Fear is what my fellow graduates and I felt yesterday as the sound of gunfire rang through the halls of Arete. We ran in fear as we frantically all tried to find a place where we could hide, because we all imagined the worst.
And the worst did happen. Three people – Rose Furigay, Victor Capistrano, and Jeneven Bandiala – were killed in a senseless act of violence yesterday. Rose’s daughter who was also set to graduate yesterday was injured and is currently confined in a hospital.
Rose was there not as the former mayor of Lamitan, but as a mother whose dreams and hopes for her daughter are ones I share for my own. Victor was there as her aide, and Jeneven was there as part of our community in Ateneo. We were all there to celebrate the wins of our graduating class – wins that would have not been possible without the support of our families and friends.
There is absolutely no way to justify violence that is deliberately meant to harm and kill, and there is absolutely no way to justify the immense trauma and anxiety that was thoughtlessly inflicted upon the Ateneo community. Many of the graduates yesterday are to take the bar exams in a few months, while the rest of us also have our own daily struggles to bear. Many of the guests yesterday were mothers like me, and I deeply sympathize with them as they struggle with the emotional and psychological trauma of almost losing their children in an absurd act of violence.
All of us have the right to the swift and fair administration of justice, and we believe that our law enforcers and legal institutions will do everything in their power to uphold the rights of those whose lives have been scarred by yesterday’s events by upholding the rule of law.
Most importantly, we send our condolences to the family and loved ones of Rose, Victor, and Jeneven. We share in carrying the weight of their unbearable grief and loss, and pray for everyone’s recovery and healing – both of which are impossible without justice.
BTA Parliament Minority Floor Leader MP Atty. Laisa Masuhud Alamia was one of the graduates present in Ateneo de Manila University yesterday. She was to receive her Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree together with the Ateneo Law School Class of 2022.