The sacrifice of ordinary lives | Inquirer Opinion

The sacrifice of ordinary lives

09:35 PM August 02, 2012

July 11, 2012 marked the 27th year of the abduction and enforced disappearance of Fr. Rosaleo “Rudy” Romano, CSsR. He was abducted on his way from the Redemptorist Convent in Labangon to Cebu City. Many witnesses narrated that Father Rudy was taken by armed men who “boarded a white Ford Cortina with government license plate RP 402.” The vehicle’s ownership was traced to the Military Intelligence Group. After a series of investigations and hearings on the cases, the harassment of the human rights lawyer who handled the case, and the killing of the star witness’ brother, both military and civilian courts declared that there was “no way out to resolve” the case. Thus, it was dismissed.

A well-loved Redemptorist priest, Father Rudy was active in social action work and in defense of the rights of the poor. His abduction happened during the horrible years of Marcos’ authoritarian rule and the case was trashed during President Cory Aquino’s term.

From the time of Father Rudy’s abduction, a series of activities were conducted to inform the public that a priest, who opted to serve the poorest of the poor and who stood against the evil system, was not spared from the demonic attack of those protecting and gaining from the status quo.

To date, Father Rudy’s whereabouts or his body (or any part of it) remains unknown. His case shows how the life and dignity of those who work for peace and justice in our country are desecrated by those who are in power.

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Twenty-seven years later, through different administrations after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, our situation remains, regrettably, the same. Our people suffer from impoverishment, our national patrimony is peddled on the altar of profit for foreign and few local interests, our children and youth are exploited and, worse, justice and peace advocates promoting meaningful change are being persecuted.

Last July 3, another worker in God’s vineyard, Wilhelmus “Willem” Geertman, the Dutch lay missionary who chose to serve the indigenous and poor people in Central Luzon, was murdered. He’s the second foreign missionary extrajudicially killed while doing ministerial work under the Aquino watch. He had stood against state-initiated projects and programs that ignore the common good. To those who knew Willem or Kuya Wim, he was assassinated because of his love for the poor.

In the last 12 years, 34 church people have been extrajudicially killed. A common denominator among the victims is their active commitment to promote justice and peace and to build and defend the church of the poor. Ironically, they were all tagged as communists or members of an armed resistance.

How many more Father Rudys and Brother Willems will fall victim to disappearances and assassinations? How many more ordinary lives will be sacrificed to maintain the status quo of wealth and power?

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—NARDY SABINO,

secretary general,

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TAGS: abduction, letters

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