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Reynaldo Dagsa – The politician took a photo of the assassin before dying

The Filipino politician took a photo of the person attempting to assassinate him

Early on the evening of New Year’s Eve in 2010, a 38-year-old man living in the Philippines named Reynaldo Dagsa decided he was just too tired to stay up all the way till midnight. But at the same time, Reynaldo really didn’t want to miss out on all the festivities he knew would be going down out on the streets outside that night.

Reynaldo Dagsa
Reynaldo Dagsa

So Reynaldo told his wife he was going to go take a nap and could she please wake him up right before midnight. That way, he could go outside and catch the tail end of the big celebration. His wife said that was fine and just a couple of minutes later, Reynaldo was in his bedroom in his bed passed out.

Reynaldo Dagsa was a politician and he was beloved in the Philippines because he was one of the very few politicians who was not afraid to arrest and prosecute gang members. In the Philippines, gang violence is a big issue, and really Reynaldo was one of the very few people doing anything about it.

About 10 minutes before midnight, Reynaldo’s wife went into the bedroom and woke Reynaldo up. Even though he was really tired, he was so excited to get to go outside that he jumped out of bed and made his way into the kitchen. He grabbed his camera and then called for his wife, his daughter, and his mother-in-law who were the only people still awake in his family at this point, to come with him. They agreed and they came with Reynaldo.

He went outside and as soon as he opened the door, it was like everything he hoped it would be. There were people everywhere, firecrackers being shot up into the sky, people laughing and cheering and celebrating. Reynaldo was really excited and what he really wanted to do was capture a picture of his family right as the clock struck midnight, kind of commemorating New Year’s Eve.

New Year's Eve
New Year’s Eve

Reynaldo Dagsa led his family to a part of the sidewalk that wasn’t very crowded and he positioned his family so his daughter, his wife, and his mother-in-law were in a position that he was happy with. He made sure the picture was in frame and then he kept checking his watch, waiting for midnight.

Right as it was about to strike midnight, he raised up his camera and aimed it at his daughter, his wife, and his mother-in-law and he took a picture.

Here is the picture that Reynaldo took: in the foreground, you can see Reynaldo’s daughter on the left leaning up against the car, then next to her is Reynaldo’s wife, and then next to Reynaldo’s wife is Reynaldo’s mother-in-law.

The Picture
The Picture

All three women are smiling as this moment in time is captured on film. But what Reynaldo also captured on film were two men who he didn’t know standing right behind his family.

The man on the right is not looking at Reynaldo; instead, he’s looking out to the road near them and kind of staring at the festivities. He looks concerned. And then on the left is the other man who’s clearly holding a gun aimed directly at Reynaldo.

These two men were assassins who had been sent to kill Reynaldo Dagsa, and Reynaldo took a picture at the exact moment that he was assassinated. Literally the second this photo was taken, the man on the left in this photo fired his gun and killed Reynaldo.


This photograph would be used by police to track down and arrest Reynaldo’s killers. Police believe that Reynaldo Dagsa was targeted because he was so anti-gang that very likely a gang hired hitmen to kill him.

Buenaflor, part of the Pasaway Gang, alleged that the reason for shooting Dagsa was in retaliation for Buenaflor having been shot in the head previously by individuals linked to Dagsa in a shootout that occurred months ago.

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