bantayog.foundation

bantayog.foundation

BUENO, David Triunfante

Bueno, David pic

The eldest of seven children, David was his parents’ pride and joy. He was smart and bright, and brought home many awards from school and from his many extracurricular activities such as the boy scouts. An outstanding boy scout, he and his brother Excel were sent to Japan as delegates to the Boy Scout’s World Jamboree.

He wanted to become a lawyer but he took up medicine, which was what his father wanted for him. Before completing his medical degree, he revealed to his parents he wanted to become a lawyer instead and got their agreement to shift careers.

David had many sides to his personality. He was a Bible reader and a Marian adherent, but not a church-goer. He was a fratman (of Sigma Beta Tau), and a defender of civil rights. He was a Catholic but he joined the Protestant Lawyers’ League of the Philippines after he passed the bar.

He became involved in defending human rights towards the final years of the Marcos dictatorship. As a human rights lawyer, he defended several political prisoners and tribal Yapayao farmers.

In the politically turbulent years that followed the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., David was an active campaigner for justice and the restoration of democracy. He joined protest marches and protest runs, even as he continued to offer his legal expertise to activists and community organizers.



Many of his cases were pro bono. In fact, he sometimes gave fare money to his clients’ families to enable them to visit in prison. At the height of military operations in far off towns in his province (Dumalneg, Piddig  and Vintar), David actually took in some barrio people and sent some of the children to school.

An offer was made for David to serve in the Aquino government but he declined, preferring to pursue his lawyering and defending victims of government abuses. He organized the Ilocos Norte-Laoag City Human Rights Organization and became its legal consultant and later its chairman. Ilocos Norte remained the bailiwick of Marcos loyalists and rebel soldiers and military atrocities continued to be perpetrated in the province.

David protested the abuses and denounced the military operations in the municipality of Dumalneg. He voiced these criticisms publicly in a radio program on human rights at Bombo Radyo Laoag.

In one occasion, he successfully negotiated for the release of several persons seized by the New People’s Army, including two Korean engineers and former Ilocos Norte board member Florencio Sales.



David was assassinated in October 1987. Two men in fatigue uniforms and riding a motorcycle came up to him as he stood in front of his law office and shot him in the heart. The immediate suspects were police and the military, but as expected they denied involvement. Witnesses who saw the killing were afraid to testify. Youth leader Lean Alejandro had already been killed, and rumors spread that more activists and human rights advocates would be assassinated. Indeed after Bueno, labor lawyer Rolando Olalia and Olalia’s driver were themselves assassinated.

The Protestant Lawyers’ League of the Philippines (PLLP) described Bueno as a “staunch human rights lawyer and a conscientious worker for peace and justice.” The PLLP asked that the Aquino government create an independent body to investigate the murder and to immediately arrest his killers.

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, in its PHRU issue dated Jan 15-Feb 14, 1988, said the series of killings were part of a government campaign to subdue a nationwide protest movement and to eliminate resistance, including peaceful and non-violent ones.

The case has never prospered.

David and his girlfriend Cynthia had plans to get married when David was killed. Long after his death, David’s family would be approached by people they barely knew thanking them for David. “He fought for us,” they said.

ACEBEDO, Roy Lorenzo Hermoso

Acebedo, Roy Lorenzo pic

Roy Acebedo’s family history was one of riches to rags. His father Norberto once owned a trucking business which folded up, forcing the latter to find work at Marcelo Steel Corp. However, he lost this job when he helped organize a strike at the company. At that point, Norberto left his wife and four children with his in-laws in Manila to try his luck in his home province of Leyte.

As eldest among his siblings, Roy took his new responsibilities seriously. He was delivering newspapers by the time he was in second grade, suffering the wet and cold of rainy days. His grandfather Chimo Hermoso gave him a piece of advice, saying that if he wanted to help his family, he should study hard so he could land a good job. It was this advice that guided Roy’s schooling years, and pushed him to achieve high grades in school.

As brother and friend, Roy was caring and loving. He and his siblings did their lessons together, with Roy patiently helping the younger ones. He entertained them with stories from school. Friends trooped to the Hermoso house for a game of checkers or for help with schoolwork, especially math, which was Roy’s favorite subject.

Roy’s other hobby was carving, making wooden toys and painting them for his younger siblings. Roy was polite with the elders, kissing his grandparent’s hands, and stayed away from vices like smoking or drinking, and had never been known to get into fights or even say swear words.

Activism, for Roy, was an extension of his humanity. In college, he helped form a group of teachers and students in engineering and the sciences which they called Pambansang Samahan ng Inhinyeria at Agham. This group pushed for reform in the schools and for improved facilities. Roy was once very angry with school officials at PLM for spending huge amounts on curtains while the school laboratories lacked test tubes. He became a member of the PLM Student Council.

He became active in the important events of the early 1970s including the First Quarter Storm, the Diliman Commune, and many protest actions before and after President Ferdinand Marcos suspended the right of the writ of habeas corpus in 1971. He gained a name as that formidable student leader from PLM.

Roy left school to avoid arrest when Marcos declared martial law in 1972. He found work as a laborer at the Marcelo Steel Corporation in Sta. Ana, Manila. He became a member of KASAMA, a workers’ group.

In July, 1973, the military raided the family house in Sta. Ana, looking for Roy’s brother Nolito, who was also an activist. Not finding him, they proceeded to the steel factory and arrested Roy. They also put his mother Andrea under house arrest.

Roy was taken to Camp Crame, where he suffered torture for several days. He was beaten up and subjected to water cure and electrocution of his genitals. When Roy was finally shown to his mother he could hardly stand and was spitting and urinating blood. Roy was kept at the Ipil Rehabilitation Center in Fort Bonifacio for 8 months.

After his release in May 1974, Roy found work at the Connel Brothers in Makati. In the succeeding months, he was messenger, checker and then distributor of canned goods.

In February of 1975, Roy and his brother Nolito left for Mindanao to work fulltime as peasant organizers in the anti-martial law resistance. He did it, Roy said, “… para may maiambag ako sa pagpapalaya ng sambayanan.”

Roy lived only a few months in Mindanao. Unfamiliar with the territory, Roy depended on local contacts, and was easily detected by the military and the local militia and paramilitary troops. The military raided one of the meetings Roy was in and in the chase that followed, Roy and a comrade were captured. Roy had stopped to help this comrade who stumbled.

The local people who witnessed what happened later said that the two comrades were brought to a cemetery, ordered to dig, and then killed. Roy was severely tortured. Before they were buried, the soldiers paraded the corpses around the community.

Roy’s family did not learn of his fate until years later. For decades, they regarded him as a desaparecido of the martial law government. Roy’s name is still included at FIND’s Bantayog ng mga Desaparecidos / Flame of Courage Monument at the Redemptorist Church grounds in Baclaran. He was only 24 years old when he died. His remains have not been recovered.

Justice for Ninoy! Justice for All!



After the assassination of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. a well known mural which portrayed the faces of Aquino, Macliing Dulag, Dr. Johnny Escandor, and Edgar Jopson bore the slogan “Justice for Ninoy, justice for All.” Another mural was Fight for the People’s Right to Know done by the late socially-committed artist Emmanuel Gutierrez. Many murals have been done by fine arts graduates in mass organizations from the Marcos regime up to the present. Often commissioned by nongovernment organizations, the murals are done collectively by a group, such as Artista ng Bayan (ABAY), although a senior artist supervises it and gives it the finishing touches.

Tanada Letter to Marcos on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (1979)



In June 20, 1979, Lorenzo M. Tanada wrote a letter to President Ferdinand Marcos urging the latter to suspend the construction of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Below is a copy of the letter.



Triumph Over Marcos




Triumph Over Marcos by Thomas Churchill is a book about the lives of Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo, two Filipino American Cannery Union organizers who were assassinated. Below is an excerpt of the book.

A copy is available at the Bantayog Library.








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Board of Trustees 2019-2020

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  • Project Nameless  Poetry inspired the naming of Project Nameless. From Jose Lacaba's Ang Mga Walang Pangalan to Emmanuel Lacaba's An open letter to Filipino Artists and Carlos Bulosan's Song for Chris Mensalvas' Birthday. It is a site that celebrates heroes of all political persuasions, and possibly of different historical periods. This project is an initiative of activists of the Martial Law period.

Martyrs of the 1981 Daet Massacre

The morning of June 14, 1981, a Sunday, was bright and sunny. Thousands of protesters, mostly rural folk, were coming to Daet from various directions and expected to merge at the town’s Freedom Park beside the Catholic Cathedral, where there would be speeches and protest declarations. Some groups started the night before to escape detection by the authorities. They passed through little-known trails and used bright stones and white rice grains to light their way. Some did not converge immediately but waited until it was the right time for coming together.

They marched north to Daet, taking the secondary roads to bypass military checkpoints. Other marchers from other towns joined in at the junctions. Over 300 marchers from Mercedes town turned up. They reported that some 1,500 started the march but the rest were stopped by the military. Another 500 marchers from Talisay were also intercepted by soldiers. Despite this the marchers to Daet had grown to some 3,000 to 4,000 men, women and children, sweaty and eager to join the bigger crowd waiting at the park.

Barely a kilometer away from their final destination, at the crossing called Camambugan, they were stopped by some 35 soldiers of the 242nd company of the Philippine Constabulary, commanded by a Capt. Joseph Malilay. The marchers were told to stop, disperse and return to their villages. But Freedom Park was now so near, the group would not disperse. The impasse lasted for half an hour while the marchers debated their decision. Then firm in their determination, the marchers decided to move forward, with the frontliners’ arms held tight to each other.

There was pushing and shoving between the two forces, and then the order to fire was given, with Capt. Malilay himself among those firing at close range.The PC commander of the province, a Col. Nicasio Custodio, was also present at the incident. The firing lasted less than a minute. But in that half-instant, four men were killed and more than forty were wounded.

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Martyrs & Heroes

After six years of work, the Monument and the temporary Wall of Remembrance were unveiled on the morning of Bonifacio Day, November 30, 1992. The names of the first 65 martyrs were honored and enshrined.

The following year, in 1993, after long reflection, the Foundation officers and members decided to honor as heroes those who died after EDSA, but had given their all for freedom, justice and democracy during the Marcos years. The Articles of Incorporation were amended to reflect this decision. On November 30, 1993, the first three heroes were honored, and every year after, the Foundation honored additional martyrs and heroes.

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