Gumanoy sisters’ mom maintains daughters were kidnapped

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 16:24:00 07/11/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The mother of two sisters allegedly abducted by the military maintained that her daughters were kidnapped and accused the military of “manipulating” her daughters to “cover up” the incident.

In a statement on Friday, Maria Gumanoy, mother of Rose Ann and Fatima and the wife of slain peasant leader Eduardo Gumanoy, said her daughters were only pressured by the military to deny the alleged abduction. Maria also accused the military of “drugging” her daughter Fatima, 17, who was confined at the AFP Medical Center in Quezon City.

“Fatima was lying in bed and was constantly guarded by the military. She could barely talk especially when the military was around. No doctor chosen by the family was allowed to see and check up Fatima,” Maria said.

Rosa Ann, 21, surfaced on Thursday at the Philippine Army Headquarters in Fort Bonfiacio to deny allegations that she and Fatima were abducted.

But their mother said Rose Ann’s appearance before media was only caused by her fear for her sister’s life.

“Rose Ann was threatened and was forced to cooperate with her abductors. I knew this would happen because my daughter feared the worst for her and her sister, Fatima,” said the mother.

Maria added that the military was “blackmailing” Rose Ann because they knew “she was very close to Fatima and I believed she could not bear to see her sister suffering what she had experienced in the hands of these perpetrators.”

Karapatan, the militant human rights group that accused the military of abducting the Gumanoy sisters, said the military was using the Gumanoy sisters to “clear their involvement in the death of Eduardo Gumanoy,” said secretary general Dorris Cuario.

“From the very beginning, we have already mentioned that the military will try to do everything to save again their neck for what they did to Rose Ann and Fatima. We are anticipating that the military will force the two to cooperate with them so that the military will be spared from further shame and damage,” she added.

“If the Philippine Army is serious in helping them, then the Gumanoy sisters must now be released to their family so that they can live free from fear,” Cuario said.

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