By Ronalyn V. Olea
MANILA — Mikaela Marie turned three years old last February 5. Her father, Reynaldo Macabenta, was on a health training that day but he promised her that he would come home the following day for her birthday celebration. She waited but soldiers and policemen prevented her father from coming home.
At around 10 p.m., Rey’s wife, Ma. Christina or Maricris, received a text message from Rey’s colleagues at the Council for Health and Development (CHD) telling her that something happened. It was only the following morning that Maricris came to know about Rey’s arrest.
Rey works as a driver for the CHD, a nongovernment organization dedicated to building community-based health programs (CBHPs). He was among the 43 who were arrested by around 300 combined elements of the police and military in Morong, Rizal, on Feb. 6. Along with the others, he was handcuffed, blindfolded and brought to Camp Capinpin. The 43 were branded as members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Upon hearing the news of Rey’s arrest, Maricris was shocked. “Rey has been to many urban poor communities, accompanying his colleagues at the CHD in conducting medical missions and health trainings. I did not expect that something like this would happen,” Maricris told Bulatlat.
Rey has been the CHD’s driver since 2003. He also takes on other tasks in the office.
“Helping others has now become a crime,” Maricris said, in reaction to the military’s allegations. “It hurts me… They [military] could not even produce evidence,” she added.
Rey and Mariciris grew up together inside the Religious of Good Shepherd (RGS) convent in Quezon City. Both of their parents worked at the convent. Rey himself worked there as a driver and as a seller at the bakeshop. The two got married in 2000.
A Loving Father
The couple has two daughters. The eldest, Barbie Abigail, is seven years old.
Maricris describes her husband as a loving father. “He loves his children so much. Whenever he comes home, he would play with them. They would play computer games or watch television together,” Maricris said.
Rey would always check on the studies of his eldest daughter, now in Grade 2. “He would always guide her in her assignments,” Maricris said. “He is more patient [with the kids], too.”
Rey would also bring home something for the kids. “He brings them sandwiches and tetra-pack juice. He could have eaten those himself but instead he would give them to his daughters,” Maricris said as she wiped her tears. “I just miss how he took care of us.”
Maricris said her daughters, especially their eldest, always ask when their father would come home. “She [Barbie] has been sad since and would always cry. They are the most affected.”
She had taken her two daughters to Camp Capinpin to see Rey. However, Rey told her not to take the children to the camp again. It turned out that the military has been threatening Rey that they would harm his family.
“The soldiers took his wallet and they saw our family picture. They were telling Rey that they know our whereabouts,” Maricris said.
Fearing for her children’s security, Maricris talked to the school’s principal and requested for a leave of absence for her eldest daughter.
Maricris said Rey has been subjected to continuous interrogation. “They [soldiers] would ask him names of persons… They insisted that he is a member of the LFS [League of Filipino Students]. They would hit him and he felt that he was being electrocuted at times.”
Rey is also a good co-worker, his colleagues at the CHD said.
“He is the silent type and is shy maybe because he grew up inside the convent,” said Vicky Neri. During lunch time, Vicky said, Rey would still hesitate to eat with them. “That’s how shy he is.”
“He is very responsible and would take on any task given to him. He does not know how to say ‘No.’” Vicky added.
Katha, another colleague, agreed. “You can always rely on him. Even during weekends, he would always be ready to fulfill tasks without complaining.”
“He is a loving father. He would always talk about his daughters,” said Katha. “When one of his children gets sick, he becomes frantic and worried,” added Vicky.
Maricris said even now, Rey would always think about them. “He would ask me if I am tired and would always say I have to take a rest.”
She visits Rey every day. They are allowed to talk for only 20 minutes per visit.
“Even if this is painful, I try to be strong for the kids. I also do not want Rey to see me crying. I will not stop until he finally comes home,” Maricris said.
Rey missed her daughter’s third birthday. This March 17, the couple would mark their 10th anniversary. “I hope by then, he would be free,” Maricris said.
Monday, February 22, 2010
- Inescapable Conclusion
- The Doctor is IN (JAIL)
- Letter from Maquila Solidarity Network
- Joint Statement by Japanese NGOs concerning Human ...
- On Republic Act 7438
- Dr. Carolyn V. Enriquez, Letter of Support
- Lawyer bares sexual harassment of ‘Morong 43’ wome...
- Continuous harassment of health workers in other p...
- CHD: AFP is a shameless institution
- Reporter's Notebook: Morong 43
- Human Rights Advocates Deliver Petitions and Praye...
- Reynaldo Macabenta: A Loving Father, Devoted Co-Wo...
- Gary Liberal: Dedicated Head Nurse, Committed Unio...
- Health workers detained in the Philippines
- STATEMENT on the Morong 43 by the Concerned Health...
- Morong 43
- Madrigal slams AFP for giving awards to ‘Morong 43...
- HEALS condemn abduction of 43 Health Workers
- Charges against ‘Morong 43’ are outrageous
- FREE THE 43 HEALTH WORKERS!
- Position paper from Registered Nurses Dr. Jose Rei...
- Speech of Necta Montes condemning the illegal arre...
- PERMANENT PEOPLES’ TRIBUNAL appeal for the release...
- EU President's sister condemns jailing of 43 healt...
- STATEMENT: Nicanor Perlas and PANGMASA on Morong 4...
- APPEAL FOR DONATIONS
- ‘Morong 43’ wins first round battle
- 15 Feb News
- Laguna doctors troubled by arrest of ‘Morong 43’
- TO THE COURT OF APPEALS AGAIN
- CHRP Letter to Arroyo on Morong 43
- From Caritas New Zealand
- LET'S RAISE OUR NUMBERS FROM the BLOGESPEHERE TO ...
- COMMUNITY NURSES' GROUP demands release of illegal...
- Friends of artist Neil Doloricon call for the rele...
- This is Lydia Obera.
- LATEST ON THE 43
- Free ANGELA DOLORICON! FREE THE 43 HEALTH WORKERS
- Nurses call for the release of the 43 health worke...
- People's Health Movement: FREE THE 43 HEALTHWORKER...
- Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, Midwife
- Dr. Merry Mia -Clamor
- Dr. Alexis Montes
- RELATIVES on the 43 HEALTH WORKERS: they are conti...
- RP, most dangerous place for health workers too? -...
- Free the 43 Health Workers!
- The United Church of Canada Calls for the Immediat...
- The People’s Health Movement
- Statement of Support for the 43 Health Workers ill...
- Immediately Free the Victims! -CPA
- ILPS condemns arrest, torture, and indignities, de...
- Statement of Health, Education and Services for th...
- Taiwan Committee for Philippine Concerns (TCPC)
- Migrant Workers from South Korea calls for the rel...
- New Zealanders Denounce Abduction of 43 Doctors, H...
- Cebu-based CHD member organization calls for the r...
- Child rights advocates call for the release of Dr....
- ▼ Feb (58)
- QC-RTC Branch 226 pinagpaliban ang kaso ng Morong 43 vs GMA
- Pagdinig ng QC-RTC Branch 226 sa kaso ng Morong 43 muling ipinagpaliban
- Court hears P15M damage suit filed by Morong 43 vs Arroyo, former top military, police officials
- President slammed over inaction in ‘Morong 43’ case
- Joker Arroyo: Releasing ‘Morong 43’ simple justice
- DoJ chief gives Aquino revised memo on 'Morong 43'
- Palace vows to heed call of Morong 43 -- mb.com.ph
- 'Morong 43' on hunger strike to ask for release -- GMA News.tv
- 'Morong 43' go on hunger strike -- Asian Correspondent
- 'Morong 43' holds hunger strike -- Sun Star Manila
- ‘Morong 43’ goes on hunger strike -- ATN
- 'Morong 43' on hunger strike to ask for release
- Morong 43 go on hunger strike -- ABS CBN News
- AMID ‘MUTINEERS’ IMPENDING RELEASE Aquino asked: What about the Morong 43? -- Inquirer.net
- Morong 43 report under review -- Palace legal team