Moreta Alegre had already spent five years in Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, Manila, Philippines. Before coming to CIW, she spent five 5 years in provincial jail In Negros Occidental. She languished in jail for ten years of no clear crime done. Moreta Alegre who turned 70 on August 20, 2016 is one of the women imprisoned because they fight for their rights. She, together with her husband, Jesus Alegre who is in the National Bilibid Prison and son Salem Alegre fought to protect their land, fifteen hectares claimed by a landlord in their hometown Sagay, Negros Occidental. They fought against the landgrabber who was wanting to get a title for their land. The landlord is influential that even there was no clear case against the Alegre’s, he was able to put them in jail. A retaliation to the Alegre’s.
For years women organization especially the Gabriela Women’s Party lobbied the Aquino Government to release Moreta Alegre for humanitarian reason but requests and appeals were all in vain. Now she hopes for her release when President Duterte promised to release all political prisoners. But as of late, only twenty-two consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF) were released by bail. She is still part of the more than five hundred political prisoners languishing in jails around the country.
Nanay Moret, as she is fondly called always shed tears everytime she remembers her grandchildren. She used to wisher me, “I really missed my grandchildren and wish to see my family sharing food together in a table as we used to do.” Last April, she told me, “I wish before my birthday, I am already released!” Hearing Nanay Moret’s wishes made me feel sad because I could not do it. But she has an already answer to her wishes, “I know, I know it is very difficult but I thank you and your husband visiting me. I am fine with that.” The I could see a faint smile on his lips.
BUT I WANT TO SEE HER SMILE! I just to see Nanay Moret to really smile with teeth exposed. I made a promise to myself to really make available to visit her on her birthday. But alas, we were not able to see her because her birthday falls on Saturday and with the CIW prison policy only relatives can visit. We negotiated to only see Nanay Moret and gave our birthday presence only to be told, NO, it is the policy. I let a lady guard to bring our birthday gift and this birthday card (I printed from my computer before leaving the house). I hope I made her smile. My husband and I decided to be back on the day for friends’ visit. I plan to bring a cake for her with candle on it. We love you Nanay Moret, very sorry we can not enter but we will comeback! See you the soonest. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!