Thursday, 12 May 2016

"In the Name of the Storm" volume II

"In the Name of the Storm"

Volume II:

"As the red roses bloom"


It has been years passed since Katrina Mae Mendoza has joined the struggle.

As she entered the underground straight from her Graduation Day in a safe house,
Of swearing at the red flag with her colleagues as her witnesses,
And having her presented a sawed-off Garand,
Plus the assassination of the former minister of education as her baptism on fire,

The former propagandist who spent time facing the computer and the typewriter became a Partisan of her own making: practised gun firing, leading in urban guerrilla operations, and throwing grenades at the police station before raiding.

In a safe house somewhere in Novaliches, as Katrina finished cleaning her gun, and fixing her bullets to her magazine, Pedro came and said:
"Seems that you've cleaned your gun very well."
"Ya." Katrina said. "Although I missed writing these days."
"I see," Pedro said. "By the way, are you prepared for another mission?"
"Tell me who to punish." Katrina said.
 Pedro then gave a picture, some documents, and said:
"That person, General Lisandro Vismonte of the Philippine Constabulary."
"Hm...." Katrina said. "Sounds familiar."
Then Pedro said:
"He's known to be the butcher of Barrio Uma, where he killed peasants accused of organising a peasant group in the Barrio. He even accused them of being members of the National Peoples Army who happened to have an expanding mass base."
"But why not the NPA do it?" Katrina asked.
"The NPA told us that he's here in Metro Manila." Pedro said. "Specifically in Navotas."
"I see." Katrina said as she looked at the picture and the papers related to the so-called 'Butcher of Barrio Uma.'"
Then Pedro provided bullets, a pillbox bomb, and said:
"Here are your supplies Sabrina, in case of help, there are friends to serve as back-up."
Katrina simply nod and said:
"Thanks."


I

All was but typical in a late Sunday afternoon. But as for Katrina, there's a task that's ought to be done. 

With reports coming from the members of the "November 9th Movement" and the "National Peoples Army" about the butcher known as General Lisandro Vismonte, Katrina waited on the route wherein the General would go to church at San Jose in Navotas. 

The route, which was at M. Naval going to the Church compound, had made Katrina waited at the pedicab terminal at Los Martires St. corner M. Naval. Few cars passed by on the main road, and since it was Sunday afternoon, less people stowing outside. 

As the General's vehicle drew near along, Katrina sought, walked at the sidewalk till near the vehicle, and after a moment's hesitation, Katrina laid the bomb, and walked briskly away going to the narrow passageways. The bomb sent it underneath the vehicle, and did bombed the General's vehicle itself, as well as the others near it. People around, with wounds of varying degree, lay on the sidewalk and on the street. Some managed to stand calling for help, others crawled to safety, and most tried to get out from beneath bodies that had fallen on them. 

But the General? He, along with his driver, end killed by the impact of the home-made bomb as it reached the car itself. There its debris, and blood, one could see fragments of steel coming from the vehicles, if not bloody chunks of human flesh scattered over the asphalt road. 

And such horrific action had made threats of insurrection be heard again as Katrina walked briskly to San Jose's narrow roads after her deed. At a corner where a garbage bin placed and luckily, few bystanders around focusing on their pleasantries, she removed her cap and glasses, and walked carrying her bag towards a house owned by a sympathiser. 
Katrina knocked at the door three times, a code for the sympathiser to open and for Katrina to enter inside. The former, who introduced as Wesley Lachenal, said:
"Sorry if the place seemed looked untidy."
"No worries." Katrina said. "Just got tired after work."
Wesley then opened the television and said:
"You may rest here for a moment. A comrade told me that you are here for a research is it right?"
Katrina simply nod on Wesley's question. 
had to take a rest for the entire day as the incident been a subject of breaking news reports affecting the Junta and its pretense of "stability" and "order".

And with  the death of one of the Junta's well-known personality been heard throughout, the Junta issued a statement which called for "vigilance" against "subversives" reminiscent of 1971 and 1987. The Justice Minister, General Rubino Remorado, announced to the nation that the government was mobilising the Integrated National Police Force into the effort to root out the organisation and to snip off the revolution.
He even described the "assassins" as "depraved, criminals" who were motivated solely by hatred and who wanted to "undo all achievements done by the Junta" which had been  made by the System in recent years.

The news program, after reporting the incident and the state's press releases, concluded with an announcement that an hour-long "special" on the "conspiracy" would be broadcast afterwards. Katrina, along with Wesley, did watched the "special", that even trotted out several "pillars of the community" that were also there to denounce the actions done by the organisation. One of the spokesmen was a certain "concerned citizen" named Carlos Lademora,  the report described the movement as a "gang of subversives" and called on "all responsible citizens to cooperate with the political police in apprehending the "destabilisers" who trying to "put an end the peace" under the military government.

And as the two finished watching that "special," Katrina said:
"It was a real hatchet job, full of errors and outright invention and not very convincing."
Wesley simply nod and replied:
"I don't think people would agree to the statement, it is obvious that the system tries to intensify its moves against the movement."
But one thing made the organisation conclude: the media blackout been over, that Manila has given the movement instant celebrity status, and perhaps the revolution, as in the past, must certainly be the number-one topic of conversation everywhere in the nation. The news media had tried hard to work up enough public sentiment against the movement, with all its "anti-revolutionary propaganda" and ordinances concerning "public order and vigilance" so that the arrests would stick. The fact that there  weren't enough jail cells in the country to hold everyone be it Bilibid, Bicutan, or even Ihwahig. Comrades even remember the Bulletin Today's headline which was shown a day ago:

"Leftist Conspiracy Smashed, Illegal Weapons Seized." 

With some pictures of personages involved, and captured guns be it Garand, M14, or M16 like any other event frequently shown in the police reports by the "National Anti-Organised Crime Task Force", but not  even the brainwashed public could fully accept the idea that nearly a million of their fellow citizens had been engaged in a  secret, armed conspiracy be it from the MN9 in the Urban Areas or the NPA from the countryside. 


II

Morning.

As Katrina woke up from her sleep, and went to the dining area preparing her coffee, an envelope from a comrade was placed at the table. There she opened, read, and it said:

"General Rubino Remorado to be sentenced to death by absentia from the peoples court. You are in charge of the operation."

Besides that, a set of papers been included, featuring the profile of General Remorado, his background as a military official known for his murderous actions, and his death sentence. Whilst reading, Pedro came, and said:
"So another operation?"
"Yes." Katrina said. "However, I am thinking twice."
"Thinking twice about?" Pedro asked.
"To kill him straight or to kidnap him and be given a trial." Katrina said.
"Hm..." Pedro said. "Perhaps, we'll talk about it in our meeting later."

Then some colleagues came, and Pedro said:
"Here they are. So shall we?"
Katrina simply nod.

And on the important meeting itself, Katrina then read the papers given to her, and said to the group:
"Which is worth just: to kill him straight or to give him a 'trial' and be killed afterwards?"
"Sounds calling for an abduction." Pedro said. "What brought you that idea?"
"I just remember an old story about an Argentine general who was abducted, given a trial, and sentenced to death." Katrina said. "It took the society in tenterhooks for a month not knowing that he was killed after a mock trial set for him. And perhaps, let's make an example for Remorado."
"Hm..." Pedro said. "This calls for his meaningful death then."
Along with a smile.
And Katrina said:
"And perhaps, they'll suggest that I'll be the one who's gonna lead the trial."
"Sounds more than an executioner don't you?" Pedro said.
"Is there anything wrong?" Katrina asked. "Lets make his death meaningful as what you've said."
"Uhm..." Pedro replied. "Nothing. How about the others?"
The rest simply agreed on what Katrina hath opened in that meeting. The latter simply sipped her coffee and said:
"Perhaps, since everyone agrees, let's set plans straight."


III

Saturday. 29 of May. 12:00 NN.

After a series of careful planning, the operation brought by Katrina's idea had been put into action.

As Brigadier General Rubino Remorado was preparing for work, he was snatched from his apartment in Makati by three members of the "November 9th Movement" posing as young army officers. Led by "Sabrina Bustamante" (Katrina's nom de Guerre) of the "MN9", the operation, known as "Operation Aramburu", used the actions taken by the members of the Montoneros that captured and executed the former Argentine General years ago.

The controversial Brigadier General's disappearance, which was shown by news reports, has made the authorities "on alert" with series of investigations related to the incident,  yet Police investigations to locate him proved unsuccessful as the members of the "MN9" found to be elusive.

Days following Remorado's capture and detention, a Mock Trial had been set up by the MN9 along with the NPA to officiate Remorado's sentence. The latter, still tied, had his blindfold removed only to see members of the MN9 in balakavas, with the flagpoles featuring the Philippine Flag (with red at its top) at its left and the Red Flag featuring the Hammer, Sickle, and the M16 rifle on the right.
'Sabrina', being the officiator of the trial, issued a death sentence  over the detained General and acting "Justice Minister", as she read:

"Brigadier General Rupino Rermorado, former Commanding Officer of the 23rd Infantry brigade, and currently Minister of Justice, you are sentenced to death due to crimes against the revolutionary movement, here as follows:

1.) The killing of Rodel Ninguez, Guillermo Guido, and Celso Banarez during your tenure as head of the division at Southern Tagalog
2.) The killing of Alejandro Ulia, Afredo Capello, Mario Delfin, Susana Pujadas, Isaias Sabelli, and Roberto Bravo, as well as an attempt to kill Bernardo Quezada during your tenure as head of the division at Central Luzon

3.) The burning of Barrio San Vicente and displacement of its inhabitants." 

Then 'Sabrina' asked:
"So are you the one who implicated this?"

"It was the NPA who did that." General Remorado said.
"But according to the witnesses, your 23rd Infantry Brigade did it." 'Sabrina' said.
"The 23rd Infantry Brigade is taking part in peace and order operations in regions where your group is active." General Remorado said. "If your witnesses afforded to accuse me and the Brigade for such operations, maybe during operations these people were killed in encounters with the NPA or any allied groups."
"Collateral damage?" 'Sabrina' asked.
"Yes." General Remorado said. "Collateral damage."

Then 'Sabrina' called Bernardo Quezada, who then pointed him in the middle of the trial, and said:
"He is the one who ordered his men killed my friends."
Feigning innocence, General Remorado said:
"I am not the one who did it."
"No!" Bernardo said. "You even accused me of being a member of the NPA after expressing serious grievances against Don Hermes Marcelo at Hacienda Moncada. You even put up a detachment in the Hacienda as if a security force to harass the farmers."

Bernardo seemed willing to express angst against the detained General, only to be stopped by 'Sabrina', and said:
"Bernardo, Revolutionary Justice will serve against him."

And facing the General, 'Sabrina' then said:
"Any last words Remorado?"
"I am just doing my duty as a member of the Armed Forces". Remorado said. "Collateral damage is part of any other conflict. If you members of the National Peoples Army or the November 9th Movement afforded to destroy installations, impose revolutionary taxes against companies, threaten those who supported government efforts for peace and order, then I am sorry to say but more reprisals to come."
"Sounds contrary to your earlier statement sir." 'Sabrina' said. "You told everyone in this tribunal that you did your job as an officer while justifying your actions. Which really is true and legit?"

The officer did not speak at all except for a smirk, that made 'Sabrina', as one of the members of the tribunal, think that he justified such an horrible act, that also enough to justify his death sentence. 

A day after the Mock Trial declaring his death sentence, Remorado was taken from Muntinglupa, and shot twice in the chest with .45 pistol in an unknown location in Cavite. The Brigadier General's disappearance had kept Philippine society, especially the Junta, on tenterhooks for a month before it was discovered that Remorado had been murdered three days after his abduction.

And as time goes by, with all the raids and threats, killing sprees against the System such as those of its well-known officials deemed "murderous", "unjust", and "cruel",  the latter staged all-out actions "to get the movement." Besides massive propaganda campaigns by the Junta, Hundreds of persons who are suspected to have sympathies for the MN9, NPA, or some remote affiliation with the revolutionary movement have been arrested and interrogated. Among these are sympathisers from the labour and urban poor sectors, but apparently the authorities haven't been able to pin anything definite on any of them yet and the interrogations haven't produced any real clues. 

But with all these, the System's reaction to the "Operation Aramburu" has been more widespread and more energetic than expected.


III

As the reaction by the System was vehement, vicious, and massive through its programs pointing against the movement, Katrina and others were surprised. For they had expected much media excitement and a major police effort, but they had never imagined there would be quite such an outpouring of rage and hatred:

That Some of the politicians, churchmen, and others had expressed themselves on TV had been almost incoherent with emotion. One Christian evangelist known as "The messenger of the Son of God" had been shaking uncontrollably — not with sorrow but with anger — when he denounced the attacks against the government as "driven by insanity" if not "trying to thwart a plan to create an orderly change in the country." Former Senator and Elder Statesman Juanito Enteria described the movement as "soulless murderers who killed people like chickens" as he faced his supporters during a rally.

However, despite all the statements from the system and its apologetics, the movement rather "grows" as Katrina issued a counterstatement against Enteria, et al as it said:

"What kind of development the present order has been doing? 

It's been a statement from the present order that the Philippines has been a showcase of development if not a construction zone to impress foreign investment. Ranging from coconut, banana, and pineapple, sugarcane plantations to call centres, commercial establishments to export processing zones manufacturing jeans and shoes, the Philippines may somehow be deemed trying to be at par with its developed partners with its sufficient resources and manpower capable to create the desired progress the country needed.

However, having the reality that there is rampant poverty and repression be it the workers from the export processing zones to the shantytown dwellers, that so-called development has nothing to do with the common people who worked for long hours all for a pittance. The farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita for example, they are paid with 9.50 pesos, or those from a factory in Laguna has to work 420.00 pesos per day, but with the rising prices of commodities does it uplift their status in life? Not even savings can help their lives afloat with having expensive prices of necessary goods.

Such nonsense has made these people chose to strike than getting contented. The system has nothing to offer to these people except prison cells, bullets, and graveyards. Of course they would blame the growing revolutionary fervour for the series of strikes and mass actions in a country being shown as a construction zone geared towards total 'National Development' yet benefits the ruling class be it the compradore, the landlord, and the corrupt bureaucrat who justifies such undemocratic intentions while parroting words like democracy and freedom.

The system, whom also afforded to say that the struggle of the people as nothing but an 'Army of Criminals' who 'Killed people like Chickens' are themselves criminals with all their unjust actions as earlier stated. If they afford that 'of what is democracy if it is not for the poor', then what kind of democracy are they babbling if the poor remained hungry and thirsty for freedom and justice? 

The system, and not the revolution has killed people like chickens. And it is the duty of the revolutionary to punish those who killed these less fortunate people like chickens. Men like Remorado, Vismonte, and other personages whose criminal records were at its worst are examples of those who met such just punishments imposed all by the will of the people."


SABRINA BUSTAMANTE
November 9th Movement- 
National Peoples Army 

That statement, as being produced and posted in every street, if not shown in various sites, further justified the need for a retribution while the system hath trying to search for the members of the movement especially "Sabrina."

As out in the city streets, and under the orders of a Junta that's gone paranoid with all the events affecting their rule, blue-painted cars and buses marked with the words “METROCOM” in dull red letters monitored the streets, and checkpoints been having much troopers guarding, all from the "Metropolitan Command" of the Philippine National Police, since the Junta way back then brought back the "feared" names behind the past's infamous "New Society", replacing the "safe-sounding ones" of the old regime like the "National Capital Region Police Office".



IV

As Katrina finished typing her statement, she again went to the kitchen to prepare her coffee.

Whilst preparing, Katrina recalled something from her youth, that, during her high school days as a contestant in a beauty pageant, she answered a question given to her, that she has to continue learning and remolding as a person, especially in pursuit of achievement.
However, despite her good answer, if not her beauty and talent as a contestant, as well as having most students supporting her, she's been defeated by a rival happened to be a daughter of a teacher. Katrina felt so dismayed as well as her supporters thinking that how come that contestant happened to win despite failing to answer a question?
But in the end, she found herself that she's still supported by her schoolmates despite not having the crown. They even knew that because of one or another's envy over her beauty and wit they wanted her to be defeated.

Such recall from her highschool days hath made Katrina nod and sipped what she've prepared. A comrade then came and said:
"There will be a meeting later."
Katrina simply nod and replied:
"Okay, I'll go. By the way, coffee?"
"Sure."

"The System is hurting the movement badly by continuing to arrest those upon whom the Organization is largely dependent for its financing." Pedro said. "For if the supply of funds from it's sympathizers as been cut off, underground units will be forced to turn to robbery on a large scale in order to support the struggle in the city since support from the countryside oftentimes not enough to ensure needs in its urban counterparts."
Katrina nod and said:
"But, why need to conduct robbery if instead can conduct series of arms-grabbing campaigns against the police and the military? Isn't it that becoming a lumpen for a people's army?"
Pedro then replied:
"Well, what alternatives do you offer then?"
"A coordinated action of arms-grabbing operations led by our flying columns. 20-40 men, able to attack military and infrastructural targets, sniping targets, and conduct intelligence operations."
Pedro, although initially hesitated, agreed as he nod on Katrina's suggestion. The latter then showed the map that saidth about the detachments located mostly at Manila, Pasay, and in Caloocan, all based from an informant within the armed forces.

The military camp at Caloocan, which's served as a "main detachment" over Camanava area, has a supply of weapons and ammunition, as well as soldiers in its barracks all in its active duty. Pedro, as he heard that description, then asked:
"I just find it difficult for us to start an arms raid in that detachment given our state."
"But we do have informants and sympathysers within the armed forces if I may ask." Katrina said.
'"Yes," Pedro replied. "But, I don't think they can really help us or trust them."
"Let's give it a try?" Katrina said. "After all, our intention is clear: to rearm and fight back against the enemy."
Then pointing at Caloocan as an example of an action that's to be done.

After the meeting, and everyone agreed to her decision, Katrina then sipped her coffee as she sought, read a note coming from an old Soviet tale, as it saidth:

"The Soviet soldier was better than that of the enemy, not only in the sense of moral superiority...but simply in the military sense. Soviet commanders were immeasurably superior not only for their political consciousness but also their military training and their way of rapidly seizing on what was new, and making practical and wide use of their experience. Soviet weapons and equipment were no worse, and in certain respects even better, than those of the enemy."

Afterwards she looked back at the map, and nod thinking that in contrast to the bandit and thuggish-like actions of the enemy, the movement tends to be "Red" in regards to committing in the struggle and "Expert" when it comes to its actions.

And outside her comrades were as briskly preparing their weapons for the action. Everything seemed to be in an active mode especially that they stockpiled weapons and trained new recruits


V

Four months later, and with a help from a sympathyser from the armed forces, 20 members of the MN9, disguised as members of the "Philippine army", staged an audacious raid on a detachment at Caloocan.

That in the middle of the night and few enemy soldiers remain at its post, the raiding party entered the place, infliltrated the armory without a shot and seized 37 submachine guns, 15 M16s, and 40 Garand rifles including crates of ammunition. All of it were immediately gathered and placed in a van with a mark featuring the armed forces, and left in haste with the soldiers at the post thinking as if nothing happened if not a command coming from an higher officer.

That perhaps end quite surprised for the enemy themselves that spontaneous arms raids were being set up and a loss of arms hath been heard from any detachments got raided by rebels wearing uniforms of their foes, what more of an audacious plan that caught the system off guard with its swift and hasty moves. MN9 forces stockpiled their captured arms and ammunition in safe houses, if not being sent to the countryside for the NPA; and statements from Katrina, again as Sabrina Bustamante been issued, as said:

"The actions made by the November 9th Movement in various locations of Metro Manila and its suburbs is a showcase of action that surprised the enemy. Showing its speed and audacious act in capturing arms in various detachments controlled by the order, the action itself shows that despite all efforts to destroy the revolutionary movement, the latter continues to grow strong, and with the help of the people, victory will surely come.


SABRINA BUSTAMANTE,
November 9th Movement-
National Peoples Army"

However, despite the acts made by the comrades, it seems that the General Command led by Pedro, Katrina, and a certain ex-Colonel Gonzalo wanted a major action that involves Urban Partisan offensives as well as bombings on strategic areas of the metro. There Pedro checked the locations such as the NAWASA main pipe at the San Juan-Quezon City boundary, the Manila City Hall, the Floating Casino near CCP Complex, and the Western Police District at UN Avenue.

The proposals seemed to be worth "disastrous" to create a disaster. However, despite its initial approval, Katrina then asked:
"Sounds similar to the actions brought about by the enemy decades ago. However isn't it that too much? We are a people's army on the first place. And bombings are not as necessary to speeden the revolutionary setting."
"Then tell me," Gonzalo asked, "What's wrong in the idea of bombing to shake the entire system?"
"We wanted to create revolutionary conditions comrade." Katrina said. "But we can't just create conditions for the system does most of the time. They brought the crisis, let the people come to us since we offer an alternative to them, look at we now, we have plans for an urban offensive the way the system afforded to imprison our supporters am friends, or even impose policies detrimental to our communities, but at the same time these conditions provide us time to organise more from those who yearned to counter that goddamn crisis."
"Kat," Gonzalo said. "You didn't answer my question. Whats wrong in the idea of bombing here in the capital? I see nothing wrong in your idea of putting our efforts in organising be it the peasant, youth, the working class, even that goddamn shopkeeper and the lawyer; but we need a stronger application of political force. We killed the murderers happened to be ruling the country, isn't it that terroristic?"
Katrina, as she recalled her first baptism of fire by killing Leopoldo Alcover during a rally, then asked:
"Since we're talking about our deeds, and all of us have done it, why not lets give the junta a surprise? We've all wanted a really direct act the way all of us organising felt that it is essential to strike the System immediately with a blow which will not only interrupt the actions of the Military and the Police, but will also raise morale throughout the movement by embarrassing the System and demonstrating this movement's ability to act greater actions against the struggle if not trying to intensify further direct actions as "more than just assassinations" isn't it?"
"Ya." Gonzalo said, while Pedro simply nod on her statement.

Then Katrina, as she read some reports concerning the movement's (and the enemy's) progress, added:
"We have raided them the way they arrested most of us. And since they execute or unjustly killed most of us may as well bombard them or feel the wrath in every offensive. For sure the system knows how threatening the growing movement of ours against themselves."
Then pointing at the papers, she further said:
"Let's start with these reports about the meeting of the members of Junta and of the Batasang Bayan. I will volunteer if no one dares to."

And no one ought to oppose her decision. However, Pedro said:
"I know you can't just do it alone, but as comrades and faithful to the cause, it is a duty that we help you in your mission."
Katrina simply nod on her comrade's decision.

Then they planned that throughout the entire month. Gonzalo then chided Katrina thinking that she initially opposed the idea of bombing only to decide what is to be bombed.


VI

Disguised as a member of the "National Media Production Center" known as "Patricia Resurrecion", Katrina, with help of some sympathisers within the convention center, afforded to enter at the back door, leading to one of the rooms near the conference area. Inside she prepared her "Bomb" by setting the time of the bomb inserted into a 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) block of C4 explosive wrapped in brown paper. The detonator consisted of a long-delay timer made from video recorder components and a Memo Park Timer safety device. She then placed the single primed bomb inside the briefcase while on the other side another bomb coming from her handbag which was made out of gas-pipe filled with dynamite and capped at both ends with wooden blocks be placed beside the other bomb in the briefcase.

And at around 12:30 before the conference began, Katrina, in a manner of Stauffenberg and his "famous" July 20 plot, went to a lavatory near the conference area where she set the bomb timer. Her actions seemed to be abit hasty due to pressure, especially that she's been interrupted by someone outside the lavatory. And as she finished setting the time, she opened the tap, washed her hands, opened the door, and left the lavatory to the outsider waiting. She then placed the suitcase bomb underneath the table near the rostrum since there were no security around monitoring at the area, and went to a seat near the exit as the Session continued with its plans such as "peace and order" to those of economic plans still leaned towards neoliberalism and of compradore interests.

After a few minutes of hearing from those despots and taking some pictures of the said event, Katrina received a planned text message and left the building where a getaway car awaited her.

The session still continued at its normal flow, but in few hours before the session finished, the bomb detonated. In its blast killed several members of that so-called "consultative assembly" and "legislative advisory council", as well as few members of the Junta itself.

And in it lies a series of "flash news reports" followed by a series of eulogies to those despotic personages as the news report said:

“Another tragedy has been made again by the enemies of the state, this time, a bomb erupted at the conference room of the Philippine International Convention Center few hours ago. Several members of the Batasang Bayan as well as the ruling Executive Peace and Development Council been killed by the explosion...”

While "Business Today" described the bombing as a major act of terrorism, as it said:

"...Another terrorist action has shook the country decades after the Light A Fire Movement bombed Manila..."



VII

Everything seemed to bebe on alert as the vehicle  left the premises. As the driver sought police vehicles passing over, Katrina looked at the window whilst craftily preparing her .45 in case a cop trying to look at the car in a stubbornly manner.

However, everything seemed to be "okay" since they passed far from CCP complex at Pasay. Katrina then texted Pedro, and said:
"Everything is okay."
Pedro did texted back, and said:
"Proceed to Malate. HongKong Tea House."
Then Katrina ordered her driver to proceed to Malate, at HongKong Tea House where another vehicle awaited her.

At HongKong Tea House, Katrina went inside where she waited until Peter Lee approached her and asked:
"Are you ms. Resurrecion?"
"Yes." Katrina said.
"I am Peter Lee", said the old bald haired chinaman. "Please come into my office."
Then she and the restaurant owner went inside his office. Her driver wanted to join, only to be stopped by Katrina to return to the hideout.

As the two entered the office, Peter Lee immediately ordered his assistant to close the door telling "there is a private meeting", then he asked Katrina:
"So how is the movement going?"
Katrina then replied:
"What movement?"
Peter Lee then smiled and said:
"The , I heard in the news that there's an event at the convention center."
Katrina simply nod and said:
"Good."
"Pardon me if I asked straight." Mr. Lee said. "Your friend asked me to bring you here."
"I see," Katrina said.
"And by the way," Mr. Lee said. "I am also a part of the resistance. I am just acting low profile however, I do help in providing supplies for our men."
Katrina then asked:
"So you know Robert? Robert Paul Ortega?"
"Yes," Mr. Lee said. "I know him, we met months ago before he left going to the countryside. Why?"
"Um..." Katrina said. "Nothing. I just remember a good friend."
"I see," Mr. Lee said. "By the way, you may stay here for long. I will provide you and your driver food."
"Ow." Katrina said. "I just ordered my driver to return home."
"Okay." Mr. Lee replied.
And Mr. Lee went out for the kitchen and to look at his restaurant's affairs.

As Katrina stayed at Mr. Lee's office, a text message appeared, she opened it and it said:
"Mr. Lee is a good friend, you may stay there for a moment."
Then Katrina texted:
"Why?"
Then a news report was heard in the radio, as it said:

"The police continue to cordon the entire PICC complex as the NBI investigates the incident happened hours ago at the plenary hall where the Batasang Bayan meeting happened. 

According to forensic experts, they found strains of RDX and TNT, both ingredients in explosive devices at the site..."

Furthermore, the junta announced a "further heightened alert within the existing state of seige" after the incident. According to the press secretary Camilo Fajardo, the said incident is "an attempt to destroy normalcy paving way to a reestablished democracy in the country." It also declared mobilisation of military, police, as well as volunteer units "within Mega Manila" in an attempt to "further stamp out possible action from the urban terrorist group MN9."

As the news continued, Katrina texted:
"What shall we do now? The alert has been further heightened."

As the radio continued blaring the recent incident, Mr. Lee came again, this time with food and said:
"Sorry if you have waited for long. I am busy observing my employees as well as customers in this restaurant. Besides that, I just seen policemen outside."
"Is it because of thr heightened alert after than bombing?"
Mr. Lee nod and said:
"After you eat, I will order my driver to bring you to Pasig, I will text your friend that you are under Reymundo Eduarte."
Then he showed papers to Katrina, and said:
"By the way, these are important papers, and show that you are an employee of the French embassy in case the police question you, for sure you still remember your French don't you?"
"Oui." Katrina said.

After long hour of staying inside the tea house, Katrina bid goodbye to the owner who happened to be a sympathiser. However, as Katrina almost left the tea house, rather interrupted by a telecast from the government station, that made her stay for a brief moment.

And like any other announcement from the system, this time with the head of the Junta, "President" Rodrigo Perez-Dasmarinas, who showed no reaction about the recent incident as he faced the cameras, but he simply stated:

"The upsurge of Terrorist actions brought about by these armed radicals has made this nation again in a state of Chaos. They have killed our distinguished Generals Vismonte, Remorado, Minister Alcover, and this time killed Generals Ricardo Matias, Ernesto Espino, David Aldo, and Segundo Catapang. These men who died by that terrible incident showed that in line of duty they continued working alongside our Batasang Bayan lawmakers Francisco Abaya, Rafael Caballero, Lisandro Iturbide, Raquel Bustamante, and others who end died.

The Big stick of the law will be raised further against terrorists and subversives trying to destroy the morale of an ever united nation, and as head of the armed forces, I order to mobilise all units including the police and the neighborhood self-defence units to implement extreme vigilance against these terrorists."

Followed by an order from the press secretary calling for a curfew hour starting at 9:30 pm and ends at 6:00 am. Military units, police, and volunteer groups such as "neighbourhood self-defence units" been mobilised as part of a "further heightened alert under the state of seige".

"You may go now Patricia before the curfew starts." Mr. Lee said.

Meanwhile, there were no statements issued by "Sabrina" except a call for an "all out justice" brought about by the General Command:

"Following extensive consultations, the November 9th Movement, which earlier had suffered setbacks against by the reactionary armed forces, declared another major action through the bombing of the conference led by the members of the Executive Peace and Development Council as well as members of the Batasang Bayan assembly at the Philippine International Convention Center.

The action is made in response to those of having Non-conformist republicans, and critics against the ruling council as being subjected to harassment, arrest and violence by the forces of the ruling "Peace and Development Council"; others have been interned or even killed, disappeared on the direction of the police and the armed forces. It is the ruling system, not the revolutionary movement, which has chosen provocation and conflict against the people.

The will of the people has been and is to see advances in the political process. With economic crisis aggravated and Politico-social repression intensified, the recent bombing will follow by another action. 

Be it in a form of a bombing, sniping, ambush, various forms of tactical offensives pointing against the reactionary armed forces and the police, these actions are a form of direct action, made in response to the earlier actions the system hath done to the people, not just the militants, but those who have least the right to voice out grievances against the ruling junta and its repression. 

Long Live the Revolution! May the National and Social Independence of the Philippines be Realised."

GENERAL COMMAND,
NOVEMBER 9th MOVEMENT-
NATIONAL PEOPLES ARMY


VIII

Few months after the incident, everything within the movement seemed to be vigilant especially after those reports about arrests and harassments. The Philippines, especially Metro Manila seemed to be reminiscent of both El Salvador and Euskalherria decades ago, or perhaps even worse. Censorship been strictly imposed even in government-issued media outlets, curfews been enacted in its earliest time, everything as intervened by the military, police, or even the "volunteer units" in pursuit of rooting out members of MN9 and other groups.

However, the group whom they called "bandits", "terrorists", and "criminal syndicates" rather took extreme precaution. Obviously, everything was in code if not in using foreign language such as French and German. Carefully-trained Flying columns strike against garrisons and checkpoints at noon or at midnight, grabbing arms of any kind if not plain simple destruction of installation.

Worse, with that recent bombing at the "Philippine International Convention Centre", the system's paranoia becoming at its worst. Not because of its martial law nor its censorship, but the view that they wanted to curb potential opposition:

First, by having the Commission on Higher Education and the National Youth Commission be under a Military officer, student organisations even fraternities were dissolved if not driven underground. The "Reserve Officers Training Corps" and "Citizenship Advancement Training" were emphasised besides those of strict examination systems. A strict censorship was also applied to the contents of the programs, so was the scientific project of tight relationship between education and investigation in the universities. In non-academic matters, private security forces been replaced by military men if not "volunteers".
And those who "allegedly" been opposing in the name of "autonomy" been met with violence. At one time the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, to those of San Sebastian College were invaded and had its people violently dislodged by the armed forces. And some within its rooms soldiers beat up and arrested students and professors while authorities described it as a "restructuring" in the name of "order" and "national security."

Strange those days that some did fled to other countries if not chose to join the underground be it at the countryside or at the suburbs.

In a cold evening in a condominium unit owned by Peter Lee in Makati's commercial district, Katrina, alone, was busy typing in her laptop a coded message using a proxy server enough to evade eneny . Everything seemed to be well-prepared if not even "safe" to stay amidst the enemy's movement. Guns like the "LG5 Sniper Grenade Launcher" smuggled from China by a corrupt general and brought nonetheless by that gun-loving Chinese restaurant owner were there on a "compartment" enough to hide those high powered weapons.

Her coded message, this time in German and in a Sütterlin form, seemed quite long, as it said:

"Comrades, the enemy's heightened alert made this country intensified its status as a police state. Reports about capture of MN9, NPA, as well as supporters showed attempts to slow down the struggle in pursuit of antiterrorism and counterinsurgency.

However, resistance will continue as shown by the recent events in Manila. The bombing of PICC is its proof that the regime has to be destroyed.

To the General Command, here are the enemy movements, the garrisons, the plans according to a recent report. Swift, partisan action be given as necessary."

Then she typed every place, every detachment, every division, every battalion or company all from the enemy's side within Metro Manila. Her message somewhat sounded like a 'farewell' as she typed her statement as well as as the way she provides every info given to her by a sympathizer within the armed forces.

And after she sent her message to a comrade online, she had the laptop shut down then looked at the window wherein she sought a convoy of enemy troops passing at the street. She then looked at the Chinaman's "armory" where she found the "LG5", prepared, and immediately went to the rooftop through the fire exit.


IX

And as she reached the rooftop, she then waited as aimed her rifle at the middle of the passing convoy first by armored cars and of passing trucks full of soldiers, waited till she pulled the trigger at the third convoy passing.

"BOOM!" 

An airburst burned not one but three trucks brought by that Chinese-made "grenade sniper rifle". And in it killed thirty soldiers inside those vehicles. Soldiers from other trucks then went out, only to be fired by another airburst shot. People were suddenly woke up by the explosion and sought through the windows men killed inside the vehicle or in the streets, if not survivors struggling to find cover or trying to search who's behind that action. Armored cars found their trucks behind rather charred as if like an artillery barrage, and its men inside killed or wounded, not knowing all these done by a lone wolf sniping at them all through the condominium's rooftop, in the middle of the night.

"What a worst type of ambush!" said a soldier to his commander inside the armored as he found a part of a convoy met its worst fate. As Katrina, the lone female partisan from MN9 fired every grenade shot from the rooftop, creating "hell" as much as possible on that convoy.

Afterwards she immediately fled, leaving the rifle at the rooftop. She then went to the restroom first where she exchanged some of her clothes, went down via the elevator, walked briskly to her room, prepared her things, waited for few more hours, and again left, this time, the building through the back entrance. No one couldn't notice that the smartly-dressed girl did that ambush alone.

And outside she afforded to elude some checkpoints as she showed her passport and papers, enough to evade using "diplomatic immunity" as "Patricia Resurrecion." And in it also made her leave the city for the countryside after a coded text message from the general command urged her to leave Metro Manila. 


Epilogue

The sun had already set as Katrina traversed along with a comrade in a muddy path in the countryside. Seeing grasses, coconut palms, to thicker forests of the mountains, faint glow hath glided over the treetops as the partisan along with her guide continued walking amidst muddy shoes.

And as night came in its fullest darkness, tempered by its bright shining stars, Katrina and her guide continued walking despite everything pitch black, accentuated by the sounds of the forest creatures such as cicadas and geckos.

Despite getting tired, the two rather traversed the muddy path thinking that the camp as almost near. With a little concentration, they could hear the gurgling sound of the stream snaking between the woody hills. The two then stopped for a moment and took some rest, with the guide made fire while Katrina prepared her sleepbag and slept.

The next day, after a long trek from those muddied paths, Katrina, along with her guide, arrived at a destination- a barrio that seemed organised and controlled by the movement, or rather say, a red zone. And like any other barrio, people, especially children, came as they sought an unfamiliar visitor along with her guide: wearing a jacket, jeans, and Chuck Taylor's end dirted by that long trek, Katrina somehow felt relief as she sought the smiles of those whom approached her, whom they thinks as any other comrade in the liberated zone, and she gave candies such as "Snow Bear" and "Mintinis" to them.

The guide then called Katrina and pointed at the place to stay in. It seemed larger than ordinary wooden hut, and inside, a coterie of five comrades arrived and introduced one another to Katrina, one of them was a former Colonel end defected to the movement, Danilo Catalla.
After introducing themselves, Katrina and the retinue went to the hall that served as the dining area. Danilo then said:
"Sorry if the place seemed crampy. You may seat here for a moment."
"No need to worry about," said Katrina.
And the retinue returned to their work. Katrina found the place simple yet a relief. She then placed her bag in a wooden chair, and stood up,  and looked at the window where she sought comrades performing some basic chores if not helping in a particular task given to them.

Meanwhile, in one of the hut's rooms, Robert was busy doing paperwork. His paperworks, mainly consists of statements, been typed in the typewriter before mimeographing it.

And despite closed doors, the sound of the typewriter seemed recalling as it reached Katrina's, with the latter finding it enticing to visit that room, and then knocked three times.
"Open". Said the man inside the room.
Katrina then opened the door and sought Robert working. Robert then looked at the girl whom he met and befriend years before, this time having a short hair, and asked:
"Katrina? Is that you?"
"Yes, it's me!" Katrina replied.
Robert then hugged her and said:
"Its you again Katrina. It seems that you really changed a lot."
"And you are still the same Robert I met." Katrina said as she also hugged him. "You are the same guy who loves to write."

TO BE CONTINUED...