Monday, February 20, 2017

A Tribute to Mia Manuelita Mascariñas-Green

by Alan S. Cajes 

Mia, an ancient Hebrew name, may have come from the word “myr”, meaning “beloved”[1]. Indeed, Mia Manuelita Mascariñas-Green was a beloved figure during our college years at Divine Word College in Tagbilaran, now Holy Name University.

It was in school year 1988-1989 that I first met Mia. This happened after I got the invitation from Weng, now a judge, to join the Kristiyanong Alyansa Para Itaguyod ang Tao (KAPIT)-Alyansa ng mga Kristiyanong Mag-aaral (AKMA). To become a KAPIT-AKMA member, one must go through a series of orientation sessions, such as on alternative lifestyle, political analysis, authentic Christian humanism, active non-violence, etc.

When I started attending such orientation sessions, one of the hotly contested topics was political ideology. At that time, the students could be generally labelled as extreme leftist, left of center, centrist, right of center, and extreme rightist. Some students like me did not like the labels. One of the deciding factors that a few of us considered in joining the organization was the answer to the question: is political ideology a sufficient condition to change political society?

While a few of us were discussing this issue, a skinny lady with a loud and authoritative voice started her presentation about the different types of political ideologies. When asked whether an ideology is important in solving the problems of society, she said: “I agree with you that political ideology is not sufficient to solve our problems. But you might find something in it that is necessary.”

It was a smart answer, at least for our own consumption at that time. We were on our second year in college. Mia was a senior. Easily one of the most respected campus figures, Mia could disarm you with her wit, smile, stare, and her honest concern about your welfare.  When we became active members of KAPIT-AKMA, which Mia organized with the help of Dodo, now a lawyer and local chief executive, we became active in campus politics. We embraced our political ideology with discernment, and advocated ACH-ANV as a way of life. Yes, many of the things that we hold dear in life now can partly be traced to the seeds that Mia and her friends planted in our hearts, in our minds, in our consciousness.

Years later, Mia continued to inspire us with her many achievements in life as an accountant, lawyer, environmentalist, active non-violence advocate, mother, and wife. We never had the chance to meet for at least the past five years. But we did not complain if she could not make it to our annual reunion meetings because we know that she is just around, trying her best to make this world, our province, our city, a better place to live in. She once flattered me with a dinner treat during which she invited our close friends to talk about political updates. And I’m pretty sure she did the same for her countless friends and admirers.

The day I read the message from Raul, now a judge, that Mia was shot[2] and eventually lost her life, I was stupefied, to say the least. I could not find the right words to express what I felt. I went through the first two stages of grief -- shock and denial, anger and depression. I guess I’ll stay at the second stage until those who made this happen would eventually pay.

Mia’s untimely and violent death in broad daylight and in the presence of her kids speaks a thousand words about how twisted human nature can become. What hatred was in the hearts of the armed men who ambushed her car and sprayed bullets on her car and on her head? What power or influence did the murderers had in their sleeve that they did not even cover their faces with masks and taunted the kids? Is this an act of ordinary human beings or is this the consequence of drug abuse, given that drugs were confiscated in a raided, but abandoned hideout of the suspects?

Mia, our beloved, is gone through a means that she repudiates. May she continue to guide us – haunt us! – until justice is served. May her respect for life, love for peace, and concern for the planet infect us so that we become worthy to be called her friends.





[1] See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mia_(given_name)
[2] See http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/872386/environmental-lawyer-killed

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