Armando "Jun" Ducat returned to his community in Tondo today to a hero's welcome. Ducat was released from the Manila City jail after Department of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez determined no proper charges could be filed against Ducat.
"His grenades were carved from wood and his bullets were made of plastic," a smiling Gonzalez said. "No harm, no foul."
Palace officials acknowledged that they were moved in some part to the massive demonstrations of support held in the Tondo community. "Someone as well-loved as Jun Ducat must have done something right," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said. The press secretary was quick to quell any rumors that Ducat was being seriously considered to run for a senatorial slot in the 2010 election. Palace insiders, though, are already hinting that this is actually a strong possibility.
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno and PNP Chief Oscar Calderon are calling for a revamp of hostage procedures following heavy criticism of the police handling of the "crisis" last Wednesday. Following Ducat's advice, rapid response teams all over the country will be heavily stocked with pizza, ice cream, and candles. "We have Ducat to thank for showing us a better way in handling these situations," Calderon said. "Ice cream at pizzanga lang pala ang kailangan, eh. (Ice cream and pizza are all that's needed.)"
Over in Tondo, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and First Gentleman Mike Arroyo were surprise guests at the welcome party for Ducat. The full complement of the Team Unity slate was also present. Ilocos Governor and senatorial candidate Chavit Singson, who figured in the final dramatic moments of the crisis, was also on hand to distribute ice cream and pizza.
Spokesman Ace Durano was quick to point out that this was not part of Team Unity's campaign strategy. "We just want to celebrate with the people of Tondo for their good fortune in having a man like Jun Ducat for a community leader. After all, Mr. Ducat stands for everything we stand for: free land, free housing, and free education for everyone."
April Fools. Or is it?