During our editorial summit break last week in Manila, my officemate and I were talking about the car that my sister and I bought for our father, and she said something like they must be lucky to have us as daughters, and I didn’t know how to respond to that so I just said with all honesty that I always think that they don’t have much time on Earth so… well, she laughed at this, and I tried reviewing what I said, then I thought, it must’ve come off as melodramatic, so I explained that death really bothers me.
That was when Lea, another officemate, said “Breaking news! A body of a girl was found in Batong Malake (Los Baños). Possibly raped.” We were all quiet. That’s the unpredictability and proximity of death I was talking about.
This weekend, my mother was about to go to Divisoria when I asked her to buy me a plain white shirt. She looked puzzled because I would normally ask for a flowery dress or an office blazer, but not a boring white shirt. She repeated my request, white shirt? Opo, I said, plain white shirt… I don’t have a white shirt.
The next day, a 19-year old Agriculture student of UPLB was stabbed to death, and this outraged the entire community because of the series of murders and other sick crimes in the area (where I, by the way, work most of the time). An indignation rally was announced. Everybody’s requested to wear white shirt. So today, I’m wearing it.
Truth be told, I haven’t forgotten about Given–a former student of mine who was raped and murdered last year, and whose body was dumped near where I work (IRRI). I cried my heart out when I blogged about it 5 months ago. Whenever I return to Los Baños, I think about her and wonder, who else remembers the crime committed not only to her but to the entire community. There was an interesting blog I read few days ago, lamenting why UP students are not giving the same attention we gave Given, to the murdered highschool student last week. She raised an interesting question: does it have to be a UP student before we put up an indignation rally or post FB statuses condemning the crime? Nature’s awful joke, a UP student did get murdered.
Most curious coincidence by far was, Given and Ray (the murdered Agri student) belong to the same town, and their mothers are co-teachers in the same school.
All must note, however, that it is not a fucking coincidence that all these happened in Mayor Ton Genuino’s time. Looks like this is the price that Los Baños has to pay for allowing a total stranger to Makiling Land take over our beloved community. This is the price we have to pay for not doing anything about the reports of bus loads of flying voters from Makati just so he could win. This is the price we have to pay for letting urbanization creep in like a menace in this once quiet town by the mountain.
If somebody asks again, “What’s happening to elbi?” we know for sure that it’s not coincidence.
And, oh, somebody needs to resign, if not do an Angelo Reyes.