The Grabfather (excerpt)

Photocollage by RculabaSsr

Photocollage by RculabaSsr

Senior Police Supt. Elmer Jamias just wanted to do his job. He was in front of Makati City Hall, standing face-to-face with the fearsome Don Jojo, who was fuming, shaking, livid with anger.

 “You, Col. Jamias, I know you! You are a very brutal police official. I come here with a nice birthday cake and how do you treat me? You tell me to go away. Why? You are now my enemy, and I will fight you. I will have all your men removed, all of them, for treating my family without friendship.”

“Don Jojo, with all due respect, I came here only to enforce the law. Your son must leave City Hall by order of the Ombudsman,” the colonel pleaded. “Your capos and their soldiers must vacate the area immediately. I don’t have any personal animosity towards you, but why are you yelling at me and grabbing my lapel? Is that why they call you ‘The Grabfather’?”

“No, the real reason is because whenever there’s a construction project my father gra…”

“Ouww, shut up, Junior! Stai zitt’!”

Then, turning to the colonel, Don Jojo wagged a finger and issued a warning: “Someday, Col. Jamias — and that day may never come — I’ll call upon you with an offer you can’t refuse. But until that day, know that I will remember that you struck a dagger in my heart by forcing my son, the light of my life, to leave his precious office.”

The colonel pleaded once more. “But Don Jojo, you are the vice president of the country. Why behave like this? This is a city matter. Why are you even here? You’re an official of the nation. Let your son the mayor, a grown man, deal with this local issue himself. Please, stand aside and let me do my job.”

Don Jojo moved closer to the coronel instead. His face was still impassive, but his voice rang like cold death: “I keep my friends close, and my enemies closer, like this. We have known each other many years, you and I, Col. Jamias. I am here because my family is everything. Family is more than talent. More than law. It is more than governmentitself … it is, how do you say it … tradition. This is personal, capish?”

“Yes, it is,” Junior butted in. “My sister Nancy is in the Senate. She’s here too. My other sis, Abigail, is in the Lower House. I’m mayor. My mom was mayor. We are always here for each other. We are a family of traditional values. The family that preys together stays…”

“Mamma mia, will you shut your trap, Junjun? You talk when you should listen! Watch and learn.”

“Okay, Father.”

“Colonel, why am I vice president for if I can’t protect my family? I will do anything to defend my political career and my children’s political careers. That’s called being a man, a real man.”

“Sir, I think that’s called being a political dynasty.”

“Call it what you like. All ambitious political families are alike. But each family is ambitious in its own way. But enough. You will hear from me again. All of you — Noynoy “Lazy Boy” Aquino, Mar “Boy Pickup” Roxas, Antonio “The Shrill” Trillanes and several others will one day fall by my doing. You’ll all sleep with the fishes. Revenge is best served cold, and you’ll get it from me ala mode.”

Don Jojo raised his hand, signaling his capos to stop their rioting and leave. He summoned Junior to his side and whispered: “Gather the war council. Make sure my consigliere, Toby “The Hair” Tobias is present. JV “The Foundling” Bautista should be there too. We’re going to the mattresses.”

“And how about bagmen Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan and Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy?”

“No, keep them scarce.”

“Should I call your compa’, Don Joseph, too, Father?”

“No, he has stabbed us in the back. He’s nothing to me now. Nothing. He even refused to show up at the big festa we had for the clan. He doesn’t think I’ll win the presidency and therefore I can’t spring his son from jail with a pardon. We’re done with the Erap family. Done, do you hear?”

“Father, the war room with the mattresses, where should it be?”

“Use the Rockwell condo unit at The Grove that your sis Abigail, gra…I mean won in that project’s lottery. Hai capit’?”

Don Jojo turned to Col. Jamias with some parting words: “This is not your lucky day, Colonel, because this does not end here.”

Jamias, stone-faced, responded: “Funny how just a few years ago you wrote a letter praising me, saying how you wished I could be cloned so I could work for you.”

“Oh, you think that’s funny. You think I’m funny? You think I’m a comedian? Tell me. Just how funny am I? Funny how? Funny ho-ho? Funny ha-ha?!”

Junjun quickly took Don Jojo aside: “No, not that line, Father. Trust me on this one. That’s from that other mob movie, ‘Goodfellas’.”

“Oh, okay. I knew you were good for something. Let’s go. Take the cake, leave the umbrella.”

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