“Not another one. Give me a break!” Barangay Captain Julio Dela Cruz mutters under his breath before he turns around to see two residents—Mrs. Rodriguez fuming red and Ms. Briones looking stern.
“How may I help you?” He forces out a smile and asks politely as he gestures towards the two seats which none of them used.
“Captain, I already filed a complaint on our Facebook page, pero ‘di ko na kaya. My neighbor’s dogs and their barking are driving me insane. When are you going to stop them?” Ms. Rodriguez shouts while holding her Louis Vuitton bag.
“I’ll come over soon and see-”
“Ang akin naman, what will you do about the deliveries that aren’t mine? Dalawang araw na and nothing is happening yet. Someone out there is using my address!” Ms. Briones butts in before the Barangay Captain could finish his sentence.
Urging himself not to roll his eyes, the door opens again before he could speak. Wearing a barong, another resident walks towards him before he could look at his face. It was the aspiring Mayor Mr. Ramos who entered with a mixture of anxiousness and dread.
“Tulong Cap, my son is missing, hanapin niyo siya ngayon na!” He orders immediately without much explanation as he paces around back and forth in the office.
“Good afternoon Mr. Ramos.” Well maybe, not so much for any of them. “I understand your concern pero kailangan po muna ng details bago magkaroon ng search warrant. Ilang oras na po ba siya nawawala?” The Barangay Captain asks.
“Samuel Ramos, 22 years old, and last seen leaving the house around 1 p.m.! Pinost ko na rin siya sa Facebook, ‘di mo pa po ba nakikita? Ito.” Mr. Ramos opens his phone and passes it on to him as the two other complainants stall in the background whispering to each other.
Bayani Ramos requested help in Community Help
30 mins ago
MISSING PERSON ! ! ! !
SAMUEL BENEDICT B. RAMOS
Nakikiusap po kami at humihingi ng tulong kung mayroon man nakakita ng aking anak, mas lalo na kung ka-village po namin kayo. Ang makakakita sa kanya ay bibigyan namin ng P100,000.
Pa-share po ng post at pa-contact po kami. Naka-attach din po ang pictures niya sa baba.
The captain reads the post over a few times before turning to look at the worried parent, fully knowing he had to choose his words wisely in response.
“Mr. Ramos, I would love to file a missing person’s case for your son. However, if this is a severe case, why don’t we discuss it with the sergeant-in-charge to aid in our village before we exhaust all our options po.” He explains slowly.
Bayani’s eyes grow wider with frustration, as he looks the captain up and down—his face growing redder in frustration as he slams his hands on the table in front of him.
“Alam mo cap, I’ve lived here for 20 years. I voted for you during the barangay elections. All I’m asking is one small favor lang dahil anak ko ‘yan. So will you help me or not?” Bayani demands.
The other villagers are stunned at the spectacle, turning their attention back to the captain for his response.
“We follow the 24-hour protocol because the village is prone to robberies and even more crimes if our guards are on high alert just for just one case. However, I will inform the guards right away po.” Julio replies as he pulls out his phone and dials the number for the head of security of the village.
Within a matter of minutes, the sounds of motorcycle engines could be heard from the distance—sirens beginning to fill the air as the search had officially commenced. The captain dismisses the other two villagers from the office for now to focus on the most serious case at hand.
“Sabi niyo po nag-bike anak niyo. Hanggang saan po ba siya at gaano katagal kapag lumalabas? Have you made contact with his friends?”
“Umiikot lang siya usually dito sa village kasama ng mga kaibigan. Hindi naman lumalabas sa malayo. Tinawagan ko na mga friends niya at ‘di raw sila magkasama.”
“Wag ho kayo masyado mag-alala, ginagawan na po namin ng paraan.”
The office telephone echoes loudly through the room and as soon as the captain picks it up, a woman speaks, “Kapitan, tungkol sa nawawala, nakita ko ‘yon kanina lang. I’m Ms. Reyes by the way. Yung binata na naka-maong na pantalon, dumaan sa bahay namin habang nakatambay ako sa labas.”
“Nakasakay ho ba ng bike?”
“Huh, bike? Parang wala naman po.”
“Sige ho, Ms. Reyes, ipapa-search po namin dyan. Salamat po.” The captain drops the call.
“Sigurado ba siya? Taga-rito ba ‘yon? Baka tumawag lang ‘yon para sa reward.” Mr. Ramos mutters.
After a few hours in the barangay office, night time had fallen and the captain hasn’t heard anything from the police. He gazes over at the former captain who’s eyes stay locked on his phone.
“Mr. Ramos, it’s getting late na po. Let me drive you home, be with your family while you leave the case to us.” He slowly tries to explain to Mr. Ramos. Instead of a rebuttal, he agrees and stands up from the chair he was glued to for hours.
Upon arrival, Captain Julio got out of the car to assist Bayani out of the low-floored sedan. Parked in their garage were a collection of bikes. He hurriedly rings the doorbell before opening the door.
“Welcome home, Pa!” They both hear a young man’s voice coming from the door.
As they turned, there stood the aspiring mayor’s son, dressed in house clothes coming towards their direction—both men stunned at the sight of him.
“Samuel, where have you been?” Bayani says angrily. Samuel laughs awkwardly as he sees the barangay captain with him while he points back at the house.
“I came from a friend’s house? There was a surprise party I helped set up for tomorrow.” He explains. “Hi Cap Julio. Why are you here po?”
“I filed a missing case dahil ‘di ka bumalik from biking. Bakit ‘di ka nagpapaalam?” Bayani angrily interjected, his nose flaring from embarrassment to the point he wished he was actually missing.
“It wasn’t me who went biking. Si kuya ata ‘yon kanina. ‘Di pa nga siya umuuwi eh.” Samuel explains.
Bayani, not even making eye contact with Captain Julio, scratches the back of his head and walks towards his house. Stunned, Captain Julio watches in silence as the father and son walk back.