“The Risen Shepherd,” Pope Francis said on Easter Sunday, “goes in search of all those in the labyrinths of loneliness.” Let’s pray happiness and the renewed hope that Easter ushers in will soon find its way into the lives of two heartbroken mothers.
The ordeal of one mother named Luzviminda Siapo, OFW and single parent, is harrowing. She’s one of those who, in the words of the pope, “behold human dignity crucified” as she had to go down on her knees and kiss the feet of her Kuwaiti employer three times while pleading to be allowed to come home and bury her son.
Named Luzviminda, she could very well be the face of many mothers in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao who lost children in senseless killings in the bloody war on drugs. Armed men wearing masks and riding motorbikes in Navotas abducted and shot dead on March 29 her 19-year-old son, Raymart, who was accused by a neighbor of peddling marijuana.
“All it took was a false accusation for these people to murder my son,” Siapo said in a media interview shortly after her anguished homecoming on April 2. “They did not bother to investigate, they did not bother to verify. They just killed him.”
In news reports that came out on Palm Sunday, Siapo narrated that shortly after Raymart was abducted and forced to ride with the armed men, he was ordered to get off the motorbike and run for his life. Her hapless son could not do so because both his feet had an inborn deformity of bilateral clubfoot.
“When my son refused, they asked him to sit down instead. Then, they shot him. Just like that,” Siapo lamented. She added that her son’s killers broke his arms, too. A police report stated the victim had two gunshots to the head.
Siapo had gone to the barangay hall and reportedly confronted a barangay official, Christopher Cariquitan, for allowing the neighbor known only as a certain Pejie—who disappeared from the neighborhood after the murder—to make unsubstantiated accusations and failing to check if such were true.
“This is the reason why my son was murdered, sir, tell me what to do. Tell me! Because I had to kneel down and kiss my employer’s feet three times before I could come home. Give me an answer, please,” she told Cariquitan who reportedly said he opted not to confront Raymart about the allegations “for he didn’t want to embarrass him that day.”
Siapo came back from Kuwait with only a shoulder bag and some toys for her other child, a 10-year-old girl, because her employer told her to leave her belongings behind to guarantee her return.
The depth of Siapo’s sorrow finds a match in another grieving mother, Misalani Garcia, who delivered a heartrending testimonial in ABS CBN’s Siete Palabras on Good Friday.
In between sobs, she told how her jeepney driver son was shot dead, together with his wife, when masked gunmen fired through a kitchen window after failing to barge into their house last October.
"Diyos ko! Bakit ang anak ko? Wala naman po silang kasalanan at bakit po kami? Hindi naman po ako nagkulang ng pananalangin sa Inyo… Bakit Nyo kami pinabayaan?" Garcia cried out as she lamented the couple left behind two children, ages 7 and 8. “Sana po kahit isa man lang tinira nila. Pwede naman po sana isa lang pero bakit dalawa pa?” she wailed.
Let’s hope these two grieving mothers find solace in Pope Francis’ Easter message about the Risen Christ: “Today too, He places upon His shoulders so many of our brothers and sisters crushed by evil in all its varied forms.”