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Rodesa described herself as loving and sensitive, but also admitted to being temperamental, something that her friends often teased her about.

What she wanted most in life was to have a family of her own, and in 2015, she got her wish when she gave birth to a girl, Klea Mae, whom she adored. She was also madly in love with Klea's father, Ude, even though it wouldn't be an exaggeration to describe their relationship as tempestuous. Rodesa would openly talk about their arguments and breakups, but they somehow always found their way back to each other.

Rodesa and her little family lived in an indigent community in Caloocan. In 2016, her neighbourhood became one of the early targets of Duterte's fake drug war. She knew some of the victims, and was certain that they were innocent. But with nowhere else to go, Rodesa and her neighbours learned to live under the shadow of these killings.

Rodesa wasn't able to afford a birthday party for Klea when she turned one. She and Ude wanted to make up for it a year later. On September 13, 2017, the day before Klea's birthday, Rodesa and Ude travelled to Bulacan to invite Ude's sister to their daughter’s celebration.

The next day, Klea turned two with neither of her parents around to greet her. Ude had been killed in what the police labelled an antidrug operation in his sister's apartment. Nanlaban, the police alleged, something that Ude's relatives denied. He was a small-time drug dealer, yes, but he never owned a gun.

Rodesa was nowhere to be seen. According to witnesses, she was abducted by the same men who shot Ude, but the police denied having seen her. Ude's relatives countered that her bag was still in the apartment.

Rodesa's siblings looked frantically for her, fearing the worst, but holding on to the hope that their niece might still get her mother back.

Four days later, a woman’s corpse was found in the Cagayan River in Tuguegarao, 500 km from where Rodesa was last seen. The body bore stab wounds and marks of unspeakable torture, and her head was wrapped in duct tape.

On September 21, Rodesa's brother, Ruben, was able to identify her decomposing body by the tattoo on her back, which simply said 'Klea.' Ruben was relieved that he could finally take his sister home, only to find out that he had to pay 35,000 pesos in order to claim Rodesa's corpse from the funeral parlour.

Rodesa only wanted to have a family of her own and to be loved by her man, but in Duterte's Philippines, women like Rodesa are made to pay a terrible price for their love, and children like Klea are forced to make their way in this world without their mothers and fathers to guide them.

Rodesa was 29.




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