Another journalist, the news was saying, had been found dead in her car in what police believed to be suicide. The reporter’s office mates said the reporter had been getting death threats after she divulged a missing fertilizer fund from the Department of Agriculture that appeared to have been used for the reelection campaign of the president, her excellency Divina Dimapagod-Tala.
The TV news report included a clip of Dimapagod-Tala’s interview with CNN International, telling the global network the accident will be thoroughly investigated. The president said the nation should put aside any suspicions the government had anything to do with the accident and the spate of killings of journalists in the country, saying the government is sparing no effort to investigate each and every case to find out who the perpetrators are behind the murders and disappearances.
The newscast segued to the newscaster’s interviewing a professor guest in the studio news room. The professor being interviewed was saying: ever since the president catapulted into office seven years ago, after a series of non-violent people’s protests and several government officials’ withdrawal of support for the beleaguered then-president, around a hundred journalists already disappeared or have been found dead in mysterious accidents. Another guest was a spokesman for the armed forces, who was saying many of these missing journalists have long been suspected of coddling communist propaganda friends of theirs and were possibly part of the communist insurgency themselves, and thus may have died in skirmishes between the communists and the armed forces, or killed by their own comrades who may have suspected them of being double agents. With the journalists not suspected of being communists, meanwhile, the armed forces spokesman said, it may have been pure coincidence that they died in accidents during a period when they were reporting or investigating a corruption anomaly. After all, he said, reporters are always investigating something and not all of them die in accidents.
And, please, he said, accidents can happen. It can happen to anybody.
“Sa West kasi, pare, ginagamit ang salitang commute pag nakatira ka sa labas ng city at sa city ka nagtatrabaho. Nagcocommute ka, at kasama doon ang mga me kotse. Pag sa city ka naman nakatira at sa labas ng city ka nagtatrabaho, tawag sa ‘yo reverse commuter, kahit may sariling motorsiklo ka.”
“Tama,” says Fidel.
“Pare, pininta ko,” the Captain says, pointing at the wall portrait. “Si Filomeno Ilustrado, illustrious playwright at makata ng mga komunistang Waray, pare, na napaslang ko rin noong dekada ’80. Nung napatay ng mga tauhan ko yan, nabalitaan kong magsusurender na pala siya. Walang pamilya, pare, walang kamag-anak dito, mukhang Ilokano yata. Pero napadpad sa