They say a picture says a thousand words. Photographs can evoke a wide array of mixed feelings as they display a crucial moment in time, often removed from a broader context and placed within one specific, unique moment all to itself.

A photo taken at the right time can show goodness in the world, but framed from a different angle, it can show terror and evil. Some people are lucky enough to take photos of the most critical moments of their lives.

Some people, like Reynaldo Dagsa, have the strange fortune of taking a picture of their death.

The bizarre incident created some media buzz back in 2011. A politician, Reynaldo, inadvertently captured a picture of the man who would become his killer not even a second before the first gunshot was fired.

All on New Year’s Day and in front of his family. It’s a many-layered tragedy that highlights the dangers present in other countries and the desperation of their criminals.

It also serves to highlight an important, pressing moral issue today: whether it’s good or not always to have your smartphone out.

Without it, Dagsa’s killer would not have been so easy to identify. But if it weren’t for the camera, would he have time to notice and save his own life?


10 /10 Man Of Action

Reynaldo Dagsa was best known for his service in his local township, or Barangay in Caloocan, one of the most populated cities in the Philippines.

The district he served as a councilman was his home and where he died due to a crime that he worked hard to prevent.

He was a corporal in the Philippine Army Reserve Command and was a Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team member.


9 /10 Family Photo

On January 1st, 2011, Dagsa went out with his family to celebrate the New Year. Everyone was celebrating, mostly with firecrackers and other fireworks, and he wanted to capture the moment with his family.

He brought them just outside their home on Tuna Street to take a photo. His wife, daughter, and mother-in-law were all part of the photo – as were two unknown men in the background.

He didn’t ask them to move aside. He might not have even noticed them until it was too late. He even asked them to wake him if he was asleep to join in with the neighborhood.


8 /10 In The Background

The picture in question is like something out of a horror movie. Dagsa’s family is mainly in the center frame. On the right is a man with his back to a wall looking down the alley.

Dagsa’s daughter has her hands leaned up on the hood of the car beside her. A man in the back, just behind the car, popped into the frame at the last second.

He wore a reversed baseball cap and held up a gun. The camera flash caught the sight of the weapon, rendering it a white orb. Just after the picture was taken, the gun was shot.

The sound was mistaken for a firecracker. Dagsa’s family didn’t know what happened as he fell over and started bleeding from the head.


7 /10 Arnel Buenaflor

The gunman was identified, quite easily thanks to the photo, as Arnel Buenaflor.

The other man in the photo was his spotter, who was on the lookout for police that might be nearby and wasn’t expecting a camera to enter the scene.

The police identified two accomplices as Michael Gonzales and Rommel Olivia, who went by their gang aliases of Fubo of Fish Pond Area 1 and Balong.

The two accomplices were arrested in a raid, and Arnel was found six days later, on the 7th.

6 /10 Pasaway Gang

Buenaflor claimed his motive was for vengeance. He was part of what was known as the Pasaway Gang, which operated in the area that Dagsa counseled over.

He blamed Dagsa for a shootout where he was injured months ago in which other members lost their lives against the police, which Dagsa rallied.

The police conjectured that it was Dagsa’s peacekeeping efforts that made him a target for the gangsters.

5 /10 Revolving Door

Arnel was out on bail at the time as a former car thief. Despite his known connection to a gang, he was released back into the same place that he held as a part of the territory, and Dagsa was the man who likely got him sent away.

He was convicted of murder during the trial, but it was one step too late for Dagsa.

4 /10 Vicious Cycle

Unfortunately, this level of violent crime is all too common in the Philippines.

Criminals come and go through the justice system, and once they’re out, they buy laundered guns through a black market so they can be armed without official police knowledge.

The previous year, Arnel’s arrest by Dagsa sent the criminal on a path of vengeance that seemed all too easy to complete.

3 /10 Always Watching

Arnel’s arrest was only made so swiftly because the family had their fateful photo on hand during Dagsa’s death.

In a way, he may have saved plenty of lives just by waiting for the perfect opportunity to take a picture.

If he had a more modern camera, he could have been taking a video instead, and regardless, would have caught his killer red-handed – or with the flash on, red-eyed.

Hadrian /

2 /10 State Of Surveillance

Although this happened back in 2011, people are now more aware of the power they have with their camera phones.

Videos go viral because of a rough confrontation between strangers, some of which escalate into unfortunate violence.

Very rarely do modern criminals attack people who are filming them. With proof that solid, a court case would last mere minutes.


1 /10 In A Flash

Unfortunately, Dagsa died, but it does serve as a sort of important footnote to his career.

He lived to defend the peace of his village, and he died for it. His death proved that, if anything, his replacement had far more work to do.

nd he caught it on camera, a gun being pulled on him in front of his own house. If he were allowed to live, perhaps the Pasaway gang would have met its early end.

Continue Reading

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *