Blame yourself, Not the country, chapter 10

 

 

Satisfaction and Grief

                                                       

 

Chapter 10

 

 

After the tumultuous regime of Cory, where coups followed  with a couple of coups, the strength of freedom and democracy, was ferociously tested and defended, and those military who authored the Coup were arrested, put  them into seclusion, but some were also released. But because the era was full of compassions, there was amnesty, and mostly those who were dragged with no intentions, were returned to the barracks. General Ramos, who was also one of the heroes of the first EDSA revolution, is now the President.

 

Genaro, the father of Efren, is now married to Estela, and they have one child. And they are living in Negros. So the only person who met him in  Davao Airport was his Brother Bayani. With his Toyota Tamaraw, they rode right away to his temporary address. It was really cool for him, but Davao at that time was peaceful. There were lots of killing some at the cities vicinity, like in Nicaragdao, but the people believed it was done by some reactionary forces, which was organized by the assigned District Commander. You can hear in the radio, spokesman lambasting the communists, and any activist planning to demonstrate were also cooled off, by reasons that some of their colleague were shot and disappeared. Jun Palea, the radio announcer, vested himself as the supreme of the Paramilitary anticommunist movement, and they are also vent on killing in case the need arises. The following day, he reported right away, to the Provincial commander, and he was received very warmly. For the meantime, he was absorbed in the provincial office, handling the company that will respond as an augmentation force. If there are emergencies, he will reinforce the forefront group, to respond satisfactorily to any eventuality.  

 

He wrote a letter to his father, inviting them to come back to Davao, so that they will be re-united. They knew now that Mario and Bayani have annexed some of the land at their barrio, so that their farm is getting bigger. Mario is already married, and Bayani was still single. In short, he is the only one unmarried. How about Ninoy? Their youngest brother.

 

The problem of Davao is not only the communist but also the Muslim separatist, who were hiding closer to Cotabato. Although there are mountains like the famous Mt. Apo, but still there are tourist who are climbing the mountain, some for study purposes, just a hobby.

 

His first test was when a group of police unit was ambushed at the Glan’s mountain, and a radio received that they need an emergency rescue force. Out of ten, five were already killed, and the five was surrounded by a heavily armed Moro liberation force.

 

 

 

 

 

 The Provincial Commander briefed them in the war room and after learning about the strategy and location, they were told also to be mindful to each other. 

His company was then dispatched, they were so well equipped and they believed that they have now the supremacy.

 

Along the bridge, at the western side, hiding on grasses at the overlooking hills, with guns in aim, very ready to fire, were the Muslim warriors waiting for the coming PNP’s who will reinforce the vanquished soldiers, some are already dead, and to those who are still alive, were cut throat by their sharp kampilans.

 

Efren did not traverse right away, but instead stop at a distance, then crawled and walked, and on a very strategic place, he focused his telescope, just to scan out how safe is crossing the bridge. He is really good in analysis, and he had deciphered right away, that on the other side, there are shadows waiting for them. He briefed his men, and one squad was instructed to cross the river a half mile downstream, and the other squad was told in the upper part. The third squad will pretend to cross, but when closer, make a false attack, by shooting blankly, to divert their attention. Sergeant Valiente, his buddy, was with him, and pretended to be the leader of the center squad. A moment later shots were exchange right away, and the Muslim moved forward to confront the center, knowing that the number is too small. They spread right away, but they never knew, at their back, the other squads was already there firing. The Muslim was caught in surprise, because they were already surrounded. Fire exploded on both sides, some added the confrontations with the glamour of shouts and noise, just to allay the fear, and to shoot back any available target. Some died, and some raised their hands in surrender. The Police had two casualties, but, nevertheless, the Muslims suffered the greatest casualties. Five Moro warriors were brought to the camp, and those who were dead, was taken and buried by the barrio people.

 

Early Morning, in the camp they heard a hovering helicopter, and some shouts in glee, that the PC chief, Gen. Mantano, had  surprisingly arrived. And the Provincial commander, Colonel Malazarte, met him right away, and whisked them to his office. Mantano received the news about the triumph of his men in the Glan’s Mountain. Efren was called upon by the Provincial Commander, and was told to dress properly.

 

“So we are ahead now. This is now the right time, to run after them, because their morale is so low. We have a fighting Major, who is fresh here, and engraves right away a good example”. Mantano said. Efren right away received a Medal of Valor for the second time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of officers unexpectedly salutes him in the aisles, and said “Sir, I am Cefriano, and I am the brother of Elena,your classmate in our town, Congratulation”.  He listened carefully and remembered that Elena was his classmate, his sister. And said, “How is Elena?” His sister was one of the most beautiful ladies in their class. “Ah! She is one of the teachers in our school there. Your other classmate, Pete, is courting her, but until now, they are not yet closed to each other. Maybe, if you’ll be there, that would be the time she will say yes to Pete, so that you will be the best man for them.”, then he joked “ what if he will be my

Best man?”. “Sir I am 100% OK”.  “OK Cefriano you will accompany me soon. I’ll be visiting our barrio.”

 

When Cefriano learned that they will be going to their home barrio, he called right away by their cell phone his father, so that the barrio will be informed too for some celebrations.

Beforehand, the PNP hierarchy knew his magnificent records in northern Luzon, and they have a very high regards about him. Characteristically, it was news and was a headline in the province. His two brothers were very proud of him. Ironically, there are other groups which downgraded his triumph as a mere propaganda. And it is the communist party of the Philippines. Commander Islag wrote a newsletter to the media, and challenged the awardee to come over to the mountain in Cotabato, or in the boundary of Bukidnon. “Let him come over and catch us, and we will grind him like a sardine for our people”.

 

The communist Party, which is organized by Joma Sison, is very active in the province, and became stronger after the death of Jopson. The remnants regroup and became so wild in the mountain, especially, if the people won’t pay them the progressive tax they charged, and as an example, they will assassinate person of questionable records. And as far as, the survey said, that affection of the people was already hooked by them, because they find peace and prosperity. They became troubled only when the PNP will have an operation, and that is one reason, that sometimes they abhorred the presence of law enforcement. Marcos martial law allowed the agents of the law to become corrupt, and once they were going to visit any part of the province, they felt it means money for them.

 

Efren’s life is totally against any corruptions, and any subordinates of him that will molest people just to squeeze money, will trigger his anger, and he will initiate right away  an administrative investigations. He did it in his other assignments.

 

He had not yet visited his home place, and he knows that his brother is already married and has one child, and Bayani is the only one not yet married. But he wanted to see them. He heard that three of his classmates were already dead, because it was castigated by the NPA. And those who fought against them, were even abducted at night time, and in the morning, they will find it in banks of the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bayani, when he heard the news, was also very eager, knowing that the Officer is his brother, and it is also his pride before the folks there. It will add more spice to his courtship to one of the well known lass there. And his chances of winning Clara would also be enhanced. His brother Efren which is also a bachelor can also go with him

on his visitations. “Clara, will be surprise when we visit her. I am very much in love, and I think this the last card to ask her hands, being the classmate of Efren, he could help me court her”. He pondered it so deeply.

 

Chairman Pio, who is still the respected person in the village, announced to the people, the coming of Major Efren Duhaylunsod, an officer they acquired as a home grown kid.

 

On that Sunday Morning, in the village people start to trickle down in the church plaza because Fr. Joe Estrella will be coming to serve Mass, and also Thanksgiving for the coming of Efren. And Cefriano was already in the house of Chairman Pio, telling him that they have arrived. Efren, with Mario, and Bayani visited first the burial site of their Mom, and even their tiyoy Tasyo. He said to his siblings,” Let us just forget everything about them, they are out from this world, and it is up to our lord, to weigh about their deeds here. We are not in the right place to judge about them. Let the past bury its deeds.”

 

And they proceeded to the church area. People dressed very well, were there, and on his way, some could not hold their eagerness, elongate their neck just to have a clear vision of their village hero. He was smiling to all, and greeted almost everyone with his hard handshakes. Classmates hugged him, and some even showed tears in their eyes. Jesus, who was known to be a homo, became girlish when he hugged his classmate, because he even kissed him in the bosom. Cefriano also arrived and at this time he was with Elena, his sister. He was also very sweet to the folks there. And lastly, he goes closed to Efren and said, “Sir, this is my sister, Elena, she also wanted to see you”. Then they shook hands, a kiss on the cheek a very professional way of greetings. “I am very proud to see you today, Elena, maybe I could say, that I am very excited to see you, and everything is so fresh in my mind. That was more than ten years, but you are still pretty and I am still single, and what about you?” He teased very meaningfully. She interjected; “you are a joker, same as yesterday”

 

Then, the Mass started. At the Sermon, he heard the Priest saying in very suspicious words, “Now, that Major Duhaylungsod is here, the more this Village will become peaceful. All the villages surrounding here were already besieged by the famous commander Islag, and it is only this village, which the commander never tried to step in, why? Because this village are religious, devoted, and no one here is considered with questionable records.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the Mass, Chairman Pio requested Major Efren Duhaylungsod, to say some words. Efren walked to the Podium. Like a true military officer, He started with a courtesy smile, beamed to all the people around. And said; “I love this place, where we found progress; I love this place, because the people accept us as a brother, and a real friend. But most of all, I will never forget this place, because it is in this place my heart started to beat. If I am going to get married, the ceremony will be here, and the woman I should choose shall also from this place. This is gift to my mother who is buried here. Thank you so much, I love u”. The people even inside the church could not help but clapped in a very wild applause.

 

In the church garden was the location where foods were prepared. The one in charge there was Clara. When the folks were out of the church, she glanced Efren, and with no apparent hesitations she walked fast enough, and hugged Efren as if she saw an angel from heaven.  Then, all were seated, and the priest said some prayer. The folks started to eat.

 

After dinner, everyone stands up and sings “To dream the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe……..”

 

Sundown came, and the twilight started to engulf the evening. And out from nowhere, Pete came to see Efren. Bayani told him to come upstairs. At the couch “Fren, I congratulate you for your success. I would not hesitate to ask help from you. Because we were classmate, maybe you can help me, make Elena accept me as her betroth. I  really love her.” He said very courageously. Because the nature is too personal, he said, “Maybe, Ill talk to her first, and I will tell you the result”. “Fren, it is Ok with that and when are you going to tell her”.  “Maybe, tomorrow Pete”.

 

Pete was very happy, and while he was walking towards home, he passed by at Isang’s Carenderia, just to buy soft drinks. At the inside of the store, were two people, and both were not familiar. What is surprising was that, the two knew him. “ Pete, you can join with us. Just for a couple of beer”.  And he just answer with a smile, and courteously refused, “I am in a hurry, my mom, just asked me to buy drinks for her”. But away in the corner, he saw nang Isang, blinking her eyes. He knows that the meaning was to refuse the invitations. To protect the place, he went right away to Chairman Pio for information. And not to lose time, Chairman Pio called his Neighborhood Watch squads. Even in the night, the squad right away monitored the two unknown persons. And, Efren was also called upon. When every body was already in place, Efren was in the outside, Chairman Pio together with SPO 1 Cefriano, getting inside the store. They buy drinks too, and confronted the two people. “My friends, you are now late in the night, where are you from?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the bigger guy said, “We are from the town, and we came from Bukidnon, and we passed by and have a drinks. But maybe, we just leave early in the Morning. I am working in the Municipal hall as a Veterinary Assistant. And there was somebody in the mountain who requested us to come over. There was a sick carabao there and we treated.” And so Efren came over. And he said, “I remember you guys, you were the one who treated our carabao.” And the persons were Personnel of Dr. Paquibot. “I heard that you are here, and I wanted to see you too. Yu are an officer now, and I congratulate for that too.” “Thank you so much”.

 

At home, Bayani and Efren were very warm with each other. They talked on various topics, until such time he confessed that he is very much in love with Clara. But what is incongruous is that Clara’s response is so placating. She just wanted to douse water to his passion. Now, Bayani asked him to help him too. Although he has an eye on Clara, but by reason of respects, he just counts her out. Now, his intention is now on Elena.

 

Actually, he is on vacation for 1 week and this is his time to focus on that predicament.

After a good sleep for the whole night, he is now preparing himself, bath and refresh, and eats his morning meal. Cefriano barged in, bringing a Roasted chicken. “Sir, if you wanted to visit my sister, he is there at home. He stayed for a while, just to take his rest. Sure, she is not going back to school.”

 

With out delay, He was there at the home of Cefriano. Elena was very much excited when he saw Efren. “How was your night? You should have come here last night. I was waiting for you.” Started Elena. Efren who is cornered by the statement said, “ I was really thinking about that. But I don’t want also to bother you. You could be preparing a lesson for the next day.” Your stay here will be too short, and you should devote your time in seeing people, like me.”  Elena countered and continued, “Pete was here last night, and he was very frank about his feeling towards me. Just to be frank also to him, I told him to stop courting me anymore, by reason of, I don’t have such a feeling that I could cultivate into loving him.” So Efren heard it from her, and the logic was very clear, that Pete doesn’t have chances. She proceeded by saying, “I will be the most unlucky woman, if I will say yes to a wrong man.” After a while of conversation, and both of them showed so much satisfactions, Elena was now very excited to go back to school. “You efren, I had a hard headache this morning, and prompted me not to got school. Your visit made everything fine. Thanks for the visit.” And Efren was humiliated and he said, “I am here to see all my classmates, and foremost is also to see you.” And she snapped. “What about Clara?” Many before in their school days believed that He and Clara had already a love covenant. But the truth is that both were only close but not lovers. Efren left, and Elena went to school.

 

 

 

 

 

In his home, he was confused why his younger brother Bayani was not in the good mood. “What happen to you”?  He inquired. Bayani in his stuttering voice said, “ Clara was here. She was looking for you. But I told her, that you are soon about to be married, just to discourage her, but she was so very insistent. I felt depressed with that.” Efren in a very sympathetic approach told him, “ You, guy, should stretch a little bit your patient, I will tell her, that nobody in this world will ever love her like you do, and she has nothing to wait from me. My only request from her is to love you with all her heart,” Bayani couldn’t help but hugged Efren. That was the best words he ever heard from his brother. He is no longer suspicious.

 

After four days on his stay in his village, He was now planning, to visit the grave of his mother. He asked His two brothers, to go with him. And they were set up to visit the following day.

 

But the bad news interfered his stay because news came to him that Pete who was turned down by Elena, was missing. Chairman Pio went from house to house to inform the village. Many were puzzled, because the guy was very polite, courteous, and had no criminal records. Some speculates that he might be abducted by the NPA, but that is very remote. Efren struck into his mind, that Pete could have left the place because he was turned down, which is the nearest possibility. Many even suggested that they will have a procession and roamed around the long line of Bamboo trees, making a rumbling noise, just to make the enchanted angels, return the body and life of the missing Pete.

 

A group of men, who were fishing closer to the town, reported to Chairman Pio, that a corpse was seen floating. With no hustles, the village right away went to the place. Efren who was one of them, confirmed that it was Pete. The Medico Legal Officer was called, and also the chief of the town police. There were lots of crying, especially to the relatives and also two his friend.

 

Autopsy was done, and the medico-legal officer, who knew the presence of Efren, made a secret talk. And his tentative finding showed that the cadaver is not a victim of foul play. And he is almost sure, that it is suicide.

 

Grief again tightened the heart of the village. Even Elena could not believe it. But as the saying goes, Mortal has destiny  that will ever end.

 

 

 

 

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