Carl, Kian, Kulot and my son
Carl Arnaiz Kian de los Santos Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman
Eva Arnaiz left the Philippines for Dubai seven years ago, leaving her daughter, Camille, and youngest son, a 12-year-old Carl Angelo with their father. She would work hard in the Middle East to give her children a better life. She had so much hope for Carl who graduated valedictorian in elementary school and was an honor student at the Makati Science High School.
My son was 12 years old when we left the Philippines to give him and his sister a much better life. He was not a valedictorian but he won several science quiz bees and has always wanted to be a scientist.
A parallel life
In August 2013, both Carl and my son took the UPCAT. In 2014 Carl Angelo entered UP as a freshman student in interior design while my son went to another university and took geology. When Carl stopped after a semester, it was the same time I asked my son to transfer to UP since he was already qualified. Carl Angelo had plans to go back to the university. My son did not attend UP.
As young persons, each had their own bouts of loneliness that oftentimes led to depression. Carl Angelo was described as a happy person, the clown in a crowd, yet he was suffering. He missed his mom. Perhaps his birthday celebrations were never complete because Eva was not there.
My son misses me. For seven years he has celebrated his birthday with his friends from the university, away from us. He too, like, most young people who felt deprived of a parent’s presence suffer a certain degree of depression.
Life goes on for my son. Carl’s life ended on August 18, 2017.
When Carl did not come home the next day, the search began. A frantic OFW came home. Eva might have seen Lorenza de los Santos, Kian’s mother, at NAIA, but they did not cross path. They never knew that both had lost sons most probably on the same night.
I grabbed my phone and tried to dial my son’s number. No answer. There is a dead spot in his boarding house at the foot of the mountain. I tried contacted his friend. My son sent a message: “Nanay, gumagawa kami ng project.” He was working on their projects.
After ten days, Carl’s body was found in a funeral home in Navotas. His companion on the night he disappeared, Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman, was found on September 6, his face wrapped in masking tape, his body riddled with 30 stab wounds.
Carl became a “robber.” Kian became a “drug runner.” Kulot committed “suicide”?
My son is safe. He did well in his exams. He does not go out at night anymore, I believe. He lives in a university town far away from the Caloocan Police. But who knows? Kulot’s small body was found in Gapan, Nueva Ecija. Carl’s future ended in an alley. His body bore torture marks and bullet wounds. His life ended even before it began.
On July 12, President Rodrigo Duterte said “shoot suspects who fight back, make them fight if they don’t” in a speech delivered at the anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
The following month, there were three dead teens, two of them allegedly “fought” the arresting officers.
With his usual “tatay” style, Duterte met with the slain teenagers’ parents, hoping to appease our rage. As we flood our Facebook walls with condemnation of the state-sponsored killings, Duterte’s supporters keep on justifying the “call to kill addicts” (but never the drug-lords; never the erring policemen).
The President seems to keep his promise of killing three million addicts, like what Hitler did to millions of Jews. Meanwhile, General Rolando “Bato” dela Rosa and Atty. Persida Acosta wept in tandem in defense of the police officers who were “just doing their duties.” Paolo Duterte, the President’s son, is implicated in a billion-peso shabu shipment.
Fortunately, Paolo is given “process” and probably weeks at Senate hearings at the people’s expense.
Carl and Kian were never given such respect because they were just sons of ordinary people. Kulot was nothing but another “collateral” damage.
In November, Carl Angelo Arnaiz would have turned 20. He would have celebrated adulthood with friends, family and neighbors. Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman, his 14-year-old neighbor, would have been there too; as the favorite errand boy of their village in Cainta. But these will never happen. Carl will always be 19, and Kulot will never know how it is to be an adult. No celebration; just painful memories of violent deaths.
My son will turn 20 in December. His life continues. His dreams will not just fade away. He will become a geologist. Carl will never be an interior designer. Kian and Kulot’s dreams to become police officers ended.
I mourn the death of Carl Angelo, Kian and Kulot. I join the call against extrajudicial killings because I have a son. His name is Karl.
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