“Rose, do you still remember the henious crime commited against our family?” I glanced up at Tito Florian. He kept on going on and on about the details of the grisly crime commited against my parents and siblings until I got tired of hearing him repeat it again.
“I’ve already heard this same old story from you Tito Florian. Will you please just stop and shut your mouth up?” I replied to my uncle.
Meanwhile, the rest of the soldiers who just got reassigned to the Elite Unit stopped what they were doing and listened to us. “Don’t pay attention to Tito Florian. He is just concerned about my eldest brother whoo nearly got insane from the incident.”
Then my uncle and the rest of the soldiers focused again on what they are currently doing and I was left alone, sitting outside under the cover of darkness.
It was already late at night when Tito Florian reminded me of what happened years ago. I had just returned from Camp Aguinaldo carrying secret orders that came from the General-In-Chief himself.
Left alone to sit under a mango tree and completely covered in darkness save for the ocassional vehicles passing by, I tried to keep myslef calm and composed. My anger again rose to the surface. All I could manage to do is just to listen to hard rock music, and take deep breaths to calm myself. I just let the memories to rush back and flood me again.
I will never forget the night the grisly crime that will forever mess up my life and turn my whole life upside down happened.
I met up with Tito Florian by chance in his apartment in an upscale area in Manila. We were both tired that time and happened to be both heading back home to the province in Quezon Province for a vacation. Tito Florian just finished his duty in a distant barrio somewhere in Sulu. Tito Florian did not dare try to drive his SUV all the way back to Quezon Province in order to safeguard against a possible ambush, so we just took the public transportation instead. After hours of navigating the traffic in Manila we finally arrived at the provincial bus station. While we were on our way home, we greeted each other and asked how we fared in day to day life. We also shared plans on what will be done after arriving home.
We thought that we could still see our family but we were to be proved wrong. Fate was already laughing at us in a high, cold, cruel and sinister laugh. My parents and my siblings were all killed without mercy. We were dismayed and in disbelief in what greeted our eyes upon arriving back home.
It turned out that my elder brother went home ahead of us. At first, we were in disbelief at what greeted our eyes and ears the moment we arrived home. Kuya Melvin was beating the ground, reduced to tears, screaming and shouting in the middle of the dark night. “Justice for my family!” He screamed and shouted repeatedly, with the sounds of the dogs barking in harmony in the distance. It was a creepy to witness.
I approached Kuya Mevin and asked.“ Kuya Melvin, what happened? What is it rhat reduced you to tears again?” “Rose, Tito Florian, the... reason why.. I am.. reduced .. to tears is because..” He struggled to speak straight and was reduced to tears again. Then Tito Florian intervened. “Rose, that is enough. From the looks of it a terrible and heinous crime happened here. You should not be pushing your brother at a time like this. We can’t just let him go insane.” Then he called the police and a rescue ambulance. A few minutes later the police and two rescue ambulances arrived, and the police cordoned the crime scene.
After the police has conducted their investigations and cleaned up the crime scene, we requested to at least take a look of the photos taken by the police when we arrived at the police station. The images were grisly and a horrible sight. Father and Mother were shot repeatedly all over their bodies and then their hidden in the grain storage of the house. My two elder sisters were raped before being stabbed repeatedly to death. They were stark naked and their clothes, even their underwear had obvious signs of being forcibly ripped off and removed before being raped repateadly, and also getting stabbed to death afterwards. Fear was still obvious in their already dead faces. Their bodies were hidden inside the cabinet of our bedroom. My other brother was shot in the back multiple times in the backyard. He obviously tried to fight back but was shot to death with snipers simultaneously targeting him from up above the canopy of the trees, and under cover of complete darkness. After that I could not take it any more and fainted right on spot. Luckily, one of the police officers quickly caught hold of me and I was immediately sent to the hospital.
After waking up at the hospital bed, I saw Tito Florian sitting at my side. “Tito Florian, what happened? Why am I here? When will I be released?’ Tito Florian replied “You fainted right on spot seeing those grisly pictures. You won’t be discharged from the hospital yet unless the doctor says so. You need to rest up and recover your strength.”
A few days passed and I eventually recovered my strength. I was eventually discharged from the hospital. Because of lack of leads and witnesses, and no one claimed responsibility for the killings, the police gave up on the case and it ended up being a cold case. The case was eventually forgotten and every one moved on with their daily lives. My brother nearly went insane due to the incident and he was rushed to the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City. He was admitted for a few days, given counselling and prescribed medicine, and was eventually discharged.
I still remembered the time I visited the graves of my parents and my siblings all by myself in the empty cemetery. I was still in third year high school back then. It was a cold and raining afternoon. I did not bring any raincoat or umbrella. I was drenched and soaking wet in the cold provincial rain. In a rage, I shouted and screamed all my pain and anger while crying. “ Mother, Father, to My Brother and Sisters, I hope you are now happy in heaven. Rest in peace. Do not worry. I will avenge your deaths. Those who committed these crimes to all of you will pay dearly with their lives and suffer. I will see to it to crush them without mercy. They will end up crawling on the floor like a lowly worm, crying, begging for mercy. I will use all means possible.I will see to it that what they did to you will be reflected back to them. I assure it. My revenge will come!”
I also remembered all the difficulties I had to go through and endure just to finish education and become a soldier. I was born dirt poor. My father was just a share tenant for a big time farmer. My mother was just a sidewalk vendor who sold street foods in the streets of Divisoria. It was a struggle for both of them to make ends meet. To lessen the burden, my older brothers and sisters decided to try their luck in Manila. Because life in the province was hard, they tried their luck in Manila.They went to Manila to work and study at the same time, without needing to rely on mother and father. After I finished elementary, I decided to tag along with my uncle to Manila so I can also find my luck in Manila. Since I graduated class valedictorian during elementary, I had no problem getting into a well known private university tht is only for the elite. I studied under a full scholarship. It was a full scholarship as a varsity player as I was the poster girl for taekwondo in the High School Girls division of the university. It was tough balancing studies and sport. The odds were stacked against me. But I fought on against the odds, determined to finish my education at costs. I eventually finished as the class valedictorian. After that, since I took up ROTC instead of NCAT, I decided to take the entrance exam for PMA and I passed with flying colors. I persevered until I graduated with high honors in PMA as a Unit Commander in a Model Unit. I was immediately assigned to the Elite Unit afterwards.
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