Her name is Angelica. Angelica Liton.
I rarely hear Angelica’s voice while in a conversation with a classmate, except when she’d tell on someone. So when we went to his father and talk nonstop to her cousin (which was not really her cousin), I was surprised.
“Ang liit pala ng boses mo.”
Angelica just smiled.
“Ma’am bakit?” His father, who was a security guard in our school asked, “May problema po ba?”
“Wala po.” I replied.
He offered me a slice of pizza and a plastic of coke, which of course I refused at first but accepted afterwards since it was already there. At exactly six in the evening, we went out of the school.
Angelica’s father was saying something, but I wasn’t able to hear it because of the noise. The only thing that stuck to me was Angelica’s brother was stabbed ten times.
They had a computer shop wherein Angelica’s brother was there. I was surprised that he was much older than her, and there were only two of them.
“Ilang taon po yung tanda?”
“Sampu ho? Wow.”
“Pero itong isa gusto niya siya lang eh.”
“Paanong siya lang? Si Angelica?”
“Gusto niya mag-isa lang siyang anak.”
“Ilan po ba sila?” I asked, confused.
“Isa lang!” Angelica suddenly said.
Angelica was in a denial that she had a brother, but she knew he was her brother. I wanted to ask her why, but that would be saved for tomorrow.
I wanted to ask about her brother so much,but I started with Angelica.
“Si Angelica po sa school, masasabig kong ayos naman. Palasumbong. Sabi ko nga po bawasan ang pagsumbong tapos idaan sa pagrerecite.”
“Oo nga po mahilig talag ayan magsumbong.”
“Makakatawid naman po.”
“Buti naman po ma’am.”
“Ano ho ulit yung tungkol sa kuya niya?”
“Nasaksak po ng sampung beses. Buti nga po nabuhay pa eh. Tatlong beses yan naoperahan.”
“Yung dalawa, menor de edad pero pinakawalan din. Yung apat, yun yung nagtatago na.”
“Ano hong rason?”
“Ha?! Ganon na lang yun kadali?!”
I was mad, mad by the fact that people can take one’s life with no reason at all.
“Di rin ho talaga namin alam kung anong tunay na dahilan. Basta last year, February 13–”
“Valentines pa sa susunod.”
“Oo nga po. Eh nagpapasundo yung girlfriend niya. Tapos iyon. Anim po yung sumaksak sa kanya.”
He pointed the parts where his son was stabbed. He was stabbed near the heart, several times at the back, several times near the stomach, and on his leg.
I could not imagine the horror he went through.
“Tatlong beses ho yan naoperahan.” His father continued. “Yung isa okay, pero hindi makita kung saan yung naputol na ugat. Isan araw naligo siya tapos biglang bumukas. Buti hindi nabuksan yung pinto kundi patay na dahil sa dami ng dugo.”
My right palm was already on my mouth, shocked by what the brother had to experience. It was a miracle that he was saved from the attack, and then this one when he was operated three times.
“Nakulong po ba yung may gawa?”
“Yung dalawang menor de edad po pinakawalan din nila. Yung apat yung nagtago na.”
It scared me that the four who almost killed Angelica’s brother are wandering now in the streets…
“Grabe naman sila. Eh paano yan eh di hindi siya pumasok ng isang buong taon?”
“Oho. Akala ho nila kasi patay na yan eh.”
“Nagpaalam nga ho ako na kung pwede umabsent nung ooperahan yan. Kaso…”
Our conversation continued; in fact it lasted until seven in the evening, the longest conversation with a pernt so far.
But there would be people affected by this revelation… Hence, I’ll keep it private.
But… I was indeed so mad.
Mad that power could do so much.
Mad that power creates fear, and it is fear wherein we are controlled.
Mad that power could make the wrong right, and the right wrong.
Disgusted by the system that has been running for years.
Disgusted by power. Disgusted by the power who created fear among them.
Hopeful for change… Much hopeful than before.
Student number 53, check.