Monday, September 16, 2019

Catajan: 23 years and still mourning


The first time encountered this word, I was 15 years old. I did not know what it meant.

I read it in a short news report in a tabloid describing how two men were found at the back of a Mercedes in the outskirts of Pagasinan.

Both men were hogtied at the trunk of the car with one sustaining a lone gunshot to the head while the other bore torture marks all over his body, with his eyes almost falling off its sockets.

Hogtied. I was still lost.

I did not tell anyone I could not understand. I just went on silently pretending to know what it meant.

The two men were spotted earlier at Camp Karingal in Quezon City, meeting with a general said to have ordered their execution.

Both were believed to be part of a drug triad and were feared to be trying to get out of the organization which merited their untimely demise.

The death of the two men happened December of 1994. 23 years to be exact.
At around this time of the year both of them disappeared for days, eliciting panic from relatives who felt something was terribly wrong prompting a frantic search ending in tragedy for those who loved the two hogtied men.

The search ended at a small town morgue, nameless and forgotten with relatives braving the process of identification and the shaming of a public which hailed their deaths.

They were the bad guys, back when tokhang was not even a possibility; their drug related deaths proved no one got away from the triad.

The family was lucky to have found bodies they were told, some were left to search forever, they must be thankful.

How can a family be thankful of death? But in that circumstance maybe they were. Grateful for bodies to bury.

Today I search for the meaning of hogtied and find this “The hogtie is a method of tying the limbs together, rendering the subject immobile and helpless. Originally, it was applied to pigs (hence the name) and other young four-legged animals.”

Gruesome when you think it applied to human beings as I ponder on the last moments of both men who met their grizzly end.

Did they plead for their lives or were vile in anger over a treason of comrades?

Do the murderers remember what they did 23 years ago? Do they commemorate the kill or offer prayers for the families they destroyed if guilt eats up their beings?
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