Touch Me Not
“Kung nasaan ang panganib, doon ka pumaroon sapagkat doon naroroon ang karangalan” – Ibarra, Noli Me Tangere.
This was written below the picture of 1st Lt. Lawrence San Juan in his PMA Class 1997 yearbook. From his words, he is the type who is not afraid to walk along dangerous paths – just like what he is doing now, risking his life for a cause he strongly believes in.
Just yesterday, Karen Davila had an exclusive interview with Lawrence. He reiterated their position saying the President had five years to institute reforms within the military, but she failed.
Because of their escape from Fort Bonifacio, Lawrence and the other Magdalo soldiers were branded as “dangerous men” by the AFP leadership. The rebel soldiers are now the subject of an intensified manhunt by the military and the police.
But from what I have gathered from the San Juan family, Lawrence is not as dangerous as portrayed by the military. When I interviewed him at their home in Rodriguez, Rizal, Mang Rodolfo talked lengthily about how good his son is. Lawrence’s sister Zel and brother Rommel also had good words for their kuya.
Mang Rodolfo told me, on top of his duties as a soldier, Lawrence is also a thoughtful brother, husband, and son. For one, he did not forget to treat his parents on his mother’s birthday a few weeks ago, despite his detention inside Fort Bonifacio. They were escorted by the military police when they went out for dinner, in case you’re wondering how they did that.
Come to think of it, how many of us would go out of our way, inspite of our busy schedules, to treat our parents on their special days?
The AFP may have enough reasons to brand San Juan and the other Magdalo soldiers as dangerous. They are actually facing serious charges before a Makati court.
Maybe this is what Lawrence really wanted to do – to follow a dangerous path, even if it may cost him his life for as long as it is for the good of the country.
But as of now, it remains to be seen if Lawrence and the other Magdalo soldiers will suffer the same fate as Crisostomo Ibarra's in Noli Me Tangere.