Thursday, November 27, 2014

Famous Uncles

   The notorious ‘Nardong Putik’ (Nardo, the Dodgy) was a folk hero in the province of Cavite.  He made headlines in the 50’s for stealing from the rich and giving money to the poor.  Newspapers called him ‘the local Robin Hood’.  It was said that crime victims who could not afford the expense of a lawyer or police action came to Nardo to plead their case.  Nardo investigated, prosecuted and executed the wrongdoer according to street justice.  He settled disputes between neighbors.  He threw loan sharks preying on the small businesses in the market out of his county then he lent the market vendors money with little or no interest depending on their capacity to pay.  Three times he was arrested, incarcerated and escaped.  During encounters with government authorities he shot it out and magically got away earning him the name Putik and a legend that he had an amulet which made bullets bounce off his body.  He was killed in an ambush in 1971.  A movie was made of his life.  He was my father’s first cousin, which made him my uncle.  

   Tatay Maring owned a gun and a license to carry it.  He wore the gun on its holster like a jewelry.  During World War II while he was just in his early twenties, he joined the guerrilla forces against the Japanese.  After the war he became a prize fighter.  Before the government provided a Barangay Captain to govern at the community level, he assumed the responsibility of keeping peace and order without pay, protecting the community against criminal activities.  A felon who wanted to take over his neighborhood challenged him to a duel.  Tatay Maring came to the duel site, his opponent did not show up.  His daring acts made him larger than life.  An unknown assailant fought him for his gun and shot him in the head.  He was my mother’s brother, which made him my uncle. 

   These two legendary uncles, who were both gunmen from the 50’s blazed the trail for The Gunman of the 70’s.  Those three men never met but had two things in common.  They fought for the issues of their era and they were all related to me.

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