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Number One Fan


Author: issabacsa Total hits: 5080 User hits: 24 Date: 05-15-2014

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Epublisher - ebook, enovel, Number One Fan

  A FEW DAYS AFTER READING LEAH’S ARTICLE, I found myself sitting inside the conference room. I took the remote control and turned on the TV. David delivered the flash report that noon instead of me. I just could not bear delivering the news myself.

  “From the newsroom of Royale Metro Broadcasting Network Channel 3, I am David Lim. The police arrested Jorge Morales let him explain about the gift he sent to Regine Sta. Maria last Monday. Morales is a janitor working here in RMBN Channel 3. Investigators found his finger prints on the gift wrapper that people suspected as a bomb. Morales admitted that he left the gift on Regine Sta. Maria’s desk early Monday morning. The wrapped gift caused a bomb scare in the whole RMBN compound.

  Authorities say that his fingerprints matched an ex-convict named Benjamin Sta. Maria. President Benigno Aquino III granted an Executive Clemency to old prisoners which included Sta. Maria last July 2010. According to police records, Benjamin Sta. Maria committed second-degree homicide that killed his common-law wife Raya Pagayawan, and her lover Angelito Robles in December 1993. Pagayawan was the daughter of Sultan of Lanao and Bangsamoro leader, Sultan Ahmed Jamal Pagayawan, and mother of RMBN newscaster Regine Sta. Maria.”

  That news broke my heart to pieces.



  I WENT TO CAMP CRAME and talked to Inspector Carrillo and Patrick that evening. They waited for me to discuss the issue.

  “Do you think Jorge Morales is our serial killer?” I asked.

  “I don’t think so,” Carrillo said. “He admitted that the gift came from him but he denied all the murders. He does not know Ka Luis, KaPoncing, and Mr. Dizon. He knew Arnel Castro and we’re still verifying if he could have killed the security guard.”

  “Which we doubt,” said Patrick. “The emails sent to you used RMBN’s Wi-Fi connection. Jorge Morales doesn’t have a computer or an access to it. We also searched the place he stayed in Manila.”

  “Have you found something?” I asked.

  “He rents a room in Quiapo,” Patrick continued. “We found your pictures and cut articles from newspapers and magazines. He admitted that he had been following your career to the point that he claims to be your Number One Fan.”

  I heard that phrase again. I could not go on thinking that I suspected my own father.

  “Sit down, Regine,” said Inspector Carrillo. “I need to tell you something.”

  I sat down on the chair he offered.

  “Dagul,” he called. “Could you get us some coffee, please?”

  “Yes, Sir,” Patrick answered and left.

  He returned with a tray of three mugs of brewed coffee, a bowl of sugar, and creamer.

  “Have some coffee,” Inspector Carrillo said. “We have something to tell you.”

  I took a teaspoon and scooped sugar and creamer and mixed them in my coffee. I took a sip and asked.

  “What else have you unearthed about Jorge Morales? Oh, Benjamin Sta. Maria I should say.”

  “What do you know about that story?” Carrillo asked.

  I stopped. For the first time, a non-relative asked me about what happened eighteen years ago.

  “That memory kept on haunting me ever since,” I started. “Joyce was still a baby and we were sleeping in my room. I woke up with the shouts I heard. So I went to the door and opened it. I saw a man holding a bloody knife but I could not remember his face. I heard my aunt shouted and told me to get back to the room and lock the door. After that, they told me that man killed my mother and stepfather. But they said that the killer was in Iwahig Penal Colony. Also, they told me that my father died in Saudi Arabia.”

  “They might have a good reason to tell you that,” Carrillo said. “Do you know why he killed your mother?”

  I shook my head.

  “No. They never told me that. My grandfather had instructed everyone in the family not to tell me or to know my father.”

  “I understand. Then let me fill you in,” Inspector Carrillo said. “Do you still remember me?”

  I looked at him and shook his head.

  “I don’t think so,” I said.

  “I was one of the police who investigated that case back in 1993,” he said. “I remember you as the ten-year old girl crying and shivering in fear. You kept on saying that a man held a bloody knife but you can’t remember his face.”

  I remembered he was the kind police officer who kept on giving me a biscuit whenever he asked me a question about my mother’s death. I smiled and nodded. No wonder, I trusted him.

  “Now you remember,” he said smiling. “According to the story, your mother was pregnant with you when your father left for Saudi Arabia. His contract as an engineer should have been eight years. But with the Gulf Crisis that happened that time, his employer decided to keep his contract for two more years. He came home in 1993 and never told your mother. He wanted to surprise you both only to learn that your mother had an affair with your stepfather and gave birth to a child. He killed your mother and stepfather out of rage.”

  I could not speak. I tried to digest what he had said. That was new to me. My relatives did not tell me about this.

  Inspector Carrillo took the framed article on his table.

  “Your mother’s death and this case happened in 1993 within the same week. I was happy that I closed your mother’s case easily but not this one.”

  “Can I see him?” I asked. “I mean, can I see my father?”

  “Sure,” he said. “Dagul will lead you there.”



  POLICE DETAINED AND INTERROGATED Jorge Morales a.k.a. Benjamin Sta. Maria at Camp Crame about the serial murders and the foiled bomb threat. With the course of the investigation, it showed that he intended to give me a gift and had no connection with the crimes whatsoever. Authorities considered filing charges against him for fictitious name and concealing true identity under Title four, Chapter two, Section one, Article 178 of the Revised Penal Code. Since he committed a crime under parole, he had to go back to his cell to serve his sentence.

  I sat down on a chair and waited for him in the room. The door opened and he entered with a police officer as his escort. The police officer left and told me that he will just wait outside the door.

  My father sat across me and smiled.

  “Gege,” he said.

  I remembered that relatives used to call me by that nickname. I do not know why they chose that for me.

  As I looked at my father, I remembered the long distance calls I had as a child, asking him to send me toys and dresses every occasion. Then I remembered the man holding a bloody knife.

  “How are you?” I asked.

  “I’m doing fine,” he said. “Thanks to your friend policeman, they treated me well here.”

  “I already asked for a lawyer to help us with your case,” I said.

  “Thanks, my child,” he said. “But I don’t think I would need that.”

  I stared at him.

  “I’m ready to get back to the cell,” he said. “Now that I’ve seen you, and talked to you face to face like this.”

  I kept silent.

  “Are you mad at me?” he asked. “Are you mad at me for killing your mother?”

  I bowed my head, hiding the tears from his gaze. I shook my head.

  “I don’t know what to say,” I said. “It is only now that I knew the whole story. Aunt Flor and the other relatives never told me about it.”

  “Will you forgive me?” he asked again.

  I could not say a word.

  He took my hands and held it tight. I bowed my head and cried.



  HE DECIDED TO DROP OFF FROM THE CAB and walk towards his house. He looked around while walking.

  “Where to, Sir?” asked the cab driver earlier at the airport.

  “Cubao, Quezon City,” he said.”Along 15th Avenue.”

  While on the cab, he kept on asking the driver the names of the buildings that were new to him.

  “It’s been a while,” he said to the driver.

  When they reached Cubao, he instructed the driver to go straight P. Tuazon Boulevard and turn left at 15th Avenue.

  “15th Avenue is already a one-way street, Sir,” the cab driver said. “We’ll just go straight to Aurora Boulevard and turn right from there.”

  He realized that too much has changed in his hometown as he continued walking towards his house. He inherited the bungalow from his parents. Before he went to Saudi Arabia, he let his wife and his wife’s cousin to live there.

  He thought that his wife and daughter, now ten years old, would be surprised to see him. They do not know he was coming.

  Upon reaching the gate, he saw his wife’s cousin. She, too, was surprised to see him. He noticed that she does not want him to enter the gate. She fidgeted a lot.

  “What is wrong, Flor?” he asked. “Aren’t you surprised to see me?”

  “Raya is not here,” she said, holding on the gate. “She went out with her daughters.”

  “Daughters?” he asked. “I only have one daughter with her.”

  Flor froze in fear and realized her slip up.

  His gut feeling told him to open the gate. He pushed Flor aside and entered the house.

  Flor followed him inside.

  “No one is in,” she said. “I’m all alone.”

  “Raya!” he called out his wife’s name but there came no answer.

  He entered the living room and saw that nothing much has changed inside the house. He went straight to the bedroom he knew and knocked at the door.

  The door opened and saw his wife.

  “Ben!” his wife exclaimed.

  “Raya!” he said.

  He saw a man lying on the bed, sleeping. Out of anger, he went to the kitchen and grabbed the first thing he saw, a kitchen knife. He rushed back to the room and rage took over him with that sight of infidelity. He started stabbing her wife’s lover and accidentally stabbed Raya who kept on preventing him.

  He heard Flor shouting in fear outside the room. When he got out of the room, he saw a ten-year old child came out of the other room.

  “Gege, get back into your room!” shouted Flor.

  As soon as he heard her daughter’s nickname, he realized what he had done.

  He surrendered himself to the police that afternoon.



  “PLEASE FORGIVE ME,” I heard my father say.

  I wiped off the tears that flowed down my cheeks.

  “I never thought that we would meet this way,” I said.

  “As soon as I got my Executive Clemency, I went back to our house and saw you there with your half-sister,” he continued. “I wanted to come near you so I followed you to the TV station where you work. I tried to look for a job inside the station but because of my criminal record, no employment agency could give me a job. So I paid someone in Recto to create a new name and some IDs for me.”

  “So you were the one who stood outside the fence one night?” I asked.

  “Yes,” he said. “I saw you called the guard. I might have frightened you.”

  “You spent your savings to have someone fix your IDs just to get a job inside RMBN?”

  “That’s the only way I can get near you, my child.”

  Tears fell down my cheeks as I remembered the nights I saw him cleaning the hallway. I realized how he suffered much not seeing me and when he had the chance, he couldn’t get near me.

  “When I was in jail,” he continued, “your Aunt Flor gave me a visit. I told her that I wanted to see you.”



  FLOR SHOOK HER HEAD and said, “That couldn’t happen, Ben.”

  “Why?” Benjamin asked.

  “The Sultan has ordered not to show Gege to you. You know Uncle Ahmed, his words are the rules.”

  “Where is she?’ I asked.

   “Gege is under my care now. Uncle Ahmed instructed me to take care of the children. We are still staying at that house in Cubao. Don’t worry, Ben, I’ll take care of Gege.”

  “Flor, is it true that Raya doesn’t love me anymore?” he asked.

  “You stayed in Saudi for too long,” Flor replied. “Eight years of contract plus two years extension left her lonely. Young and liberated as she was and despite our disapproval, she fell in love with a married man. Angelito and his wife were not divorced . Raya agreed to be his kept mistress and got pregnant. When Uncle Ahmed learned about it, he disowned Raya and Gege became estranged with her grandfather.”

  “Flor, will you do me a favor?”

  “What is it?”

  “If ever Gege asked about me, tell her, and let everyone know, that I died in Saudi Arabia. Tell her that I had an accident in the oil refinery.”

  “You want me to lie to your daughter?”

  “Yes, I beg you to tell her that. And if she asked who killed her mother, tell her that the killer had died in jail.”

  Flor kept silent.

  “They will transfer me to Iwahig soon,” he said. “I might die there before my sentence ends.”



  “SO IT WAS YOU WHO PLANNED that I should not know who you are or who killed Mama?” I asked.

  He nodded.

  “I thought it was Lolo,” I said.

  “Your Lolo might have thought what I thought about that time,” my father said. “Flor kept her promise until her death. I am thankful.”

  “Have you thought that I would somehow find the truth?”

  “At least, you were spared of the shame while you were growing up. Imagine if you grew up knowing I killed your own mother, my wife that I loved most.”



  “PAPA, HOW DID YOU AND MAMA MEET?” I asked when I put down two cups of coffee on the table for us.

  I asked permission from Inspector Carrillo to have an hour with my father and he granted it.

  “Both of us were studying at the university here in Manila,” he started as he sipped his coffee. “I took up Engineering and she took up A.B. Literature. She transferred from A.B. Political Science because she didn’t want to take up Law.”

  “Why?” I asked.

  “Unlike the rest of her family, she was not interested in politics. Besides, she hated the rigid traditions of royalty. We met in a basketball game. We chose her to be the muse of our varsity basketball team where I belonged.”

  “You play basketball?”

  “Yes, I was the team’s point guard. Since then, your mother and I started going out. I never knew that she was a Muslim princess until I heard the news that she scandalized her family.”


  “Your mother’s modern ways created a stir in conservative Lanao province. Raya wore slacks, shorts, miniskirts, swimsuits, ladies here in Manila wore in those days. We walked hand in hand in public. Your grandfather's assistants saw us play basketball at the gym and volleyball at the beach. I never thought that they have been watching us.”

  I laughed at the thought of it. Joyce might have taken our mother’s rebellious ways.

  “When I got her pregnant,” my father continued. “I had to face your grandfather. I promised to marry her so I tried my best to pass the board exam and work immediately. Your mother risked losing her throne. She was most happy as a wife and mother. Unfortunately, I…”

  “Papa, don’t blame yourself,” I said and held his hand.



  A TAXI CAB STOPPED in front of Leah Edades. She opened the door and took the back seat.

  “Ortigas,” she said to the driver.

  “Where in Ortigas, ma’am?” asked Number One Fan disguised as a driver.

  “At Cityland along Ortigas Avenue,” she answered.

  Number One Fan drove off. He looked at the rear view mirror to observe his passenger. He turned the air conditioner’s thermostat higher, and adjusted the louver and air vent to her direction. He took a canister and sprayed it behind his seat.

  Leah looked tired from work and she did not notice anything. She fell asleep inside the cab.

  Once asleep, Number One Fan drove down south, along the South Luzon Expressway going to Cavite. He took an exit among those toll gates that enter Cavite and searched for a dark, isolated road. He was able to find one, bordering Tagaytay City and Mendez. He parked the cab near amongst the trees. Leah was still asleep.

  He tied Leah’s hands behind her and gagged her mouth with a handkerchief. Looking at the former classmate, Number One Fan decided to undress her.

  She woke up when she felt that someone was already over her body. She was already naked and Number One Fan was raping her. She tried to get away from him but she couldn’t. She couldn’t move her limbs.

  “I didn’t like what you wrote about Regine Sta. Maria,” Number One Fan whispered. “I wanted to be famous just like her that’s why I’m doing these murders. And because you’re getting in my way, you’ll die.”

  Leah was in tears, out of fear and pain. She seemed to be pleading but she couldn’t speak.

  “But before I could kill you, let me taste you first,” Number One Fan smiled. “Don’t you know that I have a crush on you back in college?”

  He continued his sexual advances until he came and climaxed. After that, he tied Leah’s feet but she was still naked at the back seat. He didn’t take off the handkerchief from her mouth. He put on his clothes back and went to get his gun. He attached the silencer and aimed the gun at her.



  I WENT HOME LATE that night and saw Joyce waiting for me in the living room, looking out of the window.

  “I’m waiting for you,” she said.

  “Why? Is there something wrong?” I asked as I closed the door behind me.

  “Why did you not tell me the truth?” she asked.

  “What are you talking about?” I asked as I put down my bag on the sofa.

  “I’ve heard the news this afternoon,” she said. “He was your father. He killed my parents.”

  “He killed my mother, too,” I said. “It’s more painful for me to know the truth. He is my father.”

  “Your father did not return here as he promised,” Joyce said.

  “Because there was a Gulf Crisis going on,” I said. “His employer decided to extend his contract. He returned to surprise us only to see our mother’s infidelity.”

  “That’s not true!” Joyce shouted.

  “It is true!” I shouted back. “It’s the truth that our relatives kept from us, especially from me! If there was someone to blame, it would be our mother…”

  “Don’t blame her!”

  “They should have been married!” I shouted.

  “Are you saying that I shouldn’t even be born?”

  I froze. I shouldn’t have said it. I didn’t mean to hurt my sister.

  Joyce turned away and went inside her room. I heard her slam the door.










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