Mothers of missing Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan join people's protest against torture and illegal detention

"Sobra nang pahirap ang pitong taong paghahanap! Sobra na talaga!" (Seven years of searching is too much of an agony. It's just too much!) Concepcion Empeño and Linda Cadapan, mothers of missing Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan decried as the disappearance of their daughter reached its 7th year. 
Cadapan Empeño 
It was on this day, seven years ago that Sherlyn and Karen were taken by several armed men in combat boots in Hagonoy, Bulacan. The two women and a farmer Manuel Merino was dragged out of the houses they were staying in, hands tied and blindfolded. Sherlyn, who was pregnant at that time,  was kicked at the stomach.

"I am so disappointed with the Aquino government for being inutile in pursuing justice," Linda Cadapan said. "Seven years of lying and cover up is enough!" Cadapan said further.

"Dapat tigilan na ang pagtatago ni Palparan, o pagtatago sa kanya ng kapwa militar!" (Palparan should come out, or those military mistahs keeping him should give him up!) Mrs. Empeno said. "Isuko na siya ng gobyernong ito at papanagutin sa kasalanan niya! (The government should hand him over and make him accountable to his violations!) added Mrs. Empeno. 

"In all the cases of enforced disappearance, none of the perpetrators is ever punished or put to jail," said Lorena "Aya" Santos, secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice. "Under the Noynoy Aquino regime, disappearances are still perpetrated as part of its counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan," Santos continued. 

"There are now 16 documented cases of disappearances and the victims remain missing to date," Santos said, citing Karapatan’s documentation. "In fact, two incidents of enforced disappearances were reported right after the enactment of the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012," Santos said. 
 
After seven long years of search, both mothers still hope to find their daughters. Mrs. Cadapan has this message for daughter Sherlyn: "Magpakatatag kayo. Kaming nagmamahal sa inyo, mga  magulang, kapatid at mga kaibigan ay di titigil sa paghahanap sa inyo at sa hustisya na maparusahan ang may salarin." (Be strong. We who love you - your parents, sibling and friends will not stop in searching for you, pursue justice and ensure that the perpetrators are punished).

"Karen, malapit na uli ang kaarawan mo sa July 22, SONA yan. Sasama ako bilang simbolo ng pakikibaka. Yan ang alay ko sa iyong kaarawan. We love you so much . Pakatandaan mo yan," (Karen, on your birthday, July 22 is also the President’s State of the Nation Address. I will attend (the protest) as a symbol of our struggle. It’s my gift to you. We love you so much, always remember that.) was Mrs. Empeno message to Karen.

Both mothers and other families of desaparecidos joined today's rally to commemorate the 7th year of disappearance of Karen and Sherlyn and to join the call to stop torture and illegal arrests and detention. 

Today is also the 7th year of disappearance of National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Prudencio Calubid, his wife Celina Palma, a staff Ariel Beloy and his niece Gloria Soco who were abducted at the boundary of Quezon Province and Camarines Norte. According to a witness/survivor, they underwent torture to force them to admit they are members of the New People's Army.