Luis Teodoro on Marcos Jr: His Father's Son

This is column written by Luis Teodoro for Business World. Read the original here.
IN A PERFORMANCE that would have done his father proud, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. managed to apologize and not apologize at the same time during a television interview last week (August 26).

Marcos Jr. was asked if he was going to apologize for martial law—that period in Philippine recent history, the length of which is still in dispute to this day. (Martial law officially ended in 1981, but in testimony to his own cunning, Ferdinand Marcos retained his authoritarian powers until he was overthrown in 1986.)

His reply as freely translated from Filipino: “We (the Marcoses) have consistently said that if during the time of my father, some were hurt, were not helped, or were victimized in some way, we are sorry that happened. Nobody wanted that to happen. These are instances when people fell through the cracks.”

However, continued Marcos Jr., “Will I say sorry for the thousands and thousands of kilometers [of roads] that were built? Will I say sorry for the agricultural policy that made us self-sufficient in rice? Will I say sorry for the power generation? Will I say sorry for the highest literacy rate in Asia? What am I to say sorry about?”

The first statement—the “apology”– assumes that martial law was all about helping people, whereas it wasn’t. It also makes it appear that whatever abuses occurred were not intended: the men and women who were “victimized” simply “fell through the cracks.”

Martial law was nothing of the kind. Helping others was never in its agenda. Its intention was to keep Marcos and his cronies and military thugs in power and to halt the vast movement for change and the democratization of political power that was sweeping the country in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

To achieve those ends, the regime used the most brutal means, among them the abduction, murder, enforced disappearance and indeterminate detention of some of the best and brightest sons and daughters of the Filipino people.

A hundred thousand men and women were arrested and detained for daring to imagine an alternative State and society, with over 10,000 being tortured, disappeared and murdered. They did not “fall through the cracks;” they were pushed into them so the Marcos military machine could crush them.

The seccond statement—the non-apology—assumes that not only were there “thousands and thousands of kilometers of roads built” during the martial law period; it also makes it appear that to build them a dictatorship was necessary. Marcos Sr. was in fact already building those roads during his first term as President—when he did not need extraordinary powers to do so.

Marcos Jr.’s claim about self-sufficiency in rice is similar folklore: there was a perennial rice crisis during much of his father’s brutal reign, with people having to line up for the cereal for hours, and mixing rice with corn. As for power generation, it was true that alternative means of generating power were being explored during the last years of Marcos’ rule, but these attempts never made much of a difference in assuring reliable power sources beyond the 1980s.

“The highest literacy rate in Asia” was not Marcos’ doing either: the Philippines has had that distinction since the end of the Second World War. The literacy rate actually plummeted during the Marcos autocracy, when fear made learning and teaching dangerous undertakings, recovering only by the 1990s when the regime had been overthrown.

What is ironic about the latter claim is that the Marcos dictatorship was specially focused on attacking and eliminating the literate—students, professors and teachers, creative writers, journalists, church people, anti-regime businessmen, the political opposition, worker and peasant leaders– to assure its continuing in power.

Marcos Jr.’s non-apology glosses over—in fact completely denies—these realities during his father’s regime, but he wants Filipinos to vote for him in 2016 either for President or Vice President. He claims that he has the support of the young to justify his running, and quotes a common mis-appreciation and mis-understanding of what the darkest period in recent Philippine history was like.

It is true that one often hears the claim that things were better during the martial law period. Many young people, said Marcos, say that “It was better during Marcos’ time, life was more comfortable. It was better during Marcos’ time; the government helped us. We hope that comes back.”

It’s not only out of school youth who say this. Some college students have also been known to claim that the Ferdinand Marcos regime did the country a lot of good, in the process displaying their and their so-called professors’ and parents’ appalling ignorance of the period. The same ignorance has been evident even among older Filipinos, judging from their issuances in the old media and even in the new. In such social media sites as Facebook and Twitter, the same moral agnosticism and intellectual vacuity approach epidemic proportions every September, when the declaration of martial law in 1972 becomes the subject of posts by, among other groups and individuals, former political prisoners.

What those who yearn for the return of their imagined period of bliss do not realize is that the present that they denigrate is in many ways the consequence of the authoritarian past. The martial law period not only savaged the Bill of Rights, the economy, and those institutions of liberal democracy such as the free press and representative democracy that, though flawed and limited, nevertheless allowed some measure of dissent and free expression. It also established a pattern of unparalleled corruption, abuse and repression from which the country still has to recover.

It is the latter that has been the most dangerous legacy of the regime for which Marcos Jr. is refusing to apologize. When he declared martial law, Ferdinand Marcos let loose all the dark forces resident in the unswept corners of a corrupt society, releasing from the restraints of civilization the most murderous and most brutal elements of the police and military upon a defenseless people. True, these brutes also had to deal with the armed resistance to the Marcos klepto-bureaucratic reign of assassins and thieves. But cowards all, they were for the most part focused on and most expert at the torture and murder of those armed only with the courage of their convictions.

Marcos Jr. cannot and should not be allowed to simply brush all these aside as mere allegations, and by seeking shelter in his confidence in the positive judgment of history. If indeed history is any guide, no one in his right mind should even be thinking of putting another Marcos in Malacanang—or even another Marcos within a heartbeat of the Presidency.

By demonstrating a total absence of feeling for the dead, the injured, the tortured, the families separated, and the disappeared, and refusing to acknowledge regime responsibility for them, Marcos Jr. has once again established that he is, indeed, his father’s son.

Remember Martial Law Heroes

Freedom fighter Carolina 'Bobbie' Malay offers flowers at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Memorial Center in Quezon City on Monday. Human rights activists and relatives gathered to remember their loved ones killed during the Martial Law years imposed by the late President Marcos. (Photo and caption from Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN)

Click here for more documentation of the September 21, 2015 gathering.

Torture and Martial Law: ‘Ka Jerry’

(Originally posted at MindaNews, an article written by Cong Corrales)

When Hugo “Ka Jerry” Orcullo shared lunch with close friend Eliseo “Ely” Patlunag in his house in downtown Cagayan de Oro on October 14, 1983, little did he know day his life was about to take a painful detour that day.

Patlunag was a district population commission officer and the district chair of Makabayang Alyansa. Orcullo was the spokesperson. Both were known human rights advocates which in 1983 did not sit well with the entire country still under martial law. Makabayang Alyansa was the forerunner of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance).

After lunch, they both went to the Makabayang Alyansa’s office.

A few minutes past 4 p.m., they left the office and went their separate ways: Patlunag to his office, Population Commission, Orcullo to Divisoria.

That was the last time Orcullo saw Patlunag alive. At around 6:30 pm, that same day, Patlunag was gunned down by unidentified assailants inside his home in Dulong, Libertad, Misamis Oriental.

The following day, the Daily Tribune carried a news story of Patlunag’s murder saying he was killed by the urban partisan squad of the New People’s Army (NPA) – the Sparrow Unit.

Patlunag was to be one of the political dissidents listed to be seized and assassinated by state forces under “Operation Mad Dog.”

That same day, Orcullo was arrested and tortured for the second time.

Never again

The year 1970 was a particularly turbulent page in Philippine history.

Before that, the country’s economy has had repeated boom-and-bust cycles since the United States granted the country’s independence in 1946. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the Philippine economy ranked as the second most progressive in Asia, next only to Japan.

However, when Ferdinand E. Marcos became the 11thPresident after 1965, the country experienced economic problems and social unrest brought about by corruption, cronyism — the practice of appointing friends to juicy posts regardless of their actual qualifications — and oligarchy — a debased form of aristocracy.

It was because of these that Filipinos, especially the youth, started to protest the ruling elite.

The leftists were riding high and launched a series of demonstrations, protest, and marches against the government from January to March in the first quarter of 1970. It has since been known as the “First Quarter Storm.”

During his privilege speech on September 13, 1972, Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. exposed “Operation Sagittarius.” Aquino claimed that he got wind of a top secret military plan purportedly authored by President Marcos to place Metro Manila and adjacent areas under the control of the Philippine Constabulary as an overture to martial law.

In the plan, Marcos was going to use a series of violent incidents, including the First Quarter Storm of 1970 and the August 21, 1971 Plaza Miranda Bombing in Metro Manila, to justify a takeover and subsequent authoritarian rule. In the September 14 entry of his own diary, Marcos wrote that he informed the military that he would proceed with declaring martial law.

Marcos then issued Proclamation No. 1081 on September 21, that year, placing the entire country under martial law. It was supposed to lead to the foundation of his “New Society.”

Francisco Tatad, who served as the information officer of Marcos, insists that martial law was necessary because of the alarming “communist threat.” It was also the height of the “cold war” between Russia and United States. He believed in the “domino theory” where communists were supposed to take over Southeast Asia.

The domino theory was a popular theory from the 1950s to the 1980s, which posited that when one country in a certain region came under the influence of communism then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect.

Having suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus, Marcos gave the country’s military apparatus—mainly the Philippine Constabulary—invincible powers.

First time

As a college freshman at the University of the Visayas, the then 18-year old Orcullo was already active in the protest movement against the Marcos dictatorship.

It was during one of their protest rallies in 1972 when Orcullo along with 200 other student activists from Iloilo, Negros Province, Bohol, Samar, Leyte, and Cebu were arrested and detained at the Headquarters of the 3rdPhilippine Constabulary Zone in Jones Avenue, Cebu City.

It was to be his first experience of being a political detainee.

“Security was tight and we were treated like army trainees. We had curfew hours…no books or any publication were allowed inside,” Orcullo recalled in his affidavit for reparation.

Orcullo was detained for one year and three months and because of his record as an ex-political detainee, had become a high profile political dissident in the entire Visayas region.

He went straight back to his hometown in Padada, Davao del Sur after his release. Orcullo finished his studies, found work and got married to a public school teacher.

However, in 1982, the place of Orcullo’s fledgling family in DDF Village, Mandug, Davao City was suddenly militarized.

“A list of names of suspected sympathizers of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) was floated with my name and my brother Alex in it,” Orcullo recalled.

He decided to leave Davao City and his work as a social worker for a non-government organization, Mindanao Research and Communications Foundation and migrated to Cagayan de Oro City. Seven months later, his wife and only daughter followed him.

Not long after, Orcullo found a job at the Provincial Capitol at the office of then Gov. Homobono Adaza as his spokesman and political officer of Adaza’s political party, the Mindanao Alliance. Orcullo rented a modest apartment downtown.

Made to sit on ice naked

“On October 14, 1983, while walking along the busy street of Velez…at 5:30 pm, elements from the 421stPC Company led by then Capt. Filipino Amoguis and Lt Jose Ramos, in front of stunned people, physically and forcibly threw me into their vehicle,” Orcullo’s affidavit for reparation reads in part.

Orcullo was brought to a safe house where his captors started torturing him.

Stripped of his clothes, Orcullo was made to sit on a block of ice.

“They even covered my head with a plastic bag. There were even times when they used my ears and face as an ashtray,” recalled Orcullo.

He said his interrogators would fire their guns close to his ears and force him to drink his own urine. Through all these, his interrogators kept on asking about a certain Romulo Kintanar.

Orcullo was detained in Camp Vicente Alagar in Barangay Lapasan for two years before he was transferred to Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail upon the intervention of Gov. Adaza.

A press release by the Mindanao Alliance, dated October 21, 1983, noted that had it not been for the eyewitnesses who immediately informed Orcullo’s friends and relatives that he had been forcibly taken by the Constabulary, “Orcullo would still be missing today, or worse, may have already been salvaged by his captors.”

On October 17, local radio dxOR aired a news story that the “secretary general of Northern Mindanao NPA guerrilla unit was arrested in the city.” The day after, the front page of Bulletin Today carried a report about the “arrest of the top communist guerrilla leader in Southern Mindanao.”

The Ministry of National Defense described Orcullo in an order of battle as the secretary of the front guerrilla unit no. 7 of the NPA which operates in Davao provinces, including parts of Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, and North Cotabato. He had a P70,000 bounty on his head, dead or alive.

Born on February 1, 1954, Hugo “Ka Jerry” Lavisores Orcullo Jr. Originally hails from Padada town in Davao del Sur.

Ka Jerry, now 61 years old, is the incumbent president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club. He has served as club president seven times. He is also the regional chair of the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda-NMR) for three years now.

He was an undefeated barangay chair of Taguibo in Butuan City from 1989 to 1994 where he earned the moniker “Bocap Ocong.”

During his underground days, Ka Jerry used different names in different places: Doroy, Bronson, Ambo, Ponce, Daday. But he is known in Cagayan de Oro as Jerry Orcullo and Dondon in his hometown.

His elder brother, Alex—a journalist—was killed by state forces on October 19, 1984 in front of his wife and two-year old son, Merdeka. The assassins chose to kill his brother on his 38thbirthday in Tigatto, Davao City.

Like him, Alex was suspected as a member of the National Democratic Front-Davao. His brother’s death sparked the biggest protest action in the history of Davao City that drew the largest and longest funeral march of about 30,000 mourners.

Ka Jerry has since survived the First Quarter Storm (FQS), cancer of the larynx, and an assassination attempt in 1982 in Davao City where he managed to escape. A slug embedded between the upper and lower lobes of his right lung is a morbid reminder of martial law.

Proclamation No. 1081

The following text of Proclamation No. 1081 was sourced from while the following video is from the YouTube channel of Jose Bhrix Herrera Arabit.







WHEREAS, on the basis of carefully evaluated and verified information, it is definitely established that lawless elements who are moved by a common or similar ideological conviction, design, strategy and goal and enjoying the active moral and material support of a foreign power and being guided and directed by intensely devoted, well trained, determined and ruthless groups of men and seeking refuge under the protection of our constitutional liberties to promote and attain their ends, have entered into a conspiracy and have in fact joined and banded their resources and forces together for the prime purpose of, and in fact they have been and are actually staging, undertaking and waging an armed insurrection and rebellion against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in order to forcibly seize political and state power in this country, overthrow the duly constituted government, and supplant our existing political, social, economic and legal order with an entirely new one whose form of government, whose system of laws, whose conception of God and religion, whose notion of individual rights and family relations, and whose political, social, economic, legal and moral precepts are based on the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist teachings and beliefs ;

WHEREAS, these lawless elements, acting in concert through seemingly innocent and harmless, although actually destructive, front organizations which have been infiltrated or deliberately formed by them, have continuously and systematically strengthened and broadened their memberships through sustained and careful recruiting and enlistment of new adherents from among our peasantry, laborers, professionals, intellectuals, students, and mass media personnel, and through such sustained are careful recruitment and enlistment have succeeded in spreading and expanding, their control and influence over almost every segment and level of our society throughout the land in their ceaseless effort to erode and weaken the political, social, economic, legal and moral foundations of our existing government, and to influence, manipulate and move peasant, labor, student and terroristic organizations under their influence or control to commit, as in fact they have committed and still are committing, acts of violence, depredations, sabotage and injuries against our duly constituted authorities, against the members of our law enforcement agencies, and worst of all, against the peaceful members of our society;

WHEREAS, in the fanatical pursuit of their conspiracy and widespread acts of violence, depredations, sabotage and injuries against our people, and in order to provide the essential instrument to direct and carry out their criminal design and unlawful activities, and to achieve their ultimate sinister objectives, these lawless elements have in fact organized, established and are now maintaining a Central Committee, composed of young and dedicated, radial students and intellectuals, which is charged with guiding and directing the armed struggle and propaganda assaults against our duly constituted government, and this Central Committee is now imposing its will and asserting its sham authority on certain segments of our population, especially in the rural areas, through varied means of subterfuge, deceit, coercion, threats, intimidations, machinations, treachery, violence and other modes of terror, and has been and is illegally exacting financial and other forms of tributes from our people to raise funds and material resources to support its insurrectionary and propaganda activities against our duly constituted government and against our peace-loving people ;

WHEREAS, in order to carry out, as in fact they have carried out, their premeditated plan to stage, undertake and wage a full scale armed insurrection and rebellion in this country, these lawless elements have organized, established and are now maintaining a well trained, well armed and highly indoctrinated and greatly expanded insurrectionary force, popularly known as the “New People’s Army”, which has since vigorously pursued and still is vigorously pursuing a relentless and ruthless armed struggle against our duly constituted government and whose unmitigated forays, raids, ambuscades, assaults, and reign of terror and acts of lawlessness in the rural areas and in our urban centers brought about the treacherous and cold-blooded assassination of innocent civilians, military personnel of the government and local public officials in many parts of the country, notably in the Cagayan Valley, in Central Luzon, in the Southern Tagalog Region, in the Bicol Area, in the Visayas and in Mindanao, and whose daring and wanton guerrilla activities have generated and sown fear and panic among our people; have created a climate of chaos and disorder, produced a state of political, social, psychological and economic instability in our land, and have inflicted great suffering and irreparable injury to persons and property in our society”;

WHEREAS, these lawless elements, their cadres, fellow-travellers, friends, sympathizers and supporters have for many years up to the present time been mounting sustained, massive and destructive propaganda assaults against our duly constituted government, its instrumentalities, agencies and officials, and also against our social, political, economic and religious institutions, through the publications, broadcasts and disseminations of deliberate slanted and overly exaggerated news stories and news commentaries as well as false, vile foul and scurrilous statements utterances, writings and pictures through the press-radio-television media and through leaflets, college campus newspapers and some newspapers published and still being published by these lawless elements, notably the “Ang Bayan”, Pulang Bandila” and the “Ang Komunista”, all of which are clearly well-conceived, intended and calculated to malign and discredit our duly constituted government, its instrumentalities, agencies, and officials before our people making it appear to the people that our government has become so weak and so impotent to perform and discharge its functions and responsibilities in our society and to our people, and thus undermine and destroy the faith and loyalty and allegiance of our people in and alienate their support for their duly constituted government, its instrumentalities, agencies and officials, and thereby gradually erode and weaken as in fact they have so eroded and weakened the will of our people to sustain and defend our government and our democratic way of life ;

WHEREAS, these lawless elements having taken up arms against our duly constituted government and against our people, and having committed and are still committing acts of armed insurrection and rebellion consisting of armed raids, forays, sorties, ambushes, wanton acts of muliders, spoilage, plunder, looting, arsons, destruction of public and private buildings, and attacks against innocent and defenseless civilian lives and property, all of which activities have seriously endangered and continue to endanger public order and safety and the security of the nation, and acting with cunning and manifest precision and deliberation and without regard to the health, safety and well-being of the people, are now implementing their plan to cause widespread, massive and systematic destruction and paralization of vital public utilities and services, particularly water systems, sources of electrical power, communication and transportation facilities, to the great detriment, suffering, injury and prejudice of our people and the nation and to generate a deep psychological fear and panic among our people;

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court in the cases brought before it, docketed as G.R. Nos. L-33964, L-33965, L-33973, L-33982, L-34004, L-34013, L-34039, L-34265, and L-34339, as a con- sequence of the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus by me as President of the Philippines in my Proclamation No.889, dated August 21, 1971, as amended, has found that in truth and in fact there exists an actual insurrection and rebellion in the country by a sizeable group of men who have publicly risen in arms to overthrow the government. Here is what the Supreme Court said in its decision promulgated on December 11, 1971:
” x x x our jurisprudence attests abundantly to the Communist activities in the Philippines, especially in Manila, from the late twenties to the early thirties, then aimed principally at incitement to sedition or rebellion, as the immediate objective. Upon the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, the movement seemed to have waned notably; but, the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific and the miseries, the devastation and havoc, and the proliferation of unlicensed firearms concomitant with the military occupation of the Philippines and its subsequent liberation, brought about, in the late forties. a resurgence of the Communist threat, with such vigor as to be able to organize and operate in Central Luzon an army -called HUKBALAHAP, during the occupation, and renamed Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB) after liberation- which clashed several times with the armed forces of the Republic. This prompted then President Quirino to issue Proclamation No.210, dated October 22, 1950, sus- pending the privilege of the writ of habeas Corpus, the validity of which was upheld in Montenegro v. Castañeda. Days before the promulgation of said Proclamation, or on October 18, 1950, members of the Communist Politburo in the Philippines were apprehended in Manila. Subsequently accused and convicted of the crime of rebellion, they served their respective sentences.

“The fifties saw a comparative lull in Communist acti- vities, insofar as peace and order were concerned. Still, on June 20, 1957, Republic Act No.1700, otherwise known as the Anti-Subversion Act, was approved, upon the grounds stated in the very preamble of said statute -that

” x x x the Communist Party of the Philippines, although purportedly apolitical party, is in fact an organized conspiracy to overthrow the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, not only by force and violence but also by deceit, subversion and other illegal means, for the purpose of establishing in the Philippines a totalitarian regime subject to alien domination and control ;

” x x x the continued existence and activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines constitutes a clear, present and grave danger to the security of the Philippines; and

” x x x in the fact of the organized, systematic and persistent subversion, national in scope but international in direction, posed by the Communist …Party of the Philippines and its activities, there is urgent need for special legislation to cope with this continuing menace to the freedom and security of the country x x x.” :

“In the language of the Report on Central Luzon, submitted, on September 4, 1971, by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee of Seven-copy of which Report was filed in these cases by the petitioners herein-

“The years following 1963 saw the successive emergence in the country of several mass organizations, notably the Lapiang Manggagawa (now the Socialist Party of the Philippines) among the workers; the Malayang Samahan ng Mga Magsasaka (MASAKA) among the peasantry; the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) among the youth/students; and the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN) among the intellectuals/professionals, the PKP has exerted all-out effort to infiltrate, influence and utilize these organizations in promoting its radical brand of nationalism.”

“Meanwhile, the Communist leaders in the Philippines had been split into two (2) groups, one of which -com- posed mainly of young radicals, constituting the Maoist faction -reorganized the Communist Party of the Philip- pines early in 1969 and established a New People’s Army. This faction adheres to the Maoist concept of the ‘Protracted People’s War’ or ‘War of National Liberation.’ Its ‘Programme for a People’s Democratic Revolution’ states, inter alia:

“The Communist Party of the Philippines is determined to implement its general programme for a people’s democratic revolution. All Filipino communists are ready to sacrifice their lives for the worthy cause of achieving the new type of democracy, of building a new Philippines that is genuinely and completely independent, democratic, united, just and prosperous . . .

“The Central task of any revolutionary movement is to seize political power. The Communist Party of the Philippines assumes this task at a time that both the international and national situations are favorable to taking the road of armed revolution…’

“In the year 1969, the NPA had-according to the records of the Department of National Defense-conducted raids, resorted to kidnappings and taken part in other violent incidents numbering over 230, in which it inflicted 404 casualties, and, in turn, suffered 243 losses. In 1970, its record of violent incidents was about the same, but the NPA casualties more than doubled.

“At any rate, two (2) facts are undeniable: (a) all Communists, whether they belong to the traditional group or to the Maoist faction, believe that force and violence are indispensable to the attainment of their main and ultimate objective, and act in accordance with such belief, although they disagree on the means to be used at a given time and in a particular place; and (b) there is a New People’s Army, other, of course, than the armed forces of the Republic and antagonistic thereto. Such New People’s Army is per se proof of the existence of a rebellion, especially considering that its establishment was announced publicly by the reorganized CPP. Such announcement is in the nature of a public challenge to the duly constituted authorities and may be likened to a declaration of war, sufficient to establish a war status or a condition of belligerency, even before the actual commencement of hostilities.

“We entertain, therefore, no doubts about the existence of a sizeable group of men who have publicly risen in arms to overthrow the government and have thus been and still are engaged in rebellion against the Government of the Philippines.”

WHEREAS, these lawless elements have to a considerable extent succeeded in impeding our duly constituted authorities from performing their functions and discharging their duties and responsibilities in accordance with our laws and our Constitution to the great damage, prejudice and detriment of the people and the nation;

WHEREAS, it is evident that there is throughout the land a state of anarchy and lawlessness, chaos and disorder, turmoil and destruction of a magnitude equivalent to an actual war between the forces of our duly constituted government and the New People’s Army and their satellite organizations because of the unmitigated forays, raids, ambuscades, assaults, violence, murders, assassinations, acts of terror, deceits, coercions, threats, intimidations, treachery, machinations, arsons, plunders and depredations committed and being committed by the aforesaid lawless elements who have pledged to the whole nation that they will not stop their dastardly effort and scheme until and unless they have fully attained their primary and ultimate purpose of forcibly seizing political and state power in this country by overthrowing our present duly constituted government, by destroying our democratic way of life and our established secular and religious institutions and beliefs, and by supplanting our existing political, social, economic, legal and moral order with an entirely new one whose form of govern- ment, whose notion of individual rights and family relations, and whose political, social, economic and moral precepts are based on the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist teachings and beliefs ;

WHEREAS, the Supreme Court in its said decision concluded that the unlawful activities of the aforesaid lawless elements actually pose a clear, present and grave danger to public safety and the security of the nation and in support of that conclusion found that:
” x x x the Executive had information and reports-subsequently confirmed, in many respects, by the above-mentioned Report of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee of Seven -to the effect that the Communist Party of the Philippines does not merely adhere to Lenin’s idea of a swift armed uprising; that it has, also, adopted Ho Chi Minh’s terrorist tactics and resorted to the assassination of uncooperative local officials ; that, in line with this policy, the insurgents have killed 5 mayors, 20 barrio captains and 3 chiefs of police; that there were fourteen (14) meaningful bombing incidents in the Greater Manila area in 1970; that the Constitutional Convention Hall was bombed on June 12, 1971; that, soon after the Plaza Miranda incident, the N A W ASA main pipe at the Quezon City San Juan boundary, was bombed; that this was followed closely by the bombing of the Manila City Hall, the COMELEC Building, the Congress Building and the MERALCO substation at Cubao, Quezon City; and that the respective residences of Senator Jose J. Roy and Congressman Eduardo Cojuangco were, likewise, bombed, as were the MERALCO main office premises, along Ortigas Avenue, and the Doctor’s Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Building, in Caloocan City.

” x x x the reorganized Communist Party of the Philippines has, moreover, adopted Mao’s concept of protracted people’s war, aimed at the paralyzation of the will to resist of the government, of the political, economic and intellectual leadership, and of the people themselves; that conformably to such concept, the Party has placed special emphasis upon a most extensive and intensive program of subversion by the I establishment of front organizations in urban centers, the organization of armed city partisans and the infiltration in student groups, labor unions, and farmer and professional groups; that the CPP has managed to infiltrate or establish and control nine (9) major labor organizations; that it has exploited the youth movement and succeeded in making Communist fronts of eleven (11) major student or youth organizations;. that there are, accordingly, about thirty ( 30) mass organizations actively advancing the CPP interests, among which are the Malayang Samahan ng Magsasaka (MASAKA) , the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) , the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN) , the Samahang Demokra- tiko ng Kabataan (SDK) , the Samahang Molave (SM) , and the Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino (MPKP) ; that, as of August, 1971, the KM had two hundred forty-five (245) operational chapters throughtout the Philippines, of which seventy-three (73) were in the Greater Manila Area, sixty (60) in Northern Luzon, forty nine (49) in Central Luzon, forty-two (42) in the Visayas and twenty-one (21) in Mindanao and Sulu; that in 1970, the Party had recorded two hundred fifty-eight (258) major demonstrations, of which about thirty-three (33) ended in violence, resulting in fifteen (15) killed and over five hundred (500) injured; that most of these actions were organized, coordinated or led by the aforementioned front organizations; that the violent demonstration were generally instigated by a small, but well-trained group of armed agitators; that the number of demonstrators heretofore staged in 1971 has already exceeded those of 1970: and that twenty-four (24) of these demonstrations were violent and resulted in the death of fifteen (15) persons and the injury of many more.

“Subsequent events xxx have also proven xxx the threat to public safety posed by the New People’s Army. Indeed, it appears that, since August 21, 1971, it had in Northern Luzon six (6) encounters and staged one (1) raid, in consequences OJ which seven (7) soldiers lost their lives and two (2) other: were wounded, whereas the insurgents suffered five (5) casualties; that on August 26, 1971, a well-armed group of NPA trained by defector Lt. Victor Corpus, attacked the very command post of TF LAWIN in Isabela, destroying two (2) helicopters and one (1) plane, and wounding one (1) soldier that the, NPA had in Central Luzon a total of four (4) encounters, with two (2) killed and three .(3) wounded on the side of the Government, one (1) BSDU killed and three (3 KM-SDK leaders, an unidentified dissident, and Commander Panchito, leader of the dissident group were killed; that on August 26, 1971, there was an encounter in the barrio of San Pedro, Iriga City, Camarines Sur, between the PC and the NPA, in which a PC and two (2) KM members were killed, that the current disturbances in Cotabato and the Lanao provinces have been rendered more complex by the involvement of the CPP /NPA, for, in mid-1971, a KM group, headed by Jovencio Esparagoza, contacted the Higa-onan tribes, in their settlement in Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental, and offered them books, pamphlets and brochures of Mao Tse Tung, as well as conducted teach-ins in the reservation; that Esparagoza

was reportedly killed on September 22, 1971, in an operation of the PC in said reservation; and that there are now two (2) NPA cadres in Mindanao.

“It should, also, be noted that adherents of the CPP and its front organizations are, according to intelligence findings, l definitely capable of preparing powerful explosives out of locally available materials; that the bomb used in the Constitutional Convention Hall was a ‘Claymore’ mine, a powerful explosive device used by the U.S. Army, believed to have been one of many pilfered from the Subic Naval Base a few days before; that the President had received intelligence information to the effect that there was a July-August Plan involving a wave of assassinations, kidnappings, terrorism and mass destruction of property and that an extraordinary occurrence would signal the beginning of said event; that the rather serious condition of peace and order in Mindanao, particularly in Cotabato and Lanao, demanded the presence therein of forces sufficient to cope with the situation; that a sizeable part of our armed forces discharges other functions; and that the expansion of the CPP activities from Central Luzon to other parts of the country, particularly Manila and its suburbs, the Cagayan Valley , Ifugao, Zambales, Laguna, Quezon and the Bicol Region, required that the rest of our armed forces be spread thin over a wide area.”

WHEREAS, in the unwavering prosecution of their revolutionary war against the Filipino people and their duly constituted government, the aforesaid lawless elements have, in the months of May, June and July, 1972, succeeded in bringing and introducing into the country at Digoyo Point, Palanan, Isabela and at other undetermined points along the Pacific coastline of Luzon, a substantial quantity of war material consisting of M-1.4 rifles estimated to be some 3,500 pieces, several dozens of 40 mm rocket launchers which are said to be Chicom copies of a Russian prototype rocket launcher, large quantities of 80 mm rockets and ammunitions, and other combat paraphernalia, of which wa’r ma- terial some had been discovered and captured by government military forces, and the bringing and introduction of such quantity and type of war material into the country is a mute but eloquent proof of the sinister plan of the aforesaid lawless elements to hasten the escalation of their present revolutionary war against the Filipino people and their legitimate government ;

WHEREAS, in the execution of their overall revolutionary plan, the aforesaid lawless elements have prepared and released to their various field commanders and Party workers a document captioned “REGIONAL PROGRAM OF AC’TION 1972”, a copy of which was captured by elements of the 116th and 119th Philippine Constabulary Companies on June 18, 1972 at Barrio Taringsing, Cordon, Isabela, the text of which reads as follows:

“The following Regional Program of Action for 1972 is pre- pared to be carried out as part of the overall plan of the party to foment discontent and precipitate the tide of nationwide mass revolution. The fascist Marcos and his reactionary members of Congress is expected to prepare themselves for the 1973 hence:

“January -June:

“1. Intensify recruitment of new party members especially from the workers-farmers class. Cadres are being trained in order to organize the different regional bureaus. These bureaus must concentrate on mass action and organization to promote advancement of the mass revolutionary movement. Reference is made to the “Borador ng Programa sa Pagkilos at Ulat ng Panlipunang Pagsisiyasat” as approved by the Central Committee.

“2. Recruit and train armed city partisans and urban guerrillas and organize them into units under Party cadres and activists of mass organizations. These units must undergo specialized training on explosives and demolition and other forms of sabotage.

“3. Intensify recruitment and training of new members for the New Peoples Army in preparation for limited offensive in selected areas in the regions.

“4. Support a more aggressive program of agitation and propaganda against the reactionary armed forces and against the Con Con.

“July -August:

“During this period the party expects the puppet Marcos government to allow increase in bus rates thus aggravating further the plight of students, workers and the farmers.

“1. All Regional Party Committees must plan for a general strike movement. The Regional Operational Commands must plan for armed support if the fascist armed forces of Marcos will try to intimidate the oppressed Filipino masses.

“2. Conduct sabotage against schools, colleges and universities hiking tuition fees.

“3. Conduct sabotage and agitation against puppet judges and courts hearing cases against top party leaders.

“4. Create regional chaos and disorder to dramatize the inability of the fascist Marcos government to keep and maintain peace and order thru:

“a) Robbery and hold-up of banks controlled by American imperialists and those belonging to the enemies of the people.

“b) Attack military camps, US bases and towns.

“c) More violent strikes and demonstrations.

“September-October :

“Increase intensity of violence, disorder and confusion:

“1. Intensify sabotage and bombing of government buildings and embassies and other utilities:

“a) Congress

“b) Supreme Court

“c) Con Con

“d) City Hall

“e) US Embassy

“f) Facilities of US Bases

“g) Provincial Capitols

“h) Power Plants

“i) PLDT

“j) Radio Stations

“2. Sporadic attacks on camps, towns and cities.

“3. Assassinate high government officials of Congress, Judiciary, Con Con and private individuals sympathetic to puppet Marcos.

“4. Establish provincial revolutionary government in towns and cities with the support of the masses.

“5. With the sympathetic support of our allies, establish provisional provincial revolutionary governments.



WHEREAS, in line with their “REGIONAL PROGRAM OF ACTION 1972”, the aforesaid lawless elements have of late been conducting intensified acts of violence and terrorisms during the current year in the Greater Manila area such as the bombing of the Arca building at Taft Avenue, Pasay City, on March 15; of the Filipinas Orient Airways board room at Domestic Road, Pasay City on April 23; of the Vietnamese Embassy on May 30; of the Court of Industrial Relations on June 23; of the Philippine Trust Company branch office in Cubao, Quezon City on June 24; of the Philamlife building at United Nations Avenue, Manila, on July 3; of the Tabacalera Cigar & Cigarette Factory Compound at Marquez de Comilas, Manila on July 27; of the PLDT exchange office at East Avenue, Quezon City, and of the Philippine Sugar Institute building at North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, both on August 15; of the Department of Social Welfare building at San Rafael Street, Sampaloc, Manila, on August 17; of a water main on Aurora Boulevard and Madison Avenue, Quezon City on August 19; of the Philamlife building again on August 30; this time causing severe destruction on the Far East Bank and Trust Company building nearby; of the armored car and building of the Philippine Banking Corporation as well as the buildings of the Investment Development Inc, and the Daily Star Publications when an-other explosion took place on Railroad Street, Port Area, Manila also on August 30; of Joe’s Department Store on Carriedo Street, Quiapo, Manila, on September 5, causing death to one woman and injuries to some 38 individuals; and of the City Hall of Manila on September 8; of the watermains in San Juan, Rizal on Sept, 12, of the San Miguel building on Makati, Rizal on Sept, 14; and of the Quezon City Hall on September 18, 1972, as well as the at- tempted bombing of the Congress Building on July 18, when an unexploded bomb was found in the Senate Publication Division and the attempted bombing of the Department of Foreign Affairs on August 30,

WHEREAS, in line with the same “REGIONAL PROGRAM OF ACTION 1972”, the aforesaid lawless elements have also fielded in the Greater Manila area several of their “Sparrow Units” or “Simbad Units” to undertake liquidation missions against ranking government officials, military personnel and prominent citizens and to further heighten the destructions and depredations already inflicted by them upon our innocent people, all of which are being deliberately done to sow terror, fear and chaos amongst our population and to make the government look so helpless and incapable of protecting the lives and property of our people;

WHEREAS, in addition to the above-described social disorder, there is also the equally serious disorder in Mindanao and Sulu resulting from the unsettled conflict between certain elements of the Christian and Muslim population of Mindanao and Sulu, between the Christian “Ilagas” and the Muslim “Barracudas”, and between our government troops, and certain lawless organizations such as the Mindanao Independence Movement;

WHEREAS, the Mindanao Independence Movement with the active material and financial assistance of foreign political and economic interests, is engaged in an open and unconcealed attempt to establish by violence and force a separate and independent political state out of the islands of Mindanao and Sulu which are historically, politically and by law parts of the territories and within the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines;

WHEREAS, because of the aforesaid disorder resulting from armed clashes, killings, massacres, arsons, rapes, pillages, destruction of whole villages and towns and the inevitable cessation of agricultural and industrial operations, all of which have been brought about by the violence inflicted by the Christians, the Muslims, the “Ilagas”, the “Barracudas”, and the Mindanao Independence Movement against each other and against our government troops, a great many parts of the islands of Mindanao and Sulu are virtually now in a state of actual war;

WHEREAS, the violent disorder in Mindanao and Sulu has todate resulted in the killing of over 1,000 civilians and about 2,000 armed Muslims and Christians, not to mention the more than five hundred thousand of injured, displaced and homeless persons as well as the great number of casualties among our government troops, and the paralyzation of the economy of Mindanao and Sulu;

WHEREAS, because of the foregoing acts of armed insurrection, wanton destruction of human lives and property, unabated and unrestrained propaganda attacks against the government and its institutions, instrumentalities, agencies and officials, and the rapidly expanding ranks of the aforesaid lawless elements, and be- cause of the spreading lawlessness and anarchy throughout the land, all of which have prevented the government to exercise its authority, extend to its citizenry the protection of its laws and in general exercise its sovereignty over all of its territories, caused serious demoralization among our people and have made the public apprehensive and fearful, and finally because public order and safety and the security of this nation demand that immediate, swift, decisive and effective action be taken to protect and insure the peace, order and security of the country and its population and to maintain the authority of the government ;

WHEREAS, in cases of invasion, insurrection or rebellion or imminent danger thereof, I, as President of the Philippines, have, under the Constitution, three courses of action open to me, namely: (a) call out the armed forces to suppress the present lawless violence; (b) suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus to make the arrest and apprehension of these lawless elements easier and more effective; or (c) place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law;

WHEREAS, I have already utilized the first two courses of action, first, by calling upon the armed forces to suppress the aforesaid lawless violence, committing to that specific job almost 50% of the entire armed forces of the country and creating several task forces for that purpose such as Task Force Saranay, Task Force Palanan, Task Force Isarog, Task Force Pagkakaisa and Task Force Lancaf, and, second, by suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus on August 21, 1971 up to January 11, 1972, but inspite of all that, both courses of action were found inadequate and ineffective to contain, much less solve, the present rebellion and lawlessness in the country as shown by the fact that :

1. That radical left has increased the number and area of operation of its front organizations and has intensified the recruitment and training of new adherents in the urban and rural areas especially from among the youth;

2. The Kabataang Makabayan (KM) , the most militant and outspoken front organization of the radical left, has in- creased the number of its chapters from 200 as of the end of 1970 to 317 as of July 31, 1972 and its membership from 10,000 as of the end of 1970 to 15,000 as of the end of July , 1972, showing very clearly the rapid growth of the Communist movement in this country;

3. The Samahang Demokratiko Ng Kabataan (SDK), another militant and outspoken front organization of the radical left, has also increased the number of its chapters from an insignificant number at the end of 1970 to 159 as of the end of July, 1972 and has now a membership of some 1,495 highly indoctrinated, intensely committed and almost fanatically devoted individuals;

4. The New People’s Army, the most active and the most violent and ruthless military arm of the radical left, has increased its total strength from an estimated 6,500 (composed of 560 regulars, 1,500 combat support and 4,400 service support) as of January 1, 1972 to about 7,900 (composed of 1,028 regulars, 1,800 combat support and 5,025 service support) as of July 31, 1972, showing a marked increase in its regular troops of over 100% in such a short period of six months;

5. The establishment of sanctuaries for the insurgents in Isabela, in Zambales, in Camarines Sur, and in some parts of Mindanao, a development heretofore unknown in our campaign against subversion and insurgency in this country;

6. The disappearance and dropping out of school of some 3,000 high school and college students and who are report- ed to have joined with the insurgents for training in the handling of firearms and explosives ;

7. The bringing and introduction into the country of substantial war material consisting of military hardware and sup- plies through the MV Karagatan at Digoyo Point, Palanan, lsabela, and the fact that many of these military hardware and supplies are now in the hands of the insurgents and are being used against our government troops;

8. The infiltration and control of the media by persons who are sympathetic to the insurgents and the consequent intensification of their propaganda assault against the government and the military establishment of the government;

9. The formation of the grass-root level of “political power organs”, heretofore unknown in the history of the Communist movement in this country, composed of Barrio Organizing Committees (BOCs) to mobilize the barrio people for active involvement in the revolution; the Barrio Revolutionary Committees (BRCs) to act as “local government” in barrios considered as CPP /NP A bailiwicks; the Workers Organizing Committees (WOCs) to organize workers from all sectors; the School Organizing Committees (SOCs) to conduct agitation and propaganda activities and help in the expansion of front groups among the studentry; and the Community Organizing Committees (COCs) which operate in the urban areas in the same manner as the BOCs.

WHEREAS, the rebellion and armed action undertaken by these lawless elements of the communist and other armed aggrupations organized to overthrow the Republic of the Philippines by armed violence and force have assumed the magnitude of an actual state of war against our people and the Republic of the Philippines;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Article VII, Section 10, Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do hereby place the entire Philippines as defined in Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution under martial law and, in my capacity as their commander-in-chief, do hereby command the armed forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.

In addition, I do hereby order that all persons presently detained, as well as all others who may hereafter be similarly detained for the crimes of insurrection or rebellion, and all other crimes and offenses committed in furtherance or on the occasion thereof, or incident thereto, or in connection therewith, for crimes against national security and the law of nations, crimes against public order, crimes involving usurpation of authority, rank, title and improper use of names, uniforms and insignia, crimes committed by public officers, and for such other crimes as will be enumerated in Orders that I shall subsequently promulgate, as well as crimes as a consequence of any violation of any decree, order or regulation promulgated by me personally or promulgated upon my direction shall be kept under detention until otherwise ordered re- leased by me or by my duly designated representative.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 21st day of September, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy two.


Republic of the Philippines

By the President:

Acting Executive Secretary

Ang Mamatay Nang Dahil Sa 'Yo

This is a book about the heroes and martyrs of the Filipino people’s resistance against the martial law dictatorship that ruled over the country during the terrible years between 1972 and 1986. These were exemplary women and men who lived and died for the sake of freedom and justice in the Philippines.

In recounting their lives, this book hopes to keep their memory alive, and to remind the present and future generations that the Filipino is worth fighting for.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation was established in 1986, soon after the regime of President Marcos ended with his flight from Malacañang Palace. Since then, the Foundation has been honoring those who dedicated themselves to the anti-dictatorship struggle with extraordinary commitment and sacrifice.

Nearly 300 names are now etched on the Wall of Remembrance at the Bantayog Memorial Center in Quezon City. They were chosen at the end of a process of nomination, validation and deliberation, which included personal interviews and site visits.

The 113 short biographies included in this first volume are those of the heroes and martyrs whose names were inscribed on the Wall of Remembrance from 1992 (when the annual recognition ceremony was first held) to 2000. A second volume, comprising succeeding sets, will follow.

Work on the publication of these materials began in 2006, and a completed version – what might be considered the first edition – was launched the following year. Insufficient resources allowed the Foundation to publish only very limited copies of that edition.

We thank the National Historical Commission of the Philippines under the leadership of Dr. Ma. Serena I. Diokno for “rescuing” this project and making available the resources that have allowed the publication and dissemination of this book.

Most importantly, this project would not have been possible without the assistance and support of the families of the heroes and martyrs.

“Ang mamatay nang dahil sa ‘yo” – this is the message that these fellow human beings are telling us today: we, the living, are the recipients of this gift of life and love. It is for us, and we must try to be worthy.

(This introduction was written by former Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation Executive Director, Board Secretary, and long-time Trustee Nievelina V. Rosete. She passed away in June 10, 2015.)

ACEBEDO, Norberto Hermoso Jr.

Acebedo, Norberto Jr.

Norberto or Boyet to his family and friends was the youngest of four siblings. He was born on a Friday which happened to be the 13th of the month. His mother recounted that the doctor told her not to consider it as bad luck as she herself was born on a Friday the thirteenth.

Boyet was very active as a child, “sobrang likot,” according to older members of his family. He fell from a tree as a young boy and broke his hand which eventually became deformed. He moved fast, but when asked to do an errand or a chore, he can deliver quickly too. He was kind-hearted, generous, always smiling, and had a knack for striking up conversations with strangers who almost always became his friends. Fondly called “Ace” (short for Acebedo) by classmates, he was a whiz at Math and his house would often be filled with them as they come after school to ask for his help with their Math lessons.

Boyet entered high school in 1972. His two older brothers Roy Lorenzo (a Bantayog honoree) and Nolito were already both in college and were student activists involved in the anti-dictatorship movement. Being the youngest, Boyet was enlisted to help mimeograph propaganda materials as well as asked to run errands such as delivering letters to other members of the group. Through this kind of work, he became aware of the national situation at the time. At that early age, his political consciousness raised and sharpened by his contact with his brothers’ activists-friends, Boyet showed keen intelligence and confidence when discussing the national situation with his teachers and fellow students.

By the time he enroled at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 1976, open resistance to martial law was on the upsurge. At PLM, Boyet helped establish a chapter of the newly-formed League of Filipino Students (LFS) in 1977. They held study groups and various symposia that tackled student welfare issues as well as national issues such as government corruption.

In 1978, the nation stirred when elections for seats for the interim Batasang Pambansa was announced by Pres. Marcos. Boyet actively supported the opposition Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LABAN) led by detained Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. In Manila’s Sta. Ana district, Boyet organized the community youth into campaign teams to support the opposition. An immense anti-Marcos noise barrage capped the campaigns on the eve of the elections, and spontaneous street marches were seen in the various localities of Metro Manila that night.

The military raided the Acebedo residence sometime in 1979, but neighbors helped Boyet escape.

Now more determined than ever, Boyet worked even harder at organizing in schools around Manila’s Intramuros and Taft areas. In 1979 and extending into 1980, a student movement erupted in Metro Manila and in other city centers in the country directed against such immediate concerns as rising tuition fees, but also against the abuses of the Marcos dictatorship as well as against the dictatorship itself. The movement grew so broad, it drew student participants from Adamson, PLM, Feati, Lyceum, Mapua, Letran colleges, and even from some high schools nearby. Boyet and his group of organizers were instrumental in helping prepare and launch this movement, considered a breakthrough in protests against martial law.

Boyet helped craft the plan to use Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1981 as an opportunity to bring the repressive conditions in the country to world attention. It was his group that raised the protest banner  that had even the Pope stopping for a moment, taking notice of it, as he said Mass before a mammoth crowd at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

Not long after that, Boyet moved to Davao City, still pursuing his political organizing and consciousness-raising work. He led political discussions among the city’s youth, labor groups and professionals, planning protest actions with them. Although obviously a stranger to the area, he won over people easily because he talked plainly, had a kind of humor that eased tensions among serious-minded activists, and took to provincial life with little fuss. It was in Mindanao he met and later married fellow-activist Grace (then using the alias Helen and driving Boyet to choose for himself the counter alias Troy).

Boyet was arrested in 1983, tortured by arresting troopers from the Philippine Constabulary, then was detained for some period. He was killed during a military encounter in Compostela Valley in 1985. The day after he died, his wife delivered a son whom Boyet had earlier decided would be named Rojo Bagani (Red Warrior).

ALVAREZ, Amada Enriquez

Alvarez, Amada E.

Amada, or Madge to friends, was a sickly child who suffered from aplastic anemia. But like her 16 brothers and sisters, Madge learned very early to share in the household work as well as in everything else. Madge was a good story teller, holding her audience spellbound with lively tales about friends and teachers. She had a happy disposition, usually preferring to see the bright side in most situations, so that she was always a welcome addition to the groups she joined.

She was a bright student, earning high grades and most of the time coming out top of her class. In college, she was active in both academic and extracurricular activities. After graduating from college, Madge moved to Manila to pursue further studies. She took graduate units in philosophy at the University of Santo Tomas. She taught for a while at the Far Eastern University.

In college, Madge was an active member of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and the Young Christian Socialists (YCS, youth arm of the Christian Socialist Movement led by former senators Raul Manglapus and Jose Lina). After college, she joined the Khi Rho, youth arm of the Federation of Free Farmers. As a Khi Rho member, Madge began helping organize farmers’ cooperatives, activities that took her to the far corners of Luzon. Thus began what would become a life-long involvement in rural concerns and peasant issues.

When martial law was declared in 1972, Madge left school and found work, first, as a staff writer of Cor Manila, newsletter of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. Then from 1973 to 1976 she took up work as a community organizer of the Basic Christian Communities (BCC) program in the Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Highway Hills in Mandaluyong City.  Here she organized bible study classes side by side with discussions about the structural problems of the poor in the parish and lessons in Philippine history.  Later, Madge and several nuns volunteered as staff for a labor center which the parish had set up to serve workers from the factories that dotted the area.

As her involvement in the BCC program deepened, Madge was increasingly drawn to reinterpret her Catholic beliefs in the context of the social realities of the period. The merging of her political and faith beliefs saw expression when she joined the Christians for National Liberation (CNL), a group that aligned itself with the National Democratic Front.

Madge joined the CNL in 1975, and as one of her early tasks, started organizing anti-martial law core groups in other parishes in Metro Manila. She also became a supporter of urban poor activities around Metro Manila.

Co-worker Agnes Rio remembers Madge’s involvement in the struggle for human rights and liberation, chiefly organizing church people and poor people to resist the Marcos dictatorship. Madge circulated mainly with nuns from the Oblates of St. Benedictine (OSB), the Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS), and the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM). She helped create two task forces for these nuns’ work among themselves and among Metro Manila’s poor. Madge and her friends created the Task Force Urban Poor, and the Task Force on Church Conscientization.

She was one of the early pioneers of the Basic Christian Communities-Community Organizing Program (BCC-CO), a program of the Catholic Church that would serve as a vehicle for fulltime community organizers to immerse themselves in far-flung rural communities.  As history would show, BCC-CO became an effective tool for reaching these rural communities and mobilizing them to fight the Marcos dictatorship.

With ICM’s Sr. Asuncion Martinez (Bantayog Hero in the Wall of Remembrance), Madge  assisted in developing the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP). She also developed close relations with two Benedictine nuns who became strong champions for freedom and democracy in the country, namely Srs. Noemi Francisco  and Mary John Mananzan.

In 1977, Madge took up work as rural community organizer in Ilocos Sur, in the parish of Fr. Zacarias Agatep, where she helped secretly organize anti-martial law core groups. She also continued to work among church people, notably in Baguio City, where she helped contact members of religious organizations towards organizing more CNL core groups. As she developed more friends in Baguio City, she also expanded her interest to include helping build anti-martial law core groups in mining communities around the city.

Madge faced life with gusto. In 1988, she wrote: “I am like the fish that can live in the sea or in brackish waters. I have no problems adjusting to the hard life. I don’t spend more than is necessary.  But, if there is a chance, I am ready to fully enjoy the comforts of life, good food, and entertainment such as concerts, ballets and stage plays.”

After the fall of Marcos, Madge joined the peace talks opened by the Aquino government with the National Democratic Front. This opened Madge to even greater dangers. With her exceptionally fair skin, light-colored eyes and distinctive facial marks, she was easily recognizable. She had to frequently evade spies and paramilitary patrols, often making narrow escapes as she plied between rural and urban areas in western Pangasinan, where she was then based.

In 1989, Madge was in an NDF camp in Infanta in Pangasinan when Scout Rangers attacked. Madge and five local residents were killed in the ensuing firefight. A government helicopter brought the bodies to Mangatarem town to be displayed in the town plaza but the mayor refused to agree to this. Many people who knew her dared the soldiers’ presence and came and lighted candles for her.  (This caused some soldiers to ask why the people lighted no candles for the troopers.) She and the others were buried in the town cemetery.

Days later her family came to claim Madge’s body.  A five-day wake was held for her in Manila. Beethoven played in the background. Madge’s body was reinterred at the Manila Memorial Park on the 8th of March, a fitting day, friends and comrades felt, because it happened to be celebrated also as the International Women’s Day.

Madge’s health had been frail all her life, but she refused to let this stop her. She left a safe and comfortable life, sacrificing her own mobility and personal freedom, in order to live and express her faith in the realities of the Philippines, thus helping liberate her country and fellow Filipinos from cruelty, oppression, and faithlessness.

She was 39.

ALVAREZ, Marsman Turingan

Alvarez, Marsman

Marsman was a friendly and sociable young man, the younger brother of the voluble and colorful Heherson, who started a career in politics as member of the opposition, and later became senator.

While in college, like many youths in his time, Marsman joined demonstrations denouncing Philippine involvement in the Vietnam war and criticizing the abuses of the Marcos administration. He was also active in the student council at the University of the East. His organization was the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity.

Back home, he courted danger when he became openly critical of the powerful local warlords who maintained private armies and terrorized the local people.

Marsman was in his final year in college when Marcos declared martial law in 1972. Elder brother Heherson fled to the United States where he lived in exile for several years. But Marsman and the rest of the family stayed behind.

Quietly, Marsman took up assignments for the anti-dictatorship underground. He joined a small group that clandestinely brought city activists in and out of the countryside in Isabela and nearby provinces. He collected medicines from relatives and put them in boxes with false bottoms to be taken to militarized areas for wounded villagers and the guerrillas. Word spread among his relatives that Marsman had “joined the subversives.”

Soldiers picked him up one day in 1974, and the following morning, his broken body was found in front of a churchyard, mutilated and unrecognizable but for his clothes. His face was bloated, his jaw displaced, most teeth pulled out, his tongue slashed. He had stab wounds in the neck.

Marsman’s killing was denounced by Manila Archbishop Jaime Sin, to which, then defense secretary Juan Ponce Enrile reacted by claiming the New People’s Army (NPA) was responsible. Enrile said the NPA had found out that Marsman was a government agent doing undercover work. Witnesses however later identified the persons who took Marsman away as National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) agents. The regime’s role in the senseless murder was confirmed further when government agents came to convince Marsman’s family to accept money in exchange for their silence, an offer the family furiously rejected.

Marsman’s mother later wrote that Marsman was killed because her elder son, Heherson, dared to defy the dictatorship.

Marsman’s townmates turned out in huge numbers for his funeral march, silent proof of their sentiments. But the series of family tragedies drove Marsman’s parents into severe depression. Marsman’s father Marcelo died from a heart attack a few months later.

ATIENZA, Monico Montenegro

nick picture

Monico Atienza was a natural leader. In high school, he was not only valedictorian of the graduating batch. He was also class president, president of the student government, and managing editor of the school yearbook.  With a taste for adventure, he and two high school friends flew to the People’s Republic of China and stayed there for two months (a daring act because diplomatic relations had not been opened between the Philippines and that country at that time).

After his return to the Philippines, Monico enroled at the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines (UP), taking up Philippine Literature. He became active in various campus organizations, including the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), Student Cultural Association of UP (SCAUP) and the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN). He became SCAUP president at one point.

Monico, or Nick to his friends, served as secretary general of the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) from 1968-1970. It was under his leadership that KM established many branches all over Metro Manila and the rest of the country.

By the late 1960s and the early 1970s, Nick was one of the country’s foremost student leaders. With his exceptional organizing skill and leadership qualities, he helped build the youth and student movement across the country, which became the foundation for the bigger and broader multisectoral movement that would later face off with the Marcos dictatorship.

Nick is regarded as one of the architects of the Philippine youth and student movement.

In 1971, Nick went underground when his name was included in a list of 63 with arrest orders during the period of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus by President Marcos.

After Marcos declared martial law in 1972, as schools and universities were temporary closed, thousands of young activists became available for regional deployment. Nick and his group of underground activists systematically organized this deployment, spreading the activists in a nationwide network whose main tasks were to build opposition to the dictatorship and to spread the national democratic program.

Nick, by then known in his circles as Ka Togs, was arrested in October 1974 in a military crackdown that also saw the arrest of his wife and son, and several activists. The military, knowing they had in their hands one of the highest-ranking activist leaders, made Nick suffer severe and repeated abuse, psy-war (for example, making him believe through recorded sounds that his wife and son were being tortured) and prolonged solitary confinement.

Yet Nick suffered this abuse without incriminating anyone. He also suffered six long years in prison, where he not only participated in prison activities but often led in prison struggles to release women prisoners or sick detainees, or in demanding prisoners’ rights or improved conditions. Nick and fellow prison leaders were sometimes punished with solitary confinement (bartolina) because of this.

Because of sustained abuse against him, Nick  suffered a mental breakdown at one point and had to be confined at the AFP Medical Center in V. Luna, Quezon City. Nick was still in confinement at the AFP Medical Center when granted a temporary release in 1980.

After his release, Nick returned to UP where he completed his studies and was accepted as faculty of the Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature. He went on to complete his masteral and doctoral degrees. Establishing himself in the academe, Nick nevertheless sustained his support of activists and the national democratic movement. Succeeding generations of UP activists often came to Nick for advice and direction. Nick helped organize the Partido ng Bayan (People’s Party) for the 1987 elections under the Aquino administration. Nick gave inspiring talks to young activists. He became president of the First Quarter Storm Movement.

His doctoral thesis, published in 1992, is titled the Kilusang Pambansa-Demokratiko sa Wika, which delved into the role of the national democratic movement in the development of the Filipino language. This theses effectively merged his two life’s interests, democratic politics and the national language.

Nick survived an ambush in 1987, believed instigated by the military. He and fellow activist Bernabe Buscayno (the former Kumander Dante) were in a car that was fired upon. Nick was wounded but two others in the car were killed.

In 2007, Nick had a heart attack, but he held on for nearly a year in the hospital in near-coma, before finally succumbing in 2008. At his wake, fellow activists, friends, and former students gave moving testimonies of this man who was a living example of how to give all that one could give to one’s country. He was 60.

DOMINGO, Silme Garciano

Domingo, Silme

Silme was born in the United States to Filipino parents who had migrated and settled in Seattle, Washington. Silme’s father Nemesio was a soldier in the US army, and before that, a cannery worker in Alaska. As teenagers, Silme and his brother Nemesio spent much of their school breaks also working in the canneries. His friends said Silme was a fun-loving and party-loving person, an “unlikely activist,”  yet he proved these friends wrong.

Silme entered the University of Washington (UW) in the fall of 1970, quickly becoming a leader in the UW Filipino Student Association. This group promoted Filipino-American and Asian-American concerns, such as introduction of more relevant courses in the university, greater access to financial aid, and broader recruitment of students of color. This advocacy was successful because Filipino history and the Tagalog language courses were eventually introduced in the university.

The Filipino Student Association under Silme’s leadership started to take a public position against the regime of Ferdinand Marcos, then already a dictatorship. The group became openly critical of human rights violations being committed by the regime.

Silme joined his father Nemesio on a visit to the Philippines in 1972. The visit strengthened his interest in his ethnic roots and exposed him to the realities being suffered by Filipinos under the Marcos dictatorship. When the Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipinas (KDP, or Union of Democratic Filipinos) was organized in the US, Silme lost no time in joining and in fact led in the establishment of KDP’s Seattle chapter in 1974, adopting KDP’s 2-part program of the dictatorship in the Philippines, fighting discrimination against Filipinos in the US.

Even prior to his involvement with KDP, Silme had been doing organizing work among the cannery workers in Alaska, promoting welfare issues, and equal and fair treatment to women and people of color. Led by his older brother Nemesio, Silme and other young people of color formed an organization in 1973 called the Alaska Cannery Workers’ Association-International Longshoremen and Warehousemen’s Union (ACWA-ILWU), and the worker-led Northwest Labor and Employment Law Office (LELO). LELO later filed three class action discrimination suits on behalf of cannery workers, with Silme among the plaintiffs. Two of these lawsuits were won in federal court in the 1980s. They resulted in large awards paid to the cannery workers who were found to have suffered under discriminatory practices, and in giving workers of color access to higher paying jobs previously denied them.

His roots in the Filipino community in Seattle and among anti-discrimination groups, and his work in the university and links with the labor movement all helped broaden Silme’s network, allowing the new KDP chapter in Seattle to influence a wide range of the population. Soon, the Seattle chapter became KDP’s largest in the US, with members belonging to various Asian and American descents. Silme served as member of the KDP’s national executive board. He also became active in the US-based Coalition against the Marcos Dictatorship (CAMD).

Silme continued to be active in the Alaska workers’ union. By then married and with one daughter, he and his wife Terry took turns with their stints in Alaska. Together with other young worker-activists, Silme had a vision: a union rid of corrupt practices and corrupt leaders, a genuinely pro-worker union. In 1977, he helped establish the Rank and File Committee, around which fellow reform-oriented members of Seattle’s Local 37 could gravitate. They were inspired by stories told by older union members, the “manongs,” to seek fair hiring and dispatching procedures. (The union local had the task of hiring and dispatching recruits to Alaska.)

Then in a union election in 1980, under a platform of ridding the union of bribery, vote buying, violence and intimidation, members from the Rank and File Committee took leadership of the union’s executive board. Silme and long-time friend and fellow second-generation Filipino Gene Viernes (also a Bantayog nominee), were elected secretary-treasurer and dispatcher, respectively.

The following year, Local 37, led by Silme and and Gene Viernes, made a presentation at an international convention of the ILWU in Hawaii, providing documents that gave details of Marcos’ repressive rule, including anti-labor decrees promulgated by the regime. With support from the giant Local 142 in Hawaii (incidentally heavily represented by migrant Ilocanos), and despite opposition from pro-Marcos ILWU members, Local 37 won over the entire convention into passing a resolution criticizing these repressive policies and authorizing a high-level ILWU team to travel to the Philippines to look into the human rights situation in the country, particularly involving Filipino workers.

Previous to this, the only other labor union in the US that had taken a position on the Philippines was the United Farm Workers (UFW). UFW leader Cesar Chavez had been invited by the Marcoses to visit the country, where he was wined and dined. Chavez gave glowing reports about the country when he returned to the US.

The ILWU convention’s critical position was potentially disastrous to the Marcos regime. ILWU members could decide to boycott the servicing of Philippine ships abroad, and worse, could lead other unions into taking similar positions against the increasingly notorious Marcos rule. And most alarming of all, Marcos was scheduled for a state visit to the US the following year, 1982, where he expected to secure US aid from his friend and supporter, Ronald Reagan, making any political action against him in the US a huge public relations disaster.

Less than a month after their coup of sorts in Hawaii, Silme and Gene were shot dead inside the Local 37 office in Seattle. Two gunmen simply walked in and fired at the two. Gene died on the spot, but Silme managed to give the identities of the assailants before he died the next day.

The campaign for justice for the two activists’ murder took 7 years, but it was sustained by friends and family, forming the Committee for Justice for Domingo and Viernes (CJDV), The CJDV helped build the case, uncover evidence, search for witnesses and consistently pressure the US government to pursue the investigation and prosecution.

Finally in 1989, three members of a local gang called Tulisanes were found guilty of the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. A fourth gang member was arrested then released, but later killed in mysterious circumstances.

For his role in planning and implementing the murder, a former president of Local 37 was also later sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

The hands of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were clearly seen in the murders of Silme  Domingo and Gene Viernes, through the decision of the U.S. Federal Court in a civil suit. Through a family friend, a physician, the Marcoses channeled the blood money to the hitmen. In 1991, the court ordered the Marcos estate to pay the families $15 million in damages.

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