We were slowly traversing through Gen. Luna Avenue in San Mateo, Rizal when two motorcycle escorts with their sirens and horns blowing overtook us and motioned us to slow down to allow a convoy of cars to pass through.
The blowing of car horns and sirens so startled my wife – who was driving -- that she was forced to veer to the right, barely hitting a parked truck. These sudden and surprising movements caused the head of my sleeping eight-month old boy Arno (short for Armand Dean Nocum II), who I cradled in my arms, to hit his head on the leathered panels of the car’s right door. Violently shaken from sleep by the series of bumps on the head, Arno began to cry.
I tried to make him stop crying, but Arno must have been too hurt to stop. Angry and my paternal instinct kicking in, I wanted to take the wheel and give the convoy a chase but was reminded by my wife that my doctors have forbidden me from driving following the recent angioplasty operation on my five blocked heart veins.
By this time, the convoy had no luck overtaking the other cars because of the traffic. Suddenly, it turned right at Kambal Road and this time I found myself grinning, realizing that this abusive “utak wang-wang” official could be going in the same direction as we were. Fortunately for us and unfortunately for the official, he was!
The effort of the three motorcycle escorts and about four to five cars to overtake other vehicles and stop incoming cars from traveling only caused traffic to halt as mayhem hit the small barangay road. The whaling of sirens and blinkers illuminating the dark night pierced the peace and silence of this sleepy town, forcing people to go out and find whether there was a fire or what the ruckus was all about. Inside the car, Arno’s loud crying only added to the general state of confusion.
However, the traffic afforded us the chance see the convoy up close and that’s when we saw one of the car’s plate numbers as RHH 202. It was a black Starex SUV. We also saw the escorts to have OPSS Task Force marked on the back of their shirts. OPSS stands for the Office of Public Safety and Security, the local version of the MMDA in Metro Manila.
This made me conclude that the abusive official could be no less than San Mateo Mayor Jose Rafael Evangelista Diaz and I told my wife: “How sad for the President’s ban on wang-wang not applying to officials outside of Metro Manila; they remain utak-wang-wang in their little kingdoms in the provinces!”
“Obviously, this official does not believe in the President’s declaration of Tuwid na Daan (Straight and Narrow Path). This official may have been sleeping like Arno when the President declared that he was doing away with wang-wangs in his inauguration speech!” I added.
Having met Mayor Diaz through a proposed public relations deal once, I turned over Arno to the nanny and fished out my camera to take a picture and a video. I wanted to give the mayor a piece of my mind so he can keep his abusive motorcycle escorts in place. As I did so, my wife objected, reminding me that I am still a media person and this can get me in trouble (I continue to contribute stories to newspapers for my www.krislibrary.com advocacy after retiring from the Philippine Daily Inquirer five years ago to put up my own legal public relations firm). By this time, Arno has stopped crying, seemingly approving of my move to catch the one who gave him a bump on the head en flagrante delito (caught in the act)!
When we finally reached the gates of Timberland Heights mountain estate, I saw the normally strict guards saluting and waving off the convoy. As our turn to pass came, I asked the guards whether the VIP was Mayor Diaz and they replied: “Secretary Coloma po!”
Noting that they saw me taking a video, my wife assured them that me and Coloma are friends, although the truth is I have never met Communications Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma in my life.
Leaving the guardhouse, I finally said: “Patay ka sa akin!” or gotcha! as I turned to check on Arno who was now smiling amid tears lining up his eyes.
Welcome to the REAL world Arno!