Friday, August 24, 2007

Of Cops and Thieves (STORY # 3, 4, 5)


It was December of 1974. Neneng (one of the Six Sexy Chicks of Room Six) and I heard mass at Sta. Cruz church. We were waiting for a taxi in a corner beside the church when a suspicious-looking man stood beside us with his hands inside his jacket pockets. It seemed not unusual for him to do that because it was quite cold during that time. Neneng was wearing a jacket her boyfriend gave her and I was wearing a trench coat I didn't like but bought it anyway because it was sold to me by my Economics teacher (sepsep!) Anyway, when I was about to call a taxi, I just saw Neneng holding the arm of the man telling him "Mama, kinuha mo wallet ko, no?" The man was caught unaware of what Neneng did. I then held the other arm of the man telling him "ibalik mo wallet ng kasama ko. Sisigaw kami ng pulis." With both arms being held hostage by two amazonas, the poor man had really no choice but to give in. He told us "Ayan ang wallet o." We just saw Neneng's wallet on the pavement and while we stooped down to get the wallet, the man ran as fast as he could.


1st Sem of 1975. Nanay and I went shopping in Cubao for my necessities. I was then staying in Kalayaan Dorm in Diliman, Quezon City and she was in Manila for a conference. When we were boarding the bus I saw her nudged her elbow to a man right behind her. When we were already seated inside the bus she told me "Siniko ko yong mama na gustong mangdukot sa akin". I asked her to check everything in her bag if something was missing. She told me the robber didn't get anything. Then the conductor came and asked where we were going. I put my hand inside my bag to get my coin purse but it was no longer there. How did that happen? Nanay asked me how much money did I lose. I told her "2 pesos and my I.D." She answered: Humanda ka. Baka abangan ka ng magnanakaw na yon at ipakain sa yo ang dalawang piso.

Funny thing is, after a week somebody gave me my lost ID.


Since the Cubao incident, I was extra careful when boarding buses. I would hug my bag before going up the steps of a bus. But I couldn't possibly do that when I am still carrying a number of books.

At a time when there was still a bus stop along EDSA right in front of SM Makati and Dusit Hotel Nikko was still known as Manila Garden, I was among the hundred or so passengers waiting for the bus to arrive. Naturally when the bus arrived people ran towards it at the same time. I was about to climb the last step of the bus when I felt that my bag was heavier. It's because a man was trying to grab my big, native bag. I was only a foot away from the lady conductor but she just froze. I wanted to shout at the police who was just a few meters away but no voice escaped my throat. I was holding 3 books while playing 'tug of war' with the robber. Then the bus started to move but I held on to my bag. Convinced that I won't break free, my opponent finally let go of my bag. I immediately went up and when I passed by the conductress, she told me "mabuti na lang binatawan nya ang bag mo." I said nothing to her but deep inside, I wanted to scream why she didn't even try to help me.

I thought Nanay would be proud of me upon hearing how brave her daughter was. Instead, she expressed her fear what would have happened to me if the robber was strong enough to pull me from the bus. I assured her I wouldn't have let that happen.

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