People get killed, people get buried...

People got killed, bodies were buried, life goes on...

I hated to sound flippant, but that's how I would answer the question "Komusta na sa Gapan?" from friends and acquaintances after that daring raid in a Gapan City cockpit arena. I was beginning to get fed up to HERE with having to answer the same question again and again from well-meaning people.

Indeed, life goes on for those of us who were not somehow involved in the incident. But for those whose loved ones prematurely died, it must be another matter altogether.

The first time I heard about a doctor being killed in that cockpit arena shooting, the surname sounded familiar. After a lot of asking around, I learned that it was HE!

He, Dr. Juanito Reyes, was a nodding acquaintance, same as his other siblings who I'd get to meet occasionally in church.

The first and last time Doc ever talked to me was in May last year after the paseo for the Gapan fiesta. He noticed me with my camera and asked if I was taking photos for the Journal.  He said his relatives in the US knew about what's happening back here from regularly visiting the Journal. I smiled, nodded and we parted ways.

The last time I saw him was last January, during yet another paseo, this time for the Gapan Three Kings fiesta.  He was driving his World War II vintage jeep, trailing a long line of similar vehicles paraded by a local group of military jeep buffs. He smiled as he passed by me.

And then the cockpit tragedy happened...

Last night, at a local eatery where I was treating some office mates to dinner, I noticed the late Doc's siblings and other relatives enter the place. When one sister passed by our table, I asked jokingly if they were there for a reunion.

She said they wanted to treat Doc's child who had graduated that night. "Kawawa naman," she added.

That made me wonder how the other people who also lost their family members in that carnage are coping.

Sure, life will go on, but not in the same way with their loved ones gone.

To Doc and the other victims, rest in peace.

To those bastards who did this to you, may they never find rest and peace, in life and in death.

[May 31, 2006]