TWERKING LIKE BATMAN
The Philippines was like Gotham City before Du30 came, corruption ridden, chaos on the rise and criminal violence the order of the day and like Batman who was, comics legend tells us as the only son, same in my case, and whose parents like those of Batman’s, were victims of criminality too.
I thought that brutality of crime was only in comics or in movies. I was wrong.
This is my story.
Years ago when my father was still a faculty of Philippine College of Criminology, he was some kind of a showman when lecturing. All his jewelries were all over him, a 24k necklace with half an inch thick gold cross, a solid gold watch (actually it was mine, given by my maternal uncle as birthday gift), a 22k bracelet and an anklet! He was teaching Spanish and Rizal Course and these were all in evening session.
When the bell rings, my father would dutifully remove his precious props and carefully would pack it up inside an empty Vicks vaporub plastic container. He would judiciously arrange it inside his run down brief case. Then he would catch up for the last jeepney ride and lead for home. His routine was like that daily.
One day, the jeepney he was riding on was held up by three young thugs. One of them was seated next to my father with a drawn knife. While his two companions were snatching anything of value from the passengers, the man with the knife shouted that all jewelries must be surrendered or face the consequence. My father immediately opened his portfolio, plucked out his jewelry case and emptied it on the baseball hat sprawled at the floor of the jeep. The one with the knife noticed the wristwatch of my father and was likewise commanded to remove it.
My father whispered, “my dear friend, I have given all of mine,” while pointing at the hat. “The wristwatch”, my father continued, “is not mine. It’s my son’s. And I am not in the habit of giving something that is not mine.” That angered the robber as he pointed the knife on the face of my father demanding that the wristwatch be taken off or my father gets killed.
My father further shielded his left arm with his body as he curled further and said that he better get killed than compromise his principle. My father was stabbed 17 times but survived the ordeal. When I visited my father in the hospital, he gave me my watch and said that he nearly paid it with his life. Despite the multiple fatal wounds he suffered, a month later he was back in school.
Not my mother.
Years later, I was then on my last year in my legal education, my father asked me to bring him home. I was studying in the school where my father teaches. If my father felt something unusual because of his trauma, he would indulge me for a treat and later to take him back home on my car.
That fateful Friday evening when we went home, I sensed something strange. Our front gate was wide open and there was no light inside the house. Whenever mother waits for my father, she would usually open the gate ajar and all lights in the veranda are opened. Not on that day though.
I prodded my father just to wait inside the car while I checked. I tucked my gun on my waist and walked slowly. My mother was too conservative to even think of a prank. Something must be wrong although I was praying hard for supernatural assistance since my mother suffered stroke thrice already. My father followed me.
The surroundings, the fixtures, the furnishings of the house were in order; no telltale sign of disturbance. As I opened the light, on the far end of the house under the dining table, my mother was sprawled. I embraced my father. He might suffer a heart attack. I consoled my father that mother must have suffered a bad stroke that day. She was lifeless.
I asked my father to take his seat and gave him a glass of water. Thereupon, I went to check my mother if only to place her on the sofa. I noticed something weird. The hands of my mother had markings that it was tied strongly with nylon cords. Her duster was ripped with knife lacerations! When I checked her neck, I noticed blood on her chest and there were numerous stab wounds. She was murdered!
Here was a woman, a stroke patient, half body paralyzed, could not speak properly yet and very, very weak, stabbed 17 times as if she indulged her assailants in a mortal combat! She must have prayed for divine intervention. She was very religious. No angel came. Her attackers must be out of their minds, insane, devious, cruel. I was mad and almost into a fit of rage. I was just trying to calm down my father and if I try something barbaric, my father might suffer a heart attack. I tried to be mellow and tried imitating the Buddha.
I called the police for assistance. Minutes later a couple of chubby men came in civies and introduced themselves as policemen. They were angry at us because we moved the corpse from its original station. I apologized since I never realized there was a crime done in our place.
The police called up the funeral parlor and in a few minutes, my mother was wrapped in a body bag and brought to the morgue. I asked father to help the police determine if there were suspicious characters which could help them in their investigation. My father was still in a state of shock and could not be counted. I could not even contribute my own opinion since it was my first visit in almost six months. Their room however was cluttered with mess, valuables were missing, a clear sign that we were attacked by the “akyat-bahay” gang.
To make the story short, my parents were preys and unfortunate products of criminality that left an indelible mark on my soul. I could not forgive crime. I renamed myself to sound like vengeance. I must, while alive, dedicate the remaining part of my life in the pursuit of justice.
Unlike Batman though who was a multimillionaire, inheriting the vast estate of his parents, who can willfully carry out anti criminal crusade, mine only was of minuscule value. I could only contribute in my dreams some tinges of vigilantism.
And yes, in my dreams I have dealt with a lot of adventurous and suspenseful death defying retribution. I could not count the casualty toll, and it’s quite numerous, because most dreams could no longer be recalled or remembered.
That is why only in my dreams; I was happily defending the helpless and defenseless. In one of my dreams, then Mayor Alfredo Lim was questioned on the rise of vigilante deaths in his turf. Mayor Lim could not respond properly despite being labeled as Manila’s Dirty Harry because he was never behind those summary executions. I had a lot of day dreaming too. Most of the time, I carried out revenge in the dead of night, or while taking a nap in my office, as I crawl and attack criminals left and right. I would all leave them heaving their last breath, movie like. In my dream, it was me as Batman doing the chores.
Well, it was twerking like Batman without his mask and cape after all.