Stories from the barberhouse
The storm kicked up by the killing of Kian Loyd delos Santos jolted us hangers-on whiling the time at the barbershop in our little barangay.
Setting aside the chessboard, we echoed the crescendo of indignant voices, heretofore sporadic and feeble, and joined a couple of protest marches that were, sadly, short-lived. Barber Egay had expected them to be like those the Thais would wage whenever they were being short-changed. Robust and loud, relentless protest sieges that have toppled high towers, brought the mighty down to their knees.
George, a professor, can only shake his head how Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s boys, caught in the gruesome act by the CCTV and witnesses, can still intone the “nanlaban kasi”(See the gleaming .45 in Kian’s left hand?) refrain; still parlayed the convenient alibi that Kian was a druggie (Behold the sachets of shabu that popped up nearby days later!) and so should end up like the thousands of users and pushers sprawled dead on the pavement, lifeless atop garbage heaps, slumped with nary a breath along alleys. George held his breath for Bato to wave next a soiled pocket notebook (waiting to be found at the garbage dump?) listing Kian’s user clients.
It amuses taxi barker Buting watching the Public Attorneys Office, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and a senator haggle over who gets the moment — and the limelight — presenting the children witnesses. Buting says the “go-go public attorney” can declare she’s sure to win the case (as she had turned around the open-and-shut case against a former narc and his pal caught with their hands in the cookie, er, shabu jar.) The Binondo lawyer can also brag how he had turned convicts into choir boys singing sneaky songs that put former DOJ secretary Leila de Lima in the clink and Buting would still put all his barker earnings on the cool senator for teaching President Duterte the art of civilized repartee after he unleashed another of his signature mouthful at her and at United Nations special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard who pointed out the Kian incident was pure “murder.”
It seems, after charges were filed, it would be just a waiting game for the wheels of justice to turn but, horrors, along came the bodies of Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman. Bullet-holed. Stabbed.
“Profoundly dismayed,” laments Malacañang. Dismayed, too, when a while back the Palace spokesman waxed poetic (“… there’s rhyme and reason…”) to explain away the reckless bigtime killings (in a rush to meet quotas, smirked Buting). George, however, says he understands, for the former pastor now genuflects before his new god.
Ancient Amang sighs. Kian, Carl, Kulot and Jefferson, Emmanuel, Rowena, Roman and the other unheralded children done in ( to “sabotage” his drug war, so says President Duterte) are now squirming in their graves. I say, more like they are weeping.
MANUEL GARCIA CALLEJA, Quezon City
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