Father and 7-year old son victims of injustice write to Pope Francis

“Dear Pope Francis, sana makalaya si Papa Kennedy. Sana Mabigyan ng hustisya si Mama Recca. Mabait sila at tumulong sa mga tao. Salamat Pope Francis. (Dear Pope Francis, I hope Papa Kennedy will be released [from prison]. I also hope that justice be given to Mama Recca. They are both good people and helped many others. Thank you Pope Francis.)—Diwin  Jude Kenn Monte Bangibang)
Seven-year-old Diwin’s Mama was brutally killed on September 2014. Diwin was separated from his Papa because of the latter’s detention. Having gone through such loss and separation, he wrote to Pope Francis for help, hoping that the Church leader could help him. 

His mother, Recca Noelle Monte was a New People’s Army (NPA) fighter. She was killed during a military operation on September 4 and 5, 2014 at Guinginabang, Lacub, Abra. Monte’s body bore no gunshot wound.  Her skull was like a crushed eggshell and her leg bones broken. This indicated she was tortured to death while held captive by the 41st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

Her face bore no sign of human dignity. She could no longer be recognized. Her six other comrades were also killed during this operation. Two other civilians became victims of extrajudicial killings.

Thus, Diwin’s father, Kennedy Bangibang, an indigenous Kalinga from the Cordillera region, wrote to Pope Francis, “Please pray for the resumption and continuation of the peacetalks between the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the national Democratic Front of the Philippines, for the attainment of the true and lasting peace and justice in the country.” 

Bangibang was arrested and detained by state forces for trumped-up criminal charges in 2013. He was already in jail when he was told of the fate of his wife. Diwin and other relatives had to bring Recca’s ashes inside his detention cell for him to bid farewell.

“Pray also for the soul and justice for my wife Recca Noelle Monte and all victims of human rights violations and other forms of injustices, as well as for the release of all political prisoners in the Philippines,” Bangibang also wrote. 

Pope Francis criticized the social structures that perpetuate poverty and hunger. The same social structures that Recca and Kennedy wanted to change—to eliminate poverty and hunger and, to achieve just and lasting peace. ###


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