“Time is of the essence. Everyday that he is missing endangers his life. Every victim of politically motivated enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing, including plain murder, should have been a political prisoner.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Groups called on authorities to surface activist Steve Abua alive.
Abua, 34, is a peasant organizer in Central Luzon and has been missing since Nov. 6. He was last seen in barangay Sta. Cruz, Lubao, Pampanga.
“Time is of the essence. Everyday that he is missing endangers his life. Every victim of politically motivated enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing, including plain murder, should have been a political prisoner,” said Fides Lim, spokesperson of Kapatid, a support group of friends and families of political prisoners.
In a statement, Lim said the identity of his captors is all too clear from their harassment of his wife, Johanna. According to reports, her husband’s captors have communicated with Abua’s wife through phone, telling her to admit that Abua is a member of the New People’s Army.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said that Johanna also received photos and videos of her husband who had blindfolds and with his mouth covered to prevent him from speaking.
The abductors also told her repeatedly that the “government just wants to give Abua a chance to turn a new leaf in life.”
In a report, the Commission on Human Rights started an investigation on the reported abduction of Abua.
Meanwhile, Abua’s friends in social media also joined the call for his release. They described him as a student who managed to juggle academics and activism.
Abua earned his degree in statistics and graduated cum laude at the University of the Philippines-Diliman in 2007.
Another friend also described him as “a kind and warm soul, an unassuming but reliable presence in our gatherings back then. In a world where his skills could’ve easily fetched him a life of comfort, we honor and celebrate his decision to serve the people.”
Artists group SAKA or Artist Alliance for Genuine Land Reform and Rural Development said that the abduction of Abua only shows that human rights violations are rampant under President Duterte.
“Instead of calculating millions for companies in Manila, Steve used his ingenuity to help farmers and Ati in Pampanga calculate the meager income. The community then discovers that they are being deprived of their income. Aside from performing technical tasks, he also actively stands with farmers in Bataan and Pampanga in calling for free land distribution,” the group said in a statement.
Lim, on the other hand, said that while she doesn’t personally know Abua, his decision to serve the poor and the underserved when he could have chosen a lucrative career as a top UP statistics graduate speaks volumes about him.
“My heart goes out to his wife and family. To this government, we appeal — surface Steve Abua now. Alive,” Lim said.
“To his captors, we know who you really are. We press you to just make him face whatever trumped-up case you will invent. You arrested him alive. Keep him alive. And stop harassing his family,” she said. (RTS, RVO)