DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 August) — Rohanisa Abdul Jabbar could not sleep Friday as she grappled with conflicting emotions after seeing on her mobile phone a photograph of a young boy with a firearm, whose facial features looked so familiar he may have been her son who was abducted from their home in Manila seven years ago, when he was three years old.
“Unang tingin ko pa lang, sana hindi siya pero ang tibok ng puso ko ang sinasabi ito yung anak kong dinukot seven years na nakalipas (As soon as I saw him, I wished it was not him but the beating of my heart told me this is my son who was kidnapped seven years ago), Rohanisa Abdul Jabbar told MindaNews in a telephone interview on Saturday morning.
But while she is overwhelmed with joy that she may have found her missing son, Ram-Ram Abdul Jabbar Cabugatan (Azramie Mangondacan as recorded on his birth certificate), she is equally overwhelmed with fear and sorrow that, if indeed this is her missing son, Ramram, she may have lost him to the Maute Group: the boy on the photograph is with two other young boys brandishing firearms, smiling and posing for the camera allegedly in Marawi City, where government forces and the ISIS-inspired Maute Group and its allied forces, have been fighting since May 23.
A solo photograph of the boy taken at another time because he is wearing a different shirt shows him still with a firearm, his left hand raising the index finger, the gesture associated with the ISIS.
Rohanisa, who hails from Marawi City but left for Manila in December 2009, said the face of her three-year old son and the boy with a firearm are similar “from kilay to ilong” (from eyebrows to the nose).
“Sana makita ko in person, sana mayakap ko” (I wish I could see him in person, I wish I could embrace him), said Rohanisa, who has a stall selling celfone accessories in a mall in Metro Manila.
But minutes later, Rohanisa said, “sana hindi na lang siya, sana may iba pang lumitaw” (I hope it is not him. I hope someone else surfaces).
If that boy with a firearm were indeed her Ramram, “baka namatay na sya” (he may have been killed) in the war zone, she said.
A DNA test could prove if, indeed, the boy with the firearm is her son. But how to do that under these circumstances?
Rohanisa narrated that the photographs of her three-year old son that she posted alongside two photographs of the boy with the firearm — one from a trio, the other a solo — were taken on July 2, 2010, two days before he was taken from their home in Dagupan, Tondo, Manila.
Rohanisa said the nanny, who was from Sulu and was recommended to her by Taosug traders in Tutuban, sent her a text message that Sunday afternoon of July 4, 2010 asking if she had asked her sibling to bring Ramram to their stall in Tutuban.
Rohanisa said she had no sibling in Manila and had repeatedly told the nanny to make sure Ramram does not go with strangers.
The nanny, she narrated, gave different versions of what happened that day aside from the version that Ramram was taken allegedly by Rohanisa’s sibling: that a man and a woman she met in Tutuban went to their house while Rohanisa, her husband and their eldest child, Fathia were not around; that when these persons visited, she went up to the second floor to prepare Ram-ram’s bottle but when she returned, the man and woman named Liza had taken Ram-ram.
Their neighbors, however, testified, that the nanny handed over Ram-ram to the two visitors who had been going to their house for about a week while Rohanisa, her husband and daughter were not around. The neighbors initially thought they were relatives of Rohanisa or her husband.
Rohanisa said Ram-ram, who was born in Cagayan de Oro on May 28, 2007, was not the type who would warm up to strangers and suspects that the one-week constant visit of the two strangers was intended to ensure Ramram would go with them.
The nanny was sent to jail. Rohanisa recalled that during the court hearings, the nanny was assisted by two private lawyers, bolstering her suspicion that the nanny was part of a network. The nanny, however, was released in 2013. She says she does not understand why.
“Di ako pwedeng mag move on”
Rohanisa said a “concerned citizen” sent her a photograph of the three boys at around 5:30 p.m. on Friday. She managed to sleep only at 4 a.m. as she recalled the day of the kidnapping and the seven years of waiting.
“Bumabalik naman. Mahirap po. Di ako pwedeng mag move on” (The nightmare is back. It’s so difficult. I cannot move on), she said.
Her Facebook posts in “This Kid is Missing” show the depth of her pain.
In an April 6, 2017 post, she wrote her Ramram about how she misses him, that his sister, his Ate Fathia is now a young lady and misses him so much, that his grandfather could no longer wait for his return as he had passed away. She assured him she had not lost hope she will be reunited with him someday.
“Hnd pren ako nawawalan nang pagAsa..na mahanap ka…sa pagkawala mo…halos gumuho ang mundo ko..piro kinaya ko ang lahat nang mga pagsubok sa buhay ko….alang alang sayu..kahit dapang dapa nako…pinilit kung makabangon..upang harapin ang laro nang tadhana…muli kitang hahanapin….at muli kung tatangapin ang hamon nang buhay…mahirap masakit ang umasa muli…ngunit lalaban po ako para sayu RAMRAM… sana nman sa may alam or may kinalaman sa pagkawala nang Anak ko..tama na tapos… na pitong taon na lumipas mula noong dinukot nyo sya” (I have not lost hope that I would find you. When you left, my world almost crumbled but I managed to be strong for you, to stand up and face the challenges in life. I will find you .. and I will accept all the challenges.. It’s so difficult to hope again.. but I will fight for you Ramram.. I hope those who know where my son is, please, it’s been seven years), Rohanisa wrote.
In other entries, she told her son about linking up with fellow parents who were also looking for missing sons and daughters.
On April 30, she wrote: “Pag sinariwa mo ang mga nakaraan mo…sobrang hirap hirap maka move on…salita lang po ung move on…piro hirap pangatwiran..hnd mo akalain ang mga ngiti na ito..ay hnd mona masisilayan pa muli…at ang yakap nya..ay hnd mona mararamdaman pa muli…NO words Can EXPRESS..sa sakit at pigHati ang nararamdaman nmin Ina..nahiwalay ang isang munting anghel nang buhay mo…lalo pa..pag ito lang ang Anak mo” (If you recall the past.. it’s so difficult to move on… ‘move on’ are merely words but it’s difficult to do.. you would not think you won’t see this smile anymore.. you won’t feel the hugs anymore. No words can express the pain mothers feel about losing a living angel especially your son).
She also appealed to the persons who took her son and posted photographs of the couple who recommended the nanny and the nanny herself.
Mother’s Day wish
And on Mother’s Day last May 14, Rohanisa wrote: “Ilang Mothers Day kaya ang DadaAn na tuluyan kung maitindihan ang Salitang Happy happy mothersDay…ung Happy Un ang hindi ko po Maitindihan kc nga kahit kilan hnd po ako magiging Happy kung wala pa Anak ko..??ilan years pa ang bibilangin bago ko Mabingkas ang Salitang Happy Happy Mothers Day sa Sarili ko. LuV U Nak..??Sobrang Namimiss kita..!!!” (How many Mothers’ Day will pass before I could fully understand what ‘Happy Mothers’ Day’ means. The word ‘happy’ I cannot understand because I’ve not been happy since my son was abducted. How many years more will I count before I could tell myself ‘Happy Happy Mothers’ Day’? I love you, son. I miss you so much).
On July 4, 2017, the seventh year since her son went missing, Rohanisa wrote Ramram about how she has been missing him, how it has become so difficult to look for him as each day, as each year passes, how she misses being greeted by him upon return from the stall and hearing him say “Labyu Omie” (I love you mom) and “Labyu Omie” again each time she leaves the house for their stall in Tutuban.
“Minsan nakakaWala nangPagAsa..at gusto muna sumuko…nakakapagod na kc mang isip&umiyak..masaktan..at umasa!!! hangang kailan ba tatagal ang ganito sitwastion na ito…kahit pilitin mo maMuhay nang Normal…piro pag naAlala nanaman kita..parang Nangrereset ang memory ko??Bumabalik nanaman ang sa isipan ko ang lahat nang sakit na na iniwan mo???hnd ko alam kung hangang kailan ko mararanasan ang salitang Move on..Dahil ang hirap hirap bitawan ang nakaraan??kung yun ay??ang nakaraan ay kapiling pa kita Anak..!!!…hangang sa Muli!Labyo Ramkoy!!Namiss kita nang sobra!!!!” (Sometimes I lose hope and would like to give up. It’s so tiring to think and cry, to feel the pain, to hope. Until when will I feel this? I’ve been trying to force myself to live a normal life but when I remember you, I experience a memory reset. The nightmare of losing you returns. I don’t know when I can move on because it’s so difficult, because you were with me. Until then. I love you Ramkoy. I miss you so much), Rohanisa wrote.
At 6:31 p.m. on August 25, about an hour after seeing the photograph, Rohanisa wrote: “Pa help naman. Kamukha ba sya ni Ramram … nahirapan ako kilalanin ang Anak ko Nahiwalay sa akin nang pitong taon.. Kung Ganun.. ISIS NA pala sya kung gnaun?? ALLAH KNOWS kung saan tlaga sya naroroon” (Please help. Does he look like Ramram? It’s hard to recognize my son who has been missing for seven years now.. he is now with ISIS? Allah knows where my child is),” the mother wrote. She appealed to readers to share the post so it could reach the show of a famous television personality.
On August 26, she thanked readers who posted comments and said as a mother, she had not seen her son for seven years and “hindu kona po makilala..except sa sinasabi nila na lukso nang dugo.. (I would not be able to recognize except for the lukso ng dugo). “Lukso ng dugo” refers to that strong feeling this person is related to you.
She said she asked for somebody in the warzone in Marawi to find out about the boy’s identity.
“Will I see him alive?”
In another post near midnight, she wrote that as a mother, she has so many questions if that boy with the firearm is her son.
“Kung sya nman..ang tanong ko maAabotan kopa kaya na buhay? SA MURANG IDAD NYA. hindi dapat sya nangKkaganyan…sana may maganda buhay sana sya kinakaharap sa ngyun..kung hindi sya nahiwalay sa akin…sa tagal na panahon..na nahiwalay sa akin..minsan napapaisip ako kung nasAan na sya…at anu ang buhay nya sa ngyun….kung sya man ito..wala naku magagawa kundi tangapin…na Sadyang pinangkaitan ako nang Tadhana na makapiling ko ang anak ko nang mas Maayus na buhay..na hindi ganito na komplikado ang buhay…Kung sakali din na hindi sya…Sana Mahanap kona Po ang Anak ko…ANG HIRAP HIRAP PO tlga ang ganito sitwastion na Mawalaan ka nang Anak..Sa hindi maipaliwanag na dahilan…MULI PO AKO AASA NA MAKITA KOPA SYA..AT MAKASAMA KO HANGANG SA MULI RAMKOY-!! (If indeed he is my son, my question is, will I see him alive? In his young years, he should not be like that… he would have had a good future if he had not been taken from me… in the long years that he has been separated from me, I’d wonder where he is, what his life is.. If this were him, I can’t do anything but accept that fate had not allowed me to have a better life with my son, not this complicated life… If this is not him, I wish I’d find my son. It’s so difficult to be in this situation. I will continue to hope to find him and to be with him. Until then, Ramkoy,” Rohanisa said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)