Beginning of last month my family suffered a terrible incident. April 1st to be exact. It used to be a really special day for us, the birthday of my dad. Used to be a big party with us family and friends our tenants. Just trying to remember my dad, on that early day I was talking to one of my sister about what’s the plan of the birthday of my dad. Who by the way died a long time ago when I used to live in the States. She told me what the siblings were planning and so then I told them to let me know when my other siblings be in town so that I can call them and talk to them. Later that day, I did talk to my siblings.
Later that day, really early evening my niece Glenda informed me that my cousin who lives in Kidapawan was killed. I was shocked and didn’t want to believe about it. She said that she was informed by some members of our family in kKidapawan and told her to tell us that my cousin was killed. Me and Glenda don’t want to believe at first we thought they were just playing tricks on us since it was April fools day. Just to make sure I called up one of my siblings (some who lives in Sarangani Province and some in General Santos City) if they heard any news from our cousins in Kidapawan? They said Nope, so then I told Glenda to called up my nieces or one of my cousins there in Kidapawan and ask whats going on.
To be totally honest I’m already in panick mode. I told Bob what was going on because he was close to this cousin of mine that died. My cousin stood as Bob’s dad during our wedding. Bob saw him last like 2 years ago when the wife of my cousin in the hospital here in Davao for a treatment for her breast cancer. She’s good now. So when I told Bob about what happened he was shocked and wanting to know more about it. We did know more about it later that night. Still I don’t want to believe it. I was really hoping that it was just a joke. Bob told me to believe it now. I was having a hard time believing and accepting it because he was in good health the last time I saw him. My cousin told me that time that his always watching what he ate because he wants to lived longer for his kids and grandkids and his adopted child. It was easy to accept my parents death though because of old age and they were sickly.
My cousin who owns several fish car trucks (that carries bunch of fish with ice and transported from one place to another for a period of days) went to Zamboanga to get some fish to sell at his several fish stalls in Kidapawan market. He goes to Zamboanga a lot to get fish and visit his family there from his mother’s side. On this trip he brought along with him his wife and his assistant. In the middle of the trip a man pulled over pick up a guy who wanted to hitch a ride with them, so he gave the guy a ride. The guy was on top of his truck. Not too long after that, another guy pulled him over and wanting for him to give him a ride. He stopped and waited a while to let the guy climb up the truck he thought anyway. All the sudden they heard a big bang. The assistant said I think one of our tire blow up. Both the assistant and my cousin open their door to get out. As soon as my cousin open the door and tried to get out he was shot by the later guy that wanted a ride. Him and his wife and the assistant found out that the guy shot also the person on top of the truck.
Part of the body of the guy shot was half way hanging on top. The guy that shot my cousin fled the scene. He was running and somehow caught a ride again somewhere. The wife of my cousin was panicking, my cousin was still alive and just within minutes of dying. The wife was asking for the nearest hospital, but its an hour drive. The wife knew that my cousin would not make it. My cousin died after not too long on the drive. On the next town, my cousins’ wife was asking for help there. The son of the high up guy there helped them. I guess with the description they know who the guy was. The next day they caught the guy that killed my cousin. He is now in Zamboanga waiting for the trial.
I hope it would not take a long time for the trial, it was hard enough already for the family to handle that he died and to relive it again would be harder for the wife and kids and grandkids. My cousin was not released from the morgue right away. Police were there to investigate. Takes hours for the wife to get the body and bring it to Kidapawan. Some members of my family in Kidapawan went to Pagadian. My cousin was brought by the St. Peters Funeral Service (the people we used for my moms funeral) to Kidapawan.
I went to his wake. I was shocked of the amount of people there. As if he was the mayor of Kidapawan. Every night they had like 2 thousand or more people there for the wake. When I went there at the wake in the early evening I can see people but at least I can just easily go and see the casket. After talking with his wife, me and my siblings went home to eat dinner at my other cousins house when we came back to the wake, wow, I saw more than a thousand people and they keep growing on the wee hours of the night. The wife was telling my other cousins that she was wanting to just have just the family exclusively on the last night of the wake. But how could anybody shove away the people that were wanting to pay their last respects on my cousin? So the wife changed her mind and made it open to everybody.
On the wake I saw some of my families, if I remember the I last time I saw them was when I was a kid. Some I saw when I was in college. We were talking there because that cousin that died during my mom’s funeral he was talking to me about we the BAYOY clan should have a grand reunion with the last aunt we have that ‘s left be included. The aunt was the youngest of my dad’s siblings. I told him yeah we should do that. Because of the schedule and other stuff it didn’t happened. But on his wake it was somewhat a reunion on our family. Lots of my fathers side families were there. I’ve seen one of my oldest cousin that I’ve known here in Mindanao that’s alive. I saw him when me and my parents went to his house for a festival, that was like 35 years or so ago. Some cousins and nieces and nephews I never saw them for almost 30 years ago were there. It was really nice seeing them. I wished in a different circumstances though. It was really a bitter/sweet reunion for all of us there.
During the funeral day we thought not many people would be attending since the night before a lot of people were there already. Well we were wrong. The church was filled with people. I was just so amazed by how much he was loved by the people of Kidapawan. He was not as popular as the government officials there but the outpouring support of the people there was truly humbling for us. The market vendors, my cousin was the president, asked the wife if on the way to church if the casket can swing by on the market for all the vendors pay their last respect to him. I was shocked on our way there I’ve seen lots of people waiting there at the side of the market. With the speeches of so many people I know that my cousin was well like in that area.
TO YOU MY DEAR JOKER COUSIN LEOPOLDO S. BAYOY MAY YOU REST IN PEACE AND WE LOVE YOU! YOU’LL BE MISSED!!!