OCTOBER 7, 1951: “ASIONG SALONGA,” TONDO’S No.1 TOUGHIE, SHOT DEAD

In the later part of the 40s and early part of the 50s, the name Asiong Salonga brought fears and chills to the residents of Tondo and its environs. Salonga, a dreaded and notorious gang leader, and the likes of Totoy Golem, Toothpick, Boy Zapanta and other toughies that time, Tondo became a bloodbath of gangland violence.
As they say, Crime Does Not Pay! Salonga, only 27, met his untimely death in 1951. He was gunned down during a drinking session. Here’s that fateful day— from the front page of The Manila Chronicle.
SALONGA, TONDO GUNMAN, KILLED/
October 8, 1951

Gang Rivalry Ends Career of ‘Toughie’; Police Look into Political Angle of Fatal Shooting

Nicasio Salonga, alias Asiong Salonga, 27, Tondo’s No.1 “tough guy,” reached the end of his shady career when he was shot and killed on Coral street, Tondo, at 5 p.m. yesterday. Apparently a victim of gangland vendetta and double-cross, Salonga toppled, mortally wounded in the head, from a sitting position atop a store counter at No.100 Coral down to the sidewalk gutters. A well-placed shot fired at close range from a Commando .38 caliber revolver by still unidentified assailant found its mark on Salonga’s head, the bullet entering his left temple and coming out of his skull. He was taken to the St. Luke’s hospital by his neighbors who saw him sprawled and bleeding in the gutters. Salonga died a few minutes after arriving at the hospital.

The police last night sought a certain Ernesto Reyes, identified as the alleged killer of Salonga. Several phone calls received by the police pointed to Reyes as the Tondo toughie’s slayer. Reyes is a henchman of Carlos Capistrano, alias Totoy Golem. Up to early this morning, the police were making contacts to effect the surrender of Reyes. The alleged killer was expected to give himself up to the authorities.

Police reserves were rushed to the scene as precautionary measure to avert further flow of blood as the former’s followers girded themselves to avenge their leader’s death. Three men, one of them identified as Carlos Capistrano, alias Totoy Golem, were being sought by the police for questioning. Although investigators believed Salonga was a victim of gangland vendetta and double-cross, another angle, that politics was behind the killing, is being probed. It was learned that Salonga, formerly a rabid Liberal Party follower, had shifted his alliance to the Nacionalista Party lately.

Preliminary police investigation established that Salonga, Capistrano and the two others came from a baptismal party on Ricafort street. From the party, they went to the store owned by Apolonio Santos on Coral street where they continued drinking beer. Capistrano, whose bailiwick is San Nicolas, according to the police, had been feuding with Salonga, whose bailiwick is Tondo. Investigators presumed that when the two met at the party they decided to patch up their quarrel, hence Salonga invited Capistrano to a drinking spree. The circumstances preceding the killing, as pieced together by the police from reluctant witnesses, stated that Salonga, Capistrano and his two companions seated themselves in front of the store. Capistrano and his companions occupied a bamboo bench, while Salonga sat atop the store’s counter. After downing several bottles of beer, Capistrano, apparently feeling sick, stood up and started vomiting. As if by a pre-arranged signal, one of his companions also stood up, backed up a few steps then pulled out the gun tucked in his waist and fired at Salonga once, then took to his heels losing himself in the maze of alleys in Tondo’s slum area.
Salonga, a sanitary inspector, had several brushes with the law with 12 charges mostly for illegal possession of firearms. His name had been linked to several murder and homicide cases but somehow had always managed to squirm out.
By Santiago S. Pangan/
The Manila Chronicle
The police arrested Ernesto Reyes, 27, of 235 Leonor Privado street, Tondo and no bail was recommended. He turned in the murder weapon, a .38 caliber Commando revolver. Reyes denied he shot Salonga intentionally and claimed it was an accident. He said his gun went off accidentally during his scuffle with one of Salonga’s henchmen.

“Asiong Salonga” (1961)- Stars Joseph Estrada, Jose Padilla, Jr., Yolanda Gueverra, Guia Gomez, Boy Francisco, Paquito Diaz, Vic Diaz/ Directed by Pablo Santiago

In 1961, Joseph Estrada became the filmdom’s newest star when he portrayed “Asiong Salonga.” The movie propelled his career to greater heights.


Literary Song-Movie Magazine/ 1961


“the scene of the crime”

“ASIONG SALONGA” (1961) Film Clip from Simon Santos on Vimeo.

Rudy Fernandez reprised the role in 1977 and George Estregan, Jr in 1990.

Left- “Salonga” (1977)- Stars Rudy Fernandez, George Estregan, Trixia Gomez, Ruel Vernal, Raul Aragon, Dencio Padilla, Amy Austria, Veronica Jones/ with Rodolfo ‘Boy’ Garcia, Jose Romulo/ Directed by Romy Suzara

Right- “Asiong Salonga: Hari ng Tondo” (1990)- Stars George Estregan, Jr., Baldo Marro, Orestes Ojeda, Val Iglesia, Dick Israel, Maita Sanchez, Honey Policarpio/ Directed by Armando de Guzman, Jr.

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About tondohighcharity1996

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5 Responses to OCTOBER 7, 1951: “ASIONG SALONGA,” TONDO’S No.1 TOUGHIE, SHOT DEAD

  1. JOHN says:

    BOSs “ASIONG”
    Hari ng tondo .. Astig .. :D hehehe ..

  2. idol ko talaga yang si asiong :)
    RIP asiong ako na ngayon ang hari ng tondo !

  3. wahahaha Lupet ! Asiong Salonga ! Gun Man

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