I don't even know his name. He's just one of those "insignificant" people we encounter daily. And he's dead.
He died while thousands march to Makati to call for the president's resignation. He died even as the presidential palace ordered its information officers to release "good news" to the media to counter the "attacks" on the president.
Manong is dead. He sold cigarettes outside our office. He might have contributed to the deterioration of our lungs as many of us might have contributed to the deterioration of the country's political situation.
Manong worked in Saudi Arabia for ten years. He claimed to have lived a happy life there. He came home when Erap became president. He believed the situation would change. Many of us believed that with Arroyo as president the situation would change.
Manong was wrong. Now he's dead. We might have been wrong too. But we're still alive.
I went to Manong's wake to say good-bye. I met his wife and his three children. They were watching over his coffin. There were no other people there. There were no flowers too. There were no candles. There were only tears on Manang's eyes when I asked him how Manong died. It was crazy for me to ask. Manong died of poverty.
It was one o'clock in the morning. And the street was empty. It was eerie. A coffin on the roadside. Four shadows hovering beside it. Four "insignificant" souls I encounter daily. I didn't even ask for their names.