Sunday, September 11, 2016

Only a Boy

In Memoriam Boyet Mijares

You might have seen my fresh face,
I was only a boy.
You’ll discover my velvety dark eyes in Batas Militar, documentary
About martial law in the Philippines
Under Marcos, watch it.
Black-and-white photograph from the sixties,
My father stands beside me,
Self-possessed...imperturbable, he looks it...
In his own way
Content as content can be,
Buddhic as his black plastic spectacles,
Old style, balanced on his nose, also old style.
He did not know...he could not know...
How could he possibly know?
What we both know now,
Now that we are dead,
His body disappeared,
Mine found,
Dead, too,
Mutilated, same way
Kitchen knives slice open vegetables, poultry...
Sledgehammers break apart tendons, bones...
Cabbages snap, fracturing into large pieces for your salad.
You would not want to see
What my father’s dead body looked like.
Souls...after they die...
They are not really dead,
Just not in the body.
Some natural process of disintegration,
Devastating mishap,
Murder, unnatural,
Damages the body
So that it is like the painting of a landscape,
Not the landscape itself,
Breathing plants, animals, living things,
Joined to a universe in perpetual motion—
Soul, spirit, consciousness,
Whatever you call it,
A soul can know, does know.
Only a boy at the time, I could not imagine
The pain, indescribable...yes, I can describe it,
As long as you understand,
Words do not equal the experience.
Have you ever stood in front of a high-pressure water stream gushing,
Your mouth agape,
And you drink and drink and drink
To the point you cannot drink anymore?
And then you drink even more,
You drown by drinking.
Pain fills you the same way, like a bicycle tire before it explodes.
A hot water bag before it bursts.
White light, pain has the capacity to inundate your consciousness.
It becomes who you are
Because you cannot think of anything else.
What happened?
You ask me.
They were grown men.
I had never seen them before.
I was still a youth.
They smashed my hands and my feet,
Household hammer,
No nails.
Next, they pried out my eyes
The way you dig up potatoes.
They used a blade to maim my genitals,
Castration first, severing the rest.
I screamed all the while.
My father, arms held fast,
Was forced to watch.
Stabbed 33 times in my torso,
I drowned in my own blood, gurgling like a sink.
A wash of emotional anguish...terror...disbelief...incomprehension...
I am going to die! In front of my father!
I may have known anger,
But I have never raised my arm against another
To disable or to disfigure,
Or to kill, certainly not!
Why is it my time now?
Swinging a hardwood bat, a soldier
Popped my skull, loud crack inside your head
You hear when you split hard candy.
This time I felt no pain.
Only 16 years old,
I had not lived at all, or hardly,
I barely knew who I was.
Who will remember me when even I hardly knew myself?
Will nothingness be the remembrance of who I am?
Now I am become a harvested fruit, disconnected forever.
Murdered, I was not yet a man.

Originally published in Eastlit (September 5, 2016)

Cover of The Conjugal Dictatorship (1976) by Primitivo Mijares


  1. Image of the cover of The Conjugal Dictatorship (1976) by Primitivo Mijares is posted on this website according to principles of fair use, specifically, it is posted for the purposes of information and education.


    1. I rearranged and reposted my comments below to improve their coherence and facilitate their perusal.


  2. Contributor’s Note:

    The poem is about the torture and murder of Primitivo Mijares and his son, Boyet, during the martial law regime of Marcos. They were killed because Primitivo Mijares published The Conjugal Dictatorship (1976), an expose of the abuses of Marcos’ martial law regime. The account in the poem is based principally on the affidavit of the mother, Priscilla Mijares, featured in, and on The Marcos Dynasty (1988) by Sterling Seagrave. Some artistic license has been used to recreate the torture and murders. References are attached.

    The poem responds to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s expressed intention to bury Marcos at the Cemetery of Heroes (Libingan ng mga Bayani) on September 11, 2016. See:

    Macas, Trisha. (May 23, 2016). Duterte: Marcos Burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani ‘Can Be Arranged Immediately.’ GMA News Online. Retrieved from

    The poem protests Duterte’s action by inciting remembrance of the heinous crimes committed under Marcos’ command responsibility.

    As of this time preparations for Marcos' burial at the Cemetery of Heroes have been halted by the extension of a status quo ante order of the Philippine Supreme Court, which remains in force until October 18, 2016.


    Basilio, Robert J. A., Jr. (March 11, 2016). Never Forget, Never Again. The Philippine Reporter. Retrieved from

    deodorante. (February 17, 2016). Secrets of a Forgotten Keeper. Hindi Kami Ulyanin: Remember 1081. Retrieved from (September 20, 2012). MARTIAL LAW VICTIMS: ‘After He Was Lured Back to the Philippines, He Disappeared.’ Retrieved from

    Macas, Trisha. (May 23, 2016). Duterte: Marcos Burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani ‘Can Be Arranged Immediately.’ GMA News Online. Retrieved from

    Seagrave, Sterling. (1988). The Marcos Dynasty. New York: Harper & Row.

    Sison, Shakira. (September 23, 2015). #NeverAgain: Martial Law Stories Young People Need to Hear. Rappler. Retrieved from


  3. “Boyet” is the victim's nickname. His first name is “Luis.”



    Wrote Mijares on April 27, 1976: “To the remaining democracies all over the world, this book is offered us a case study on how a democratically-elected President could operate within the legal system and yet succeed in subverting that democracy in order to perpetuate himself and his wife as conjugal dictators... However, history teaches us that dictators always fall, either on account of their own corrupt weight or sheer physical exhaustion. I am hopeful that this work would somehow set off, or contribute to the ignition of, a chain reaction that would compel Marcos to relinquish his vise-like dictatorial grip on his own countrymen.

    “When the Filipino is then set free, and could participate in cheerful cry over the restoration of freedom and democracy in the Philippines, that cry shall be the fitting finish to this, my humble work.”

    Mijares paid the ultimate price for his belief in the Filipino people. He simply vanished from the face of the earth. His 16-year-old son, Boyet, was abducted in 1977. Boyet’s dead body was later found bearing signs of severe torture. Mijares and his son are just two of the 3,240 killed, 70,000 imprisoned, and 34,000 tortured by the Marcos dictatorship, as reported by Amnesty International.




    “Command or superior responsibility” a form of responsibility for omission to act: a superior may be held criminally responsible under that doctrine where, despite his awareness of the crimes of subordinates, he culpably fails to fulfill his duties to prevent and punish these crimes.

    The commission of one or more crimes attributable to a subordinate is a pre-requisite for the application of that doctrine. In addition, the following requirements have been identified as forming part of the doctrine of superior responsibility under customary international law:

    (i) A relationship of superior-subordinate linking the accused and those who committed the underlying offences at the time of the commission of the crime;

    (ii) The knowledge on the part of the superior that his subordinates have committed or taken a culpable part in the commission of a crime or are about to do so; and

    (iii) A failure on the part of the superior to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent or to punish those crimes.


    Bosworth was the American Ambassador to Manila from 1984 to 1987.

    ...Bosworth’s testimony shredded Marcos’ defense. The former US Ambassador to the Philippines revealed to the court that in one of the many phone conversations he had had with Marcos, the dictator told him, “I’m aware that there is torture and everything happens but this is part of the interrogation process and these people are Communists.”

    ...Judge Manuel Real himself appeared impressed by the testimony. In the opinion he rendered on the amount of compensation that each torture victim should get, Real noted—by way of historical background—that Marcos had wielded absolute power during Martial Law. “An example of Marcos’ absolute power,” Judge Real wrote, “was the testimony of Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, who pleaded with him (Marcos) to stop the human rights violations and to get rid of General Fabian Ver, a Marcos relative, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.”

    According to Judge Real, “Marcos’ reply was telling to the jury. He (Marcos) is quoted as saying (to Bosworth), ‘Why are you so concerned about General Ver. (sic) I am in charge.’”

    Marcos was in charge. He had approved and sanctioned the torture. But this fact was masked during Martial Law by a façade of legality and confused hierarchy. All that gave Marcos plausible deniability.

    What Martial Law showed was the emergence in Philippine history, for the first time, of a national leader who ordered Filipino soldiers to systematically detain and torture fellow Filipinos by the thousands, using a legal infrastructure that he himself had created. In the past, such acts were perpetrated by colonial powers (Spain and the US) and an occupying power (Japan), aided by a number of Filipinos.

    ...Marcos and his torture machine did not spring from nowhere, they tapped into a deep vein of oppression and abuse going back centuries in Philippine history.

    In Raissa Robles, edited by Alan Robles, Marcos Martial Law: Never Again (2016), page 67.





  7. UPDATE ON MARCOS ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH (February 27, 2016):




    Philippine forests were lush before Pres. Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law on Sept. 21, 1972.

    Forty years after, Philippine forests are still under repair from denudation caused by massive deforestation that started in the Marcos regime:

    “Alam mo, at that time (1960s to 1974), ang forest cover natin ay even more than 50 percent. Akala natin yung forest resources natin hindi mauubos e...,” said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' Forest Management Bureau (FMB) director Ricardo Calderon in an interview with GMA News Online.

    But the country saw rapid deforestation after Martial Law as Marcos changed the rules on logging leases, from one year to 10-year and even 25-year terms, according to the book “The Political Economy of Growth and Impoverishment in the Marcos Era” by James K. Boyce.

    Deforested area the size of 3,500 Araneta Colliseums

    Boyce said that, prior to Martial Law, our forest cover was as much as 20 million hectares (ha) — the FMB cites a more conservative figure, 10.5 million ha as of 1969 — out of the 30 million ha of the country’s land area.

    By 1981, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, only 9.5 million ha were officially classified as 'closed forest' — with 70-100% forest cover — and 3 million ha undisturbed, with 2 million ha “severely degraded and incapable of regeneration.”

    Based on FMB data, in the 1970's, over 200 timber licensing agreements (TLA) were granted, allowing the cutting of trees in more than 8 million ha of forest land (1976) —an area equivalent to almost 3,500 Araneta Coliseums.





    Moro Massacres:

    February 7-8, 1974 Burning of Jolo:



    Muslim and Non-Communist Massacres:

    Jabidah and Other Massacres:



    Marcos’s war hero image collapsed when The New York Times ran an exclusive on January 23, 1986. He was then wrapping up the election campaign against Cory, widow of Ninoy Aquino. As usual he regaled the crowds with accounts of his hot exploits. The Times doused cold water on his stories, quoting the US Army description of them as mostly “absurd” and “fraudulent”. Main source was Alfred W. McCoy, a history professor who was researching records just turned over to the National Archives in Washington. McCoy unearthed two requests by Marcos in 1945 and 1948 for official recognition of Mga Maharlika. Both were rejected as Army investigators found the claims to be exaggerated. Ray Hunt Jr., an ex-Army captain who directed guerrilla activities in 1942-44 in Pangasinan, North Luzon, was quoted in the Times article as saying the Maharlika was fictitious. He said if any unit had operated near his base then, he would have known about it. The investigators said Marcos even associated with men engaged in “nefarious activity,” like supplying contraband to the Japanese.

    The opposition press picked up the Times story. It confirmed what retired Philippine Army Col. Bonifacio Gillego had stated only months before in The Fake Medals of Marcos. The underground book branded the 27 decorations as outright phonies or awarded through bogus accounts. Also exposed then was Marcos’s rejected application for war reparation of $595,000. Supposedly it was for the US Army’s commandeering of 2,000 heads of cattle from his (inexistent) family ranch in Mindanao.

    Marcos ordered political lieutenants to refute the reports. They came up with a more incredible claim that the medals were for acts in 1941 and 1945, at war’s beginning and end. This only lent more credence to Gillego’s statement that, for Marcos to have fought the 27 battles, he would have been at different places at the same time.

    By Jarius Bondoc
    The Philippine Star





    As to the Gold Cross Medal received by Marcos for allegedly sighting Japanese troops in well-camouflaged trucks a kilometer away from the RCP and engaging them in a firefight that forced them to withdraw, Rivera said that geography is the best evidence against this preposterous claim of Marcos. Panupdupan is very far from the road, he said. It takes half a day by foot to reach it.

    As to the Silver Star Marcos received for the Battle of Hapid, Rivera said that Marcos never participated in this battle nor in any battle for that matter in Kiangan. In the first place, he said, the 14th Infantry did not have an engineering company which Marcos allegedly commanded together with a combat company that reinforced the beleaguered 2nd Battalion at the Hapid airfield. Rivera said that he should know because at that time he was already the Executive Officer of the 2nd Battalion under the command of Maj. Zosimo Paredes.

    To his recollection, the Battle of Hapid lasted 11 days from March 25 to April 4, 1945. They had all together 268 officers and men who fought courageously against the Japanese forces driven from the Balite Pass by General Swift of the 25th Division of the US Army. The 2nd Battalion had to withdraw eventually for lack of food and ammunition after sustaining a number of casualties. Marcos was nowhere in the vicinity of Hapid all the days that he was supposed to have engaged the Japanese in hand-to-hand combat.

    Neither was Marcos in or near the vicinity of Bessang Pass as the battle there was fought from May 22 to June 15, 1945. At that time Marcos was already in the relative safety of USAFIP NL headquarters in Camp Spencer, Luna, La Union. The companies of the 14th Infantry that participated in the Battle of Bessang Pass with other units of the USAFIP NL were Company E under Lt. Benito Miranda, Company I under Lt. Panfilo P. Fernandez and Company M under Lt. Teofilo Allas. Rivera remembered some of their casualties, among others: Ismael Reyes, Felix Solon and a certain Francisco.

    On the circumstances that led to Marcos joining the 14th infantry, Rivera had this to say:

    They knew of the presence of Marcos in the vicinity of Burgos, Natividad, Pangasinan. With Narciso Ramos, who became Secretary of Foreign Affairs under Marcos, and former Congressman Cipriano S. Allas, Marcos organized his Maharlika unit with but a few members, not the 8,300 he claimed for backpay purposes. Marcos was on his way to La Union to inquire into circumstances surrounding the death of his father, Mariano Marcos.


    This account casts major doubt on one of the wartime medals (Gold Star) that Marcos received.

    Marcos allegedly received two wartime medals, the second being the Distinguished Service Cross:

    The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) concluded that Marcos lied about receiving the Distinguished Service Cross:




    Besides murder, torture, plunder, various abuses--no press freedom under Marcos. An important reminder about the political freedoms we enjoy today that were won at the price of blood.



    Freedom of Speech

    General Order No. 2-A: Marcos gave authority to the military to arrest a list of vocal personalities (e.g. Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr., Jose Diokno, Francisco Rodrigo, Ramon Mitra Jr.) who were deemed to be part of “conspiracy” to seize power.

    Press Freedom

    A total of 7 major english dailies, 1 English-Filipino daily, 3 Filipino dailies, 1 Spanish daily, 4 Chinese dailies, 66 community newspapers, 11 English weekly magazines, 292 radio stations, and 7 television stations were shut down.

    The Department of Public Information (DPI) released Order No. 1 stating that all media publications should be approved first by the DPI, and that the media shall publish only objective news report, prohibiting as well editorial comments.

    Order No. 2 prohibited printers from “producing any form of publication for mass dissemination without permission from DPI”.

    The Daily Express (newspaper), TV Channel 9 (television station), and Kanlaon Broadcasting System (radio station) were the only media outlets exempted from martial law.

    Freedom of Religion

    Religious members were being arrested, mainly because of their involvement in the social and political problems of the lay communities they were working for. For instance, Fr. Jose Nacu, then the chair of the urban poor group, Zone One Tondo Organization, was arrested during a protest march against military rule.

    The largest peasant movement, the Federation of Free Farmers, thrived under the leadership of Catholic lay people, and with the support of priests and religious.

    Political groups and movements with Catholic/Christian inspiration (e.g. Christian Social Movement, Kasapi, Lakasdiwa) were born.

    At the time of the declaration of Martial Law, the Church was starting to act upon her social role in the Philippine society by addressing social issues concerning poverty, inequality, injustice, and corruption.


    “History of Community Organizing in the Philippines” (accessed September 20, 2016)

    Picardal A. “The Prophetic Mission of the Church under Martial Rule”. (accessed September 20, 2016)

    “The Religious Press and the Marcos Years”. Center for Media Freedom &…/the-religious-press-and-the-marcos-…/ (accessed September 20, 2016)

    Ofrenio-Pineda R. “The Press Under Martial Law”.…/marianog/intprin/ofreneo.html (accessed September 20, 2016).

    “Inforgraphic: The day Marcos declared Martial Law”. Official Gazette.…/infographic-day-marcos-declared-martia…/ (accessed September 20, 2016).




    Facts are accurate:

    Philippine economy was devastated under Marcos. “Golden Age” is a big fat lie.




    We, a group of human rights activists, claimants, students, teachers, priests and nuns, and good governance advocates, stand united against granting the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    The Libingan is a national shrine reserved for Filipino martyrs and heroes and outstanding Filipino citizens who served the country with courage and dignity, among them 32,268 military personnel who died in the Death March during World War II.

    Also, the Armed Forces of the Philippines guidelines list those who are disqualified for a Libingan burial, among them, “Personnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the service; and personnel who were convicted by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude.”

    Marcos is no hero for the following reasons:

    1. He lied about having a distinguished war record. His claims of having led a guerrilla group called “Ang Maharlika” were debunked by no less than the US military. His war medals are, therefore, fake and fabricated.

    2. Marcos was a dictator who ordered the torture, detention and death of thousands for opposing his rule. He held on to power through state-sponsored terrorism and gross human rights violations. The Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10368) recognizes “the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.” Under this law, 75,730 claims have been made indicating the magnitude of abuse during Marcos’ reign so much so that he was dishonorably discharged from service and deposed by no less than the Filipino people.

    3. Marcos was a plunderer. He treated the national coffers as if it were his personal piggy bank. He established monopolies that became a burden to coconut and sugar farmers, while he and his cronies immensely benefited from the setup. He borrowed extensively from foreign lenders to finance “white elephant” projects like the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and the Manila Film Center.

    And he forcibly appropriated private businesses; in fact his wife, Imelda, even boasted that their family owned practically everything in the Philippines—from electricity to telecommunications, airlines, banking, beer, tobacco, media, shipping, oil and mining.

    The Presidential Commission on Good Government estimates that the Marcoses amassed $5 billion to $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth. On Dec. 10, 1997, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court affirmed that Marcos’ Swiss bank deposits were criminally acquired and must therefore be returned to the Philippines.

    On July 15, 2003, and on April 25, 2012, the Philippine Supreme Court affirmed that $658 million and $40 million, in separate Swiss bank deposits, were Marcos ill-gotten wealth and forfeited the same in favor of the Philippines.

    Marcos himself has been declared, by the Transparency International Global Corruption Report, the second most corrupt leader in the world. As these offenses involve moral turpitude, Marcos does not deserve a hero’s burial.

    The proposed burial of the late dictator in Libingan is offensive to Filipinos, especially to the thousands who fought and died fighting his tyranny.

    President Duterte promised change during his campaign. But if change based on social justice is truly to be achieved, it cannot be done by honoring wrongdoing and burying the past.

    To be continued



    We are appealing to the President to reject the proposal to bury Ferdinand E. Marcos in Libingan.

    A final burial in his hometown in Ilocos, where he is still honored, is a win-win solution. We believe this can put closure to this issue, and allow the country to focus on more pressing problems that demand our attention.

    More importantly, this will be in accord with the Marcoses’ agreement with former President Fidel V. Ramos as a condition for the return of his body to the Philippines.


    Pi Sigma Fraternity Alumni Association, Inc.:

    Our forefathers were heroes. But why were they heroes? Because they fought for democracy. They fought for the life and liberty of the Filipino people. They fought for our independence, our freedom. They fought against tyranny, totalitarianism, and dictatorship. They fought for us and that is something we must be grateful for.





    We Refuse to Forget!

    Task Force Detainees of the Philippines adds its voice to the many voices opposed to the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mgaBayani.

    It was TFDP’s committed staff, together with other freedom-loving Filipinos who documented the gross violations of human rights perpetrated by Mr. Marcos and his minions.

    Today, we say: Hindi kami maaaring makalimot. Hindi kami makakalimot hanggang katarungan ay hindi nakakamtan. Walang kapatawaran hanggang walang pag-amin sa paglabag sa karapatan ng buong bayan.

    We refuse to forget the 101,538 human rights violations perpetrated by the Marcos dictatorship.

    We refuse to forget the robbery in band of the nation’s coffers to feed the insatiable desire of the Marcos family for wealth, privilege and profit.

    We refuse to forget the insidious attempts by the Marcoses to change the story of repression and violence into a grand tale of greatness and peace.

    Our younger generation must learn lessons from our history. Every one of us should stand up for what is right. Every individual should learn to defend, not only her/his rights but also the rights of others. United action is never doomed to fail.

    Dictatorship has been interred in the graveyard and the current generation must forever be vigilant that it never rises again.

    Human rights must be vigorously promoted, defended and progressively realized as our contribution to the struggle for human dignity.





    “TO FORETELL the destiny of a nation, it is necessary to open the book that tells of her past,” wrote Jose Rizal.

    At this juncture of our history, the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani will close that that book or, worse, may even rewrite its content.

    We are in danger of forgetting the history of tyranny, marked by Marcos’ declaration of martial law to perpetuate himself in power; suppression of press freedom and political dissent so the people would not know the truth; takeover of private and public businesses for himself, his family and his cronies; saddling our nation with massive debt (from $2 billion to $30 billion) and leading our gross domestic product to a precipitous decline.

    He and his family stole more than $5 billion from the Filipino people, and only a miniscule amount of this has been recovered to this day. He waged war against the basic sectors of society and drove the nation and our people into poverty. He lied and embellished his past to make himself appear a hero, while he personally profiteered on the national patrimony and the scarce resources of the people. And during his martial law regime, he imprisoned 70,000 people, tortured a great number of them, and sent more than 3,000 others to a cruel death in an attempt to silence the legitimate voice of dissent, and to suppress the struggle of the Filipino people for freedom and justice.

    The National Council of Churches in the Philippines knows this oppression first hand—our offices were raided and our staff were detained, and many faithful church workers and pastors of our member-churches were imprisoned, tortured and killed.

    The burial of Marcos as a hero will not realize President Duterte’s vision of a nation healed and unified. Instead, it will add to our nation’s growing amnesia of the atrocities committed against the people during martial law. It will rewrite history in favor of the tyrant and make our nation vulnerable to the rise of new dictators.

    A Libingan burial for Marcos will leave a legacy and impart lessons that our young and next generations do not deserve. Let us not muddle our historical memory and rub more salt into the wounds of the martial law survivors and victims. Much less should we taint our nation’s collective memory of our real heroes and heroines who stood up against oppression and paid with their lives.

    In February 1986, the Filipino people said enough is enough. The world looked at the Philippines in awe as it drove away a dictator through a people power revolution. That show of empowerment by the Filipino people became a model for peaceful transition of governments around the world.

    By burying Marcos in a cemetery for heroes, we will be telling ourselves and the world that in the end corruption pays and tyrants win.

    Let Marcos be buried in his home province. Let’s respect and honor the sacrifices of the real heroes and heroines who stood up against tyranny and dictatorship. Let not the shovels of the gravediggers rewrite our history and bury the memory of our forebears who fought for our liberty. As the wisdom of the ages tells us, “Then I saw the wicked buried; they used to go in and out of the holy place, and were praised in the city where they had done such evil things. This is also vanity.”

    (Ecclesiastes 8:10)

    —REV. REX RB. REYES JR., general secretary, National Council of Churches in the Philippines


    “Then I saw the wicked buried; they used to go in and out of the holy place, and were praised in the city where they had done such evil things. This is also vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 8:10)

    The purpose of Marcos’ burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani is to satisfy the pride of the living.

    “For the Marcoses to insist on burying him at Libingan is no longer to honor his memory but to satisfy the pride of the living.”--Dennis Uy, Businessman, Pozorrubio, Pangasinan



    Parent’s Alternative on Early Childhood Care and Development Inc. (PAECCDI) Statement

    We, at Parent’s Alternative on Early Childhood Care and Development Inc. (PAECCDI), vehemently condemn the planned burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. It is comparable to burying Marcos’ sins against the Filipino people.

    The dictator’s record is violent and bloody—from illegal arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and killings which rendered thousands of children orphans. Justice for them remains elusive, and this we will never forget.

    For children’s rights advocates, the martial law era was a dark time in Philippine history but, despite that, it was also a time of birth. Parent’s Alternative Inc. was founded during those times of great crisis. It was formed by parents and relatives of victims to teach their children lifelong lessons of commitment to serving the poor and marginalized and teaching them to claim and defend their rights and promote their welfare.

    Parent’s Alternative was one of the institutions who cared for orphaned children and sought justice with them, for their incarcerated, abducted and/or killed parents. The institution witnessed the empowerment of these children-victims—those orphaned by the fascist and heartless Marcos regime.

    Who among the victims will then regard the dictator Ferdinand Marcos as a hero? For PAECCDI, the successor of Parent’s Alternative Inc., to regard Marcos as a hero is a crime. It would be the height of disregard and disrespect for the memories of the victims of human rights violations and the pain that their loved ones went through, especially their children.

    Let us not bury their fondest memories of their parents’ martyrdom. Many of these parents are, up to now, still missing. Let us not bury their children’s cries for justice!

    The ouster of the Marcos dictatorship was a symbol of the Filipino people’s rage against plunder, worsening poverty and gross violation of individual human rights and people’s collective rights. The Filipino people’s struggle shall live as it shall not be buried together with the dictator who have caused much agony in the lives of thousands.

    In memory of victims and their orphans, PAECCDI will continue to uphold and promote Filipino children’s rights by advancing a pro-people, mass-oriented and nationalist early childhood care and development that will teach children golden lessons of our history. We will continue to develop and hone children who will actively claim their rights.

    —REINA REQUIOMA, program coordinator, on behalf of Parent’s Alternative on Early Childhood Care and Development Inc.,




    Los Angeles:

    New York City:


    San Francisco:

    Vancouver, Canada:

    Hong Kong and Macau:




    Cristina Palabay runs the Karapatan human rights organisation and spearheads a campaign against the Marcos burial.

    She grew up amid the opulent lifestyle of the Marcos’s.

    She can describe the gold taps and door knobs, as her father was responsible for the luxurious Presidential yacht.

    But she also remembers two uncles who went underground to organise resistance among farmers and tribes in the north, until security forces killed them.

    “I want to continue the tradition of fighting for freedom and upholding democracy,” she said.

    “Reburying a dictator, a plunderer, a murderer here will not do our country any good. We can’t tell our young people today that it is okay to kill, maim and plunder the nation’s coffers and be called a hero for those crimes.”

    “There has never been an attempt to really make them pay for what they did. This reburial is a form of political rehabilitation, and at the same time it spits on the legacy of struggle of those who sacrificed and fought during the dark years of martial law.”


    Well said, Cristina Palabay.



    I have been opening old dictionaries to find out what bayani meant to people in the past as a way of figuring out what bayani should mean to Filipinos in the 21st century. ...hero and bayani do not have the same meaning. Bayani is a richer word than hero because it may be rooted in bayan as place or in doing something great, not for oneself, but for a greater good, for community or nation.


    Marcos destroyed Philippine democracy, and devastated the Philippine economy for the space of one lifetime. MARCOS HINDI BAYANI.



    ‘Sound of Silence’

    This year, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Gallery is mounting “Sound of Silence: Remembering Martial Law,” a one-man exhibit of Edgar “Egai” Talusan Fernandez, which opened Sept. 8.

    Fernandez, an activist and a leading advocate of sociopolitical art in the ’70s, is known for his social realism.

    “The fact that Fernandez always goes back to the rhetoric of who or what his art should serve echoes the need to remind himself and those present during the time of martial law that such horrors should never happen again,” reads the curatorial note of “Sound of Silence.”

    “CROSSROAD” [photo]

    According to organizers, “Fernandez renders new images of situations common during martial rule because these same scenes are still part and parcel of current social issues that plague the nation.”

    Among those featured in “Sound of Silence” are Fernandez’s on-paper works.

    Much like most of Fernandez’s social realist obras, “Round Up” paints a literal scene. It shows civilians on their knees, their heads kept down by their hands, which have been fearfully placed just right above their napes. Towering over them are men in uniform armed with assault rifles. In the background, a river leads to the unknown.

    “Letters from Prison,” meanwhile, is a sketch of a detainee. The prisoner, a woman, has in her possession sheets of paper. Above her is an origami crane seemingly making its way out of her cell, flying past its metal bars.

    Fashioned in the editorial cartoon style, “1081” is Fernandez’s take on the infamous proclamation of the dictator, who some believe up to this day to have been a war hero despite strong evidence he faked his war exploits and medals.

    “BUKANG Liwayway” [photo]

    Detention, disappearances

    Also featured in the exhibit is the installation “Writings on the Wall.”

    A sliver of corridor behind one panel is flanked by black drapes. Inside the isolated space, fluorescent images are made visible by black lighting. Seen in the middle of one wall is a Pieta-like drawing with tally marks surrounding the central image, which can be viewed from a bench propped against the opposite wall. It is much like a dark room in that the process of developing photographs rightly alludes to the process of drumming the horrors of martial law in permanent memory.

    “ESPADA ni Damocles” [photo]

    Viewers facing each tally mark may empathize with the political prisoners, joining them as they count their days of incarceration and feeling their lives drift away with each line they draw. Ultimately, it is hoped that audiences will always bear in mind the gross number of political disappearances and deaths during the dictatorship.

    The installation that may seem literal to some actually enhances the aim of the exhibit: that the wool be removed from the eyes of Filipinos; that they literally be enlightened about that dark period in Philippine history.

    “The idea of forgetting is fearful but the distortion of history is even more abhorrent,” organizers said.

    And to drive home the point of the exhibition, the NCCA Gallery in its curatorial note further asks audiences: “Yet with the annual remembrances [of martial law], have they actually been effective warnings? The increasing number of millennials in social media choosing to exalt figures behind martial law while remaining practically ignorant of what actually transpired during the period of martial rule is telling. Has it all been one big case of message ‘not delivered’ or has this period in Philippine history been seenzoned?”

    “BILANGGO ng Konsensiya” [photo]

    “Sound of Silence: Remembering Martial Law” is on view at NCCA Gallery until Sept. 30. Call 5272192; e-mail


    Remembering is a moral act.



    Author and activist Alice Walker once observed that “poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution and the raising of consciousness.”

    That fervor animates theater actress Dolly de Leon and four other like-minded women activists—Zena Bernardo, Jozy Acosta-Nisperos, Jasmine Ong and Judith Albano—in their efforts to memorialize the horrors of martial law through theater in “Never Again: Voices of Martial Law,” a festival of nine one-act plays to be staged at Bantayog ng Mga Bayani Auditorium from Sept. 23 to Oct. 16.

    De Leon believes a live theatrical experience can be a powerful tool in educating or reminding the audience about the atrocities of the Marcos dictatorship, and why we shouldn’t allow historical revisionism.

    Nine plays

    There are six original plays exclusively written for this festival, and three that are being re-staged.

    The six original plays are Chris Martinez’s “Thingy Or Ang Pak na Pak Ganern na Ganern sa Pakikipagsapalaran ni Melenyo, D’ Great Pokemon Hunter” (directed by Dennis Marasigan); George de Jesus III’s “Disco 1081” (directed by Melvin Lee); Layeta Bucoy’s “Princess Lilli” (directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio); Alan Lopez’s “Sshhh” (directed by Jenny Jamora); Rody Vera’s “Indigo Child”; and Guelan Varela Luarca’s “Ang Lihim na Kasaysayan ng Huling Habilin ni Ferdinand Edralin Marcos (Spiritual King Solomon of Israel) Hinggil sa Pamanang Kayamanan ni King Bernardo Carpio at José Protacio Rizal Para sa Pagpapaunlad ng Bansang Pilipinas na Siyang Nalalaman ni Mang Ambo, Taxi Driver),” directed by Roobak Valle.

    To be restaged are “Loyalist Redux,” written and directed by Kanakan Balintagos; “Duyan Ka Ng Magiting,” written and directed by Erika Estacio; and Ramon Jocson’s 1989 Palanca-award-winning “Bulong-Bulongan sa Sangandaan,” directed by Audie Gemora.

    “Loyalist Redux” was part of this year’s Virgin Labfest, while “Duyan Ka Ng Magiting” had an initial run in February this year at Edsa People Power Experiential Museum. “Bulong-Bulongan” has had several runs since the 1990s.


    “It all started with the possibility of Marcos’ burial at Libingan ng mg Bayani,” says De Leon. “I created the petition against the burial addressed to President Duterte, the day he announced that he would push through with it. When the petition was mentioned in a news article, I saw Zena Bernardo’s name in the same article. She is the creator of the Facebook page ‘Never Again to Marcos Family and Their Cronies.’”

    De Leon met up with Bernardo during the Independence Day picnic at Bantayog, which was organized by Bernardo and three other ladies: Jozy Acosta-Nisperos, the creator of The Silent Majority blog; Jasmine Ong, a corporate marketing practitioner; and Judith Albano, an advertising practitioner.

    Together they formed the group Ladies Who Launch, which is producing “Never Again.”

    The initial plan was to raise funds for the upkeep of Bantayog ng Mga Bayani, a historic landmark in Quezon City a stone’s throw away from the corner of Edsa-Quezon Avenue MRT station and mostly known to call center agents as a small public park behind Eton Centris Business Center.

    For “Never Again,” Bernardo initially thought of staging monologues with martial law as the main theme. “From then the production evolved to what it is today: a collection of one-act plays,” says De Leon.

    ...A project like “Never Again” is important, he believes, to make sure people don’t forget—or history will just repeat itself.


    Great example of art as social history.



    The facts of Marcos’ violations of human rights and plunder and authoritarian rule are in effect not in dispute because they are well recognized in the explicit judicial record—at least 38 Supreme Court cases, apparently.

    The key to resolving the case on its merits appears to lie principally on finding an explicit relevant legal textual anchor for proscribing Marcos’ burial at the Cemetery of Heroes. In this regard, the merits of the case appear to be solidly in favor of the petitioners. In particular, it is well-argued by both the petitioners and their supporters on the Supreme Court bench—Justices Sereno, Leonen, Caguioa, and Carpio—that the following laws in combination bar Marcos’ burial at the cemetery:

    - Presidential Decree No. 105, signed January 29, 1973 declaring National Shrines “sacred” and “hallowed” places

    - Republic Act No. 10368, Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013

    - Relevant principles and policies in the 1987 Constitution

    - Entire tenor of the “anti-dictatorship” 1987 Constitution

    - Revised Administrative Code Section 14 about establishing National Shrines

    - International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN treaty to which the Philippines is a signatory.

    Relevant UN legal provisions, as follows:

    - Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, which was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on December 16, 2005

    - Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action to Combat Impunity, from the UN Commission on Human Rights Economic and Social Council

    1986 EDSA Revolution (not a law)—legal recognition, including that of the community of nations, of the “people power revolution” that deposed the Marcos government

    Applying Republic Act No. 289 to the case is not airtight because although it can be argued that the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) or Cemetery of Heroes is the successor in purpose and function of the National Pantheon described in RA 289, the National Pantheon described therein is not literally LNMB.

    begin Justices’ questions on RA 289 intended to settle whether or not the “national pantheon” referred to in the law is the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    Justice-in-charge Alfredo Caguioa raised the Solicitor General's argument that the site in RA 289 is distinct from the national shrine in Fort Bonifacio.

    He asked counsel Albay First District Representative Edcel Lagman to cite specific laws or issuances that link RA 289 to the Libingan. Lagman said that the hero's shrine is the “factual and logical” realization of the memorial envisioned in the law.

    Meanwhile, Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr said the law enacted on June 16, 1948 seems to be a “dead law” after its provisions failed to be implemented 68 years after it became state policy. There have been no public burial grounds built on East Avenue in Quezon City; a Board on National Pantheon has also not been organized, as provided by law.

    Justice Diosdado Peralta, for his part, said that if RA 289 refers to the Libingan, “shouldn't Congress have stated such?” end




    There is no culture of continuity in Philippine society through which the lessons learned by previous generations is transmitted to the next. Despite efforts such as this conference, every generation has had to start from zero all over again, past generations including my own having failed to reproduce their experience for the benefit of those who will come after them.

    It has often been said that there has been no serious effort at an accounting on the part of the governments that succeeded the Marcos dictatorship. No Truth Commission has been created, no special courts to look into the monumental crimes committed during the Marcos reign of terror. Part of the reason is the lack of any sustained public clamor for an accounting. But there is also the involvement of certain personalities of the political elite such as Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada–among dozens of others–in the Marcos government.

    I fear that one of the enduring legacies of martial law is its own repeatability. Authoritarian rule, including the undeclared kind, can happen again because too many Filipinos still don’t know what happened from 1972 to 1986, let alone why it happened. About the martial law period they have nothing to remember, and they wont know it when they see it.

    (Delivered at the “Memory, Truth-telling and the Pursuit of Justice: A Conference on the Legacies of the Marcos Dictatorship” held 20-22 September 1999 at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.)




    The graphic as first published also offered a version of history that managed to praise the dictator. “In 1986, Marcos stepped down from the presidency to avoid bloodshed during the uprising that came to be known as ‘People Power’.” This is the exact opposite of what transpired: Marcos did not try to avoid bloodshed. In fact, he called on the military to attack the mutineers and their civilian supporters on Edsa. Also, he did not step down, but was - in the chaos of a Palace surrounded by protesters and enveloped by panic, on the long night of February 25, 1986 - ousted.

    The second version of the graphic removed mention of avoiding bloodshed (perhaps because the video and documentary record is clear that Marcos gave orders to attack). But this attempt to airbrush history was caught and denounced.

    Finally, a third version was tried; the part about the declaration of martial law supposedly to suppress the communist insurgency, and the “stepping down” from the presidency were deleted.

    But the main problem persisted: The Official Gazette had failed to take the full measure of the Filipino politician characterised in law as an authoritarian leader whose regime was marked by thousands of extrajudicial killings, tens of thousands of human rights violations and the wholesale plunder of the economy. He was not the longest-serving president, but rather a dictator who grabbed power; it is not true that he “went to exile to the United States [sic],” he was SENT into exile by a popular uprising.

    Now why would the Official Gazette under an administration that seeks to remember the atrocities of the Americans in the Philippines a hundred years ago attempt to cover up the atrocities of the Marcos regime - when these happened only a generation ago?


    What really happened: the military deserted Marcos because they did not want to fire on civilians massed at EDSA. The air force also fired at Malacanang to warn Marcos of their power. Marcos decided to evacuate Malacanang, but because he could no longer rely on the Philippine Air Force, he asked the U.S. for transportation out of Malacanang. He asked to be flown to Ilocos Norte where he intended to conduct a civil war. The U.S. instead flew Marcos to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.

    Marcos was deposed because the military deserted him, and they did so because they did not want to fire on the people according to Marcos' orders. The 1986 People Power Revolution was therefore a genuine revolution, unique in that only one government soldier was killed, or so I recall.

    Marcos did not step down from power. He was deposed.

    Truthful lips endure forever, the lying tongue, for only a moment.--Proverbs 12:19

    Details of my post confirmed in this current CNN account, which is consistent with my recall of the events that I followed in real time international news coverage and that I studied in the voluminous documentation afterwards produced by the news media and the many witnesses who participated in this event:




    Finally, a third version of the caption was tried; the second paragraph on the declaration of martial law supposedly to suppress the communist insurgency and the third paragraph on “stepping down” from the presidency were deleted. The first paragraph was tweaked to include the following last sentence: “He was the longest-serving President of the country for almost 21 years, declaring Martial Law in 1972 then went to exile to the United States in 1986 at the height of the People Power Revolution.” And a new one-sentence paragraph was added: “He was succeeded by Corazon Cojuangco Aquino.”

    The third version managed to correct one error present in the two previous versions. Marcos started his first term as president in 1965, not 1966. (In those days, elections were held in November and presidential terms began on Rizal Day, Dec. 30.) But other infelicities remained. The main problem persisted, too: The Official Gazette had failed to take the full measure of the Filipino politician characterized in both law and jurisprudence as an authoritarian leader, whose regime was marked by thousands of extrajudicial killings, tens of thousands of human rights abuses and the wholesale plunder of the economy. The neutral-seeming language the Gazette chose to use is a clumsy way to clean up Marcos’ image: He was not the longest-serving President, but rather a dictator who kept his grip on power; it is not true that he “went to exile to the United States (sic),” he was SENT into exile, by a popular uprising.

    Now why would the Official Gazette under an administration that seeks to remember the atrocities of the Americans a hundred years ago attempt to cover up the atrocities of the Marcos regime—when these happened only a generation ago?


    Reason for historical revisionism is to prepare the ground for Bongbong's presidential campaign and generally for the political rehabilitation and return to power of the Marcos family, which Duterte considers political allies. Duterte is also an unscrupulous dictatorial personality who is looking for openings to subvert our democratic system.