“We swear by baby Diona Andrea’s grave that justice will be served. Through collective efforts we will do everything to free her mother from the fangs of the devil that killed her and deprived her of her right to life.” – Free Andrea Rosal Movement
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
IBAAN, Batangas — The baby of Andrea Rosal, Diona Andrea, was laid to rest at St. Mary’s Memorial Park in Ibaan, Batangas May 22, 2014.
Diona Andrea, barely two days old, died on May 18, 2014 due to persistent pulmonary hypertension and lack of oxygen in her blood.
Rosal, along with two others, was arrested on Mar. 27, 2014 in a house in Caloocan City. She said she was going for a pre-natal check up at the time of the arrest. During her detention at Camp Bagong Diwa, she said she was deprived of medical attention, slept on the floor and was not allowed to bring in an electric fan.
Her petition to attend the funeral in their hometown was denied. Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 266 allowed her, in the interest of compassionate justice, a three-hour visit to her daughter’s wake at the Cathedral of Holy Child of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. She was, however, surrounded by at least 40 jail guards, mostly armed with high-powered rifles, according to human rights group Karapatan.
Early morning of May 22, relatives, friends and supporters of Rosal brought her baby to Ibaan, Batangas. They marched from the Rosal family’s ancestral home in Barangay Talaibon to St. James the Greater Parish Church before heading to St. Mary Memorial Park.
“We are angry that Andrea was not allowed to attend her baby’s burial,” Felicidad Rosal-Inandong, aunt of Rosal, told the media.
Inandang said their family does not believe that Rosal is capable of committing the crimes that the government is accusing her of. She added that her niece was arrested and detained only because she is the daughter of the late spokesperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal.
After baby Diona Andrea was laid to rest, Rosal’s supporters chanted, “Free Andrea Rosal!”
Karapatan, in a statement, said the Armed Forces of the Philippines should stop muddling the issue of the death of Rosal’s baby.
The Aquino government and the AFP have shown more than enough barbarism on the case of Andrea Rosal and her baby. This is not the time to dish out your usual victim blaming and red baiting. These will not work, neither would the lies you continue to peddle nor the hypocritical sorrow that you express. The harm has been done, Baby Diona is gone and Andrea Rosal is still in detention. And, we hold you accountable for all these,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay
Palabay added that the government could either serve justice for the death of Rosal’s baby or shut up.
Karapatan reiterated that Rosal’s arrest and detention is illegal.
“It is based on false charges and on the testimony of a ‘professional witness’ who goes from court to court peddling the lies being fed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to justify the detention of suspected ‘enemies of the state,’” she said.
Karapatan said Erwin Rosales, the witness against Rosal, is the same person used by the military against security guard Rolly Panesa. Panesa was arrested, tortured, and detained for 11 months by the military, which claimed that he is a high-ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines, until ordered released by the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals noted that there were inconsistencies and lies in the statements of the police and the military and ruled that it was a case of mistaken identity.
The Free Andrea Rosal Movement, for its part, said Rosal “is in pain and grief. This aggravates her frail health condition, considering she is still recovering from child birth and, of course, the fact that she could not attend the burial of her daughter.”
The group added, “We swear by baby Diona Andrea’s grave that justice will be served. Through collective efforts we will do everything to free her mother from the fangs of the devil that killed her and deprived her of her right to life.”