She bore him for nine months in her womb. But Casimira Roluna, 78 years old, a resident of Brgy. Cabungaan, Baybay, Leyte, has not seen her son for nine months now. Her only proof of life was the news she heard over the radio last March 7, 2006 that her son, Glecerio Roluna, 48, is one of the witnesses being prepared by the military for the multiple murder case filed against Bayan Muna Party (People First) Representative Satur Ocampo, Jose Ma. Sison, and several others.
BY KAREN PAPELLERO
CEBU CITY- She bore him for nine months in her womb. But Casimira Roluna, 78 years old, a resident of Brgy. Cabungaan, Baybay, Leyte, has not seen her son for nine months now.
Her only proof of life, Casimira said in an interview with Bulatlat, was the news she heard over the radio last March 7, 2006. Casimira said that according to the news report, her son Glecerio Roluna is one of the witnesses being prepared by the military for the multiple murder case filed against Bayan Muna Party (People First) Representative Satur Ocampo, Jose Ma. Sison, and several others.
The multiple murder case is in relation to the alleged mass grave found in Inopacan, Southern Leyte. Ocampo and Sison, allegedly ordered the killings in 1985 as part of an alleged “purge” within the ranks of the New People’s Army in the 1980’s.
Records from Karapatan-Central Visayas revealed that on June 4, 2006, Glecerio Roluna, together with two others, was physically assaulted and illegally arrested by seven armed men on suspicion that they were NPA guerillas. The armed men were believed to be soldiers from the 43rd IB of the Philippine Army based in Brgy. Hibod-hibod, Sogod, Southern Leyte.
Roluna, Marcelo Narisma Jr., College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Southwest Leyte coordinator and Junrie Escabal, a high school teacher and finance officer of ANAKBAYAN-Southern Leyte, were forcibly taken at gunpoint after they were assaulted in the house of Lourdes Narisma, Marcelo’s mother. While being brought to Sogod in a truck, the victims were interrogated about their involvement with the NPA, threatened to be shot, and coerced into admitting that Bayan Muna and the NPA are the same organization.
After they reached the remote area of Brgy. Calayugan, Tomas Oppus, So. Leyte, the perpetrators ordered Narisma, Jr. and Escabal to get off and run. After the two alighted, the truck drove away with Roluna still inside.
The military admitted to having Roluna in their custody only after two weeks when KARAPATAN filed a habeas corpus case against the military before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Sogod, So. Leyte.
Only a representative of the 43rd IB, PA appeared before the RTC and admitted that they are detaining Roluna and that a multiple murder case is being filed against him in Baybay, So. Leyte. Roluna was not presented in court.
The judge then ordered that the mother, Casimira Roluna and their lawyer, Alfonso Cinco IV, be permitted to visit him in the military camp.
The soldiers did not allow Cinco to speak with his client. The mother was able to enter but was afraid to ask her son about his situation because soldiers were present in the room.
“Giingnan ra ko sa akong anak nga bisitahon nako siya kada bulan. Pero, niingon ko nga kinahanglan adto siya sa Baybay i-tanggong kay didto man iyang kaso. Ug kung diri siya sa Sogod, wa man koy kwarta para ika-plite,” the mother narrated. (My son just told me to visit him every month. But, I told him that he should be in Baybay because that’s where they filed the murder case. Besides, if he is detained here in Sogod, I won’t be able to visit him because I don’t have the money to pay for the fare.)
That was the last time she saw her son.
During a hearing last November 2006, Casimira Roluna and Cinco were surprised when Glecerio told the court that he has a new lawyer, a certain Tabao. Casimira and Cinco did not have a chance to talk with him in private to settle the matter.
During the scheduled pre-trial of the murder case in Baybay on March 8, Glecerio was again absent. It was later found out that he was in Manila. The military did not seek the court’s permission for his transfer.
It was also during this time that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) presented the multiple murder case filed against Satur Ocampo and several others. Glecerio Roluna is one of the witnesses, claiming to be a former member of the NPA who is knowledgeable about the killings.
Seeking the help of KARAPATAN, the mother expressed her concern that her son is just being forced to cooperate with the military.
“Gidala-dala ra siya sa Army. Usa ni nga akong gi-tuohan nga gigamit ug napugos ra jud ni siya sa militar,” she explained. (He (Glecerio) is only being dragged by the Army. This is one of the reasons why I believe that that he is just being forced and used by the military.)
Dennis Abarientos, Secretary General of KARAPATAN-Central Visayas, said they will seek a court order to allow Gelecerio to be visited without the presence of soldiers and to have him transferred from the military camp to an ordinary prison cell. Meanwhile, the RTC of Baybay ordered the AFP to explain why they brought Glecerio to Manila without seeking the permission of the court.
“It is not a mere coincidence that Roluna is being used by the military in the case against Satur Ocampo and others. This is a plan hatched by the AFP and the Arroyo administration to discredit and malign Bayan Muna and other progressive organizations,” Abarientos said.
“Instead of being held responsible for forcibly abducting Roluna and violating his rights, the military is being given a free hand by the government to further violate his rights and force him to be a false witness against Satur Ocampo and others,” Abarientos said.
A mother’s plea
“Gusto ra nako makapaminaw akong anak nako. Ug nga ako siyang makit-an ug maka-istorya kung nganong gi-hawiran siya. Ug kung napugos ba siya…Ug kung na-unsa na siya karon,” Glecerio’s mother said. (I just want my son to hear me. And that I will be able to see and talk to him and ask him why he is being detained. and if he is being forced…and basically, how he is right now.)
“Ganahan ra jud ko nga maka-istorya mi. Inahan gud ko,” she pleaded. (I just want to see him and talk to him. After all, I am his mother.)(Bulatlat.com)