In just a matter of minutes, after that quick anesthesia-less operation and humiliation inside the operating room, I was in a wheelchair being pushed by that UP volunteer all the way to the x-ray room and unto my assigned room, which was the orthopedic ward.
Weird. I don’t think I had any broken bone or whatever that needed me to be confined to that section. Unless some doctor thought a broken skull would be enough to be categorized as orthopedic.
I saw some empty rooms and wards along the way so I asked the guy why I was being put here. He said he got no idea but we both think it would be safer for me since it’s almost full and lots of people would see me, just in case.
There were other patients in the room, albeit with more different injuries than mine. At that time, I think I was already regaining my strength. I thought about my friends who were left behind and decided to go find them. I needed to get out of the hospital, doesn’t matter if my head looked like a mummy.
When I looked outside the door, I knew.
I saw uniformed and non-uniformed men looking at me suspiciously. The reason they brought me at this ward was so they could easily monitor my movement. There’s no way I could get out the door. I looked out the window, there were flashing lights. I noticed a few cop cars sitting idly. I surrendered the idea that I can escape.
There’s no way but pray. Pray that my friends were alright. I tried to put the weight of my whole body behind my back. Suddenly, I felt the bed move. I was being transferred to a different room. I finally ended up alone, in a 12-bed public ward.
After a few minutes, they brought another guy with the same injury on his head, obviously a hit by a baseball bat as well. I asked him if he was from the same rally as mine. He looked at me like he saw a ghost. And then he was out of there.
A few days later I got the information that he was actually the one who hit me. And that since those mobs don’t know each other, one of them hit him accidentally in the head. Karma, you got the same thing you gave.
Troy and Emy came to visit me. Finally I was relieved, I got friendly company. I immediately tasked them to have me moved to a private room for protection. When we got there, we noticed the seemingly endless minor errands of medical personnel. Somebody needs to clean the bathroom, change the sheets, and change something. They in fact had the trash removed several times in a span of thirty minutes. My phone was bugged. I called several apolitical friends to visit ASAP for more security. They were eventually harassed and weren’t allowed to visit.
After a few hours, my friends came. Ghie, Sheila, Ameth, the late Judge Dela Llana from the ombudsman, and the late Dr. Lipumano, former mayor of Olongapo. For my security, I needed to get out of the hospital. Since they would not discharge me because of my condition, Dr. Lipumano signed my charge sheet, and Judge Dela Llana signed as my legal custodian.
I was informed that everybody was safe except for John who was sitting in a local jail. Apparently, right after I got hit, he was chased by the same mob. Armed with clubs and fan knives, men chased him down a side street. He tumbled. He was about to get stabbed and clobbered when luckily, a local cop who knew him intervened and saved his ass. He put him in jail instead, which was better than ending up in a morgue.
The reunion at the hospital was a happy and an emotional moment. Happy that even though the plans to do a rally did not push through, everybody was safe. And emotional that we almost died trying. Hopefully at the very least, the national media might catch it. Now they would know that we DO exist.
We all looked at each other and at that moment I we saw in our eyes that we have proven something. And in my own little way I have proven something.
I have earned everybody’s respect.
(To be concluded)