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REFLECTIONS: A year ago today… we continue to ASSERT our God-given birthrights!

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 June) — I thought I was okay until the unlawful arrest on the Cebu protesters brought back the pain and trauma that was just lying low while on lockdown.  Suddenly, I was racked with a deep cry that struggled to surface out as I tried to calm my shaken nerves.

It felt like a rush of strong emotions that almost choked me as the memory of plainclothes men surrounding me came rushing into my thoughts.  It was so vivid that I had to pray for calmness again and again, asking God to guide me out of that worst nightmare I could not seem to shake off.

The realization though that I have surmounted that challenge at the outset by asserting my rights at the very first instance without faltering makes me grateful to God for giving me the clarity of mind and strength at heart amid the menacing presence of those armed men.  Even when I was totally helpless being alone and the burly men without uniform and without name tags who claimed themselves to be state agents, God had guided me through my painful struggle.

Fidelina Margarita “Gingging” Valle, 61, of Davao City, development worker, freelance writer and Davao Today columnist was arrested morning of June 9, 2019 at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental. Photo from her FB page

I am also taking this opportunity for the many people, my family and friends and some of whom I have never known before, who stood by me all throughout up until now, and are making me realize that I am loved and revered. Thank you so much for all your prayers and assistance.

But that’s it. I am all the more convinced that the greed of this evil regime will never be satiated as it is now poised to make a wholesale attempt at curtailing every single freedom left for Filipinos to express themselves and seek redress.

“No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.” [Sec.4,Art.3 THE 1987 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES].

We, the people, must uphold our Constitutional rights because no one will protect it from being railroaded now that the powers-that-be are desperate to hold on to their positions, as we can see in the current situation.

There’s no mistaking it.  But clearly the Anti-Terror Bill that both Houses of Congress seem to be toying with their dirty fingers has only one big agenda for its passage: and that is to legalize every unconstitutional and illegal arrest and harassment that the minions of this administration are doing against legitimate dissent.

If they did it to me even without basis, arresting me on mere suspicion against my will, this anti-terror bill will now embolden the so-called authorities even if these “authorities” are ignorant about legalities and just pick up anyone just for the heck.  That would just be very unacceptable to say the least!  There simply was no sense for them washing their hands of responsibility after putting me to so much stress.  They never listened to my assertions before, what would make them listen now to anyone whom they fancied to arrest and harass if the anti-terror bill is passed into law?

It has been twelve months to the day that such repulsive deed was done against my person, and God forgive me it still makes me think and feel bad to date.  It may take some time before I could get over that traumatic experience but with the political climate that’s escalating these days, only God knows what lies ahead.

What is clear though is that the scar deep in my psyche will always be there and this will continue to fuel my resolve to seek redress.  But like many other cases, some even much worse than what I’ve gone through, the wheels of justice have been exceedingly slow to say the least, and seemingly so reluctant to turn in favor of the aggrieved especially for the very least.

Fidelina Margarita “Gingging” Valle at the Bishop’s Residence in Pagadian City on 9 June 2019 where she was brought after hours of terror in what the police later admitted was a ‘wrongful arrest.’ Photo courtesy of Faye Reyes

As thousands have been senselessly killed and thousands more are languishing in jails at this particular time of pandemic, what hope is there left for us Filipinos who are faced with these challenges under this indifferent administration?

When citizens ask for immediate relief through the conduct of “mass testing” and assistance especially among thousands who lost their jobs and have no other means of making a living, the responses were unclear excuses, grumbles and even threats.

Public servants are supposed to serve and not be served.  It seems however, that the masters have become the slaves of these public servants who have become menacing as they desperately hold on to the powers bestowed by the citizens of this wretched land.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Fidelina Margarita ‘Gingging’ Avellanosa Valle, a development worker and columnist of Davao Today was waiting for breakfast to be served in a stall at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental at around 10 a.m. on Sunday, 9 June 2019, when unidentified armed men in civilian clothes arrested her and brought her to Pagadian City, some 200 kilometers away. She was waiting for her flight back to Davao City when arrested. She insisted on making a phone call and was able to contact Sister Mila Gimeno in Davao City to tell her she was being forcibly arrested. Valle was held incommunicado until about eight hours later. She was ordered released allegedly because of mistaken identity).



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