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Friday, November 9, 2012

Chapter 19 - Homecoming


Chapter 19
Homecoming

             
     Abundance of spiritual bouquet,  wreaths with sympathy cards lining  up from  their sala to receiving room where his father’s casket lays were pronounced  when Lt. Taklin de la Rosa regal in his military uniform dropped from military jeep.  Huddle was momentarily stopped by the supporters giving time for Taklin to met his father now inside the wooden casket. For the first time after many years, silvery tears flowed down from his sunken socket gazing the disfigure face of his tatay. Uttering thrice ‘Into your hands Oh Lord we commend his spirit’ then make his soul whiter than snow’ is all what he could muster from his troubled heart. Sitting nearer his mother, he wonders if the rest of the family were informed by Bernabe of the real incident. 
            “This is the time of mourning not of inquiry,” he reminded again himself.
Perhaps some other time after the dead body is finally laid to rest. He also thought that maybe he’s the last person left uninformed of the story his mother and the rest of the family being adamant in divulging the news thinking aloud that uncalled for chaos might surface during the wake. That would not do any good, he thought or so. In reality though, it was the other way around. Neither his mother and all other members of the family have any inkling of the real incident. Save for Danny.
          “I’m sorry son your Tatay left without leaving us a word,” Nanay Elsa breaks the news to Taklin.
          “No need to do that I suppose. His life himself is a testimony of his total personality. He is, in the gospel sense, a living word, a living witness to the world.”
Calm registered on the face of Nanay Elsa hearing his good son speak.
          “Mang Tonio up there would be happy for the praises given by his son,” she thought. It’s for the moment she could managed as she is not disposed speaking more.
          “I think Nanay what you need is enough rest to provide you extra adrenalin lost these past few days. I just want to be sure you would not be physically and emotionally drained comes the burial of Tatay on Friday. Okay?”
          Nay Elsa just nodded.
          “I’d like to speak to  Bernabe please,” said Lt. de la Rosa leaving  after planting a kiss on her forehead. Fidgeting Bernabe sitting nearby, they went inside the room. Door closed.
          “What’s up,” Taklin ventured.
          “I counted the alcohol reading from Tatay’s blood taken by Jun, newly assigned medico-legal in this municipality who conducted the autopsy. It’s only 5-8% alcohol count bro. That means he was in complete control of himself that evening and there’s just no statistical probability that he could slipped his right foot down on that cliff as alleged. Or translated in layman’s street parlance, that measly 5-8% alcohol reading for a driver would not in a way blurred his vision or slow down his nerve and reflexes to commit slightest mistake like bumping or hitting another vehicle let alone running over a pedestrian crossing dead.”
          “Did you kiss him. . . . I mean checking his mustache to find out if there were some foreign residues left indicating miracle forcibly administered to him . . . .”
          “No need I suppose for I took sampling of Dad’s oxygen. .  . .”
          “You forced Dad’s stomach inducing to vomit . . . .”
          “Yap by pressing his belly with my two hands and through his mouth pass salty water mixed with marca demoño and some foodstuff he ate that evening. However, the findings of Dr. Ramos who conducted the autopsy was irreversibly still in  negative.”
          “How was it done?”
          “Not sure if you heard a certain gadget used in identifying the origin or a tag or label – if you wish – of certain item like cigarette. By subjecting the smoke alone, the kind of cigarette used would be identified one hundred percent.”
          “Quiet sophisticated.”
          “In our  country, right. But not in United States. This gadget is common item there specially among physicians who are working sensitive position like a medical doctor in FBI.”
          “How about the body from his vital and tender flesh toenails to the head.”
          “As already said, Jun’s findings were in negative and it’s official. Dislocation of three ribs from the torso, legs broken, abrasion, contusion, concussion of the upper breadbasket, the head included.”
          “So as learned from Jojo, Dad was really a bloody mess.”
          Bernabe  nodded.
          “Was there any other indication showing any foul play before he fell down to his death from that ravine like neck broken  before throwing him away to the sea, anything of that sort?”
          “Well Dad’s body serves as physical evidence and so far from the investigation, medico-legal’s findings do not prove otherwise.”
          Taklin fixes his gaze down to the floor, his index finger playing his lap. “Fine. Just fine. I just want to be sure what their official results are. Now for the final question. Having been briefed by Jojo himself of the incident, do you believe in all what their findings are?”
          Bernabe was stunned. Blood came rushing on his check nodding.
          “Great. It’s time we should also make ours bro. Jojo’s recount is an excellent lead. Do you think so?”
          Bernabe managed only to smile. “What do you mean? Another inquest.”
          “Yes, minus the opposing party. If need be, we should conduct the autopsy ourselves. That would be a good parting gesture of love to Tatay.
          “Again,” Bernabe whined.
          “Yes. Why not. But not now but on the 46th. Don’t tell me you are retracting your alcohol reading and your own findings of what was inside Tatay’s belly. That does not seem weird to you?”
          “I suppose so. And what do we intend to do next?”
Lifting his forefinger upward, Taklin enthuses. “Just like these. First, be sure to add more formalin to Tatay’s body. Normally a gallon of formalin is only good for three days. That  means we need twelve or thirteen gallon for six weeks. Just be sure that we don’t run out of supply.”
          “Then what’s next?”
          “I already negotiated Dr. Flores for possible burial outside the cemetery maybe in the farm or behind our house. If South Koreans and Chinese respect that practice why could not we when our farms are so vast after all. This could be possible if there would be no hitch from Mr. Flores who might be tipped by the Mayor not to accede to our request.”
          “If there’s no way, health officer of the province might not give clearance for health reasons. . .”
          “But Tatay remember Bernabe did not die of serious illness. We should exert effort to get the desired result. You see I don’t think we could afford spoiling our own inquest this early. Get what I mean?”
          “So number three is how!”
          Without waiting for response, he continued.
          “Any normal burial at the municipal cemetery but be sure to supervise the construction of a chapel. Don’t forget too that cement mixing at the rear should be such that it is very easy to break for the retrieval of Tatay’s body later.”
          Bernabe practiced recalling the first two item just said while his ear was on Taklin. Thirteen gallon of formalin for six weeks and possible burial in the farm. Number three, any ordinary burial in municipal cemetery.
          “Remember. Let us not commit any slightest mistake that would provoke suspicion from dirty pigs. Having done that, all the rest would follow suit. Did you get that?”
Observing Bernabe carried away and not responding, Taklin disturbs,
          “Excuse me. Are you still here. . .”
          “Yes, I got them.”
          “But that is only plan A, a conservative one,” Taklin continued after the brief pause.
Bernabe was startled. There’s blood flushing into his face.
          “So what you’ve got for your plan B?”
          “Plan B is just an execution of Plan A right after the burial of Tatay. And the best time to do that is dawn when the angels are still asleep. Men are not only sleeping by then but also their spirits inebriated from the power of marca demoño.”
          “Good – but I’m not sure if we could execute that to the letter,” Danny questioned.
          “Why not. Precisely we have to invest so much quality time and maybe enough resources. If we would pursue such plan, take charge in the preparation of the area for our own post mortem. Cemetery guard should be out at least during that night only. Ditto with the rest of the  men. Now tell me do you think you could handle this?”
          “Sure,” Bernabe thought after all even God needs rest.
          “But how?” Bernabe tried to grapple the problem.
          “There’s only one way – offering heavy drink to Colas, the undertaker and surreptitiously mixed with three or four valium. He could take the risks, why not.”
          “I myself would take charge of the physical cover.”
Finally, it was tacitly agreed that plan B would be the priority. Three days left to execute the plan, the two thought it could be manageable. Hugging each other, they called it a  night.
          “Mind you Bernabe, we would not fail. God is with us. He never allows you know the Devil  imposing his influence to God fearing people of Sta. Rita.”
          “So be it,” Bernabe hushed it to the ear of Taklin.
          Digressing from the issue, Bernabe asked: “How about Jojo?”
          “No need to worry. He’s safe and fine at St. John the Baptist Monastery. I’ve got some friends there. And it’s the safest place one could find in town. Don’t divulge this to his mother. Just inform his mother that only after this crazy war against the Powers-that-be over.”
          “A deal again.”
          “Okey, a deal. Tatay is also making his deal with us. Remember his oft-repeated words – golden rule. Don’t do unto others what others would like to do unto you. This is the time to confuse devil if not totally wiping him out from the face of this municipality. ‘Cause if they have done this to Tatay then there’s no guarantee they would not be doing the same to all good men in this community giving indescribable suffering to the family left,” Taklin emphasized.
          Coming out from the room with Bernabe, he was met by Col. Joselito Ludemir and some friends. “Our condolence to you Taklin. It’s God’s way that we have to pass this way. It’s rare opportunity in fact to die where we have to go back to mother earth and our soul back to God who created us.”
          Taklin executed required snappy hand salute before acknowledging the sympathy given by the prince of peace  and order of the province.” Many thanks Sir. I hope that he is  now resting beside God.”
          “A man of peace like him, he does.”
Taklin also acknowledged the presence of other sympathizers that night  and that includes some of           Mayor Torres’ men who posted like deep penetration agents all throughout the vigil. Bernabe learned that they have been attending the vigil since his Tatay’s death few days ago. Bernabe just kept his cool not bothering some suspicion heard surrounding Mang Tonio’s death.
The vigil fellowship started. An elderly  leads the evening prayer calling the gathering the celebration of life. “For it’s through death that we see life,” Taklin remembers the leader saying; the rest of the message was blurred by the savage destruction and mangling of his father by whoever who might have done it.
          “Even if Tatay survives the ordeal, he would still be consigned to wheelchair forever  given the  injuries he had,” Taklin believed.
          “It’s clear conspiracy with the killing done in cold blood in the guise of drinking spree yet.”           This time he thought of the possibility of his Tatay folding like marshmallow and fell to the bedrocks after his neck was squeezed broken by the perpetrators of crime was playing in his mind. A very big possibility after seeing the bulk of those men right before him. This nagging issue would definitely be answered few days from now. With Friday coming, two days more left, he feels impatient for the first time.
          Meanwhile, the evening prayer just ended with a soulful rendition of “I Will Never Forget You My People” taken from the book of Isaiah by the parish choir.
          “I’ll go ahead, I have other urgent things to do Taklin. There will be Executive Officer’s meeting next week in Manila so I want to be sure I have something to ask. If you have any urgent matters for me, see me before Monday next week. I’ll be leaving then for Manila to attend the scheduled conference,” Bishop Valdez said bidding goodbye.
          There was an impulse on Lt. Taklin to talk with the high ranking officer  being the highest authority representing the military in the province but the thought of spoiling his tatay’s  rest and the impact it would create dampens his enthusiasm.
“ I haven’t even settled the fundamental issue of how  the killing was done. Some other time maybe. Part also of his reservation is the unpredictability of some military officers  playing sometimes with politics at the government expense. For how would you account military hardware from bullets to high-power firearms ending into the hands of the rebels?“ the asked.
          “In case you’ve found men in uniform committing error, don’t tell that directly to them. They are only humans and they too err. Please tell that problems directly to me before the media would blow the issue out of proportion,”  he remembers from one of the instruction from the higher officials many years back in the same way he learns when he was a sacristan instructed not rocking the church and its priests there who might have erred in their lives.
          “Tell his sins directly to God as they are only humans.”
          “No wonder that theology of liberation unlike in Latin America where the progressive doctrine was made and practiced was concocted in papers only in the Philippines. It  never thrives nor finds itself translated into praxis in the field. Cardinal Sin himself would later say that Civil War could be the worst punishment from God,” he learned.
           “But did he not ever know that civil war is on,” a writer would later answer addressing the issue  in one National Daily.
          “We can’t just philosophize it. The fact is, the country is bleeding from a war between Filipinos – men of the same race, color, nation and what have you – the paper further said.,” he recalled.
           “What shall we do on Friday son?” his mother asks taking him back from his meditation.
          “As planned, we’ll follow what has been programmed until Tatay is laid to rest. Other things would be treated one at a time when they come, that would be after the 46th. Excuse me. I mean let’s observe the day of mourning until he is laid to his final resting place,” he snapped easily restoring back the confidence of his mother.
          It was getting late. The people as usual were busy in their huddle. On the right side, people were playing cards. As he walks in, they were a bit ashamed seeing Lieutenant Taklin de la Rosa construing his religious background in the Seminary.
           “Good evening Lt.,” one player uttered.
          “No problem folks. You may play cards ‘till daybreak. No problem,” Taklin responded.
          Gambling during wake has been part of culture among people in the country.  The professional ones in Manila would even hire a cadaver from Funeral Parlor just to entice people gambling and they reaping handsome dividend. Thus even he abhors the practice, he can’t just stop them instead just remain lenient as he could not legislate a ‘no gambling’ night to the visitors many of whom came purposely to play. And that’s what the perceived enemies whoever they are did and since day one of  the wake. Unknown for these people,  Taklin have them caught in a CCTV Camera secured over them.
          Reading various sympathy cards “Our deepest sympathy!” all over relieved him the heavy load and burden somehow. And as usual the size of the wreath personifies the identity of the sender. And nothing beats among those send by the Mayor and other politicians.
           Deep inside, he was elated that flowers were offered by friends around. They come by bunch replacing those that already get thawed. To his amazement, he learned that it was actually Mayor’s men who facilitated arrangement of the wreaths and spiritual bouquet what with many coming in.
Among the rest however, one spiritual bouquet with short poem took his interest. It’s from his bosom friend who was once his batch mate in high school at Sta. Rita and classmate in the Seminary but unlike him which followed other path, continued threading the path of the Lord towards Calvary.“The heavier the cross, the more the Christ-like the journey,” he would recall remembering this maxim sent to him. Reading and picking up therefore his wisdom for the occasion is another visit to  the window of his soul:

To A Friend
Why grieve over  the loss of dear one.
Be brave, he just went ahead
to a place we will all tread
Life is not ours to spend nor cherish.
It’s God’s
We’re here  living to share His love
to each one.
My deepest condolence!”

          “Great poem indeed though couched in very simple language,” he said appreciating his friend oozing with talent at the same time folding the sympathy card into his portfolio. Taklin smiled a bit learning the sender of that short poem. It was Fr. Driarco, his once a upon a time bosom friend possible ally for peace and development  of Sta. Rita whom he has not heard of after they went each other’s separate way he answering another calling serving the military.
          “I don’t grieve over his death but on how he was mangled by those who inflicted  the damage,” the Lt. said in silence, a fact his dear friend not privy about.
          “Not at all; we’re all passing mortals anyway,” he justified that thought
Realizing the many wreaths lining and  mass cards on top of  coffin somehow awakened him how people from different persuasions and walks of life loved his father.
          “So, this is how it looks like  when you become now a military officer specially coming from prestigious institution like PMA,” he thought as people extended their heartfelt condolences.  
          “Thanks but no way digressing from my focus – that is looking into the bottom of his death,” Taklin  thought  physically drained as he had only three hours of sleep the other  night.
He was elated that implementation works as planned his men in full throttle  working the completion of  chapel for his father’s mausoleum.
          “Why not? To remind people to search for honorable, just, lasting and ideal his father represents.”
           A chapel and a room behind would be fine. That would facilitate his own post mortem inquest. It’s crazy thinking of an impulsive plan but there’s no other way out but to do it if only to give justice to his father.  What a pattern how the killing was delivered clean in conspiracy. His father were as close as brothers with Mang Clineo who suffered  familiar mysterious fate.  Not only that the pattern of killing with the rest were identical – shot in the head and or killed sweetly with pointed object planted in the cranium – brutal but done in a subtle way as if perpetrated by professionals.
Meanwhile, the line was long from the sympathizers who pay their last tribute to the man who created the municipality. The  church bell peals lazily as the casket was drawn atop a bier carried by two big horses towards the cemetery.
. . . . . . . . . .
          “Are you sure no hitch here,” the Mayor said to Bobo who took the telescope extended by the Mayor in the terrace.
          “What do you think? So far there is no indication insisting foul play getting messy around. That’s what Baldo et al tipped us in the vigil and necrological services just concluded in the Church.”
          “Then be sure that everything are ironed out smoothly till that poor fellow is buried six feet under the ground. By then we could claim that we could have at last registered  landslide victory comes election day few months from now.”
          “And the rest would follow suit.”
          “You mean Ramon, promising pretender to the throne. Never. Only over my dead body. As long as we’re breathing, take it from me only death could take us from the reign of power we are enjoying. What are we in power for if we could not make impossible things happen. Cheer for Mayor Torres victory anew,” the Mayor said consuming the glass half-filled with Russian vodka.
          “And condolence to the poor politician whose comeback to the political arena was finally aborted.”
          “Not all bad though partner. His political savvy and experience could be very excellent fertilizer to this barren municipality.”
          “Yes Sta. Rita as your name implies there is still hope for you mercilessly exploited by us to the tilt,” the Mayor said sending his laughter reverberating in the four walls closed office.
 Outside the great throng of multitude is thinning out until only their umbrellas could be seen from the second floor of the Municipal Hall remaining visible to the naked eyes like mushrooms popping out.
. . . . . . . . . .

          An alarm clock rings wildly sending Bernabe standing on his feet. Outside, a cock crows breaking the new dawn of the day. It’s exactly two o’clock in the morning leaving him thirty minutes to be in the mausoleum in the cemetery just constructed. Donning his jogging shoes and putting a black jacket on, he hurriedly went downstairs. Nay Elsa surprisingly wide awake holding family portrait was sitting alone in the sala.
          “Too early to jog around.”
          “Yes but not really. Just want to savor fresh air outside,” he said after kissing her mother’s forehead. He then bolted out from the door. The sharp sound of bats feasting on ripe mangoes along the road is all what he heard some dropping to the ground their sweet juicy smell wafting in the air. The municipality was completely at peace like  Colas, the cemetery’s undertaker sprawling at the gate of the cemetery in deep sleep.
          Dimly lit, the mausoleum constructed looks like any economy chapel in many gardens in the city save that an inquest would be conducted that day.
          “Just in time I suppose bro,” break Bernabe upon his entry by the door.
          “You’re right.” responded Taklin his hands wearing plastic gloves.
          “Where’s Lito, the medico-legal you promised to bring along earlier to help us do this job?”
          “Not sure. Must be joining us here later. No need as he might also be still sleeping from too much intake of hard liquor,” he said while fixing his gaze on the luminescent crucifix hanging by the wall. Soon they pulled  the coffin out and after brief prayer would executed their customized post mortem. The stiff and cold body was all there for their inquest.
          “Now we’re on,” Taklin said taking out the linen covering his father’s dead body.
           Reviewing the body looking for possible damage of any vital organ. None leaving him to validate if at all the trend of killing sweetly a person is in order. This to check if indeed the systematic but ruthless  murdering a person using that customized needle he learned could be discovered and retrieved. Why not, he thought  giving him goose bump.
          “Now do keep this business strictly between us and God. . . . I should have proceeded with the inquest earlier. But I took patience waiting for you to have you act as witness how cruel the Mayor has been towards innocent people he perceived as enemies.
          Bernabe  spell bounded just waited for the next move. Caught off-guard reading the mind of his brother, he just remained silent and waited in great anticipation  what would be the most likely discovery of that early dawn intrusion of the cemetery.
          The inquest didn’t last that long. Taklin just concentrated on two vital part of the head taking the lead from his friend Lito, that hunchback medico-legal who must still be sleeping.
          “We could have tatay’s belly opened as our last resort to see if was drown to death.”
          “You mean taking his lungs out  and have it checked in a basin full of water  if it floats or sank . . . ,” Bernabe said with reservation his eyes  almost popping  out from their sockets realizing to witness such scary activity.
          “Yes that until Lito arrives and do that favor to us . . . “
          “But maybe not needed as that possibility might be farfetched.”
          “What do you mean?”
          “From the looks of it and as my gut feeling indicates, it is most unlikely.”
          “That unless, he was deliberately drowned before that so called tragic leap from the cliff,” Taklin added.
          Reaching the penlight and putting on the light he probed into an eardrum. But negative. No trace of blood clot whatsoever leaving him no other alternative except for the head. Running his index finger alternately with middle finger on his still thick gray hair, nothing suspicious object felt or protruding in there.
          Until Bernabe took his turn suspicious of too much grease applied on his hair by the embalmer. Nothing too until he observed a nasty smell of  his fingers.
          Validating the odd observation, Taklin took his turn running his right index finger this time slowly on their father ‘s strands of hair. Smelling the same oily black substance, he look into Bernabe’s eyes indicating of possible lead here explaining the death of his father. Fidgeting him to provide him a lift, Taklin took a Gillette from his wallet and shaved the suspected back portion of their tatay’s head.
          “Touch this,” he directed Bernabe taking his middle finger on the surface of the head where heavy concentration of nasty smelling oily substance gushing out from the skull.
Reaching for a shaving blade, Taklin clears the area of oily hair leaving clear top view of the head blood mixing with oil substance flowing out from a crevice revealing nasty cut of the cranium.
Scooped by their index finger lo and behold that oily thing mixed with blood stare right before their  naked eyes! But no sharp foreign object buried as he suspected all along.!
           “Eureka,” Bernabe caught in disbelief his mouth agape.
          “Wow nothing in here doubting what caused his father’s death,” Taklin sighed empathizing the agony of his  Tatay grimacing in pain in silence as  he was put to sleep by the bastards who conspired in perpetuating  that barbaric ritual.
          “It’s not what any civilized people could do. It’s what the early tribes in history capable of doing and relishing the pain doing this.”
           “It’s what any evil men could do,” Bernabe interjected.
Outside the cemetery by the gate,  Colas was painting the iron grills when he saw Taklin and Bernabe going out.
          “Too early your visit Sirs. . .” the undertaker greeted.
          “Not really, just fixing and checking the just constructed Mausoleum if okay ‘cause I’ll be back on my Tour of Duty. . . ,” Taklin said looking the still drunk undertaker smelling alcohol as he speaks while at the same time putting few crisp money in his pocket.
          “Wow, that’s nice of you guys. I could resume again my celebration later here in the cemetery. . . .”
          “What do ‘ya mean?” quipped Bernabe.
          “Oh it seems, you’ve not heard my new client coming here . . . dead!”
          “Who he would be?” Taklin snapped back.
          “Not sure, but he’s our municipality’s sidekick of  Dr. Roman Roxas, our  municipality’s official Medico Legal.. . . “
          “Lito you mean?”
          “That shit hunchback, Dr. Roxas’s double doing dirty job for him . . . “
Shocking development the two just heard but they pretended not affected all.
          It was like a bombshell hearing all those unprecedented incidents for Taklin  bothering him all the more. Few days more, he would be back reporting for duty to his superior in Camp Aguinaldo. The disorientation was still there but he knows that he would soon outgrow it; let alone, gets rid  the hang of it as time passes by what with the excitement his new assignment brings. But the problem he is facing –“Who could have done it?” is crucial question remains to be answered.
          “When?” he doesn’t have any idea.
Whole afternoon was almost spent resting as he would be reporting back the following day for duty. As evening approached, he prepared personal belonging in his rag pack for tomorrow’s long trip back to Manila.
          “I’ll just cross the bridge when I go there,” he said with optimism. That as group of people congregated across his residence holding torch up high illuminating a speaker with megaphone  blaring. Election fever was on.
. . . . . . . . . .
          “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Sorry disturbing you all . . . “ the voice said.
          “But I hope you could spare with us few minutes. We are here  to request you help Bernabe win this coming local election as Mayor of our municipality.. . .”
          “Down with Mayor Torres,” people shouted in unison repeatedly in between catcalls.
          “We have more than enough from him  - graft and corruption, nepotism, environmental destruction, mining and all that,” the speaker said in singsong manner ending with ‘Mabuhay ang Esperanza!’ collectively raised by people joining the crowd.
          The echo of the scene reverberated on Taklin’s ear until the night engulfed the group going around saturating the villages of the municipality hopefully to secure the needed votes for Bernabe. Personally though, he was optimistic that it’s an uphill battle for Beranbe.
          “But who knows given the maturity now of the electorate after all those events that happened in the municipality,” the idea on his mind as he intends to call it finally a night after all those efforts these past few days getting nothing.
           “Let the people give their mandate. Wish you best of good luck bro. ,” he said dropping to bed.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

          Waking up early dawn, he hurriedly proceeded to the port nearby where a pumpboat would take him to Roxas Oriental, Mindoro roughly one and a half hour ride before  a van would take him on board to Calapan City.
          “What a revelation it has been. By force of event demanding his presence helping facilitate final resting place of his father,” this he felt as fresh air continue blowing his body atop the pump boat for Roxas, Oriental Mindoro refreshing his spirit from the thrill of that sentimental inquest showing defining moment of the character of suspects who did it. Shrouded in mystery who could he be, Taklin just drifting his thought to nowhere as the pump boat glided lazily huge giant waves starting pushing it further towards Mindoro. From there, a ferry would then shipped him back to Batangas City before proceeding Camp Aguinaldo and there gets new official mission purportedly defining moment in his career as military officer . He would be heading a military operation somewhere in Mindanao during the conduct of  13th Plenum of the Reds.
          “Let this mandate be accepted without rumblings after all such mission defines what kind of stuff a true officer is made of,” he said but of course accepting is possible given that death is already considered bridesmaid of any military.
. . . . . . . . . .


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