Babae Lang ang Kinakaya

Dear President Duterte,

Babae lang talaga ang kinakaya niyo no? Kahit ang matandang madre, hindi niyo pinalampas.

Eto ang ang nangyari as narrated by Bishop Broderick Pabillo

The Grip is Getting Tighter.

I was walking along the Bureau of Immigration in Intramuros around 5:30 pm today, April 16. Someone called me at the back. When I turned, it was a reporter who recognized me. He told me if I had heard that Sr. Patricia Fox, whom I had known for several years already in our advocacies for the farmers, for the workers, for the urban poor and other advocacies, has been picked up from her convent and is now detained in the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

When I got to my residence in Tondo I received several text messages giving me the same news and asking me to see her. After doing some of my work I went to the BI office around 7:40 pm and found several religious sisters there.

Later on Fr. Robert Reyes came, sent by his bishop, bp. Ongtioco since Sr. Pat is from Cubao diocese. We were not allowed to go up to see Sr. Pat. She was in the third floor with her 2
lawyers and some sisters.

We waited for our turn to
see her and from the stories of the sisters with me and later from Sr. Pat herself I pieced the story together.

Around 2 pm today six men went to the convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Zion in Anonas looking for Sr. Pat. (Is this not an overkill? Six men?)

Sr. Pat is from Australia but she has worked in the Philippines for 27 years. She is 71 years old, suffering from several ailments what with her thin and frail stature.

Later on we heard from her that she was accused as an undesirable alien because of her “political” activities. They showed her a picture when she was in Tagum jail visiting political prisoners in a recent fact finding mission in Mindanao.

The process of arraignment was done but she said that she was not accused of anything, except, unfortunately, that she does not have her passport with her. It is with the travel agency since her papers are being processed as she was scheduled to go to Australia on May 2.

After more than an hour of waiting, finally we were able to meet her. She was allowed to go down stairs together with her companions and there we exchanged news and even some banter.

While waiting, we were calling for help from people whom we know – other religious, the media, some lawyers.

One gave me the mobile number of Commissioner Morente. I contacted him and he answered my call. Immediate he blurted out that Sr. Pat is accused of some immigration irregularities without me fully acquainting him of why I called. This means to me that he knows of the case.

When I pleaded with him to allow her to go home for the night so that she could get her medication (she gets injected every night for her back and her medicine is refrigerated) and her proper food (she cannot take ordinary food), the commissioner interjected that this cannot be done since she does not have her passport.

He does not accept that she could not have her passport with her because it is in a travel agency. If they are after her legitimate stay in the country, they could easily check their records in the BI.

No it cannot be done, he insisted, because there are legal procedures.

How inhuman the legal procedures can be! This happens when people do not intend to help. The law is used to persecute others. Nothing came out of the conversation.

I gave several interviews to the media people who came and finally around 9:30 pm Sr. Pat was asked to go up.

Two young sisters accompanied her for the night. Before we left BI one of the sisters ran after me and said that they were brought to a room where there was no bed. Because there was no bed they were told by the guard not to lie down! How would they rest? – and the poor old sister has a back problem!

The grip is getting tighter; getting hard on people who manifest dissent against the abuses of the government. This is already happening without Martial Law. What would it be if there were Martial Law, which hangs heavy in the air!

The victim can even be a woman, an elderly, and a religious. Before, they were the poor, the young, and the gullible. Let us be wary.

This government cannot take dissent. It uses the machineries of the state – and even the law – to bring down people, whoever and whatever their condition may be.

Tindi niyo, Mr. President no? Kahit may sakit na matandang madre binabalahura niyo talaga no? Mga babae lang kinakaya niyo. From Senator Leila to CJ Sereno, From Pia Ranada ngayon naman si Sister Fox. Tsk, tsk, tsk!

Natatawa sa Duwag,




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