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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

lorenzotanada

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.)

Put Simply, We Must #NeverForget

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(The following is a Facebook status of Karl Ramirez in reaction to David Yap's Rappler essay about Bong Bong Marcos' Vice-Presidential bid. Yap articulates: "Put simply, if the last name of a candidate is your sole metric for your judgment, then you are, by definition, an uneducated voter.")
Put simply ka dyan. Talaga lang ha?

People say ‪#‎NeverForget‬ and ‪#‎NeverAgain‬ not just because Marcos ang last name ni Bong Bong, magbasa-basa ka naman susme!

Have you even tried researching about that period in Philippine history? Try digging deep into the lives of those who struggled against martial law?

Try reading Bantayog's open letter to Bong Bong? I-browse mo dito kung hindi mo alam saan hagilapin.

The issue is the extent of the crimes and atrocities committed by the Marcos family. Hindi lang yan human rights related. Yung cronyism na sinasabi mo, dyan sa tatay ni Bong Bong lumaganap. Yung mga dayuhang utang ng bansa, langya, dyan yan lumobo. Tama ka namang sabihin na hindi natapos ang problema after EDSA. Kaya nga ang tanong eh bakit hindi pinipigilan at lubusang pinapanagot ng mga sumunod na administrasyon ang mga kasabwat ni Marcos. Bakit nga ba? Impunity tol. Impunity!

Hindi pwede basta kalimutan yun gaya ng suggestion ni Bong Bong. Gamitin mo ang magna cum laude mo para maintindihan ang impunity tol. Kaya patuloy na nagaganap ang mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao, korapsyon, ay dahil hindi napapanagot ang mga salarin. Lalo na yung malalaki.

Hindi lang ito dahil sya ay Marcos. Ito ay dahil sila ay hindi lubusang nananagot. And Bong Bong is unrepentant, just like Imelda and Imee. Ewan ko kung si Macoy ay nagsisisi na sa hell.

That is dangerous! Kasi once given more power, he can literally rewrite history. O ayan, wag mong sabihing hindi yan pwede gawin ha? Kasi nga ginagawa na yan ni Bong Bong by asking all of us to forget it and by feeding people, especially the youth, with all these lies about his father's regime. Yes lies. And the educational system is not much of help either.

Hindi ako laude tulad mo. Areglado yung achievement mo na yun man. Pero sana gamitin natin ang natutunan natin para sa bayan. 'Wag nating gamitin upang ipagtanggol ang mga nagpahirap at magpapahirap sa bayan.

P.S. Ang hashtag kay NoyNoy ay ‪#‎LuisitaMassacre‬. People also hold his family accountable sa mga kaganapan sa Hacienda Luisita, and his mom (and Mayor Lim na hepe ng pulis noon) for the ‪#‎MendiolaMassacre‬.

Ang kasaysayan kasi ay dapat pinag-aaralan, hindi kinakalimutan. Isa pang dahilan bakit may hashtag na #‎NeverForget‬ and ‪#‎NeverAgain‬.

(Karl Ramirez is a singer-composer, son of a political detainee during Martial Law, and volunteers every now and then at Bantayog ng mga Bayani.)

https://www.facebook.com/karlramirezmusic/posts/1093319034019503

Xiao Time: Ekonomiya Noong Martial Law

Xiao

(The following is from the broadcast of the Xiao Time news segment last September 19, 2012 at News@1 and News@6 of PTV4 simulcast over Radyo ng Bayan DZRB 738 khz AM. Reposted from the XiaoChua.Net)
Makasaysayang araw po, it’s Xiaotime! Sumikat sa MetroPop noong Nineteen Eighties ang “Isang Dakot.” Ano ang nag-inspire kay Vehnee Saturno na isulat ang lyrics nito? Sagot: Nang bumisita kasi si Blessed John Paul II sa Pilipinas noong 1981, nakita niyang nagsulputan ang mga malalaking puting pader sa ruta na kanyang dadaanan. Ikinukubli sa likod nito ang mga maralitang tagalungsod at ang ating kahirapan!

“…Isang dakot na gunita ang bulong ng isang dukha / Na humihingi sa tulad mo, sa tulad mong ganap ang karangyaan / Ba’t di bigyan? Tapunan mo ng pagtingin na’ng langit ay ‘di magdilim.”

May mga nagsasabi na mas ok ang ekonomiya noong Martial Law: Totoo naman, ang daming naipatayong kalsada at tulay na hanggang ngayon pinakikinabangan natin. Pasasalamatan mo si Imelda kapag kahit na mahirap ka makapagpagamot ka pa rin sa kanyang Heart Center. Ngunit ang naaalala natin ay ang ganda ng ekonomiya noong mga unang taon ng Martial Law.

Pero lomobo ang bilang ng mga walang trabaho 6.25 % noong 1972 hanggang 11.058 % noong 1985. Ang poverty incidence naman ay 41% noong 1965 hanggang 58.9% noong 1985. Ang utang panlabas natin na 360 Milyong dolyar nooog 1962 ay lumaki hanggang 28.3 Bilyong dolyar noong 1986, at naging isa sa topnotcher na utangero sa Asya. Mula 3.9 piso sa dolyar sa pagsisimula ng rehimen noong 1965, ang palitan ay naging anim na piso sa isang dolyar matapos gumastos ng pera ng bayan sa pinakamaruming halalan sa bansa noong 1969.

Pagdating ng 1986, 19.030 pesos na ang isang dolyar. At ito ang malala, ang inflation rate ay tumaas mula 10 % noong 1983 hanggang 50 % noong 1984, ang pinakamataas na infalation rate mula pa noong digmaan. Habang naagaw sa mga Marcos sa kanilang pag-alis sa bansa ang 24 na maleta ng ginto, diamante sa mga diaper, at sa palasyo naiwan ang libo-libong sapatos ng Unang Ginang.

Bakit hindi alam ito ng mga magulang natin? Kasi naman teh, epektibong naitago ito ng sensura at mga puting pader. Aminin! Hanggang ngayon, sobra atang natuto ang mga opisyal natin mula sa style ng Martial Law, naglalagay pa rin ng puting pader upang ikubli ang kahirapan. Chong, maawa naman kayo sa bayan, isang dakot man lang. Ako po si Xiao Chua para sa Telebisyon ng Bayan, and that was Xiaotime.

Xiao Chua


Si Michael Charleston “Xiao” Briones Chua, tubong Tarlac, Assistant Professorial Lecturer sa Kasaysayan sa Pamantasang De La Salle Maynila. Nakapagturo ng tatlong taon sa Departamento ng Kasaysayan, Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Diliman, kung saan din siya nagtapos ng kanyang BA at MA sa Kasaysayan, at kasalukuyang nag-aaral ng Ph.D. Antropolohiya. Dating Pangalawang Pangulo at kasalukuyang Public Relations Officer ng Philippine Historical Association; at kasapi ng Bahay Saliksikan ng Kasaysayan (BAKAS) at ng Asosasyon ng mga Dalubhasa May Hilig at Interes sa Kasaysayan (ADHIKA ng Pilipinas, Inc).

System Fail: 'Marcos Pa Rin' in 2016

tonyocruz

(Written by Tonyo Cruz for the Manila Bulletin)

30 years have passed since the People Power uprising, but the post-Marcos regimes from Corazon Aquino up to BS Aquino III have all failed to prosecute and punish the Marcoses and their cabal.

Although the first President Aquino actually led a revolutionary government and ruled by decree until the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, no serious steps were taken to charge the Marcoses for their crimes, not even to find out the truth behind the assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and other opponents of the dictatorship. The focus was on money: the sequestration and seizure of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth, which the system wanted to be given to big landlords under the sham Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.

Undeterred by the first President Aquino’s disinterest in justice, the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya decided to file a class-action suit against the Marcoses in the U.S. courts. For SELDA and over 9,539 Filipinos involved and represented in the class action suit, it was important to put on record that the Marcos dictatorship was behind assassinations, abductions, rape, acts of torture and other forms of terrorism against citizens.

After years of painstaking litigation, of testimonies retelling the barbaric Marcosian terror they suffered, and of the abject lack of support from the Philippine government, SELDA and the class-action plaintiffs won a history-making and landmark victory. The Marcoses were convicted of human rights violations and atrocities against the Filipino people.

The Hilao vs. Marcos class-action suit and the U.S. court decisions are immutable documents of the barbarity unleashed by the Marcoses so that they could commit untold plunder, thievery, nepotism and corruption. We owe thanks to SELDA and the victims of Marcosian terror for making sure that it would be established both in fact and in law that the Marcoses were thugs and terrorists under martial law and until the dictator’s downfall.

Sadly, it would later take the Philippine governments more than double the time SELDA spent in the U.S. courts to even consider enforcing the U.S. court decision on the indemnification and compensation of the victims of Marcosian terror. For the traditional politicians that dominate the Philippine government, these victims-turned-victors are nothing more than competitors over the sequestered Marcos assets.

Just imagine if the first President Aquino used her revolutionary powers to round up all the Marcoses’ cronies, brought them to court and prosecuted them until they are convicted, punished and perpetually disqualified from office. We could only imagine that now because all the post-Marcos regimes did not do so.

When a second People Power uprising toppled a corrupt president, the new president wasted time before causing the filing of plunder charges and the arrest of the former president. It would take ordinary citizens and private prosecutors to make sure the charges stick and to expose all attempts to give the former president special treatment.

The people won a historic plunder conviction against the former president. Unfortunately, the former president-turned-convict was soon pardoned by an embattled president who thought such political accommodation would buy her both space and time amid widespread protests over her own corruption.

It is no different under the second President Aquino. The Yellow Army claimed the former Chief Justice was out to protect former President Arroyo from prosecution and so they impeached, convicted and removed him from office. But up to now, there is no meaningful result from the prosecution of Arroyo, and the weakness of the prosecution against Arroyo has been laid bare before the United Nations.

Corruption cases are filed with obvious political motivation. It is both sad and shocking that the Aquino administration celebrated the Makati mayor’s dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public service on the same week the son of the former dictator launched his vice presidential candidacy. Sad and shocking because the contrasts only highlights the Aquino administration’s kind of depraved justice: Never mind the big fish, never mind the dictator’s son, never mind everything else. The most important thing is the victory of President Aquino’s chosen successor. How depraved.

The problem with Philippine politics is not the citizens and the voters. The problem with Philippine politics is impunity — the failure or refusal to hold accountable those who commit crimes and offenses against the people. Name it: Plunder and corruption; disaster mismanagement; Lumad killings and massacres; extrajudicial killings of journalists, activists and lawyers; seizure of ancestral domain; even petty crimes; and others. It is extremely rare that the system would take on the perpetrators and make sure that they are found, prosecuted and convicted. If it does happen, narrow political motivations are too obvious and thus become more of a disservice to or a miscarriage of justice. This culture of impunity is a hallmark of traditional politicians and the system that they maintain.

The elite’s culture of impunity allowed the slow but sure political rehabilitation of the Marcoses: They were able to come back, and get elected as representatives, governors and senator because the system not only allowed them to. The system failed to punish them. Other parts of the system did their part: They were glamorized in the media, and their crimes glossed over in schools. Foreign powers too didn’t care, as long as their own business and diplomatic interests are protected.

The coming elections are an opportunity for Filipinos to take a stand against impunity and against the system. Let’s not allow “Never Again” to be hijacked by traditional policians, including the Liberal Party, who helped enable the Marcoses to mount a comeback. Let’s guard against further political accommodation among them and their common acts of treachery against citizens.

“Marcos pa rin” 30 years after EDSA 1986 is perhaps the strongest reminder of the anti-Marcos slogan that all post-Marcos regimes wanted us to forget: “Labanan ang bulok na sistemang umiiral!”.

The system allowed a Marcos to be a dictator and to get away with it. It is now enabling another Marcos to rise up the political ladder. It is up to the people who ousted Marcos to stop this madness, and to seek a system change for justice, broadly-shared prosperity, genuine democracy and national freedom.

Anything less may not just restore the Marcoses, but also bring further ruin to our people.

First published in the Manila Bulletin, 13 October 2015.

(Tonyo wears many hats: Blogger, advocate, strategist and newspaper columnist, among others. His work on mobile, web and social has taken him through: the parliament of the streets; Congress; the presidential elections; consumer campaigns for users of mobile phone and internet users; citizens’ tech-powered responses to calamities and elections; a campaign and Supreme Court petition against a draconian cybercrime law; and the country’s leading creative and digital agencies.)

A Street Named After Liliosa


From lopezhannah: Her hometown in Bulan, Sorsogon, southernmost part of Manila in the Bicol region, one of the streets near their heritage house was re-named by the Municipal council after her – LILIOSA HILAO STREET during the town’s centennial observance and celebration. She was also cited with a plaque by the Rotary Club of Makati on her writing about the country (in Filipino, BAYAN MUNA BAGO ANG SARILI) the “country first before oneself.”



The Municipal Council of Bulan, Sorsogon passed an ordinance renaming Burgos Street in Zone VI to Liliosa R. Hilao Street. The Family thanks the LGUs of Bulan for its noble gesture to memorialize our Sister Liliosa. - Alice Hilao Gualberto




LILIOSA R. HILAO, her life and martyrdom – a potential Philippine leader
by Alice R. Hilao-Gualberto

(Originally posted at Xiaochua.net)

At a time when the Philippines was taking off to a bright economic independence, ex-president Ferdinand Marcos, called a DICTATOR, whose paranoia for power would not want to leave Malacanang Palace, and in order to justify his stay – declared martial law, September 21, 1972; placed the whole country under a tyrannic, abusive, military rule. His plan was to rule for life. The country saw hundreds of statesmen, thousands of university scholars in the academe, businessmen, the media, the labor group, men and women in various religious fields and even ordinary citizens who spoke ill of his dictatorial rule were imprisoned without charge; thousands were tortured to death, executed and a lot whose bodies can no longer be found even to this day, the so-called desaparecidos. This was the darkest era, the Philippines ever had, to think that he, a homegrown Filipino leader would rule the country with so much tyranny, greed and cruelty beyond compare. Fear and silence ruled over the land, even in the very corners of each Filipino home, talks of martial law atrocities were spoken of in coded dialects and in whispers. Everywhere walls seem to have ears.

LILIOSA, in her early twenties, was not lucky enough, she was one of the thousands of victims who died mysteriously barely less than 24 hours in the hands of brutal, military men inside Camp Crame , Quezon City . But she was the first victim to die inside a camp in the heart of the city of Manila. On that questionable night, the military composed of the raiding team under Col. Bienvenido Felix; Lt. Arthur or Arturo Castillo, head of the raiding team; Lt. Reynaldo Garcia, a WAC Ester Aragosa and a PC Informer, George Ong said she died April 6, 1973; the family did not believe them and did not accept the date of her death given.

They informed everyone that Liliosa committed suicide while in their custody inside a men’s toilet. Lilli was a very conservative, hygiene-conscious person, of all places, she would never dare enter a men’s toilet. What outraged more the family was that they wrote the school authorities and the relatives in the province that Lilli died of drug addiction. Anybody with a sound mind can never believe that such a demure, highly intellectual, honorable young lady looking forward to receive cum laude honors at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (University of Manila), 2 weeks before graduation, who was brutally killed, would commit suicide? She was an intellectual campus figure respected and acknowledged by everyone who looked forward with high ambitions to achieve a better life not only for herself and the family but for each and every poor Filipino as well. This was manifested by her interest and concern to those families who lived in empty, idle container vans. This was written down in her diary. She committed herself in helping this group of urban poor living near the university campus in Intramuros, Manila donating whatever material needs she can afford to give. To reciprocate her kindness and concern, all of them in full force including children dared to go to her funeral in Loyola Memorial Park where her remains were buried, fearing not the military men whose presence in her burial did not deter them from seeing her to her grave. She was nipped in the bud, but her death sparkled like a candle in the night inspiring all the people working for the restoration of democracy in the country to be more courageous, persevering and vigilant be they in the hills or in urban areas. She became the inspiration that brought other names to the fore and her bravery showed that she was not cowed even in the presence of her military captors in Camp Crame and before their face, blatantly told them: “DEMOCRACY IS DEAD IN THE PHILIPPINES.” She died wearing a black blouse demonstrating such thought. She died on handcuffs, with so many hand prints all over her body. The family believed, she was killed after she was gang raped, April 5, 1973.

To write her story again, gives me a feeling of heaviness within, that it took me so many days to start. The pains gave rise to my anger and my anger no longer know what fears lie ahead. There were circumstances then that my life too was in danger I noticed it but I was able to avoid them, with strong prayers I asked God’s graces and Divine guidance, to whom I clanged most in every danger that I sensed. I would like to address this story to all freedom-loving citizens of the world, the youth to inspire them in whatever struggles they are in, be they simple or complicated and to all human rights advocates that this world, a God-given gift to men may be loved, become peaceful, beautiful and a better place to live in and to observe and preserve the dignity of man for which LILIOSA gave her precious life for all generations to come. Please help us achieve this.

Describing the barbaric, gory details of her death, the way she was killed, by at least five (5) military, robust men, it really puzzles us how can they ever inflict the worst crime to a demure, asthmatic, defenseless woman? Maybe they saw Liliosa practiced levitation. She was a yoga practitioner and an avid member of Ananda Marga practicing Hare Krishna. According to one of our sisters, Marie, Lilli, as she was fondly called, started the art of levitating after several Yoga training sessions, although very new to its practice, I haven’t really seen her myself how she did it. In the wake she had several Yogi associates who came to sympathize with us.

She was butchered, the body was unevenly cut in half up to her vagina, like that of an animal carcass; the brain was taken out placed in a pail, the intestines were also removed, placed likewise in a pail and all organs poured with muriatic acid and forwarded on that manner to Loyola memorial chapels, in Manila, where she was laid for the vigil. Not contented with what they have done, they guarded the wake not until our eldest sister, Rizalina a former teacher, arrived from the province who shooed them and told them to leave and give privacy to the mourning family members. Her body bore signs of struggle; her lips were burned from cigarette butts, that appeared to be made a virtual ash tray, the mark of a point of a gun appeared on one of her legs and her throat bore a hole, the family was told that they performed tracheostomy to save her life, more of a lie and an alibi. They not only desecrated her body, they made her appear the most absurd, notorious criminal human being on earth. Could have they done this on instruction from the dictator Marcos himself? It was a double-murder case that we want to file in court, but at this point in time after more than 35 years that had elapsed; I don’t know its possibility. But letting everyone know of such crime would at least give mental torture to those men in uniform, the voice of conscience is one’s own enemy.

LILIOSA writes very well, her literary prowess, had she been alive today can go for a Nobel Peace Prize award. She was a consistent, unassuming scholar for five (5) years and supposed to be a pioneer graduate of Communication Arts at the Pamantasan ng Maynila. She organized the women’s club of the university and headed other school; organizations including the school organ called HASIK. She headed also ALITHEA, an all-female member activists during her time. Student activism then was an all time-high, almost all students and even the whole country was in a state of unrest, like a social volcano about to erupt at any given time and this was where Marcos saw an opportune time to impose martial law for a lifetime dictatorial rule. He ruled the country with a barrel of a gun.

Lilli had a knack of writing detailed moments of her life, I was very much impressed to read in a chronologically arranged writings in her diary which reads:

“I went to bed but before that, I have read Mother’s letter to us dated April 24, 1969 , telling us of some good and bad news about our town. I shed tears by which I can’t really help without my knowledge of it, not because of the sentimental tone of the letter, in fact the missive was straightforwardly, but because of the many problems that beset the country as a whole and its citizens by which I am or I was not able to render help. I really wanted to help my country and see my fellowmen all in good condition. But I am helpless and this was what made me outrageous that I shed tears unconsciously. Help can be attained in so many ways to be able to serve one’s country but the help I want to render is more of tangible evidence to the masses so that they would know their faults and be able to accept changes I have slept thinking of the problems and some possible solutions.”

A very heroic thought indeed.

Again I found on the same diary these famous, favorite lines written by our own national hero, whom she wrote, quoted lines after the famous Jose Rizal’s novel NOLI ME TANGERE just after it came of the press, it reads: “I DIE WITHOUT SEEING THE DAWN BRIGHTEN OVER MY NATIVE LAND! You, who have it to see, welcome it – and FORGET NOT THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN DURING THE NIGHT.”

LILIOSA, was a doting daughter of Maximo Hilario Hilao and Celsa Rapi Hilao, the 7th in the family of nine. She studied elementary education up to sixth grade always with honors. She was transferred to Manila during her high school studies and landed with highest honors inspite of her frail health – that of being an asthmatic, which even up to her college days prevented her from participating in highly rigorous inside and off school campus activities. She was a well-loved student by her professors, the likes of Behn Cervantes, Armando Malay (now deceased), Cecille Guidote-Alvarez and Armando Doronilla, to name but a few. She was a very obedient daughter, had she not went back to their apartment that terrifying night, knowing the dangers that await her there just to see and talk to her mother with words of assurance that she need not worry because no matter what, she was going back to her. She became hostage during the raid. Right after getting inside the house, she already received fist blows and head banging on the wall by the raiding officer, Arturo Castillo. Just because of a moral obligation to an ailing mother, love and obedience, changed the course of her history; she literally died without seeing the dawn brighten over our native land!

Liliosa, right, with sister Rizalina (from Political Prisoners in the Philippines, AMRSP, 1973)
Since the time she learned the ABC’s of writing and reading, one can’t see her without books, paper, and pens in her hands where she would write down anything that she saw, observed and heard. She loved books very much and would settle to read even when she was sick. An old document we had showed a letter of intention addressed to an international university inquiring about a Colombo Plan Scholarship.

She had a big heart for the poor, a very religious woman, with strong beliefs and principles and a very good foresight of the future; she sacrificed herself to protect other people’s lives at stake when she was tactically interrogated and in 1986, she was considered a martyr; soon after her name was among the first ten (10) to be enshrined and encrypted in the WALLS OF REMEMBRANCE at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Monument of Martyrs and Heroes) along East Avenue, in Quezon City, a venue of fallen heroes during the martial law regime. While in her hometown in Bulan, Sorsogon, southernmost part of Manila in the Bicol region, one of the streets near their heritage house was re-named by the Municipal council after her – LILIOSA HILAO STREET during the town’s centennial observance and celebration. She was also cited with a plaque by the Rotary Club of Makati on her writing about the country (in Filipino, BAYAN MUNA BAGO ANG SARILI) the “country first before oneself.”

She was also awarded a POSTHUMOUS SPECIAL CITATION on a plaque by her Alma Mater, the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (UNIVERSITY OF THE CITY OF MANILA) which reads:

In recognition of her contributions in defending the rights, preserving the freedom and upholding the dignity of the Filipino people during the time when we are in search for truth and justice,” February 23, 2001 at the Manila Hotel, Manila, Philippines.

HILAO, Liliosa R.

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From the day martial law was imposed by President Marcos in September 1972, Liliosa Hilao began to wear black as a sign of mourning, because, as she wrote then in her diary, “Democracy is dead.”

Barely six months later she herself was dead, in the first reported case of a political detainee’s death under martial law.

A talented young woman with many friends and extracurricular activities, Hilao garnered honors all through her school years; she was due to graduate cum laude with a degree in communication arts in 1973. But although student activism was at its height by the time she entered college, she didn’t join rallies or shout slogans. Besides, she had asthma and allergies that prevented her from being more physically active.

At the same time, she had a strong sense of justice and a mind of her own. This was expressed in the thoughtful essays she wrote for the student paper at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (where she was associate editor); some had titles like “The Vietnamization of the Philippines” and “Democracy is Dead in the Philippines under Martial Law.”

One evening in April 1973, drunken soldiers barged into the Hilao family residence in Quezon City, looking for Hilao's brother, an engineer. They were members of the Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit. When the young woman insisted that they produce a search warrant or an arrest order, the soldiers beat her up, then handcuffed and took her away. She was brought to Camp Crame, headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary (now the Philippine National Police).

There a brother-in-law, an army officer, was able to see Hilao. She told him, and he saw for himself, that she had been tortured. But he was unable to do anything. The following day her older sister Alice was called to the Camp Crame Station Hospital. Liliosa’s body bore visible marks of severe torture, and even sexual abuse. She was already dead.

The authorities claimed that Hilao committed suicide by drinking muriatic acid. Officials at the highest levels declared the case was closed. But no one really believed that the military had nothing to do with her death.

Because of the tragedy, several members of the Hilao family had to leave their home to avoid arrest and detention, or worse. For years, they were aware of being under military surveillance.

At the graduation ceremonies held two weeks afterward by the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, a seat was kept vacant for Liliosa Hilao, who was still conferred her degree, posthumously and with honors.

And in Bulan, Sorsogon, where she was born, the municipal council named a street after her in 2001.

GONZAGA, Mary Virginia

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Mary Virginia Gonzaga was a woman with compassion, responsibility and a sense of mission.

Orphaned early, she had to be responsible for her brothers and sister. She graduated from college with a degree in commerce (1967) and then became an organizer for the Young Christian Workers in her birthplace of Negros Occidental. This was before she entered the religious life as a novice of the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS), where she took her final vows in 1979.

Among Gonzaga’s assignments were with slum dwellers in Cebu and then with migrant workers in Agusan. The social and economic realities that revealed themselves to her made her critical of development plans that sacrificed the well- being of poor people. In response, the sisters gave seminars that made the people aware of their rights and the various means they could use to address their problems. Local community leaders were identified and given training so that they themselves could teach and organize the others.

But “Sister Gin” contracted malaria and typhoid in Agusan; when she had recovered, she was sent back to Mindanao – as superior of the small RGS community in Sapad, Lanao del Norte, where there was some tension between Muslims and Christians.

Muslims made up almost half of the students in the diocesan school where Gonzaga taught. The school made it a point not to force or encourage them to join Catholic services, but instead tried to merely be accepted in their “apostolate of presence.” After school hours the sisters would visit the students in their homes.

Mary Virginia Gonzaga died in 1983 when an overloaded, dilapidated interisland vessel, the MV Cassandra, sank in the sea four hours after leaving Nasipit, Agusan del Norte bound for Cebu. She and three other RGS sisters were among the more than 600 passengers of the boat, of whom only 184 survived.

Other justice and peace workers who also perished in that tragedy included Inocencio Ipong of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Sr. Amparo Gilbuena, MSM; Sena Canabria and Evelyn Hong of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Sr. Josephine Medrano, FMA; Rev. Ben Bunio, United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP); and Fr. Simon Westendorp, O.Carm. They did all they could to help others put on their life vests and evacuate the sinking ship.

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