DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 March 2005) — Clarita Alia’s youngest son, Fernando,
12, does not live with her anymore. She sent him away, afraid he would end up like his siblings Richard, Christopher and Bobby, who were summarily executed in 2001 and 2002.
At the Wireless public cemetery here, no one but Clarita and her kin know that the unmarked white-painted tombs, piled on top of the other, contain the remains of her slain sons.
Here in this maze of tombs overlooking the neighboring memorial park for the rich, Clarita, who earns a living by taking cargo on her pushcart in the Bankerohan public market, buried her son Richard, 17, who was stabbed dead on July 17, 2001.
Three months later, in late October, she returned to Richard’s burial place, this time to bury her 16-year old Christopher. In early November the following year, she found herself on the same spot, to bury Bobby, who was only 14.
“Murag gipikas ang akong lawas sa kasakit” (It was so painful it felt like they cut my body into half), Clarita narrates at the sight of the fallen Bobby.
To this day, she still cries when she talks about how her sons would have been now, if they had not been killed.
But she regains composure easily when she talks about her quest for justice.
“Basin pila pa ka tuig, dili ko muundang” (No matter how many years it will take, I will not stop), she says.
Clarita suspects policemen were behind the murder of her sons, especially since a policeman allegedly warned “isa-isahon” (he would kill her sons one by one).
She says the policemen were mad at her allegedly because she knows her rights, having attended basic paralegal seminars, and knowing thus, was not afraid to file
complaints before the barangay captain, the Commission on Human Rights and
the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao.
Her sons were, at one point in their lives, in conflict with the law, but Clarita says they underwent rehabilitation and that some of the alleged charges against them were trumped up. Besides, she adds, there is due process of the law. “If they committed a crime, they could be arrested and jailed. But why were they killed?”
“Pila pa ka inahan? Pila pa ka anak bago maundang ning pagpamatay?” (How many more mothers? How many more will be killed before these killings stop?), she asks.
She takes comfort among mothers of similar circumstances, mothers who lost sons to summary execution, through psychosocial therapy sessions with them at the Kabataan Consortium, an umbrella organization of child’s rights NGOs.
Clarita will be among the mothers of victims of summary execution who will attend the “mass for life” on Monday at the San Pedro Cathedral, to protest, among others, the spate of summary executions in the city: 383 since 1998 including 61 from January 1 to February 28 this year, according to the Coaltion Against Summary Execution.
Of all the mothers, she has the most number of children lost to summary execution. And she will never allow her youngest son Fernando to be the fourth.
She sent him away to make sure he lives. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)
(Fernando Alia apparently returned to Davao City from where Clarita sent him away. He was killed in April 2007. He was 14).