Suicide of 12-year-old girl moves pastor to paint, child worker to compose verses

Nov. 15, 2007

By Cheryll D. Fiel
Davao Today

The suicide of the 12-year-old girl has moved a pastor to paint; a childs advocacy group volunteer to write verses, and government and civil society group to press the government for more attention to childrens rights.

The night after he heard about the girls death from the television news, Pastor Jurie Jaime, of the United Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) in Tibungco, stayed up in his parsonage throughout the wee hours in the morning, crying and angrily splashing paint on his canvass.

I just wanted to express my feelings of grief when I heard the story, said the UCCP pastor, who started to paint since his college days. I was crying when I was splashing my paint on the canvass. I was trying to understand her death, said Pastor Jayme, whose paintings reflect the social realities of his day.

“My Diary” by Pastor Jurie Jaime. ( photo by Cheryll D. Fiel)

In the next six hours, he finished the painting titled, My Diary, asking himself, What God could have said of the girls fate?

Beneath the angry splashes of heavy blue paint on the canvass, one could make out the face of Jesus Christ, crying.

But while the artist pastor took to canvass what he could not say in words, Lala Fanagel, a volunteer of the child rights group Kabiba, was furiously writing verses while the funeral mass for Mariannet was going on inside Sta. Cruz chapel of Maa.

In a poem emailed to davaotoday, Fanagel likened Mariannets death to a storm. He also posed the question why people whom Mariannet never met when she was alive came visiting her funeral.

Mother, father and younger brother Raynald, take their last glimpse of Mariannet before she was taken from the Sta. Cruz chapel to the Maa cemetery. ( photo by Barry Ohaylan)

Baunin mo ang aming panata sa patuloy na pagkilos / Bitbit ang musmos mong pangarap/ Sa pakikibaka ng sambayanang api/ Hindi ka malilimutan/ Kasabay ng paglaya ng buong sambayanan/ ang lunas sa dahilan ng ‘yong paglisan.

But even three days after her burial, the furor caused by the death of Mariannet Amper, refused to die. As child advocacy groups press for more government attention and budget for childrens welfare, some local government officials, who are put on a defensive, press for an autopsy of the body to find out the real cause of Mariannets death, which may or may not be poverty.

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