Last vigil for Kian: 'Nakikiiyak din ang langit'
MANILA, Philippines – The rain was unstoppable in Baesa, Caloocan City, on the last night of Kian Loyd delos Santos’ wake on Friday, August 25.
There were plans to hold protests, plans for a noise barrage, in the barangay. TV news crews and reporters had their gears out and ready, but the sky released a big cry, and only a silent candle-lighting protest pushed through.
In the words of Kian’s neighbors, “Nakikiiyak din ang langit sa atin.” (The heavens are crying with us.)
But unlike in the earlier days of the wake, the faces of Kian’s friends and neighbors had a glimmer of hope. There was at least an attempt to smile. There was laughter when faced with cameras even as they held lit candles and placards with the words “Justice for Kian.”
Elsewhere in the Metro Manila and the provinces – even abroad – Filipinos held protest actions to call for justice for Kian, and an end to the killings in the Philippines. They wanted President Rodrigo Duterte, the Commander-in-Chief, to be held accountable for the death of this young man and thousands others.
Kian’s parents, Saldy and Lorenza, opted to take a rest from the media. When a TV reporter attempted to ask questions, Lorenza shied away from the camera and said her throat had gone unbearably sore. “Masakit na po talaga, promise po, masakit na talaga,” she told the reporter. (It's really painful, believe me, it's already painful.)
Earlier on Friday, they filed torture and murder charges against the Caloocan policemen who allegedly killed their son during the drug raid on August 16.
There was at least an inch or two of rainwater flooding the ground outside the Delos Santos’ home, but it did not overflow as much as the slain teenager's visitors. Relatives and friends from afar arrived for the last night of Kian’s wake. Young and old strangers introduced themselves to Kian’s family, recalling the articles they had read on the internet, and how heartbroken they had felt after reading the news.
In the alleys surrounding the wake, people at 3 tables shuffled cards through the night. In the Philippines, betting games are traditionally played during wakes in order to raise money for the family of the dead. The game was either tong-its or pusoy.
Young men had either a bottle of beer or a cup of brandy in hand. In the background played the song that Kian's friends composed for him.. The last lines of the rap song goes:
"Niyakap niya ito, sabay bulong, anak, mag-ingat ka.
Ian, hanggang dito na lang, paalam, mami-miss kita."
Meanwhile, kids played around, saying hi’s and hello’s to reporters, whose presence they had gotten used to.
From the roof of a neighbor's home, white T-shirts plastered with a black ribbon and the words “Justice For Kian” hung to dry. The plan was for everyone to wear the same shirt at the procession on Saturday, August 26, when they bring Kian to his resting place.
In the room where Kian lay, the flowers had started to wilt. Only the names of their senders in ribbons glowed with glitter – many of them the names of politicians who had visited the wake. The visitors’ register was also almost-filled. There were probably more strangers than friends listed on it, at least a fourth of whom were government officials. One of them even placed a campaign sticker on it.
The top of Kian’s coffin had been filled with his favorite snacks – cheese-flavored chips, chocolate-flavored wafers, and some bread. Poems, letters, and portraits of Kian were displayed around him, from both friends and strangers who were almost his age.
Above the glass top, a yellow chick sat. The local tradition says chicks are supposed to be placed on top of the coffin of someone who died questionably, in an attempt to “peck” on the conscience of the perpetrators of the crime.
On the last night of Kian’s wake, the chick barely pecked. It only rested. – Rappler.com
In these changing times, courage and clarity become even more important.
Take discussions to the next level with Rappler PLUS — your platform for deeper insights, closer collaboration, and meaningful action.
Sign up today and access exclusive content, events, and workshops curated especially for those who crave clarity and collaboration in an intelligent, action-oriented community.
As an added bonus, we’re also giving a free 1-year Booky Prime membership for the next 200 subscribers.
You can also support Rappler without a PLUS membership. Help us stay free and independent by making a donation: https://www.rappler.com/crowdfunding. Every contribution counts.