MULTIMEDIA

An OFW comes home to this

Text and photos by Vincent Go for ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 11 2017 08:15 PM

It was a message anyone working abroad would never want to receive.

Luzviminda Siapo learned about her only son's death via a message on Facebook, “Tita, Raymart’s gone. Bonnet-wearing men killed him.”

Raymart Siapo, the 19-year-old son of Luzviminda, was killed before midnight of March 29, by motorcycle-riding men wearing bonnets after forcibly taking him while in the company of his friends. A couple of hours later, photojournalists covering the night beat were back in a familiar place, in Bangkulasi, at a dark alley in between two warehouses that has often been the dumpsite for victims of summary executions.

Sprawled on the dirt road was the body of Raymart, still wearing shorts. His physical condition, that of being clubfooted in both feet, was an obvious giveaway of his identity under the glaring flashlights of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO).

Because of his deformity, it was physically impossible for Raymart Siapo to flee from his captors, around 14 of them. The post-mortem shows he was shot in the head twice.

Raymart's body is brought to the Eusebio Funeral Homes in Malabon for identification and arrangement of his wake.

Raymart's friend breaks down after seeing his body at the mortuary. They had been looking for him for hours after he was abducted by masked men on motorcycles.

Raymart's slippers, left behind when masked men abducted him, kept in his home.

During the wake for Raymart, relatives and friends are terrified when bonnet-wearing men on motorcycles drive by.

On April 3, Luzviminda Siapo, after literally begging her Kuwaiti employer by kissing his feet three times, arrives home to the wake of her only son Raymart.

Luzviminda learns from barangay officials that Raymart had an altercation with a certain Pejie Fortaleza the night before his death and accused him of many things, including peddling drugs.

Commission on Human Rights staff interview Luzviminda as they try to piece together conflicting reports on whether Raymart was on the drugs watch list, as claimed in a police report, according to barangay officials.

On the day of Raymart's burial on April 9, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David seeks out the family so he can offer to celebrate Mass after learning Raymart's story from a newspaper article.

A distraught Luzviminda and other relatives listen to the Mass.

Bishop David lashes out at the perpetrators saying, "I know that they are nearby and listening. You may think that by covering your faces you can get away with murder, but God knows who you are and what you did, you will never find peace in your heart and mind."

Bishop David consoles Luzviminda after blessing Raymart's body with holy water.

A banner calling for justice is placed on the hearse carrying Raymart's remains, during the procession to the cemetery.

Luzviminda cries inconsolably near the resting place of Raymart.

Luzviminda and relatives bid one last goodbye to Raymart before his body is lowered.

On April 10, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa orders further investigation into the death of Raymart.