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JIMENEZ, Mary Bernard Virginia

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To the numerous political detainees in the Marcos dictatorship’s jails, Sister Mary Bernard Jimenez was a welcome sight as she arrived under the heat of the sun, lugging heavy packages containing coffee, slippers, snacks, reading materials.

A motherly-looking woman whose sincerity and compassion won the hearts of activists and guerrilla fighters alike, they even came to call her “sister-comrade”: “Malayo ka pa – Kapatid-Kasamang Bernard – nakikita na kita.../Kulay lupa mong habito, sagisag ng pagkamakumbaba/ ‘Ya’y nagniningning kung tinatamaan ng sikat ng araw/ Tungo sa mga detenidong pulitikal.” (I can see you coming from afar, Sister-Comrade Bernard/ Dressed in the humble color of the earth/ Your habit shines in the sun as you draw nearer to us political detainees.)

Born Virginia Jimenez, Sister Mary Bernard, CM joined the Carmelite Missionaries soon after graduating with a degree in education in 1948. For decades she taught at various Carmelite schools, in the provinces (Batangas, Iloilo, Quezon) and in Quezon City.

When martial law was imposed, she was already in her fifties, but Jimenez became one of the earliest volunteers to work at Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), a program organized in 1974 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines. She became the TFDP coordinator for Metro Manila.

There was much work to be done, for the jails were full of persons who had been unjustly detained by the police and military. Jimenez was a very effective human rights worker. She cajoled and argued her way into detention camps, bringing with her food, medicine and handicraft materials for the prisoners. Her gentle ways and cheerful disposition disarmed the captors. She was often the first to bring a friendly word to political prisoners being held in isolation. She was a familiar figure to those who were imprisoned in Camp Crame, Camp Bagong Diwa (Bicutan Rehabilitation Center) in Bicutan and the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa, as well as Camp Olivas in Pampanga.

Jimenez gave special attention to prisoners who had few or no visitors. She tirelessly worked for their release papers, going the rounds of military and defense ministry offices. Through her efforts, they regained their freedom. Often the most difficult to visit and the hardest to have released were political prisoners in the maximum security prisons. She also gave them special attention.

Sr. Mary Bernard Jimenez was one of TFDP's most hardworking members. Fatigue, hunger and fear failed to stop her. Only cancer eventually did. Her death in 1984 was mourned by hundreds of political prisoners and human rights workers. She was 61 years old.

JIMENEZ, Ester Dolores M.

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Ester Dolores Misa Paredes Jimenez became involved in the anti-dictatorship struggle through her children, whom she had raised to be independent and to have minds of their own.

When her youngest son informed her in 1975 that he was intending to drop out of college in order to go fulltime in the underground, “…she held my hand and said, I am very proud of you. Then she shed some tears. It was the very first time and, I believe, the last time, I saw her cry. It was also the proudest moment of my life. That moment would repeatedly come back to inspire me to move on in spite of the difficulties.”

She opened her home to underground activities, including the production of revolutionary publications, and weekly meetings of activists. Her home became a refuge for wounded revolutionaries or those in hiding. On two occasions, she personally drove a wounded guerrilla to the hospital for treatment.

Earlier in her life, Jimenez was a widow who, at age 41, was left to raise and support 10 children by herself. Her first husband was Jess Paredes Jr., a lawyer and broadcaster who died in an airplane crash with President Ramon Magsaysay in 1957.

When martial law was imposed, her children were grown and she was already in her mid-60s. Still she became involved in urban guerrilla activities against the regime through the Light-A-Fire Movement, with her second husband Othoniel Jimenez. The members of this group were arrested in December 1979, among them Ester and her husband. After her release in 1981 she continued to visit him and the other detainees in the Bicutan jail to minister to their needs.

Members of the Light-a-Fire group, including Ester and Othoniel Jimenez, were sentenced to death by a military court in December 1984 but the sentence was never carried out. After the EDSA people power in 1986 and the abolition of the Marcos dictatorship, the Supreme Court nullified the death sentences.

Ester Jimenez was neither ideologue nor political leader, but she was a steadfast person who simply did what she believed was right. She gave generously of herself without expectation of reward or praise. Many came to call her "Mommy" in recognition of her good heart and selflessness.

She died in 1997 at the age of 81, after a long illness.

JAVIER, Evelio Bellaflor

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Evelio Javier was a bright young lawyer who at the age of 29 defeated an entrenched incumbent and became the youngest provincial governor in the Philippines. Throughout martial law he steadfastly maintained his political independence from the Marcos regime. This independence cost him his life.

Javier studied at the Ateneo, where he finished high school and college. He became president of the student council and while in law school, editor-in-chief of the Guidon.

Imbued with the idea that “politics is the concern of good and decent people,” he returned to Antique after having taught at the Ateneo for five years. He ran for governor, and won, serving for the next eight years despite his personal opposition to martial law.

“His first instinct was to resign,” recounted a friend, “but he was prevailed upon by his family, friends and supporters because everybody thought that martial law, being a temporary measure, was not going to last long. As it turned out, the temporary measure became a permanent way of life,” and he realized that “it was preferable for the Antiqueños to have a leader in such times than none at all.”

After that he declined to serve another term, and instead went to Harvard University to take up a master’s course in public administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Shortly after Benigno Aquino’s assassination in 1983, Javier returned to the Philippines and ran for a seat in the Batasan (martial law parliament) as representative of Antique. Shortly before the elections, seven of his supporters were killed in an ambush. In what was seen as a sham election, the Marcos-aligned warlord Arturo Pacificador was proclaimed the winner. (At the Batasan, Pacificador would be chosen majority floorleader for the Marcos party, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.)

Undeterred by this defeat, and despite threats to his life, Javier next focused his energies on campaigning for Corazon Aquino and Salvador Laurel who were facing President Marcos in the snap presidential elections set for the first week of February 1986. He played a key role in uniting the opposition behind Mrs. Aquino. He served as provincial chair of the Unido-Laban party.

Five days after the snap presidential elections, Javier was shot dead by hooded men in broad daylight and less than 100 meters away from the provincial capitol where election returns were being canvassed and tallied. The first volley wounded Javier but the assassins were able to corner and finish him off some distance away.

Seventeen persons, including Arturo Pacificador and his son Rodolfo, and a notorious ex-PC soldier, were indicted with the Ministry of Justice. The ex-assemblyman was arrested only in 1995, to be acquitted by the regional trial court in Antique for the prosecution’s failure (the court said) to establish Pacificador’s involvement in the murder.

Evelio Javier, 44, was killed at a time when public outrage was at its height against the Marcos dictatorship. In fact, just days later, Marcos with his family and close friends would be flown out of Malacanang to exile in Hawaii. Months later, in September 1986, the Supreme Court nullified the proclamation of Arturo Pacificador as congressman of Antique.

Javier’s body was flown to Manila where it lay in state at the Ateneo de Manila and served as rallying point for the forces which coalesced to become the EDSA people power. It was then flown back to Antique for burial. Provincemates mourned their young leader’s death in an epic funeral procession that ran the 160-kilometer length of the island of Panay.

JASUL, Ramon V.

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Ramon Jasul was the fourth child of a middle-class family from Lucban, Quezon. He was bright and diligent and showed strong leadership qualities. He was corps commander in his senior year in high school and contributed to the high school paper, The Banahaw.

Jasul had a questioning mind, refusing to accept things as they are. “What is truth?” he asked. We must, he said, “try to learn the unknown.” He wanted to be a journalist. In his high school yearbook, he wrote: "The best use of a journal is to print the largest amount of important truth which tends to make mankind wiser, thus happier."

Enrolling at the Lyceum of the Philippines when student activism was at its height, Jasul joined a group called Samahang Molave. He was an ordinary member but active in its teach-ins, group discussions and seminars. He joined rallies and demonstrations, occasionally getting hit with truncheons; once he was detained for several hours at the police headquarters in Manila.

When the writ of habeas corpus was suspended in 1971, he left Lyceum and returned to Lucban. There, he organized the Bagong Kabataan ng Lukban (New Youth of Lucban), which he headed until martial law was declared in 1972.

Jasul went underground and continued to organize youth groups in his area, this time, directed against the new repressive regime. In 1973, his older brother Alfredo, who had also gone underground, was killed by PC troops in Tayabas, Quezon.

Ramon Jasul disappeared in July-August 1977, together with nine other activists: Cristina Catalla, Gerardo Faustino, Rizalina Ilagan, Jessica Sales, Modesto Sison, Emmanuel Salvacruz, Salvador Panganiban, Virgilio Silva and Erwin Dela Torre. Members of the 2nd Military Intelligence Group based in Southern Tagalog are suspected to be behind their disappearance. Only Sison's body has been found, buried anonymously in a common grave at a cemetery in Lucena City in March 1978.

Writing about her brother, Carmen Jasul said that his dream for the Philippines was for it to be prosperous, happy and free of violence: “Isa siya sa mga naghahangad ng isang lipunang masagana, maligaya at malaya sa anumang anyo ng pandarahas.”

ILAGAN, Rizalina P.

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Whatever she decided to do, Rizalina Ilagan excelled at it.

In school, she was always at the top of her class. Consistently, she would be chosen to attend conferences such as those held by the youth organizations Future Farmers of the Philippines or the Future Agricultural Homemakers of the Philippines. She was also active in her high school's speech and drama club, directing several plays, including one which won her a trophy as the best director. She contributed articles to the school organ, the Ruralite. Enrolled at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, she was even selected Miss Freshman 1971 for her “beauty and brains.”

Yet this quiet young girl, who liked nothing better than to read books in the seclusion of her room –“nagmomongha sa silid,” her family teased her, cloistered like a nun – became a militant activist. It was in senior high school that Riza Ilagan joined a local chapter of the Kabataang Makabayan (KM).

As usual, Ilagan excelled. She was a mainstay in the theater group Tambuli under its director Leo Rimando. When KM set up Panday Sining to become a national theater organization, she was assigned to be its coordinator in Southern Tagalog.

Panday Sining performed plays where the common people were – in factory sites, plantations, depressed areas. Its stage was any space – a picket line, basketball court, churchyard, market place. Performances were realistic, the message a challenging one: the working people must fight to be free and to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

When martial law was declared in 1972, Ilagan left the university in order to continue fulltime work in organizing and educating communities and sectors in the underground resistance to the dictatorship. At the time of her disappearance several years later, she was on the editorial staff of Kalatas, an underground newsletter in Southern Tagalog. Military intelligence was known to be keen on finding her.

Between July and August 1977, Ilagan and nine others in the Southern Tagalog network went missing one after another. The Ilagan family learned that she was abducted by military operatives on the way to a meeting. She had been with two companions, Jessica Sales and Cristina Catalla, also from UP Los Baños. They have never been seen again.

HILARIO, Antonio "Tonyhil" M.

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Antonio Hilario, popularly known as Tonyhil or Hilton in the pre-martial law student movement, grew up in Quezon City's La Loma district. His father was a lawyer and his mother a school nurse.

Among their ancestors, the family was proud to count Tiburcio Hilario, the first revolutionary governor of Pampanga under the First Philippine Republic, and Marcelo Hilario del Pilar, one of the 1896 Revolution’s most well-known figures. Zoilo Hilario, a noted poet in Kapampangan and Spanish who later became a congressman and a trial judge, was his grandfather.

The fourth of seven children, Tonyhil had a quiet childhood. He made toys out of scrap wood and later showed an interest in electronics, taking apart broken-down transistor radios to see how they worked. He rarely socialized, preferring to read or go to the movies instead of playing basketball.

After graduating from high school, he enrolled in electrical engineering at the University of the Philippines. However, he never completed his course, as campus political activities began taking up all his time.

In those early years of student activism, Hilario emerged as a leading figure. He led discussion groups organized by the UP Nationalist Corps, and participated in its many countryside trips as part of the group's learning-from-the-masses program. It was here where Tonyhil first learned about rural poverty and oppression.

He was at the historic rally of 26 January 1970, which opened the turbulent period called the First Quarter Storm. He ended up that night nursing a bandaged head and a body turned black and blue by police truncheons. The experience seemed to strengthen his convictions.

Hilario was among the founding members of the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), a militant youth group that quickly moved into the forefront of the student movement. As its first secretary-general, he took charge of building SDK chapters in Quezon City, in Manila's university belt and poor communities and in other urban centers outside of Metro Manila. Under his leadership, SDK membership grew from a few hundreds to thousands nationwide.

When President Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus in 1971, Hilario was included in a list of activists charged with subversion. Then the following year, when martial law was imposed, SDK went underground and so did he.

His initial assignment in the revolutionary underground was to build clandestine youth groups in Manila that would support the resistance to martial law. Later, he was sent to Panay island to organize rural communities, train armed recruits, and expand guerrilla operations there.

Less than two years after, he was killed while meeting with several other people inside a hut in a remote village of Libacao, Aklan, in the mountain fastnesses of central Panay. Without warning, government troops had surrounded them and opened fire. Antonio Tagamolila and Rolando Luarca were killed instantly, along with the pregnant villager who owned the hut. Hilario, hit in the chest, urged his other companions to leave quickly. A witness said that the soldiers beat him up and had him dig a grave for himself and his two dead comrades. The bodies were exhumed later, and the family gave Tonyhil a proper burial in a Manila cemetery.

Much admired for his quiet strength and simple, hardworking ways, Antonio Hilario lies in his grave with an epitaph that reads: "Behind the words, 'contradiction', 'dialectics', 'struggle' lies the desire to see man become human again."

Learning How Much of a Fighter We Are as a Nation

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From Gracee Bongolan:
All in all, it was indeed an enriching and memorable day. I really enjoyed the tour and learned so many historical and important details about Quezon City and how much of a fighter we are as a nation. It took a lot of blood and hard work just to get the freedom that we have right now and living here in Quezon City gives me a sense of pride to know that the local government is preserving the historical background of the city and other important landmarks that help build our history.

Read the rest here.

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Classic Photos of Ka Tanny

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Here are newly found pictures of Lorenzo Martinez Tañada courtesy of Miguel Rodrigo, the grandson of Soc Rodrigo. More can be found on this link and this Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10153855534121412&id=96821891411

Marcos Jr’s Primary Interest: Sanitizing Family’s Name, Father’s Legacy

(Here is Juan GM Ragragio's A response to the IMHO of David Yap II on Bongbong Marcos which was first published on Rappler last October 16, 2015.)

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To actively erase Martial Law from our past by installing the chief advocate of its whitewash in such close proximity to the presidency? #NeverAgain.

The title of this opinion piece pretty much sums up what I think of Mr Yap’s article. I could leave it at that and call it a day, but there are many things Mr Yap brings up in his article that are in desperate need of addressing.
“Predictably a lot of people went crazy…”

“The answer is simple, provided that you have the intellectual capacity and the maturity to look at it objectively.”

First off, this is really just a cheap self-serving trick to make the arguments that he is presenting appear as “intellectual,” “mature,” and “objective.” Characterizing arguments as such does not automatically make them so, just as characterizing netizen reactions as “crazy” does not make them so.

Second, an argument is only as good as how well it's founded on facts and evidence. And while Mr Yap provides us with many facts, he leaves out quite a bit of facts and evidence that severely weigh against his proposition.
“Situate the analysis of his accomplishments in a vacuum and assess it objectively.”

That is a glaring problem right there. No person acts within a vacuum. Least of all a son of a dictator who, by his statements and actions, has shown us that he is interested in one thing: sanitizing the name of his father and that of his family. We shall see more of this later.
“Take a look at but a small sample of what he has done in the 16th Congress alone.”

I find it bizarre that Mr Yap would point to pending bills as “achievements,” when Marcos Jr has, in fact, authored and passed a law – the one postponing the SK elections. Perhaps, the idea of depriving the youth of their representation in local government doesn’t ring quite as loudly as the subjects of Marcos Jr’s other pending bills? Perhaps this is the same reason that Mr Yap left out the fact that Marcos Jr is one of the co-authors of the much-maligned Cybercrime Prevention Act?
“Basically, most any argument that would be hurled against Senator Marcos would be ad hominem.”

We’ll see.
“Let’s preface the discussion with the hashtag #neveragain. What does this mean? It’s not a complete sentence. It’s a phrase. Let’s fill in the blanks.”

What comes after this sentence is long and winding conjecture, with Mr Yap setting up a Straw Man that he can beat into helpless submission – as is often done to Straw Men.

Since Mr Yap does not appear to understand what #NeverAgain means, I’ll spell it out for him. But first, let me preface this discussion with some of the many non-ad-hominem arguments that can be hurled against Marcos Jr.

In 1985, at 26 years old, Marcos Jr sat as chairman of the board of the Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (Philcomsat), receiving a monthly salary of anywhere between $9,700 to $97,000.

Sources of a United Press International reporter said that Marcos Jr had no duties in Philcomsat and rarely even went to their office. In 1986, Philippine government auditors would discover that Philcomsat was one of many corporations and organizations used to siphon ill-gotten wealth out of the country.

On June 5, 1986, the Supreme Court created a three-justice commission to hear evidence pertaining to the railroading by the Sandiganbayan of the murder case of Ninoy Aquino Jr, against the supposed gunman Rolando Galman.

The Court would later adopt the findings of this commission, asserting that its “findings and conclusions are duly substantiated by the evidence and facts of public record.” One such finding is that a principal witness, Rebecca Quijano, was offered a P2-million bribe, supposedly coming from Marcos Jr and offered through Mayor Rudy Fariñas and William Fariñas.

Both of these facts are matters of public record, and they are undisputed. I will let these facts speak for themselves.

Marcos Jr lied about having an Oxford degree – not once, but twice: first, when he claimed such degree in his credentials as posted in his profile on the official Senate website, and second, when he denied a Rappler report that had looked into the matter. Marcos Jr would later amend his Senate website credentials as a quiet acknowledgment of the veracity of the Rappler exposé.

Marcos Jr also lied about his family’s ill-gotten wealth. In the 2003 case of Republic v. Sandiganbayan, the Court observed that, “[s]ince 1991, when the petition for forfeiture was first filed, up to the present, all respondents have offered are foxy responses like lack of sufficient knowledge or lack of privity, or they cannot recall because it happened a long time ago or, as to Mrs Marcos, the funds were lawfully acquired. But whenever it suits them, they also claim ownership of 90% of the funds and allege that only 10% belongs to the Marcos estate. It has been an incredible charade from beginning to end.”

If you cannot be honest about verifiable details of your own life, then what can you be honest about? If you cannot be honest under oath, then when else can you be honest?

Marcos Jr has, for years, denied the oppressive nature of the Martial Law period under his father’s regime. He denies that his father was a dictator and massive plunderer. He denies that there were widespread, state-sanctioned enforced disappearances, torture, and killings under his father’s regime. He dismisses human rights violations claims as mere “greed” by the claimants.

In other words, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr cannot even acknowledge, much less admit, verifiable historical facts. Especially when it comes to the shameful legacy of his father and the complicity of his family.

So when we say #NeverAgain, it is not for the Straw Man argument that Mr Yap creates.

We say #NeverAgain to ever putting a Marcos back in Malacañang – and that includes placing him within a heartbeat of the presidency.

We say this because we are aware that Marcos Jr’s primary interest is sanitizing his family’s name and his father’s legacy. We understand that whatever Marcos Jr does – whether in his personal acts or in government – is geared precisely towards that end. And we reasonably predict that if Marcos Jr should ever be in a position to do so, he will not hesitate to whitewash his family’s past, and leave his father’s victims out in the cold.

It is bad enough that the administrations and generations that followed Martial Law and the EDSA revolution were negligent, and failed to educate the next generation about the Marcos regime: the atrocities committed during Martial Law, and the pernicious, lasting effects of the Marcos regime on our country.

Negligence is one thing. But to actively erase Martial Law from our past by installing the chief advocate of its whitewash in such close proximity to the presidency? #NeverAgain.

As a postscript, I think Mr Yap asks and answers the wrong question. It isn’t a question of why Marcos Jr is good for Miriam as a vice presidential candidate; rather, it is a question of why Marcos Jr is good as a vice presidential candidate, period.

The answer is: he is not.

(Rappler Notes: This article was first published at Blog Watch Philippine Online Chronicles. It went through Rappler style edits.

Juan G. M. Ragragio is a thirty-something-year-old nerd/geek hybrid who blogs at raggster.wordpress.com and tweets at twitter.com/raggster. When not online, he either attends law school at the University of the Philippines College of Law or stays home inventing new ways to use chicken noodle soup.)

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