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Child Abduction in Lobo… Daw!

Now that I have a lot more time in my hands, I am able to catch the late afternoon Southern Tagalog edition of TV Patrol. Just to keep in touch with what’s going on in the neighbourhood, ‘ika ngâ…

Yesterday, the news show ran – yet another – clip on the so-called child abductions. Huh? That is so, so bahaw… The first time I wrote my child abduction stories was – methinks – way back in 2008.

Yesterday’s story was set in a barangay in the small municipality of Lobo here in the province of Batangas. According to the clip, a young teenage boy was abducted by a couple of strange men and given some sort of drug to put him to sleep.

Then, he was stowed away in a white van. Why is it always a white van in these stories? I mean, even in purported abductions in some obscure barangays up north in Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan, there is always a white van involved!

Would you not – if you were the kidnapper – wish to use another colour if just so you would not arouse suspicion? As things are at the moment, every white van is suspect!

To get back to the story, the kidnappers, thinking that the teenager was in a drug-induced stupor, stopped by a sukalan somewhere to take a leak. Both kidnappers, ha! We are led to assume na sabay ngang napa-ihi ang mga kontrabida.

This was when the boy – who as the story conveniently went was not drugged enough to fall asleep – quietly slipped out the window and into the woods. That is assuming that both gentlemen abductors were modest enough to leave the vehicle just to wee-wee instead of just letting go sa goma ng sasakyan as most of us would simply expect them to do.

There was, the boy’s story went, another younger child in the van as well. The teenager tried to coax the younger kid to slip out with him; but the latter was too petrified to move. Here, we all wonder why the other kid was awake as well – if he was likewise given a drug to put him to sleep. Ewan ko… Baka Revicon multi-vitamins ang ipina-inom

Supposedly, because the teenage boy was familiar with the terrain, even as the kidnappers gave chase they could not find him and chose to drive off instead. How a half-drugged young boy could still have his wits about him to stumble his way deep into the gubat, go figure. Effective siguro ang multi-vitamins…

Now, the teenage boy’s nanay was interviewed by the news crew. She narrated what she thought when she saw her son stumble back home after the supposed ordeal, “Nakow! Nginig na nginig siya eyyyy!!!” She was even dramatically gesturing with her forearms raised in front of her to demonstrate her son’s trembling.

“Naka-syorts lang ang batâ at tunay namang dungis na dungis!” Now picture me with a funny face. Dungis na dungis. I am Batangueño but I do not even use that word. Napa-umis naman ako.

The boy apparently told his mother, “Inay! Dinampot pô ako ng manunupot!” Now picture me with a funnier face. Manunupot. That term referred to strange men who abducted young children so that they could be beheaded and their blood rubbed onto railroad tracks to allegedly strengthen the iron.

It’s a term I had not heard for the longest time. In fact, standard panakot ng mga nanay when I was growing up so kids would not be galâ ng galâ was, “Hala! Bakâ madampot ka ng manunupot!”

The cops were, naturally, interviewed as well. “Iniimbistigahan na namin ang pangyayari,” the policeman stated. Standard PNP reply. Iniimbistigahan. The first child abduction stories involving the white van first circulated in 2008. More than three years later and still nobody has anything concrete. Or even if anyone even knows if the stories are true to begin with…

Did the boy stage an elaborate hoax just to get into television? Seems far-fetched, particularly as there seems no guarantee that a story will ever make it to TV; and especially one as gasgas as this one.

Or, perhaps, the story itself is television fodder, mystifying as it is: a three-year old unsolved mystery. Always the alleged white van and always the alleged bodies left behind without internal organs. Alleged… Lagi nang may “daw” sa istorya…

Honestly, I do not quite know what to make of this ongoing tele-nobela. The cop, jaded old civil servant that he was, perhaps was wisest in – for all intents and purposes – telling the public to take the story with a grain of salt. “Iniimbistigahan pô namin,” he told the news crew, “pero maging mapagmasid at maingat sa mga batâ pô sana ang publiko.”

Or something to that effect… Good to know we have thinking cops. I, for one, could not agree more.

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