bantayog.foundation

bantayog.foundation

CASTRO, Rolando M.

castro

They were really close friends, these three: Rolando Castro, Claro Cabrera and Pepito Deheran. When Roland’s eldest son was baptized in church, Peping Deheran stood as godfather. When the second boy was baptized, Lito Cabrera was asked to be his godfather.

Castro was the first to get married and raise a family. He and his wife Elvira met while they were working at a hotel: he was a laborer and she washed bed linens. Upon settling down in Angeles City, the young husband supported his brood by driving a tricycle. Sometimes he would also find temporary work, building houses, at the nearby US military base. “He was a good man, thoughtful and hardworking,” Elvira said. “I never had any problem with him.”

When Roland became an active member of Concerned Citizens of Pampanga, a cause-oriented organization that campaigned against human rights violations by the martial law regime, he didn’t exactly inform her but she knew. “When he made remarks about Marcos’ policies not being good for the country, I thought to myself that he was probably hanging out with the activists. That was three or four years before he died.”

She would learn from his friends about the rallies they joined. “Once, Roland was gone for a week. It turned out he had joined a Lakbayan [protest march]. He showed us pictures of him and his friends. Many people from Sapang Bato were also there.”

Castro divided his time between his growing family and his community work, where he aimed to help the youth spend their time wisely by teaching them handicraft skills and involving them in sports activities. The three buddies built themselves a small hut near Cabrera’s place, and used it as their own sort of clubhouse.

The three became very active in the campaign to boycott the 1984 Batasang Pambansa elections that the Marcos regime had called. It was obviously intended to pacify the people’s raging protest movement, especially after the assassination of Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. On the local level, government supporters had instructions to suppress any dissenters and push through with the exercise.

Shortly after the elections had been held, Castro, Deheran and Cabrera were abducted from their little hut by a team of militia led by a soldier. They were brought to a military detachment where they were interrogated, beaten and stabbed repeatedly. Afterwards the bodies of Castro and Cabrera were dumped into the nearby Apalit River. Deheran survived, and made a statement before dying later; in it he named two of their attackers.

Elvira was left to raise their four boys by working again as a laundrywoman. The families of the three friends sued but the case did not prosper.

CALDERON, Jose R., Jr.

calderon

The young Jose R. Calderon was his school's most outstanding student from first grade to fourth year high school. He showed interest in the arts, particularly in drama and dance, and was active in the Methodist Youth Fellowship.

Addressing his classmates as their valedictorian upon their graduation from high school, he stressed the role of the youth in helping create a society where economic justice and political freedom prevail: "We may not live to see the fulfillment of this dream but certainly, we can lay down the foundation of its beginning. Let us therefore dedicate our golden hours, enthusiasm and energy to the challenge of the times – economic development, freedom and security."

When he entered the University of the Philippines as a political science major, campus activism quickly drew him in. He joined the Nationalist Corps of the UP Student Council, the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan and the Alpha Sigma fraternity. Summer breaks found him and his friends living in the rural areas, as part of a "learning from the people" campaign.

Calderon was active in the big demonstrations in Manila, in what would later be known as the First Quarter Storm of 1970. When student rallies were violently dispersed on January 30 and 31 in Mendiola, near Malacanang Palace, he was there.

Reared in the Methodist Church, Calderon interpreted his growing involvement in activism not only as a social demand but as an expression of his Protestant faith. When in July 1971 he finally decided to leave the university and commit himself fulltime to the movement, he wrote his parents:

"Kung tatandaan lamang ninyo na narito sa kilusan ang aking kaligayahan at wala sa pag-aaral, marahil ay matutuwa pa kayo sapagkat ang anak ninyo ay nakatagpo ng magandang kahulugan para sa kanyang buhay—isang buhay na sa aking palagay ay higit na kristiyano at maka-Diyos kaysa sa palaging pagpunta sa kapilya nang hindi naman isinasabuhay ang turo ng bibliya." (If you consider that it is being in the movement and not being a student that makes me happy, you may be glad that your son has found positive meaning in life – it’s a life that I think is more christian and godly than if one were to spend his time praying in the chapel but without practising what the Bible teaches.)

He asked his parents not to blame themselves for his decision. "Blame the system," he said, "which created millions of poor people, exploited by foreigners and a few greedy Filipinos." As long as that kind of system prevailed and a fairer system not put in its place, he wrote, "more parents will lose their children, more children will lose their parents, and more husbands or wives will lose their spouses." He was ready, he declared, to give up his life in the struggle to establish this radical change in society.

In July 1971, Calderon went to the jungles of Isabela in Northern Luzon to join the New People’s Army (NPA), then a newly-organized guerrilla group. In his letters, he described the numerous hardships and sacrifices they were going through, as the Marcos regime launched all-out efforts to eliminate them while it was still early enough. Taking the name Ka Elmo, he served with the NPA until he was killed in a battle with government forces in May 1974 in San Mariano, Isabela.

His letters have been compiled by his family in a book Mga Liham ni Ka Elmo (Letters from Ka Elmo), a record of his patriotism and bravery, his efforts to overcome material and emotional difficulties, and his unwavering solidarity with the people.

FAVALI, Tullio

favali

A Roman Catholic priest who had been serving in Mindanao for less than a year, Tullio Favali was the first foreign missionary to be killed, in 1985, by the martial law regime’s paramilitary forces.

Favali was a native of the northern Italian city of Mantora (or Mantua), and was ordained a priest in June 1981. He belonged to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), an international society of priests and brothers exclusively dedicated to the evangelization of predominantly non-Christian nations and underdeveloped countries. In the Philippines, they are assigned in the Zamboanga provinces, North Cotabato and in Metro Manila.

Arriving in the Philippines in November 1983, Tullio Favali was named parish priest of La Esperanza in Tulunan, North Cotabato, in June 1984. At the time of his murder he was just beginning to adjust to a different culture, but his parishioners loved him for his gentleness, simplicity and humble ways. He was always ready to serve.

Large areas of Mindanao, including the North Cotabato area, were then in the grip of armed pseudo-religious cults who roamed around sowing terror among the people. These groups, of Bisayan origin, and which came about in the late 1960s, originally acted in defense of Bisayan settler communities against Moro attackers, who in turn accused them of grabbing lands belonging to the Moros.

Under the dictatorship, with the growing strength of the revolutionary guerrilla movement, the fanatical cults were turned into useful pawns for the government’s anti-insurgency campaign. They were accorded recognition as paramilitary units and allowed to freely operate as Barrio Self-Defense Units or BSDU, later renamed Integrated Civilian Home Defense Force or ICHDF.

“The pacification drive to counter the growth and influence of the dissidents has assumed the character of a sordid war which does not spare any civilian who nurtures discontent with the present political, social and economic system,” observed a fact-finding mission that investigated Favali’s killing. “Entire communities have often been labelled ‘hostile territory’….”

The Manero brothers, including the wife of one of them, led the Ilaga group in Cotabato; they even garnered citations and medals from the AFP. Notorious for their killing sprees, which included cannibalism, they enjoyed the protection of the military and powerful local civilians. (Their father was barangay captain of La Esperanza.)

On April 11, 1985, Norberto, Edelberto and Elpidio Manero along with other members of their ICHDF band had already been drinking in public all morning and brandishing their high-powered weapons. Elpidio Manero brought out a placard showing a list of people they suspected to be siding with the rebels. When asked by one of these persons (the local tailor) to explain why he was on their list, the group got angry and Edelberto fired his gun, hitting the man.

The tailor and his wife fled into a house nearby, and others in the neighborhood also took cover. Some ran to find the priest and ask for his help. Mounting his motorcycle, Favali rushed to the house where the people had sought cover. Outside, the militiamen set his motorcycle on fire causing Favali to hurry out, asking, "What have you done to my motorcycle?" Edelberto then replied, "Father, do you want your head blown off?" He proceeded to do exactly that, shooting the priest pointblank in the head; he further desecrated the dead body by kicking it in the head, shooting it again in the face, and stamping his feet on the corpse.

favali

The killing provoked a huge outcry from the public and from the Vatican and the Italian government. It called international attention to the Marcos dictatorship’s human rights violations, including the rampant and uncurbed abuses of the paramilitary forces, the continuing recruitment and arming of civilians for military uses, and the military’s encouragement of fanatical pseudo-religious cults in counter-insurgency.

Because of the outcry, the martial law authorities arrested the Manero brothers in 1985 after several months of dilly-dallying. That same year, seven individuals were convicted for Tullio Favali's murder, including Norberto Manero. However, they continued to be seen in public even if they were supposed to be in prison. In 1999, President Joseph Estrada granted Norberto pardon and let him out of jail. But Estrada had to withdraw the pardon because of the overwhelming negative reaction from the public. Norberto Manero was rearrested in 2000 and remains in prison.

Notorious Barrio Self-Defense Units

Ferdinand Marcos publicly endorses the BSDUs, later to be known as Civilian Home Defense Forces CHDF.

Ferdinand Marcos Became President

Senator Ferdinand Edralin Marcos wins the Presidency against re-electionist Diosdado Macapagal.

The Jabidah Massacre of 1968



(From Inquirer's In the Know. The above photo of graffiti left by Tausog "jabidah" soldiers in Corregidor before they were massacred is from xiaochua.net)

Out of the roughly 27 Muslim youth allegedly summarily executed in 1968 in what is known as the Jabidah Massacre, only Jibin Arula survived to tell the tragedy.

Arula recounted the alleged massacre in interviews with the Inquirer in March 2008 and March 2009.

In his account, Arula said he was among those who were brought to Corregidor island on Jan. 3, 1968, to train on guerrilla tactics in preparation for “Operation Merdeka,” an alleged top-secret plan of the Marcos administration to invade Sabah in Malaysia.

Named after a beautiful woman in Muslim lore, Jabidah was the commando group that was to carry out the operation. “Malaysia was the target of our mission. We were to invade Sabah. If Malaysia would file a formal complaint in the United Nations, the government was to deny us. It (the government) would claim that we were members of the private army of Sultan Kiram (of the sultanate of Sulu),” Arula said.

“We were promised P50 allowance per month but we received not a centavo. We were fed dried fish, and for coffee, we would use rice leftovers. The commanders were living in luxury while we were living with almost nothing at all,” Arula added.

To air their grievances, the trainees wrote a secret petition to President Ferdinand Marcos. But the letter most likely was intercepted by their training officers, which led to the tragedy, he said.

Before dawn on March 18, 1968, the training officers fired at them on Corregidor’s airstrip, Arula said.

Arula, who was wounded by a bullet in his left knee, swam for his life on Manila Bay, only to be fished out of the waters off Cavite province the next morning.

On March 28, 1968, opposition Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. delivered an exposé speech titled “Jabidah: Special Forces of Evil?” in which he alleged that aside from the recruitment of Muslims to infiltrate North Borneo, former convicts and former members of the Hukbalahap had also been enlisted to wipe out the opposition in 1969, an election year.

Aquino said: “I charge President Marcos with building a secret strike force under his personal command, to form the shock troops of his cherished garrison state.”

Marcos dismissed the accusations as an opposition plot to discredit the administration.

The Jabidah Massacre inspired Nur Misuari, then a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, to establish the Moro National Liberation Front, which fought for a separate Moro homeland in Mindanao.

Arula died in a vehicular accident in 2010.




jabidah (1)

The following report is from Paul Whitman and posted at corregidor.org:
OPERATION MERDEKA

The codename for the destabilization plan was Operation Merdeka. The plan involved the recruitment of nearly 200 Tausug and Sama Muslims aged 18 to 30 from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and their training in the island-town of Simunul in Tawi-Tawi. Simunul was where the first Arab missionary Makhdum built the first mosque in the Philippines in the 14th century. The recruits felt giddy about the promise not only of a monthly allowance, but also over the prospect of eventually becoming a member of an elite unit in the Philippine Armed Forces. That meant, among other benefits, guns, which Muslims regard as very precious possessions. So from August to December 1967, the young recruits underwent training in Simunul. The name of the the commando unit: Jabidah.

On December 30 that year, from 135 to 180 recruits boarded a Philippine Navy vessel for the island of Corregidor in Luzon for "specialized training."

This second phase of the training turned mutinous when the recruits discovered their true mission. It struck the recruits that the plan would mean not only fighting their brother Muslims in Sabah, but also possibly killing their own Tausug and Sama relatives living there. Additionally, the recruits had already begun to feel disgruntled over the non-payment of the promised P50 monthly allowance. The recruits then demanded to be returned home.

For the Jabidah planners, it seemed that there was only one choice.

THE JABIDAH MASSACRE

As the sole survivor later recounted, the plotters led the trainees out of their Corregidor barracks on the night of March 18, 1968 in batches of twelve. They were taken to a nearby airstrip. There, the plotters mowed the trainees down with gunfire. Jibin Arula, the survivor, said that he heard a series of shots and saw his colleagues fall. He ran towards a mountain and rolled off the edge on to the sea. He recalled clinging to a plank of wood and stayed afloat. By morning, fishers from nearby Cavite rescued him.

The truth of the massacre took some time to emerge. In March 1968 Moro students in Manila held a week long protest vigil over an empty coffin marked ‘Jabidah’ in front of the presidential palace. They claimed “at least 28” Moro army recruits had been murdered. Court-martial proceedings were brought against twenty-three military personnel involved. There was a firestorm in the Philippine press, attacking not so much the soldiers involved, but the culpability of a government administration that would ferment such a plot, and then seek to cover it up by wholesale murder. The matter even made its way to the Supreme Court in 1970, on a preliminary issue.

Although the exact number of deaths still continues to vary depending upon the source of the reference, there is no denial of the fact that Corregidor was host to a massacre on that night.

Saguisag to Bongbong: Forget Martial Law? No Way!

From an article written by Rey Langit:
I recently reminisced with Senator Rene Saguisag on the dark days of Martial Law on my program “Kasangga Mo Ang Langit” (6-7am) on DWIZ882 KHz.

To his recollection, Martial Law was declared not on September 21 but September 23. Except that former President Ferdinand Marcos, he explained, was a numerologist, and wanted a multiple of 7 so the declaration was officially made the 21st. “But to me,” he recalled, the 21st of September 1972 was just another day in the office.” ( Proclamation No.1081 which imposed martial law was dated 21 September 1972. – eds.)

Saguisag remembers he was in San Beda, monitoring the rally of Ke Pepe Diokno, Bal Pinguel and Charito Planas in Plaza Miranda on the 21st. Historians, he says, should correct the date and establish that nothing eventful except on paper really happened on the 21st.

Read the rest at ManilaSpeak

Martial Law Stories Young People Need to Hear



Shakira Andrea Sison is a two-time Palanca-winning essayist. She currently works in finance and spends her non-working hours writing stories in subway trains. She is a veterinarian by education and was managing a retail corporation in Manila before relocating to New York in 2002." width="300" height="300" />
Shakira Andrea Sison is a two-time Palanca-winning essayist.

(Written by Shakira Sison for Rappler)

Majority of comments on articles about Martial Lawseem to be from staunch defenders of that era. There are and will always be citizens who see those years as an era of peace and prosperity in our country.

We don't need to debate that. Instead we simply need to tell, retell and listen to the stories of those who survived those years. As the younger generation we need to do our own research, take the blinders off our eyes and learn what exactly life was like during Martial Law before coming up with flowery images of those years as a beautiful moment in history.

Silence by force

You would never have seen an article such as this as I would have already been taken, tortured, and killed for my opinions. If Martial Law were still in effect, bloggers who wrote anything even remotely critical of the government or its cronies would be jailed like they do in other countries.

There would be none of your Facebook rants about the administration,Metro Manila traffic, or even the outfit a politician is wearing. In fact, there wouldn't be Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail in the Philippines the way these websites are banned in China.

If I wrote during Martial Law, I could be taken from my home the way 23-year-old Lily Hilao was for being a prolific writer for her school paper at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. In April 1973, Lily was taken by the military, and was raped and tortured in front of her 16-year-old sister. By the time Lily's family retrieved her dead body, it bore cigarette burns on her lips, injection marks on her arms, bruises and gun barrel marks. Her internal organs were removed and her vagina was sawed off to cover signs of torture and sexual abuse. Liliosa Hilao is considered to be the first female casualty and martyr of Martial Law.

Zero criticism

Martial Law engineer Juan Ponce Enrile defined subversion during a 1977 BBC interview: “anybody who goes against the government or who tries to convince people to go against the government – that is subversion.” Proclamation 1081 gave the military the authority to arrest, detain, and execute anyone who even dared to breathe sadly about the Marcos administration.

Archimedes Trajano was only 21 when he questioned Imee Marcos on why she was the National Chairman of the Kabataang Barangay during an open forum. He was forcibly taken from the venue by Imee's bodyguards, and was tortured and thrown out of a building window, all because the presidential daughter was irked by his question.

Maria Elena Ang was a 23-year-old UP Journalism student when she was arrested and detained. She was beaten, electrocuted, water cured, and sexually violated during her detention.

Dr Juan Escandor was a young doctor with UP-PGH who was tortured and killed by the Philippine Constabulary. When his body was recovered, a pathologist found that his skull had been broken open, emptied and stuffed with trash, plastic bags, rags and underwear. His brain was stuffed inside his abdominal cavity.

Boyet Mijares was only 16 years old in 1977 when he received a call that his disappeared father (whistleblower and writer Primitivo Mijares) was still alive. The caller invited the younger Mijares to see him. A few days later, Boyet's body was found dumped outside Manila, his eyeballs protruding, his chest perforated with multiple stab wounds, his head bashed in, and his hands, feet and genitals mangled.

Trinidad Herrera was a community leader in Tondo when she was arrested in 1977. In this video she recounts being electrocuted on her fingers, breasts, and vagina until her interrogators were pleased with her answers to their questions.

Neri Colmenares was an 18-year-old activist when he was arrested and tortured by members of the Philippine Constabulary. Aside from being strangled and made to play Russian Roulette, he witnessed fellow detaineesbeing electrocuted through wires inserted into their penises, as well as being buried alive in a steel drum.

Hilda Narciso was a church worker when she was arrested, confined in a small cell, fed a soup of worms and rotten fish, and repeatedly gang-raped.

Necessary methods

60,000 were arrested during the first year of Martial Law alone, and many of their stories will never be told. Michael Chua wrote a paper detailing the torture methods used during the Marcos regime.

Aside from electrocution of body parts and genitals, it was routine to waterboard political prisoners, burn them using cigarettes and flat irons, strangle them using wires and steel bars, and rub pepper on their genitals. Women were stripped naked, made to sit on ice blocks or stand in cold rooms, and were sexually assaulted using objects such as eggplants smeared with chili peppers.

Forty-three years have passed. Time, as well as the circus that is Philippine governance make it easy to forget Martial Law as the darkest and most terrible moments in Philippine history. Many of its victims have died or have chosen to remain silent – silence being most understandable because these stories are truly difficult to remember, and much harder to tell.

Stories need to be told

Yet these horrific stories need to be told over and over until we realize that the pretty cover of the book of the Marcos years is actually full of monster stories. We need to bring the graphic accounts of torture and murder to light so that those who rest comfortably in their illusions that the Marcos years were pleasant will at least be stirred.

Instead we often hear from those who want to erase the evils of the past, those who tell us that these young people, many of them barely past their childhoods when they were tortured and killed, were violent rebels who sought to overthrow the government. Never mind that it was one of the most corrupt and cruel dictatorships the world has ever known, and that it was by the efforts of these young heroes that the reign of the Marcoses ended.

Majority of Martial Law victims were in their 20s and 30s at that time – the same age our younger citizens are now – those who have the luxury of shrugging off the Marcos years as a wonderful time. Unscathed by a more cruel past, the younger generation is only too eager to criticize the current state of our government and our people as being undisciplined and requiring an iron fist such as the one Marcos used to supposedly create peace in the past.

They forget that if we were still under Martial Law (or should it return), such sentiments of “subversion” could cost them their lives, and that the same freedom and voice they use to reminisce about a time they know nothing about would have been muted and extinguished if we did not have the democracy we enjoy today.

Hindsight is always 20-20, as they say. It's convenient to look at the past with rose-colored glasses instead of memories of needles in your nail beds, electric wires attached to your genitals, and a barrel of a gun thrust inside your mouth, the way thousands of Martial Law victims suffered and still suffer to this day.

Just because it didn't happen to you or your family doesn't mean it didn't happen to more than 70,000 victims during that time. Just because you were spared then doesn't mean you will be spared the next time this iron fist you wish for comes around.

CAILING, Crisostomo

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Under the Marcos dictatorship, Mindanao was a harsh place to live in, especially if you were poor and defenseless.

The island’s rich resources – its forests, minerals and fertile soil – were being plundered, with the blessings of the regime. Settlers tilling their small farms, as well as the original inhabitants of Mindanao, the lumad, were being harassed and evicted so big corporations could take over the land.

In the area where Crisostomo Cailing lived and practiced law, the people in the rural areas were suffering under the government policy called population and resources control. In practice, it was a food blockade, meant as a counter-insurgency measure. Residents were allowed to store enough rice for only three days, as the military was suspicious that the supplies would make their way to the rebel guerrillas in the mountains. The people found the policy very oppressive, as they had to spend more money and time in buying limited quantities. They also had to endure the indignity of having their purchases inspected.

Cailing was not one to make fiery speeches, but he consistently defended the victims of such abuses. He went to court to protest against illegal arrests, and he looked after the rights and welfare of the numerous political detainees. He shunned opportunities to become rich, never owned a car, and chose to live a simple life. His clients were invariably poor, and at times it was he who gave them money for their needs.

In the 1980 local elections, he ran for mayor of Balingasag under the Mindanao Alliance party, but lost to a candidate fielded by the Marcos party, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.

He joined the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) in 1982, extending his services to seven municipalities in Misamis Oriental subjected to harsh military policies. As an elected member of the board of directors of the area’s electric service cooperation, he looked out for consumers’ rights too.

He participated in local actions launched during the May 1984 campaign to boycott dictatorship-sponsored elections. On election day itself, hundreds of protesters gathered on the beach and cheered as Tommy Cailing crowned a "Miss Boycott."

As the military terror tactics worsened in Balingasag to include the burning of houses, stealing of crops and household goods, assassinations and abductions, Cailing tried to get the help of more city lawyers and human rights advocates from Cagayan de Oro city to investigate the situation.

One evening in early July 1985, Cailing was at home, seated in front of an open window, when a gunman took aim and killed him before walking away to get aboard a motorcycle waiting one block away. His daughter, 15, witnessed the murder.

About 5,000 came to bury Tommy Cailing. The storm of anger caused by his death caused the military to temporarily suspend the food blockade policy in the rural areas nearby. But no one has been prosecuted for the crime.

CABRERA, Claro G.

cabrera

Claro Cabrera, Lito as everyone knew him, lived all his life in the crowded community of Sapang Bato in Angeles City, on the edges of the huge American military base at Clark Air Base.

The people found intermittent employment as construction workers, tricycle drivers, bartenders and waitresses in the numerous small bars that catered to American soldiers. Many women washed clothes, the younger ones sold their bodies. Little children peddled garlands of flowers, or else they begged for coins.

With so few holding down decent, long-term jobs, no wonder there were so many broken families, and drug use further used up what little money people earned. Young people dropped out of school because they could not afford it, or because of teenage pregnancy, or simply because there seemed to be no point in continuing their studies.

Lito Cabrera grew up amid all these hardships. He and his seven brothers and sisters lived with their mother, who was separated from their father. He quit studying after two years of high school and worked on construction projects that usually lasted a few months. Other relatives also helped the family.

One day in the early 1980s Cabrera and some of his friends were drawn into the activities of the Concerned Citizens of Pampanga, said to be “the oldest cause-oriented organization in Central Luzon.” They began attending rallies, explaining to their neighbors and friends what the issues were all about. They were part of the nationwide Lakbayan-Sakbayan marches.

A change was noticed in Lito Cabrera: people found that he was good at working with the youth, getting them away from drugs, teaching them handicrafts, how to make and sell hand-printed shirts. He sang and played the guitar with them.

In 1984, the Marcos regime scheduled elections to be held for the Batasang Pambansa. Because the results were sure to be rigged, cause-oriented organizations campaigned nationwide for a boycott. As the campaign gained widespread support, the military and local officials mobilized to ensure the victory of the regime’s candidates. At a public meeting boycotters were openly threatened by the barangay captain (“I don’t know what will happen to you…just start praying.”)

In the early morning of May 28, 1984, Cabrera was picked up by constabulary soldiers near his home in Sapang Bato, together with Pepito Deheran and Rolando Castro. The three were taken to a constabulary camp in Angeles City where they were beaten and forced to say they were members of the New People’s Army.

After days of searching by their families, the bodies of Cabrera and Castro were found dumped on the bank of the Apalit river, one kilometer apart from each other. Both bore many stab wounds. Deheran managed to crawl away and had himself brought to a hospital. Before succumbing to his wounds, he signed a statement revealing the identities of two of their attackers, members of the Integrated Civilian Home Defense Force and soldiers in uniform with no name tags.

The parents of the three victims sued the persons named by Deheran, but nothing more happened after the initial hearings of the case. One of the two accused was found dead a year later, reportedly killed by the NPA, and the other one has not been seen or heard from since then.

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