MANILA - Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Eufemia Cullamat on Tuesday condemned the military for "parading" the remains of her youngest daughter who was slain in an encounter with state forces over the weekend.
Cullamat earlier confirmed that her daughter Jevilyn, a medic of the New People's Army, was among rebels killed in Surigao del Sur last week.
"Pinaslang na siya, ginawa pang tropeo ng digma, para lang magamit sa kanilang paninira sa aming tribo, sa aming pamilya, at sa aming organisasyon," said Cullamat, among sectoral lawmakers accused of being members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
(She was killed and was used as a war trophy so that her membership in the armed insurgency can be used to bad mouth our tribe, our family and our organization.)
"Itigil ninyo ang panggigipit sa amin. Igalang ninyo ang namatay, ang aming pagluluksa," she said in a video statement played during the Senate's third hearing on red tagging.
(Stop the repression against us. Respect the deceased and our grief.)
Cullamat, who has denied being part of the CPP, also slammed the military for repeatedly describing her daughter as someone who was misled into joining the armed struggle.
"Hindi siya tanga na madaling madala, lalong hindi tipo na magpapaloko o bulag na susunod, kaya hindi ko kailanman matatanggap ang mga paratang na siya ay nalinlang lamang," she said.
(She is neither a stupid person who is easily swayed, nor someone who blindly follows, so I can never accept allegations that she was manipulated.)
"Ang aking anak ay hindi ang unang Lumad na tumahak sa ganoong landas, lalong hindi siya ang huli. Kayo ang higit pang nagbubunsod sa kanilang lumaban," she said, referring to the military who has been accused of killing indigenous tribes in far-flung regions.
(My daugher was not the first Lumad who walked that path, nor will she be the last. You are the ones who are pushing them to fight.)
Cullamat denied allegations that she provoked her daughter to join the armed struggle and instead blamed the military for prompting her child to take up arms.
"Ang nagtulak sa kanya ay ang nakagisnan niyang busabos na kalagayan ng mga Lumad — ang palagiang militarisasyon, ang pamamaslang sa aming kababayan, ang malubha at patuloy pang lumulubhang kahirapan sa aming lugar," said the Bayan Muna representative, who also belongs to the Manobo tribe.
(What pushed her to join the armed struggle is the ill treatment of the Lumads --- the frequent militarization, the killing of our people and the worsening poverty in our area.)
"Lumaban siya dahil sa bulok na sistemang ito. Naging rebelde siya, salamat sa inyong mga naka-uniporme, kayong mga hindi na nakapaghintay na matapos man lamang ang aming pagluluksa, at gigil na gigil na ninyong ginamit ang kanyang pagkamatay para bigyang-katwiran ang inyong paninira’t paninikil sa aming organisasyon," she said.
(She was fighting because of this rotten system. She became a rebel thanks to uniformed personnel, the likes of you who could not even wait for our family to end our mourning, and instead eagerly used her death to justify your actions of defiling our organization.)
Several military officials who were present in the Senate hearing joined senators and resource persons during a moment of silence for Cullamat's daughter.
Despite what happened to her daughter, Cullamat said Bayan Muna will not condemn members of the New People's Army.
"Sa halip na siraan ang anak ko... Subukan ninyong bigyang-pansin ang kalagayan ng mahihirap, lalo na ng mga katutubo. Alamin n’yo ang mga problema ng aming komunidad," she said.
(Instead of badmouthing my child... Try to turn your attention to the plight of the poor, especially indigenous peoples. Lean about the problems in our community.)
"Sana ay pakinggan ng kapulungang ito ang aking hiling bilang isang ina, inang hindi na kahit kailan pang makakahalik sa kanyang anak," she said.
(I hope this chamber listens to my plea as a mother who can never kiss her child again.)