Isn’t “empathy” the ability to understand another’s feelings? But how is it that the people advocating the said term show the lack of it? On Oct. 18, MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago responded to the supporters of activist Reina Mae Nasino regarding the latter’s daughter’s death. “Hindi lahat ng inang nakakulong ay nakapunta sa libing ng kanyang anak… Masyado ninyong ginagawang pang drama serye sa hapon pinaghihigpis niya. Tigilan niyo!,” Pialago said.
On Oct. 16, Nasino was able to attend the funeral of her late daughter River—which is only open to family members. Accompanying her were around 20 police officers, with a SWAT team fire truck on standby. Nasino, who was accompanied by her lawyer and mother, was handcuffed during the entire three hours (originally supposed to last the whole duration of the wake and burial) she was allowed to visit Baby River’s wake. The police escorting her even denied the officiating priest’s request for Nasino to take away the cuffs so she can hug the coffin one last time.
Given this scenario, human rights advocates and the general public have expressed their anger on social media. A good number of them have been pointing out Joseph Scott Pemberton’s pardon, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla’s furlough and other convicted politicians who were set free as examples of the government’s double standards.
According to Inquirer.net, Nasino and two other activists were arrested in Tondo, Manila for alleged illegal possession of firearms. In her lawyer’s statement, it was said that the firearms found by the authorities were planted. Currently, Nasino’s case is still ongoing and she is not yet convicted.
Back in October 2019, MMDA launched the Malasakit Movement. The about page on their official Facebook page says that they’re an organization which empathizes for every “Juan Dela Cruz.” This movement is spearheaded and modeled by MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago. Currently, the movement is now being questioned (through netizens’ comments on their photos and posts) for using the word “malasakit,” which translates to empathy, since Pialago’s statement was anything but empathetic.
Update: Celine Pialago denied making the statement on her social media account, claiming her brother made the statement.