By Zaldy Commanda
BAGUIO CITY — The wife of Eric Rivera – one of the three Filipinos kidnapped in Libya – aired an appeal to President Duterte to help bring her husband and the two other victims home.
AWAY FROM HOME — A photo of Eric Rivera is posted on the Messenger account on his wife’s cellphone during his arrival in Tripoli, Libya last June 21, 2018. The wife is appealing to President Duterte to facilitate the release of Rivera and two other Filipinos kidnapped last month. (Zaldy Comanda)
Reena (not her real name), who agreed to be interviewed by the Manila Bulletin Friday, said she is keeping her hopes up that the government will successfully secure the release of the victims and take them back to the Philippines alive and safe.
However, recent events, particularly the viral video of the victims in captivity which she law last August 1, has kept her restless.
She said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had contacted her last July 9 to confirm that Rivera was one of the three Filipinos and Korean kidnapped at the worksite of Al Nahr company in Tripoli.
However, said that she had been instructed to refrain from spilling details of the incident to media for the safety of everybody as authorities try their best to secure the victims’ release.
“We understood knowing that it was a serious matter and is under negotiation,” Reena said, on her keeping mum on her husband’s kidnapping last month. “I told myself I will follow the government because only the government can help me.”
While she had regular communication with the DFA, Reena visited the DFA last July 26 to know more about the developments in Libya. “I went to Manila because I cannot take it anymore and it so happened that the Libyan Embassy ordered the creation of a committee tasked to handle the case of Eric was already issued.”
Despite the media blackout and their silence, keeping the situation to themselves, in the early morning of August 1, the video of four kidnap victims, three of them Filipinos went viral on social media.
At 8 a.m., Reena called up DFA to get updates. “Sabi sa akin ‘ginawan na natin ng paraan pero siyempre hindi pa rin namin nakita eh, wala pang location. Oo, buhay pero ang anong location? Puspusan naman sila, marami na silang ginawa (I was told ‘they are doing something but the location is still unknown. Yes, they are alive but in an unknown location? The government is aggressive and they are doing a lot of things),” she said.
Right now, Reena said her family’s only source of strength are one another as there is no other person they can share the story with and talk to except the government.
She revealed that the DFA was already arranging an appointment for the families of the kidnap victims with President Duterte.
“Hingi po namin na ipu-push niya talaga na makauwi. Ayaw ko po talaga na magpapalitan sila ng bala. Yun lang po ang hiling namin (we ask that he pushes that they can come home, we don’t want them to exchange firearms, that’s all we are asking right now),” she said.