to bodily protect oneself is not a crime either. They should check Nandie’s job at the Liquor Depot. For all we know, his armada was part of his role played in the store as an employee.
Thinking about and talking about creating mayhem against Muslims (or any group) is no crime -until one acts on it. His story about Muslims and Christians fighting in the Philippines is of global knowledge of which the Marawi crisis was a “tipping point”.
The cops pointed out he took offense to a Muslim who used Nandie’s services in his house and did not pay him. With all his guns -and the violent man the cops describe Nandie to be- would the latter not have taken him out a long time ago?
They tried to picture him as a determined racist-killer by stating that the suspect even mentioned that the massacre would happen on a Friday- but everyone knew Friday is the day the Muslims in that center gathered for common prayer.
Nandie knew his law and admitted he had one gun “silencer” in the house – but which he used for hunting. Then the offer of the agent to bring in an illegal silencer came- which was apparently part of the trap.
The FBI also pasted out one part of his Facebook as if to portray Nandie as if he was already a convert of the violent ultra-rightist Christian group.
From what we gathered, Nandie was anything but that. He turned renewed Catholic while in Manila and was one of the ablest preachers/sharers of a well known Catholic evangelist in Manila. He quit drinking and all his vices then – and would insert the “Word” in ordinary conversations with old Boholano friends.
Religiously, though away from his family in Manila- he sends them money and calls ” as if he was just next door.” He was known by neighbors in America to be a “good man.” If he had such a bad record in the Philippines and in his stay in America- he would not have stayed there that long and be gainfully employed.
A Green Card holder.
Then- they added the drama that because of his kidney ailment, he was despondent and wanted to make his shortening life worthwhile by “killing those Muslims” – as “they have been doing this to Christians. “
The officer admitted that Nandie narrated this with a laugh. We imagine the usual “kwentong kanto” we have with the boys where since it’s just story-telling, anyway – exaggeration is always allowed. “Man-talk” as brother Pete attests.
Other kibitzers on social media also added their 2 cents worth of muddling. One, that kidney trouble tends to blur a man’s rationality and can lead to paranoia and delusions. If this were true, Nandie should be taken to a psychiatrist and not locked inside the jail for story-telling an exciting “motion picture film still be to be shot in full color.” If for nothing else, that should be considered a “mitigating factor”.
Most Muslims, on the other hand, condemn their fundamentalist-brothers who propagate the theory that killing an infidel (non-Islam believer) and dying in the process will bring the martyr straight to heaven.
We do not have such Catholic teachings in the Holy Bible. If for nothing else, we are asked to turn the other cheek.
Then one pro-Trump anti-immigrant psycho posts Nandie as an example of an immigrant who should be denied access to American soil because he is racist and violent.
The “violence” was just in his story-telling-and the objectionable part in this drama is actually an FBI undercover enticing him to commit a federal offense of owning a “silencer without a permit” – and winning accolades for “foiling a mass massacre” that never was.
Most religious denominations then commended the Jacksonville police and the FBI for making their place a community of “free religion worshipers” and being disciples of the First Amendment.
What about Nandie’s “dislike for Muslims” in his mind (if true) – and expressing it verbally. Is that excluded now from the provisions of the First Amendment under “freedom of expression”?
Given Nandie’s physical (69 years old) and spiritual disposition, do you think Your Honors, he was really hell-bent on carrying out his “Steven Seagal” tale of a massacre in Florida? We have our doubts.
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