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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chapter 1 - The Conspiracy

Chapter 1

The Conspiracy

          Driarco had probably short of two hours sleep. Must had been tired because of overwhelming work in his parish.  Jolted by the ringing of telephone on the desk by his side, he was forced to rise from his deep slumber.  Putting  the light of lampshade on while rubbing his eyes clearing some specks out from their sockets, he saw it was still barely twenty five minutes before midnight on his wristwatch. The soft tone and resonant voice on the line was very familiar to him.  It was his mother Illa Crispe.  But what urgent message she had that ungodly hour, the thought taking him aback listening her voice on the telephone.
                  “Sorry son disturbing and waking you up,” she said pausing setting the tone of her ultimate message  to calm his nerve down on the other end.
                  “Yes mom, what’s up?” Driarco retorted knowing something ominous incident  happened back home gauging from her  choppy, stammering , tentative and shaking voice.
Taking deep bated breath and mustering enough courage after  regaining her composure, she finally spilled the sad news.
                  “Dead! Yes, your father is dead . . .!” Brief deafening silence ensued as if hell break loose from an unexpected impact sending shiver down his spine.
                  “Excuse me and I’m sorry. Come again please. . . , “he snapped back protesting emphasizing each word begging the question in disbelief, aghast even before the message sank  deeper into his subconscious  sending fear and trembling  all over from the top all the way down  his spine.  Like scalpel, it cut into his very deep recesses the echo of the message blowing right before his face catching him off guard.
                  “He’s gone five hours ago after attending physicians declared D.O.A. Reviving  him back to life was futile,” she reiterated  holding back her tears, the tone of her voice  tearing his spirit into bits and pieces away.
                  Silence was deafening. The impact of the sad news registered too strong decibel for Driarco’s ear. Lost finding appropriate words of comfort and empathy for her son, she just waited for his corresponding response.  But there was none coming from  Driarco save for deep sigh of disbelief on the other end panting as if catching  last breath.
                  “What a breaking news of all stories in the middle of the night yet,” he thought griping. He was right  heartrending news construed from her calculated statement, something must be wrong on her message.  Knowing  the incident involving his father made the whole thing doubly outrageous.  But what could he do, he was merely in the receiving end.
                  “Isn’t it that life is full of surprises anyway? Some like manna are sent from heaven.  All you have to do is just  pick them up, take and enjoy them with joyful hearts with great thanksgiving; the rest, beautifully packaged  items and stuff. All you need tost do is  open it first  requiring you shared with other s later.”
                   Ironically, today’s gift was practically incomprehensible to Driarco. “ Sick joke, no  less pure and simple,” the idea sticking in his mind disappointed how far evil  inflicted damage to an innocent man.. 
                  “God must be crazy,” he thought with reservation as he heaved sigh of deep bated breath  relieved feeling left in the cold of the dark.
                  “ Giving away his father’s body in a casket! What a metaphor,” he pondered!
                   Holding on to his sanity, he mustered enough strength to be real and  patient.
                  “Death after all is celebration of life. We have to die to live again.  It’s a special growth taking place in man’s life and there’s just no way  postponing it.  The only catch is, you don’t recognize it until you experienced it yourself or party to the deceased,” the thought from reflection of the subject coming out like globules from his palm appeared.
                  “But what difference it makes? We’re all mortal in the first place. It’s just a matter of time when it would come.  Death maybe now or later.  It’s fair game excluding none and indeed great life’s leveler like tax,” the thought engrossed him.
                  “That makes passing away mere transition, beautiful journey towards fulfillment  finally meeting  God face to face,” reminded his subconscious..
                   “Great and no problem for such stage ending its natural destination.  But not when it happens out of the blue. Worst still  death rammed down  unexpectedly shrouded yet in mystery,” the notion registered in his mind   protesting  the shocking news over his father’s death.
                  Like any ordinary mortals, Driarco didn’t have any foreboding it was coming that way; let alone, fast, expecting such frightening news knowing his father’s Ora et labora – “Just do right and make  things  happen - .  Stay in the middle when in doubt because that’s where virtue lies. Don’t touch any livewires for they will in the end would  electrocute you – and no nonsense ‘Take everything with moderation lifestyle,’” the reason he extended his vitality that far to his over ripe mature age of sixty five still very strong and healthy. Unfortunately,  death snuffing his life out that night spoiled what otherwise would have been his rare and best chance of enjoying life to the fullest with his family.
                  “Who did  this must have very important and urgent reason knowing  his father had no perceived enemies,” his violent reaction for the first time feeling the heat of the incident facing the blank wall.
                  “Life is not ours to spend nor cherish. It’s God’s.  We are just here to share His love to each one,” he recalled vividly his father’s advice imbuing him greater sense of purpose and understanding the immediacy of time. 
                  “We are living on borrowed time Driarco! Do what you can accomplish today. Do not procrastinate!” the timeless instruction he would forever remember. He would definitely have that epitaph embossed on his exquisite tombstone, his own way of returning the compliment and gesture of gratitude back to his father for such didactic wisdom instilled in his heart.
                  “Lord God bless his soul. Make it whiter than snow.  We commend that You accept his soul as token of his sacrifice and our humble offering the way You did when Your Son expired on the cross dying for our sins in Calvary,” he finally come into his senses breaking his long silence on the phone with silvery tears now falling freely from his eyes on  to the cheek touching gently his whiskers  flowing down. The words were sincere and earnest, full of entreaty coming only from the heart of a religious convert.
                  “Amen, amen and amen,” Illa Crispe  intoned at the other end before his thoughts played around some nasty stories feeding his curiosity..

. . . . . . . . . . .
                  Cerebral death, he qualified was the cause of  Clioneo’s untimely death.  That after relating how in five straight long hours, his brain didn’t register any semblance of activity  shown in an Electrocephalogram administered by attending physicians after he was brought  by friends to a government hospital.
                  “Cardiac arrest before passing away is the clearer and most logical explanation then,” Driarco concluded listening the graphic narrative reconstruction of the incident – rare drinking spree with friends spiced up with songs, humor, anecdotes  and stories. No questions whatsoever until they called it a night at nine thirty before separating their ways probably leaving the poor Nong Clioneo on his seat where he perhaps caught his last  breath. 
                  Or who knows the Grim Reaper striking under cover of darkness with stillness of the night as mute witness did the favor harvesting him  while on his way home. 
                  “But there were no indications of foul play,” he learned from his mother, an idea further aggravating his confusion on the issue all the more.
                  “Strange and incredibly even more than fiction,”  he  uttered summarizing thus far the event surrounding the circumstances. 
                  “Clearly constituting legal death then in jurisprudence,” he further ventured without any slightest hint surrounding  his father’s mysterious death.
                  “Any conduct of post mortem . . . ?” explored Driarco taking aback her mother.
                  “Pardon me . . . !” she retorted.
                  “I’m sorry.  I mean I got your point and that explains everything,” he rectified  avoiding pricking her innocence and securing her from any untoward complications given her fragile health his unfounded theory might cause and drag her into. Some other time maybe when all is set after an inquest have been conducted to get into the bottom of the incident.  Besides there’s that time-tested tradition of honoring the dead first whose premium over other practices has been religiously observed  and followed to the letter over the decades.
                  “There’s definitely time for everything as there is time for every season.  For now it’s the moment to grieve and remain silent unless you wish to be cursed,” his reflection on the matter taught him respecting time honored and tested tradition.
                  “Be sure then to catch the first flight tomorrow so you can hug your father first before others would do,” she reminded.
                  “Yes please before you put him in the casket,” he requested.
                  “God bless then! Take care and I love you son,” she ended the telephone set back in its cradle.
                  Must had been too long talking with his mother. This he  realized feeling  emotionally drained  tears continuously  dropping profusely again. This Illa Crispe  didn’t actually mind listening at all. Even if it takes hours if only to show she is there, ready listening  showing empathy to his son. What more if in darkest hour of their  journey, it would not matter to her.
. . . . . . . . . . .

                  What a revelation it has been making his day, Driarco thought dropping back on his bed forcibly dozing off for needed  rest. But he didn’t.  Fixing his gaze to the ceiling, various images played on his mind but can’t exactly figure out what precisely happened and who could have done  it.  With consoling thought  the devil  perpetrating his death would soon be confused and have his day full  coming back home finally lulled him to sleep. So be it, the wall clock agreed as it strike exactly twelve o’ clock midnight.
                  It was so far the longest night for Driarco and wished that he would not wake up the rest of the day. But he was forced to rise  eventually before an alarm clock whistled time is up.  How could he afford sleeping anyway with his head reeling over the incident. Wasting no time, he hurriedly packed his things up checking all important documents   secured before dumping them at the back seat of  his Colorado 4X4 pick-up Chevrolet.
                  Handing his personal letter to his superior through his ever loyal driver Nilo, he finally bid adieu  St. Peter Church, his first ever parish assignment at suburbs in Kaohsiung.
Soon he passed by Taichung maybe halfway before reaching Taipei’s airport. Along the road were beautiful sceneries from vast track and verdant rice fields to agricultural industries like piggery and poultry, beautiful bridges, colorful Cinderella like palaces, pagodas atop mountains. The cold breeze caressing his face  provided him peace and contentment as his car negotiating the well-paved national road
                   “Two hours more and  I’d be at Taipei, ” the thought playing on his mind excited albeit  in quandary how to cope up  accepting  reality of  his father’s death when he arrived more.              
. . . . . . .  . . . . .

                  Taiwan actually is smaller than Mindanao in area. Going there is roughly one hour and forty five minutes from Manila to Taipei just like Cagayan de Oro Manila route. How it has metamorphosed into an advanced Tiger Economy on 1986 catching up defanging and leaving behind Japan, South Korea and other Tiger Economies few decades  later  is one of the record. The country is  so rich natural resources explored  making its economy one of the best in world leaving behind other developed countries have including Mainland China, its erstwhile tormentor and nemesis forcibly driving then Gen. Chiang Kai-shek out from the mainland by the marauding Red Army of Mao Tse-tung in 1948 to then Formosa re-christened  Taiwan or Republic of China later. Yes it’s ironic that Taiwan can still afford claiming that theirs is the legitimate seat of power and   mainland China is merely their satellite.
                  Globalization however would soon catapult other Asian cities into greatness.  Singapore is one registering in the world’s map as an aggressive economic giant under able and aggressive leadership of Lee Kuan Hew  as the most successful beneficiary in 1986. China is another power  house foisting to topple USA as number one world economic power by 2015.
 Gone were the days of the role of Big Brothers and corporation in George Orwell of “1984” and “Animal Farm” fame. So with Alduous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” These three countries were surely etching their way towards  economic dominance. This gauging from their vibrant economies spilling their market  all over.
                  It was really  never the same again after Taiwan set blistering pace developing its economy  carving  a niche as one of the  world’s best and fastest. Their foreign reserve is just too high indicating how  to spend away  not how to earn their money giving them the problem. It’s the premium they have reaped  after investing so much with all their resources. But it was not all easy specially after US through Gen. Douglas Mc Arthur provided them windfall of financial assistance rebuilding and  rehabilitating their tattered  economy brought about by  chaos and destruction of  war. But known for their celebrated work ethics they literally rose up from the grave and after taking everything in stride with no non-sense approach for development, is now enjoying all the best world could offer sending their children to best schools  in Europe and US. 
                  But how exactly they did it is what   Fr. Driarco likes best.
                  First no non-sense Agrarian Reform starting with land consolidation and titling.  Sorry but definitely no Stock-Distribution-Option scheme or any subtle insertion of partial agrarian reform clause favoring the oligarchs characterizing implementation of agrarian reform in the Philippines. Farmers were given directly the land they could manage mostly one hectare but not over  three hectares. Implementation was strictly monitored. Those doing monkey business have their faces splashed the following day in newspapers of general circulations. The reason is how could they afford paying their commitment to US if they are not doing  their homework right.  All is told, Taiwan would soon become successful becoming the Mecca of Agrarian Reform where people all over the world  studied how they did it and hopefully replicating the program in their respective countries. This Driarco learned as one  participant to 54th Regular Session of Agrarian Reform and Rural Development earlier among others from 26 other countries worldwide imbuing him greater sense of understanding how and what it takes to have sure-fire booming agrarian reform program.
                  Absolutely no incidence of poverty as the government  uses all available lands there is for agricultural development.  Thus from Taipei all the way to Kaohsiung, farmlands are seen all over. There’s just no vacant spaces as farms were developed side by side with big and tall skyscrapers. Yes in villages, towns and cities! No mercy that rice paddies are even seen along  the left and right portion of the bridges serving  as movable feast in Driarco’s eyes passing  by.
              Ironically, Taiwan is situated in a typhoon belt area. Yet they have shown they could manage. How? By simply consolidating first the area – uprooting undesirable materials before putting top soil and planting rice and then constructing huge concrete like drums octopuses  serving as water breaker. The result vast track of lands are secured for good harvest as water simply cascading all the way to catching basin before flooded  back to sea without ever destroying beautifully crafted rice fields along the bridges.   Twenty four hours economy,  no traffic jam, effective tax collection – name it and Taiwan is showing how to manage them all for the benefits of tax payers. And here’s what every government employee could  wished for happening to them but don’t at the end of each payday. Forty five percent of their salary is saved no matter how much they spent! Simply amazing. Yes indeed but they did it their own way.
                  “That we have so much resources than Taiwan and yet have not fully exploited them is the irony. True indeed that ours is far fertile island but how appalling that we have not developed them,” the thought lingering on his mind.
                  ”It’s because we need men and women who have fertile hearts and  minds to make them productive. Wasted opportunity translated to bad politics. That is the real culprit back there at home,”  Driarco considered as he boarded  Taiwan’s 300 Airbus for Manila.
. . . . . . . . . .


  1. Nice piece for All Soul's Day.Must read for those who believe that death is merely a celebration of life!

  2. Nice must read here for this who believe that death is beautiful and celebration of life.