I first met her when she was a promising student leader in the then Divine Word College-Tagbilaran now rechristened Holy Name University. She was the kind who exuded confidence and yet not conceited, passionate and yet not hysterical, mild mannered and yet not one to run away from an argument, or a fight.
Mia Mascarinas did not exactly fell for the radical activism that we espoused, choosing instead the path of non-violence that Mohandas Gandhi espoused and which was popularized after his violent death.
Through the years, we maintained cordial communications as she nurtured a legal career that was characterized by her bias for the poor, the oppressed and the environment.
As a community journalist and then correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer among other publications, she was a good source not only for apt quotes but also for angles to stories that were within her area of competence.
She married Stuart Green, a British NGO volunteer who immersed himself in many Boholano communities as part of his advocacies.
Mia and I found ourselves on opposing sides many times but somehow I maintained a healthy respect for her which, I would like to believe, she shared.
These are some of my recollections of Mia whom I have not communicated with for several years now.
Last Wednesday, Mia was mercilessly shot dead in front of her children by determined assassins who obviously had it all planned.
Investigators theorized it is related to a ownership dispute case which she was handling.
If the brain behind this dastardly act thought this would be the solution to his problem, he was wrong – dead wrong.
An enraged community would have nothing of that. In the coming days, I believe a frontally challenged law-enforcement apparatus would deliver the goods.
There are many ironies in Mia’s death first of which is that why one who is obviously a positive contribution to the community would be taken quite early in her life. Indeed, we are stuck with so many who are not and it makes for a good test in anger management.
The second one is quite deep and complex: why one committed to active non-violence would perish in a very violent end. Her murder at the hands of recidivists who no longer deserve to live given the threat they pose to society makes it even more difficult to argue for those who want to preserve life including scoundrels and rascals such as these.
Indeed, one would find it difficult to shout for justice for Mia and at the same time passionately fight to preserve the beasts in the killers by demanding that they be spared from death penalty.
Is there such a thing as people who don’t deserve to die and those who do? That is a haunting question I asked – and answered – a long time ago. Perhaps it is time others do the same.
Mia probably did not want this kind of ending – life snatched out from her right before the eyes of her own children who would be deprived of her love, guidance and provision from here on.
And yet, it’s there.
All that remains of Mia are the memories stored in the memory banks of each life she touched and came in contact with.
Hopefully, those memories would suffice not only to motivate all those concerned to solve her killing but more so to ensure that this nation would not be held hostage by rascals who operate under the belief that they will still have a second, third or even fourth chance because there are people whose hearts grieve more for them than those who fall victim to their fury.
No one can tell exactly what the future holds but deep within me there is this irrepressible hope that Mia did not die in vain.
That goes for all of us as well.
Let’s pray for justice for Mia – and all those who fell in the night in this cruel, vicious and dark war against criminality and drugs that some people do not even want to admit is raging.