Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan: Fates Intertwined by a Desire to Serve the Masses

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)

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  1. It tragic that these two women were abducted. But one must understand the bigger picture. The NPA and their supporters have declared war on the government and are killing people thru ambushes and land mines. So-called amazons (female NPAs) do their share of liking also. The army is doing all it can to stop these killings, and sadly, amazons must be taken out also. What I don’t understand is why these amazons, if they truly want to help the poor, do not find jobs and give money to the poor. What possible purpose could they have for inserting themselves among the poor? Is it to kill government soldiers? The poor don’t need another mouth to feed.

  2. The case of these two women only shows that the government still refuses to see what reality is. Moving towards advancement is definitely not a bad thing, but to serve as lapdogs for imperialist countries and cater to the whims of capitalists, is truly despicable. It’s bad enough that they have controlled the country’s economy for decades.

    Time to wake up.

  3. We really needs a total revolutions.just like what happen in thailand where people

    fights the corupt government and the millitary alot of bloodsheds happened there with the struggle of the poor people of thailand vs.corrupt government leaders abd the millitary. and they prevailed it againts the corrupt regime.

    its' a wake up calls to Us all filpinos

    the citizens of thailand is a role model that evry filipino should have to follow.they are not stupid.they are not tiklup tuhod.

  4. What is the government doing in a case of these young victims? The Military should protect our society againts socio and psycho path. I felt sad and disappointed of what was happening to our country and society…

  5. the revelation of melissa rojas regarding her torture and the way she deceived her captors for her to be released, will prompted the military abductors not to release anyone captured next time to avoid same controversy.

  6. Karen's case was shown recently on British Television (Channel 4 – Unreported World), and her case desreves international exposure. More power!

  7. Thank you for a wonderful article about two amazing women, their lives cut short but a Philippine elite ready to go to any lengths to protect its control of the land and the people. Here in Canada we are working to demand justice for Karen and Sherlyn. From your friends as the Centre d'appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns in Montreal, and the Philippine Solidarity Network (Canada). We will never forget!

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