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|Born||March 25, 1925|
Sabang, Dasmarinas, Cavite
|Died||October 10, 1971 (aged 46)|
|Other names||Nardong Putik|
|Conviction(s)||Murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, illegal possession of firearms, protection, murder-for-hire|
|Criminal penalty||182 years and 2 months|
Leonardo Manicio, better known through his alias Nardong Putik, was a Filipino gangster. An amulet-wielding hoodlum from Cavite province, Manicio credited his ability to survive and escape numerous ambushes and gunfights to his anting-anting (amulet).
Manicio was born in 1923 in Sabang, Dasmariñas, Cavite. His father was a politician of some consequence in his town who was killed by his political enemies. Putik was a driver by profession and at one time he saw services as a policeman in Dasmariñas and a benefactor of the Carungcong, Mangubat and Barzaga intermarried political family group and sometime with the Montano's of Tanza, Cavite. According to Caviteños, Manicio got that name as he was known to submerge himself in mud paddies, among carabaos, using bamboo or papaya stalks as breathing tubes, whenever he had to evade a police or military dragnet.
Putik was married to Feliciana but had many common-law wives. He had one known son, Leonardo, Jr. and two known daughters, Angelita and Estrellita with his legal wife.
Philippine Constabulary files show Manicio was involved in various criminal cases which ranged from illegal possession of firearms to kidnapping, armed robbery and murder starting from 1948. Among the major cases in which Manicio was involved in were the infamous Maragondon Massacre in 1952 where the mayor, police chief and several policemen were killed with hunting knives, and the 1957 Election Day killing of Lt. Colonel Laureano Maraña, then provincial commander of Cavite, and seven others. Cavite politicians were also found to have been in league with the bandit, utilizing him in their struggle for political supremacy. Manicio led a group of roving bandits involved kidnapping, robbery, car theft, murder, marijuana growing, protection, and murder-for-hire as a gunman for Cavite's politicians.
Manicio was first convicted and jailed in 1953 but escaped in July 1955 from the Constabulary stockade in Imus, Cavite where he was held as a detention prisoner. On Election Day of 1957, an encounter was occurred between his group and the group led by then Cavite Philippine Constabulary (PC) commander Lt. Col. Laureano Marana, wherein Marana and his men were killed.
Manicio was re-captured on May 27, 1958 after he was cornered in a rice mill in barrio Medicion in Imus, Cavite by Lt. Elias R. Lazo, Jr. of the 31st PC Company and Lt. Federico D. Navarro of the 117th PC Company who were both promoted to Captain and decorated the Gold Cross Medal, the third highest military battle award, for their daring capture. Manicio surrendered to Lt. Lazo after engaging the patrol in a 45-minute gun battle.  Manicio credited his survival to his anting-anting. Manicio was sentenced to jail for 182 years and two months at the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa, but was granted freedom of movement due to then-President Ferdinand Marcos planning to use him as a weapon against his local enemies. He escaped in October 1969 and took refuge among the poor farmers of Cavite.
Massacre of NBI agents
In the morning of February 10, 1971, two agents of the Narcotics Division of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Rogelio Domingo and Antonio Dayao, were killed by Putik and his men. Victims were belonged to a group, headed by Supervising Agent Eligio Songco, that went to Imus, Cavite to survey and raid a marijuana plantation allegedly being protected by Putik. Some of his men involved were later apprehended, charged and convicted in court in connection to the killings.
A joint NBI-Constabulary force was assembled with the intention was to capture Manicio, dead or alive, who by then had a PHP20,000 bounty on his head by the new acting governor, Juanito "Johnny" Remullia. Reportedly, Lt. Col. Miguel Gantuangco, one of the task forces' commanding officers with NBI Agent Epimaco Velasco, attempted to coax Manicio into surrendering via Bishop Vicedo of Caloocan, but the attempts proved fruitless. On October 9-10, 1972, the task force attempted to follow him, discovering his hideout by the 10th. Ambushes were prepared by the Constabulary in the general area in the early morning hours along the possible routes he would take. On October 11, 1971, Manicio's red Chevrolet Impala came upon a task force highway checkpoint between Panamitan and Kawit. Manicio refused to obey the signals for him to stop, and the 20 assembled agents and police officers opened fire, killing him almost instantly. On his person was a revolver, 300 pesos, $150 in counterfeit bills, a wallet, a notebook with information regarding his debts, and several papers.
The operation alter boosted the careers of Remullia and Velasco. The former would alter become a Constitutional Delegate; Velasco the head of the NBI. later DILG secretary and Cavite governor.
On Manicio's death, some of his men were later arrested, charged and convicted in court for murder and other offenses.
The killing of Putik was met by mixed reactions in Cavite as he had built a reputation as a local "Robin Hood" given that his criminal exploits mainly targeted the rich.
Alternate theory regarding his death
An alternate theory regarding Manicio's death later surfaced, supported by some of Manicio's friends, an acquaintance in the press, and a former police chief. This version claimed that Manicio was lured to a resort, drugged, and placed in the Impala, whereupon his pursuers opened fire at the car to give the illusion he had been gunned down while resisting arrest.
In popular culture
Two versions of Nardong Putik (Kilabot ng Cavite) were made in 1972 and in 1984, wherein in both films, Manicio was portrayed by action star and future politician Ramon Revilla, Sr.. Both were successes at the local box office, and Revilia later played a double role as Manicio and his supposed rival and fellow Cavite-based career criminal, Captain Eddie Set in 1974's Kapitan Eddie Set: Mad Killer of Cavite.
The films capitalized on the supposed incredible magic of Manicio's anting-anting. Both were loosely based on his life while portrayed him as a anti-hero.
- "Anting-anting" StuartXchange. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- "9 Extremely Notorious Pinoy Gangsters". FilipiKnow. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- The Philippine Free Press, "Nardong Putik Captured" by Filemon V. Tutay, May 31, 1958.
- The Manila Times, "Putik Captor Promoted", June 20, 1958
- The Manila Times, "Thug's Captor Get Award", August 5, 1958
- The Manila Times, "Putik held at Crame" By David Baquirin, 1958
- See Supreme Court decision "G.R. No. L-36613-14" dated July 24, 1981. Link retrieved May 20, 2019.
- The Manila Bulletin, "Scribe Who Negotiated Years Ago Putik Surrender Sees His Capture" by Amelita Reysio-Cruz, May 27, 1958
- The Cavite Independent News, May 28, 1958
- Philippine Constabulary Yearbook August 1960
- IMDB Information for the movie "Nardong Putik".
- Col. Laureño Maraña of the 7th BCT Hukbalahap
- "Sino ang pumatay kay kay Nardong Putik?" Inquirer Bandera (Visayas)
- "Nardong Putik" Law and Behold!
- Banditry in Cavite during the post World War II period