ECHAGUE, Isabela- The Sangguniang Bayan has offered a minute of silence prior their regular session Monday to invoke the lord's intercession in the fate of “kababayan” Sally Ordinario- Villanueva and her fellow Filipinos condemned to death for drug trafficking in China.
'No ones home.." neighbors tell whoever visits the Villanuevas in their residence in Habitat Homes, Barangay Gummaway in Echague town
Sally's 12 year old daughter Princess joy, the eldest of the brood of 2; has learned to accept the bitter truth and vowed to be a lawyer someday so she would have something people will look upon. The young Villanueva is reportedly graduating elementary this April 6.
Councilor Jesus Babaran who moved the floor for the solemn instance later told STAR the Municipal council could do nothing at the moment but to pray for miracles. He said he and fellow councilors could not do any better but to extend financial help from their own pockets
Sangguniang Bayan Member Jesus Babaran (center) and his peers in the Municipal Council: Going to shell out personal funds to help Sally's family
Congressman Giorgidi Aggabao, Isabela 4th District Congressman, said he feels sorry for the situation being helpless to save Villanueva and her fellow condemned Filipinos -all three from the lethal injection tomorrow. He however offered to assist Villanueva's family to shoulder the expatriation of Villanueva's remains should the execution pushes through.
Echague Mayor Melinda Kiat said she has sought Villanueva's relatives to offer possible assistance she could extend. However, Kiat said she was instead informed that Villanueva was a resident of the adjacent Alicia town and not in her turf. “Wala kaming nagawa kasi hindi naman siya tagarito sa Echague,” the Mayor said when asked of any moves done by the local government to mitigate the sufferings of the family of the condemned kababayan. Kiat said the Villanueva's stayed in less than a month in a low-cost subdivision in her town prior to her arrest in Xiamen in 2008.
MAYOR MELINDA KIAT: "I have sought people to seek for Sally's family for assistance"
On the contrary, Kiat's informants proved otherwise in a visit by the STAR at the Villanueva's residence at the Habitat Subdivision, a low cost housing project in Barangay Gumbawan,Echague.
“There is no one in there,” according to neighbor Celia Sargado 41 saying the Villanuevas were not at home for weeks now. Sagrado herself is a former Overseas Filipina Worker who worked in Singapore during the late 1990s like Villanueva. She described the Villanueva's as a silent and peaceful family. She said she could not imagine that her best friend would be implicated to a dreaded international drug trade as a mule.
Sally's neighbor, Celia Sagrado: a former OFW in Singapore herself: "the Villanuevas are peaceful neighbors"
Sally's husband, Hilarion is a bus driver of an ordinary bus plying the Isabela-Cagayan route; Sagrado said.
“We are extremely sad in the neighborhood about Sally's fate, all we can do is to offer her our prayers,” Sargado told STAR, she refuted Kiat's informants that Villanueva did not stayed long in the remote Echague subdivision. Habitat housing can be reached by passing through the jurisdiction of Alicia town a kilometer away from the Echague Municipal town hall.
“The Villanuevas have been staying here since 2001,” according to Sagrado contrary to mayor Kiat's claim that the family stayed in the place for less than a month and moved back to the Sally's hometown of the Ordinarios in Barangay Tupax, Jones.