‘We will soon reap freedom, justice’
“Have more strength, guts and patience. We will soon reap the freedom and justice we have long yearned for.”
This was the New Year’s Day message sent to her children by Rowena Rosales, an activist mother, who, along with her husband Oliver, have been held behind bars for alleged fabricated charges.
Since their arrest, the Rosales couple have been detained at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) at Camp Crame in Quezon City for separate charges of arson and illegal possession of firearms.
They were former officers of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), an organization for state workers.
Arresting officers tagged Rowena for the June 2017 arson case in Cabadbaran town in Agusan del Norte, while Oliver was allegedly charged with illegal gun and bullet possession.
The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), which has represented the couple in the suits, had branded the charges as “outrageous” and nothing but “political persecution.”
On Aug. 11, the Rosaleses were taken by five armed men while they were on their way home in a tricycle after a day of tending to their “ukay-ukay” (used clothing) store at the Balagtas Public Market in Bulacan province.
In an earlier interview, their eldest daughter, Kalayaan, appealed to the government to release her parents, expressing lament how she and her brother, Karlito, had been rendered virtual orphans because of their parents’ detention.
Pain of separation
In a handwritten New Year note sent to her children, Rowena recounted the deep sadness of being away from family for the first time on New Year’s Day.
“When the clock struck 12—even if I tried not to—I ended up crying,” she said.
She said she realized, however, how her children had become the children of a bigger parent—the entire country.
“Remember how we wanted something different from the usual New Year’s Eve revelry, celebration? This is it, a sample,” Rowena said.
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