On January 4, a Missing Announcement about Angel came out in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. (Please see Missing Angel post/page). Friends, relatives and strangers texted, emailed, called to offer sympathy and help. I thought they deserve to know the whole story so I emailed them. I’m reprinting the content of that email below.
Thank you for all the concern. The outpouring of sympathy I’ve been receiving lately is truly uplifting and encouraging.
New developments have taken place during the past few days so please allow me to relate the whole story. ( I hope you have time. This is quite long)
Angelica (Angel) is the other half of twins. Her twin brother is Gabriel-we call him Gabo.
Angel and Gabo were born eight years ago. Their birth was preceded by months of anxiety as on the sixth month of pregnancy their mother began experiencing premature contractions (mothers among you will understand this). On the eighth month, they had to be delivered prematurely. Looking back at those times, I am awestruck at how we were able to overcome the difficulties and uncertainties and just kept believing and praying that the two would come out okay. And they did– healthy, vibrant bundles of joy. That may very well be the happiest time in our family life.
Now, the above account may appear irrelevant to the present state of things, but I guess I’m just trying to impress upon others, as well as upon myself how precious these children are.
The good start soon gave way to a period of uncertainties. Two years after their birth, the mother began entertaining new directions in her life. She began making trips to the States in what she regarded as “exploratory” as she seemed bent on leaving the country and settling in America. It was her choice. Not mine. I was left behind to care for the children while she was away.
In August 2003, she finally found work in Guam (she’s now based in Hawaii), and that was the start of her long absence from our family. Since then she would make 2-week visits in the Philippines and fly out, again, leaving the kids with me.
September 2004 marked a turning point in our relationship and in the state of the family. In an email she titled “The truth shall set us free”, she revealed that she had gotten married to another man. It was a crushing revelation that left me devastated and humiliated.
Since then, it had been a punishing emotional struggle for me but I managed to remain an adequate father for the Angel and Gabriel. At the same time keeping the hopes alive that one day the family will be one and well again. Stubborn and even wishful thinking it may have been, I continued to encourage Angel and Gabo to pray that one day the family will be together again.
The mother would visit and I would welcome her to our household thinking that to cut her off our lives would not be good for the children– not to mention our prayers of making the family whole again.
But our hopes thinned through time as I observed no change in her attitude and plans. And recently she dashed it with finality when she rebuked me for allowing the children to say those prayers when, she said, I know it’s not going to happen. I was stunned and dismayed by this reaction from her. Since when can anyone stop someone’s prayers?
On December 8, 2007, just a month ago, the mother came back for her usual Christmas visit. It was during this time that she started floating the idea that she wants to have custody of Angel. This I promptly rejected as I wouldn’t want to separate the children— and twins at that.
This may not have sat well with her as evident in the events that followed.
On December 26th, she picked up Angel while I was still asleep. All along I was thinking that maybe she and Angel went away for an extended out of town trip trusting that she will return her any day soon. But I was wrong. She never returned Angel. And I later found out, she stole her passport from the safe. Frantically, I would initiate communications with her but failed. When she did respond, she gave information meant to mislead me.
On the 30th of December, concerned friends and I decided to go to the airport and inquire about possible exits. Moments before we were scheduled to leave, I received a txt message from the mother informing me that Angel was with her. Seeing that it was her US mobile number, I concluded that indeed both of them have already left for the States. I immediately dialed the number. The moment she answered I immediately broke down pleading for her to bring back Angel. For some 20 minutes I was crying, trying to appeal to her compassion by making her realize that she had virtually abandoned the children and I have been taking care of them for so long and she just cannot snatch her away from Gabo and I—the only family Angel had known since birth. But she turned a deaf ear to all my pleas.
Later that day, contacts from the airport digged up travel records. It was revealed that the mother did indeed leave on the 29th but Angel was not with her. We were at a loss as to Angel’s whereabouts although we were convinced that she was being kept hidden from me by the mother’s brothers and sisters. Upon the advise of the friends and counsels we put out the missing advisory in the Inquirer and ABS-CBN Teleradyo to help us locate Angel.
We analyzed the situation and tried to make sense of the mother’s moves and why did she leave Angel behind. It was then when we realized that Angel’s passport expired last November. And they have failed to renew it in time for the planned departure of the mother.
We did everything to prevent the eventual exit of Angel, including an appeal to the Foreign Affairs not to release the passport and filing a case of habeas corpus against Angel’s suspected harborers.
All our efforts were for naught as on January 8, the mother was able to spirit the child out of the country.
The very minute I learned about it I felt like all life was drained off me. My head felt like a mere blob of air and every step I took was aimless, pointless.
How does one deal with such cruelty? I, who had been the both the father and mother all these years, have been suddenly deprived of Angel by the very person whose duties and responsibilities I have graciously assumed in her absence.
More importantly, how can one uproot Angel from the only life she had known since birth? What consequence will this bring to her emotional state as well as Gabo’s, her twin brother?
I have been in agony these past weeks. Crushed even more now that Angel is thousands of miles away, dealing with the fear that Gabo and I might lose her forever.
Sometimes I feel I should stop being sad. That I should numb myself from the pain to just simply go on. But maybe the pain is a reminder that there is a battle yet unwon. And that cause is to bring back Angel to where she rightfully should be.
How can you help? For now, I honestly don’t know. We’re still looking at options still available to us. Prayers is a good start and a constant source of strength and guidance. Also I believe good intentions are rewarded with wisdom. Baka may maisip kayo—from a similar case or a totally new direction in dealing with a situation such as this. I’m sure there’s a perfect solution just waiting to be discovered. And it can come from any good-hearted individuals like you all.
Even now, your offer to help is already an inspiration that strengthens my resolve not to give up. And that’s one mighty step forward.
Please remain in touch and and I’ll keep you updated on future developments and how we can channel the goodwill that has been pouring in towards some course of action to reunite our beloved Angel with us, her family.
or Leave Comment below. Thank you.