MANILA, Philippines —Thousands of protesters joined the multi-sectoral rally spearheaded by militant groups along Commnwealth Avenue in Quezon City, a short distance away from the Batasan Pambansa Complex, where President Benigno S. Aquino III delivered his fifth State Of The Nation address.
Maribel A. Esparez is among those who joined the rally. She is not a jaded activist. Maribel is just an ordinary citizen, a mother to 7 young children, and wife to an Overseas Filipino Worker.
While the militant members of various cause-oriented groups were pushing for the impeachment of the President, primarily because of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Maribel took to the streets to seek the help of government officials.
Maribel recently lost her husband, Antonio, who was beheaded in Libya, allegedly for being a non-Muslim. Previous reports say the Filipino construction worker was kidnapped by suspected militiamen with a US$160,000 ransom demanded by his captors. His body was later found in a hospital in Benghazi in an advanced state of decomposition.
With the death of the head of their family, Maribel wants to call on to President Aquino to help expedite the return of the remains of her husband, who is still in the morgue of the Benghazi hospital.
Aside from giving her husband a decent burial, Maribel also needs to support their 7 children, with the youngest just a year old.
“Until the documents are processed, the death certificate, and the proof of departure, we cannot claim the benefits from my husband’s death. I wash clothes just to make ends meet,” Maribel confessed.
She fears that it may take months before her husband comes home. For a family who lives day-by-day with the little that they have, a few months seem like eternity.