Part 1: Confusion
It was sometime past 10 AM Wednesday, I think, when I spotted the online news update reporting an ongoing hostage drama in Lawton, Manila involving a busful of kids from Parola, Tondo, who were on their way to a field trip. The hostage-takers, the report said, were two thieves being chased by the police who in desperation boarded the bus and set off a hostage situation.
I immediately went over to our Admin Officer, who’s from Tondo, to tell her about it.
“Ms. Bets, malapit ka ba dito sa Parola, Tondo? Kasi may mga bata daw na–“
“Ay oo, alam mo yang mga kabataan dyan, sila yung mga humihiga sa kalsada tapos hoholdapin ka pag hinintuan mo.”
“O-kaay… hindi kasi may nang-hostage daw nung isang bus ng mga batang papunta sa field trip, mga holdaper daw na tumatakbo sa pulis.”
After that was cleared up we went on to theorize about the situation. I was thinking, if you’re going to do a hostage-taking you could certainly do better than choose kids from Tondo, who may even be hardier than you are. Good luck na lang sa’yo. But then, these were daycare age kids. Ms. Betty said that they’re still young and innocent to put up a fight with the hostage-takers, but their older brothers are probably already roaming the streets in search of the hostage-takers’ families. It would have been easy, she said, to identify who are the criminals operating out of Lawton. Lintik lang ang walang ganti. I thought that with all the media coverage focused on the bus itself the more interesting drama is happening outside.
Part 2: Movie Treatments
Gtalk chat with a friend about the situation:
Me: kung pelikula to, the kids would end up overpowering the criminals
Him: kung pelikula to, darating si steven seagal at gagawing pretzel yung dalawa… 😀
Me: kung action. kung romantic comedy, magkakadevelopan yung isang holdaper saka yung teacher nung kids
Him: kung horror comedy, si chucky yung isang bata…kung horror talaga, si mahal yung isang bata… at magkakatuluyan sila nung isang holdaper…
Me: kung horror/suspense, magmumulto yung bus and will start acting weirdly. pero since election period, pwede ring may dadating na kandidato para makipag negotiate sa holdaper
Him: tapos raratratin nila ng bala. cool!
Part 3: Weirder and Weirder
We sneaked to watch some of the drama in the TV in our boss’ room, and heard Jun Ducat’s voice preaching about dirty politics. We looked at each other in confusion. Who the heck is Jun Ducat? As it turns out, Jun Ducat is the owner of the daycare center in Tondo AND was the hostage-taker. He told the kids that they’re going on a field trip, piled them onto the bus, drove to Manila City Hall, parked, sent the driver out on some errand, let a couple of accomplices in, and through a karatula posted on the bus windows, declared a hostage situation. He has a couple of grenades and some guns. His demand: guaranteed education for the 145 kids attending his daycare center. He claimed to have land titles that he could award to the kids in the bus. “Sagot ko na ang pabahay,” he said. Huh. Dominique said he couldn’t stop laughing.
As the afternoon went on it became clear that all Jun Ducat wanted was a huge soapbox to air his grievances about poverty, corruption, dirty politics, and what-have-you. And boy, did he get it. The whole world, it seemed, covered the drama. Sen. Bong Revilla came into the picture to do the negotiations (I actually had to ask people, wait, he’s a senator? Oh yeah, the father is retired. Stupid. I’ve lost track of the actors in the Senate). Caffeine Sparks pointed to Redblue thoughts’ analysis of the powerful symbolism evoked by Ducat’s choice to park the bus in front of the monument of Andres Bonifacio, and I am amazed. That was the image the world was looking at all day.
In the meantime, kids were playfully peeking out the bus windows and feasting on the food that Ducat thoughtfully (?) brought along. One of them, according to ederic, pointedly asked Ducat in the middle of his radio address, “Anong oras ka matatapos?” Go kid.
Part 4: Resolution?
Dinner with clients in our boss’ house that night. One of the guests arrived late, and reported that the hostage drama had ended.
“What happened? How did it end?”
“I didn’t really catch the whole report, I just saw a bit of it on TV. Bong Revilla was there, and Chavit.”
“Chavit? Chavit who?” (sino pa kaya)
“Chavit Singson. He was the one holding the grenade.”
It’s days like this that convince a lot people to migrate.
(Photo from http://www.abs-cbnnews.com)