Connie said Karen always talked to her about one day helping to end poverty. “I often heard her say that people should have equal rights, but our situation is getting worse,” she said.
Linda, meanwhile, told Bulatlat that she could not understand at first why Sherlyn would “prioritize other people over her family.” But today, the mother had no bitterness at all toward the daughter. “I am proud of her. I realized that she knew that we can survive but not the poor people in the villages,” she said. “I admire her for that.”
The gruesome details of what had happened to their daughters have not weakened the spirit of the Cadapan and Empeño families, although Asher, Sherlyn’s father, is still distraught. He could hardly control his tears when he recalled his last conversation with Sherlyn. “She told me that she would go home to celebrate her mother’s birthday,” he said.
But, Linda said, “We will not stop searching. We go to military camps, use the legal process. We will not stop searching.”
“I can feel that she is still alive,” Connie said of Karen. She said she still yearns for her girl’s homecoming. At night, before going to sleep, she would “talk” to Karen. “Wherever you are, whatever your situation right now is, we have not forgotten you,” the mother said. “We love you.”
A photograph of Karen serves as a screensaver on Connie’s mobile phone. The ring tone is a song about a young activist bidding her parents farewell, promising to them that she would be a good “anak ng bayan” (“child of the people”). (Bulatlat.com)