In the past two weeks, I’ve been in constant conversation with Tatay Rene Lumawag over what others might see as petty stuff. It’s all but petty. It shouldn’t be.
To mark the first anniversary of Gene Boyd’s death in November last year we mounted an exhibit of his photos. Tatay’s flock of friends– photographers, and some individuals — in cooperation with MindaNews, mounted the exhibit in NCCC mall to remember Gene Boyd. We were thankful that the mall allowed us to hold the exhibit.
It was a good one, although, we know we could always do better the next time around. Some generous people sent in donations including for tarpauline of all sizes.
Because of the busy schedule, we forgot to put down the big tarp with Boyd’s photo on it. Months passed by until Tatay was informed by a friend that he saw Boyd’s photo in a tarp (trapal ba!) used in a shed behind the mall.
Tatay sought us in MindaNews to help him recover the tarp thinking it was just hanged wherever in the mall. MindaNews immediately informed and inquired from NCCC if its true on Sept. 5. We asked to get it back. Our staff Roxan talked to one of the administrative aides of the mall. He was told they will look for it. But Roxan was told later its nowhere to be found.
I then called them and insisted our source (as Tatay would attest) have seen it and positively identified Boyd’s photo in the recycled tarp. I was asked to identify our source, which of course, I declined.
I asked them to look again and make sure to recover the tarp. Tatay and I have exchanged text mssages about the veracity of our source’s report. We stood by our verbal request for the mall to secure the tarp and return it to us.
But the mall’s staff denied it but vowed to continue searching.
On Sept. 9, Tatay, myself and around 40 other media men played bowling at the mall. Tatay took time looking for it and found the tarp near the warehouse. But the tarp was already recoated with yellow paint. Tatay was sure he could still see Boyd’s photo and told me about it. During the break between the tournament’s games 1 and 2, we sneaked and took photos of the tarp.
A security guard and a security official called our attention. We were asked to request permission first before taking any photo. But Tatay already had the photo in his camera so we said there was no need to ask permission. The security official told us, in the middle of exchanges about who we are, not to make noise. Tatay quipped: “Kamo magbantay! You destroyed our good relationship!”.
Who wouldn’t be enraged? I was already disturbed seeing Boyd’s photo in the tarp recoated. What more Tatay Rene, who is Boyd’s father? I’m not saying the mall managemenet deliberately repainted the tarp. Maybe it was unintentional or without malice.
But if the reports we got are true, it was repainted on Sept. 6, a day after MindaNews called them requesting retrieval of the tarp.They have repeatedly denied the tarp is still there. Not there, but all the while it was there? Which is which?
Perhaps, after our encounter with mall security, the matter was raised to the mall administration. Roxan said he received a call from the aide who dealt with us. He said they offered to replace the tarp, after all.
If this was a simple “material” we were trying to recover, it would suffice. But it’s not. This is about the memory of a person being desecrated. Tatay eyed some malice in the recoating of the tarp. I’m not privy for now if they have already contacted Boyd’s family.
But I see a double kill in this. When you don’t get justice yet for someone you care about, and when politicians and security people (both police and military) fail to deliver their promise to help, this one could be all but petty. Petty isn’t petty at all.
Yes we are thankful of NCCC’s sponsorship of the exhibit venue. But C’mon, that does not guarantee a license to hide about the tarp, such a small value compared with corporate integrity.
Like when you issue a statement of account to a client (forgive the example): Disregard this filler if apology has been made (and forgiveness had been granted).