It should not have happened!
After the Estrada’s Proclamation, the Philippines had now their new president. And some who had followed the life of Estrada in his movies felt proud, because he was dubbed as the President for the majority Poor. His movies influenced the voting populace, believing that his role would be transformed into real. Although his predecessor was very careful and educated, the new president was known to be less educated but friendly. Only his closed circles knew that he is addicted to gambling, and never they knew that he is involved in an underground gambling agenda.
Bayani is already married, and what is new to the family is, Genaro wanted now to live in this village. He wanted to be close to his family. And what Estela found is a new home. They have developed rapport to the people already, and for a number of years, Genaro’s life in this village bear again another chapter.
Just a few kilometers away from their village center, is a known mini market area. And to those who had their money, out from the sell of their product, some would not go home; they just stayed awhile and have some chat with folks, drink tuba, and gamble with the known toss coins. But somewhere away from that area was a surrounding banana trees, and because of its bushy shadows no one can determine, that in it, were people waiting for the early darkness as the sunset fall. A group of fully armed young men was on aim to fire when the order will come. The group leader was always in communication and talking with somebody. You know, in a mini market, people tasted peace, and the enjoyment in their mind is something which they believed unending. Exactly, as the minute hand struck the 60th, it was already the so called angelus. As the bell rung all over, a sound of fires, rapidly devour the hush of the evening, and a cry of a baby, whose mother was also hit, reigned supreme. Manong Inggo, the owner of the small store, sprawled on the ground, lifeless, and others were hanged on fences. Fifteen people right away were declared dead.
People right away gathered the area, because the perpetrators were no longer around. The village folks hanged on post their petromax lamp and someone run fast to their Chairman, and the chairman received the information, He right away radioed the Chief of police about the occurrence. Was this the work again of Kumander Islag? That is always in the mind of the government side.
Genaro, who is new here, could not take the situation. Because he remembered his life in Negros, about his case, and now he is here and could not avoid the smell of turmoil. But he is here now, and his family is intact to countenance any aftermath. He is now much prepared, knowing that he has sons and mostly they are also married here. No way to go and back out. He said, “I have my steps already in some places, engraved ahead.”
Like wildfire, the news saturated the headlines. And for those who are religious, they believed that the Armageddon is now coming. And they called these callous trigger happy groups as anti Christ. Even child in the arms of a breastfeeding mother was shot, and to those who were asleep, prolong their sleep to death. After that, there was a great change in the village. At five in the afternoon, families were already home, and finished their supper. Their mind is now paranoid, anxious to what will happen next. Even the ring of their wall clock, sounds like a bell of warning. And kids, who were affected, just sleep underneath their bed, to ease their feeling of anguish. In short, the village is under the reign of terror. Chairman Pio stops momentarily their evening meeting. And most of the time they have it now during daytime.
In the provincial command, Efren again was designated as the trouble shooter. His memory of having a shoot out in the area was a reminder that he has to be cautious in going there. He will no longer inform somebody in going up to prevent detection.
All over the province, a cartographic picture was distributed about Kumander Islag, and with a tagged price of 100,000 pesos. But some discussion experts have their own thinking. Kumander Islag is just a false name, and no one among the groups has that kind of name. It might only be a name coined by the government agency. But the NPA rode only the wagon; just to deviate the true substance of the news. And true to all, most of the killings whether the culprit is unknown or known; the person which has a ready name for blame is Kumander Islag.
And even the Muslim perpetrators used the name whenever they carry out a genocide in a village. And so, the suspicion grows about that name, maybe it is just a concoction. Oppositions used this leverage against the military, and in every feat of triumphs, it was considered dubious.
The mountain villages were now caught by strings of anxiety, because if you are late at night in going home, many believes that you are dead or disappeared with no traces. Fiesta activities were only done during daytime, and the result is not so satisfying.
Efren in his home in the city is restless also to visit his love one in the province, but there are still mission for him to accomplish in another area.
In kalinan, Davao City on an August afternoon, at the base of Mt. Apo, Tourist assembled themselves for their task to climb, and they were housed closer to the place where some of nipa huts are situated. Although the place is surrounded with so many coconut trees, and its very fresh air, it did not view a good condition. Many of the folks there issued warnings, that there are shoeless people roaming around, and if they found out people who are still roaming or staying late at night, they will abduct it and maybe kill it with no apparent reason.
By the following morning, they were starting their journey, from one hill to the other, going up on side of a creek, overlooking over a beautiful scenery. Up and up, and away, they were already, on giant trees some are narra and are unknown, and the birds which is flying all over was not even concerned about the danger of the place. A sudden burst of gunfire halted them into hiding. And hooded men appeared. Some where tortured and salvaged, and the women where raped before they were killed. And to those who were with jewelries, they were robbed. Nobody was able to escape because the place was not familiar, and their guide man was no longer around.
This is another headache for Efren. He brought his company there, and coordinated with the chief of police to find out possible circumstance that he could get on the area. After thorough evaluation, they made their own focal investigations. Folks of various categories were asked, and the common answer is that it is the group of Kumander Islag, which is again the possible culprit. What puzzled him so much is that, this guy is operating not in one area alone. And he has done so much crimes of unbelievable proportion, and there is now a need that he should be stopped. But one thing he was in doubt is that, the crime was with robbery, rape, abductions and murder, which does not fit to the previous account of the group. This is unusual, and it could be an impostor, and just trying to blame their atrocity to Commander Islag. However, this idea which he had presented to his superior was not accepted. Now Efren is always in contact with the intelligence unit to find out any whereabouts of these groups. There were so many citing.
But every time they check it out, it was negative.
And he created his own intelligent networks, comprising of chosen baranggay police in different places of Davao. And at matalom, when he visited incognito, a person who had always visited their annexed village, told him, that in every second Sunday of the month, the rebels has a conference in a cave closer to the boundary with bukidnon. So, by the following morning, he disperses a group of intelligence, and at this time he include cefriano his brother in law. Cefriano has a direct info line to Efren, and in case there is need to go there right away, Cefriano had already the positive signs that the group is already there.
Before sundown on the following day, Cefriano and his group was already in the mountain village. Chairman Pio was very delighted because at this time, he smelled the restoration of peace in the village. Some of the folks now showed some signs of trust, and congregations of folks now go on stand by. His men were told to dress like civilians, so that they can merge with the public and talk to them.
And a small boy, who was herding his carabao, saw a group of young men, resting inside the huge bushy ypil-ypil plantations. Most of them were armed to the teeth. As a part of their concern, the boy informed immediately the Chairman. And when Cefriano got the information he text it right to the office of Efren. In reactions, Efren right away assembled his ready platoon, and rode his personnel carrier for a possible war in his home place.
Cefriano monitored the groups, even in the moonlight night, while they were also hiding a few meters away; he recognized that there was no longer movement around the area. However, he did not trust it, because life is precious and in one bullet the world of him will end. His group did not do anything, because Efren is coming, and it might be unripe to start the fire. And they want also that if the fight start, they are much in the upper hand.
But in the morning, Cefriano received a text from Efren, and both were already ready to start the skirmish. Cefriano crawled gradually closer to the place, lurking behind the giant root of an acacia tree. But suddenly, a swinging snake tried to strike him, but he was able to dodge away behind. Patrolman Pancho who was closer did not hesitate to fire his pistol and hit the beast in the head and died. With no reason at all, Cefriano fired rapidly the area in the bush, to prevent them from firing him. It was at this point; Efren arrived and spread around the bush, to settle the battle in one time. But nobody responded. Inside the area where they believed they were resting, was a small tunnel. During daytime you can not detect it because it was covered with leaves and twigs of Ypilypil.
Cefriano and Efren showed some sort of frustrations, but it was also triumph for cefriano, because he could have died or eaten by a snake had it not been the early assistance of his partner. But later, on their way to the center, Efren on his intuitions wanted to pass by at the Cemetery, and he wanted to visit it on his own.
But closer to the Grave of his mother, he saw a young man with a swinging armalite at his shoulder, but was putting a flower to his mother. “Hoy! Put it down, Put it down, this is police.” He shouted. But the boy attempted to run away, that was the reason, that he was force to shot him many times. Cefriano run to the Cemetery, to find out, and he saw the young boy, soaked with so much blood. He was alive, but Efren maybe out of his mind, he finished it with another bullet. But Cefriano still tried to resuscitate it, but everything was of no avail. They covered it with blanket, while waiting for the Forensic expert to examine it. Upon hearing, the mayor of the town requested the NBI Davao, to make his own probe too. Later in the afternoon, the two agencies coordinated, took some picture, and made autopsy. Nobody knew the teen, and it was just name as an unknown Joe, or probably Kumander Islag. By the following day, the news all over the country carried it in the headline that commander Islag is already dead, and it was Major Duhaylunsod, handily killed it inside the Cemetery. Some are excited, but they never know that a lot of people were very suspicious, because the boy who was shot has some reminiscing tales of good quality, rather than the antonyms. Some saw him helping a drowning lady in the river. Some remember him as the one that lead in the fighting against the group that killed many in the other village. And it was this boy who help protected a store being ransacked by a paramilitary unit, who were presumed deserters. And even Chairman Pio was a bit distraught, because he talked to him many times, and said about him very decently.
The forensic experts found in his pocket a note that said, “If ever they will kill me, let the world know that the Kumander islag they are looking for is not me.” In his home, Efren and Genaro were talking. “Efren, if you believe that he is Kumander Islag, then, what is his real name?” “That I don’t know”. Was his reply.
The Philippine National Police through the Provincial Commander handed to him the Presidential Medal of Valor for the job well done. This is something that can give him more boast to get other promotions. Elena was very happy, but very anxious too, that his husband has killed one soul.
A week after, there was peace and the misconception were only temporary. In his office, the identity of the boy was now starting to surface. It was shown that big mole at the side of the thigh is very consistent, to a boy which was lost almost twenty years ago. And the place was in Kapalong. Efren was informed about it. In his office he was walking or pacing aimlessly, because he could not accept it that it was his brother he ever shot. Ninoy was his brother and was lost for almost twenty years already. Every night, he could not sleep, and sometimes, he hold his medals and throws it many times in the wall.
Because of his anxiety, he requested the NBI to try a DNA test. And he submitted his blood too, just to find out the identity of the boy. The Boy is still in the morgue waiting for the next of kin to claim it. Genaro, not because that he felt he is the next of kin, tried to ask the chief, so that if they ever released it to him, they will give him a decent burial. But he was refused.
Efren notified his family, about the mole in the thigh which was the identifying mark of the corpse. And Genaro, the father told efren, “Ninoy has a mole too on that part”. In his Cell phone, Efren cried because the result of the DNA test showed that the boy he killed is match to him, and it was Ninoy who was lost, and was shot to death by him.
With all the available data now in their hands, the family of Efren went to the morgue, and claimed his lost brother. Everybody was crying. No one can fathom the emotional devastation affecting the family.
The family, who never lost hope of finding their lost love one, founded in the end not in joy, but in sorrow, as they buried a wanted child who was gone without traces but leave an indelible mark to the community. Truly, he was not the Commander Islag, they were looking for.
A lesson that will never be erased in the memory of the people