The woman was Melissa Roxas, an American citizen visiting the Philippines, the birthplace of her parents. An aspiring artist based in California, she was gathering material for a writing project when she and two companions were abducted in the town of La Paz in Tarlac, a province 120 kilometres north of Manila, on May 19.
Taken to what she believed was a military camp and accused of being a communist rebel, Roxas was repeatedly beaten, choked, and threatened with execution. At one time, plastic bags were pulled down over her face and secured around her neck until she started suffocating. She was released six days later, on May 25.
Who is Maita, and was Roxas’s abduction a case of mistaken identity? Is there a Canadian connection to this case?
Migrante International, a Philippines-based group critical of the labour-export policies of the government there, believes that the target of Roxas’s abductors may have been its former secretary general Maita Santiago, of Vancouver.
Read the rest on the Georgia Straight.