Life and death in captivity: The story of Andrea Rosal

In May 16, 2014, my classmates and I were able to visit female political prisoners detained in Camp Bagong Diwa. Among them was Andrea Rosal.

The next day, Rosal gave birth to baby Diona. 

Baby Diona, however, died due to complications. She suffered from persistent pulmonary hypertension, neonatal pneumonia, and oxygen deficiency in the blood.

She and many human rights groups blamed the government for the baby's death. They underlined that Rosal was not given enough medical care in order to ensure her baby’s safety.

She was also put in an environment that is not conducive for the delivery of a healthy child. She was put in a 5x10 meter cell that she shared with 31 other inmates.  

This is contrary to the claim of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that the government provided them the best hospital care available

It is also important to note that Rosal’s camp, for a fact, was able to get a court order allowing her transfer to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

The transfer, however, was delayed. And worse, Rosal was brought back and forth from Camp Bagong Diwa to PGH even if she was already experiencing uterine contractions.

In our interview with Rosal, she revealed that she was not able to meet her doctor on the morning of May 16.

She asked the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) guard who accompanied her to inform her doctor through text that they were already in PGH. But the guard said he was unable to text the doctor because he does not have enough load. (READ: Rosal given best care, says BJMP)

The thought that someone would risk the lives of a mother and an unborn child due to an alleged lack of load is really horrible. (READ: Gov't blamed for death of detained mother's baby)

LAST GLIMPSE. Andrea Rosal attends the wake of her daughter Diona Andrea Rosal at the Iglesia Filipina Independiente along Taft Avenue in Manila on Wednesday, May 21. Rosal was allowed 3 hours to attend the wake. Photo by Jose Del/Rappler

LAST GLIMPSE. Andrea Rosal attends the wake of her daughter Diona Andrea Rosal at the Iglesia Filipina Independiente along Taft Avenue in Manila on Wednesday, May 21. Rosal was allowed 3 hours to attend the wake.

Photo by Jose Del/Rappler

Wrongs

Baby Diona’s death is not the first time that the government had wronged Rosal and her family.

Rosal and her grandmother were abducted by the military in 1989. She was only 5 years old then. This was done in order to force her father Ka Roger Rosal, a New People's Army (NPA) spokesperson, to surrender.

Rosal said the military tried to bribe her with candies during that time. The trade-off? She would speak in front of cameras and the media to ask her father to surrender.

Rosal also feared that she would follow her mother's fate.

Her mother was also pregnant when she got imprisoned. And after giving birth to Rosal's sibling, the baby was taken immediately by the military. She was worried that she would not be able to spend quality time with her daughter.

However, it is a different story for Rosal. Perhaps, a more tragic one. It was an incident that could have been avoided only if the government moved on from the fact that they were unable to defeat Ka Roger until his death from illness.

Rosal was charged with kidnapping and murder, but the Pasig Regional Trial Court already dismissed this case, stating that there was “no basis for her inclusion in the indictment for two counts of kidnapping with murder.”

What is clear, however, is that 26 years ago, a 5-year-old Rosal was abducted by the military.

May 18 marks the first year of baby Diona’s death. (READ: Andrea Rosal: Why can't I bury my daughter?)

Today, we continue to mourn the death of an innocent child whose only "sin" is that she was the granddaughter of Ka Roger. – Rappler.com