By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — Sydney Ramos went all the way to Manila from San Rafael, Tarlac to join other relatives of victims of enforced disappearances. Ronaldo Intal, the father of her three-year old son, was forcibly abducted on April 3, 2006 and has been missing since.
Based on accounts of witnesses, Ronaldo was taken by government soldiers belonging to the 70th Infantry Battalion under the 7th Infantry Division then commanded by Major General Jovito Palparan, Jr.
Ronaldo was making charcoal inside a hut in barangay Balete, Tarlac City, Tarlac. The village is inside the sugar plantation estate owned by the family of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
Witnesses said Ronaldo was taken to a military headquarters located at the Aqua Farm in barangay Balete.
“He had been under surveillance,” Sydney told Bulatlat. Witnesses told Sydney’s family that Ronaldo was taken to a military detachment inside the hacienda. They looked for him there but failed to find Ronaldo.
“I was four months pregnant then. We went searching for him. We went to the hospitals, funeral homes…” Sydney said.
Asked what could be the motive behind the abduction of Ronaldo, Sydney said the latter was accused by the military of being a member of the New People’s Army (NPA). The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Sydney Ramos said her husband Ronaldo was last seen being taken to a military headquarters in Brgy. Balete, a village inside the sugar plantation-estate owned by the family of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
Sydney dismissed the allegation and told Bulatlat that she and Ronaldo were active in the strike of the farm workers inside the hacienda. “We were at the picketline every night,” Sydney said.
In November 2004, farm workers of the Hacienda Luisita staged a strike to demand for the reinstatement of retrenched union leaders and members. On November 16 that year, police and soldiers opened fire at the striking farm workers, killing at least seven and wounding hundreds.
After the massacre, several others were killed including Ricardo Ramos, president of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) and supporters of farm workers Supreme Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and Tarlac City Councilor Abelardo Ladera.
After more than four years, Sydney said she still hopes to find Ronaldo.
“Every time I see my son, I feel pain,” she said. “He did not have the chance to see his father. He would always tell me how much he wanted to meet his father.”
Sydney works as a house helper to support her son Padem Rafael. “He is now studying,” she said. “Life is difficult without Ronaldo.” (Bulatlat.com)