PRAYING FOR A MIRACLE | Emilyn Calano's parents, kin keep vigil for stray bullet victim
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines -- A weeping Marilyn Villanueva-Calano emerges from the surgery intensive care unit of the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center and approaches her husband Emil.
It is the day after New Year’s and their eldest daughter Emilyn, 15, remains in a deep coma after being hit on the top of her head by what health officials say is a stray bullet at the height of the festivities, refuting police accounts the girl may have been hit during a “shooting incident” near their home in Malabon City.
"Hindi pa siya nag re-respond 'gang sa ngayon (She still isn’t responding),” Marilyn reports to relatives milling outside the SICU doors, comforting each other and praying.
Earlier, JRRMMC chief Dr. Emmanuel Montaña Jr. said there is a probability that if the bullet is removed from her head through surgery, other parts of the brain would be affected, such as the areas that control speech or movement.
Because minors are strictly not allowed in the hospital, Emilyn’s younger siblings -- Shaman, 9, Kristal, 8, and Shane, 6 -- rely on updates from Eric that, he admits, they hardly understand.
A devout Catholic, Eric, a fish vendor, was on his way home from the New Year’s Eve mass at the San Bartolome church when he came upon a commotion.
"Nakita ko ‘yung si Kuya Noel ko tumatakbo, nasa likod niya si Billy Boy, may bitbit na bata, akala ko kung sinong bata. Sabi ko, ‘Anong nangyari dyan?’ Hinimatay daw, hindi ko pa alam na anak ko na pala ‘yun, dali-dali kong dinampot, at nang sumakay kami sa jeep, nalaman ko na si Emilyn. Dinala muna namin sa pagamutang bayan sa may poblacion. Pati ‘yung mga doktor doon nagtataka, tiningnan nila, nagulat na parang hinimatay lang daw, nabaldog, may dugo sa ulo. So dinala na namin dito."
(I saw my elder brother Noel running, Billy Boy was behind him carrying a child. I asked, ‘What happened there?’ They said she had fainted, I had no idea it was my child, I took her, and when we boarded the jeep, it was when I realized it was Emilyn. We took her first to the public clinic in the poblacion. Even the doctors there were wondering as they checked her because it seemed like she had just fainted, struck her head, which was why there was blood. So we took her here.)
"Tinawag ko talaga ang pangalan ng Panginoong Hesukristo (I really called out the name of the Lord Jesus Christ)," Eric said, clutching his New Testament in Tagalog. "Sana bigyan pa siya ng isa pang buhay. Isang himala galing sa Diyos ang magsasagip ng buhay sa kanya (May she be given another life. A miracle from God will save her life)."
Emil Calano shows his Tagalog-version New Testament
He is bewildered that anyone dared defy President Rodrigo Duterte’s edict against indiscriminate firing.
"Bakit gano'n ang nangyari? Hindi natupad ‘yung sinabi niya, na bawal magpaputok. Dapat ‘di ba, bakit gano’n, meron pa ding nagpaputok (Why did it happen? His order against firing was not obeyed. It should have been, but why were shots still fired)?” he saidl "Dapat 'di sila nagpaputok, dapat ipinutok na lang nila sa sarili, nandamay pa sila (They shouldn’t fire, or they should have fired on themselves instead of harming others)."
“Umiiyak ako, siyempre anak ko ‘yan e (I am crying, of course, she’s my child),” Marilyn said. “Panganay, mahilig ‘yang magluto. Gusto niyang maging chef. Sana kung makakausap ko si Pangulong Duterte, hihilingin ko sana na baka mailipat si Emilyn sa mas malaking hospital para magawan ng paraan na madugtungnan pa ang buhay ng anak ko, gagawin ko ‘yan para matupad ng anak ko ang kanyang mga panagarap (My eldest, she loves to cook. She wants to become a chef. If I could talk to President Duterte, I would ask him to transfer Emilyn to a larger hospital so a way can be found to lengthen her life. I would do that so my daughter can fulfill her dreams)."
To the culprit, she had this to say: "Tutal nakita niyo ang anak ko, kung may puso kayo, panindigan niyo ang ginawa niyo sa anak ko (You’ve seen my child, if you have a heart, take responsibility for what you did to my child)."
Eric said Emilyn’s wish to help their family fueled her dreams.
"Gusto niyang maging isang chef sa ibang bansa, sa barko. Sa amin nagluluto ‘yan ng yema, pulburon, gumagawa na siya noon at nagtitinda na siya (She wants to be a chef abroad, on a ship. At home she would cook yema, pulboron, she made these to sell)."
"Maraming pangarap ang anak kong si Emilyn pero pinutol ng isang tao (My daughter Emilyn has many dreams cut short by one person)," he added.
Emilyn’s aunt Evelyn said the tragedy has shrouded their neighborhood in sorrow.
"All those years, wala namang ganyang pangyayari sa amin sa Sacristia street, Barangay San Agustin, ngayon nagluluksa na lahat ang aming kapitbahay (nothing like this has ever happened in Sacristia street, Barangay San Agustin, but now all our neighbors are mourning)."
The door to the SICU
Citing a TV news report that said only a miracle would save her niece, Evelyn says: “Wala tayong magagawa kung kunin na ng Diyos. Pamangkin ko ‘yan, mabait ‘yan, masayahin, palakuwento, masipag mag-aral kahit na ang buhay ay mahirap, masipag po ‘yan hindi ‘yan marunong umasa. Nasa simbahan ang tatay ng mangyari at ang nanay ay nagpapahinga lang dahil sa pagtitinda."
(We can do nothing if God takes her. She is my niece, good, joyful, fond of telling stories, studies hard even if life is difficult, works hard and never depends on others. Her father was at church when it happened and her mother was resting after vending.)
When InterAksyon called up the hospital to check on Emilyn’s status, the nurse said her parents, aunts, uncles were still there, keeping vigil outside the SICU, still praying for a miracle.