Philippines: ‘We are in Great Pain’ — Missing Activist’s Family

Apr. 17, 2007


Just recently, on March 28, I gave 30 stems of red roses to my wife symbolizing our 30 years of marriage amidst arduous struggle for democracy. Through thick and thin, we have marched together, with our people, for 37 years in their fight for liberation.

Would this be about to come to an end? For last night (April 12), agents of the state under the Arroyo regime forcibly abducted my wife and Nilo Arado of BAYAN. They shot Leeboy Garachico of KARAPATAN, in the neck and left him for dead.

For all the sacrifices and dangers that my wife and I had gone through in our 15 years of struggle against the Marcos dictatorship, we came out much alive and active to fight again against the thinly-veiled dictatorship of the Arroyo regime. While the Marcos martial law regime was outright repressive, the Arroyo regime does not even have the guts to own up to its crime, going out of its way to deny any responsibility, denying even its responsibility as a recognized state to deliver justice to its citizens; even as it sets up its victims for abduction and passing the blame to its enemies for its dastardly act.

I am out rightly accusing the Arroyo regime and its hatchetmen of the crime of abduction of Maria Luisa Posa and Nilo Arado and the frustrated murder of Leeboy Garachico. Furthermore, from the pronouncements of Capt. Lowen Gil Marquez, I accuse the 301st Brigade of justifying for armed state attack the various progressive organizations and their leaders as exemplified by Marquez’s constant public vilification of them.

The regime has both motive and even provided unwitting evidence for its crime. We need not look further than the statements of the 301st Infantry Brigade spokesperson Capt. Marquez implicating as illegal adjuncts of the revolutionary Left the progressive organizations under BAYAN and BAYAN MUNA, Gabriela, Anak Pawis, and kabataan in Panay (being led by the victims) at every turn of his harangue. While this and every repressive act may even better the progressive party-lists’ chance at cornering a big chunk of the people’s votes, it also served to set up progressive mass leaders for slaughter in the hands of covert agents of the state. United Nation’s human Rights Council rapporteur even documented the Armed Forces Order of Battle against legal personalities and organizations of the Left under the aegis of the regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya II making them targets for elimination by the state.

At the very least, this regime is culpable of dereliction of duty and covering-up, allowing these criminal acts to run rampant with impunity. Already some 900 instances of disappearances, assassinations, massacre, have occurred in seven years of the Arroyo regime and no single conviction on perpetrators was ever accomplished. Only the convening of never-ending investigations that aim to falsely accuse the victims’ own group and whitewash the role of state agents as I am expecting to happen to the case of my wife and her companions.

Typical of these was Capt. Marquez denial of culpability, ridiculous claims of self-ambush by the victim’s own group and, by implication, branding as terrorist the victims themselves. All these redown to justifying the attack on the victims while whitewashing the state agents’ crime even before the authorities have started its own official investigations. Not only that he protests too much in such a suspicious manner but he also mouthed-off the standard alibi of those with bloody hands.

I am very sorry that I can’t personally attend to my wife’s and her companion’s cases. As much as it grieves me, I cannot allow the regime the satisfaction of rendering to me the same fate that they have inflicted on Luisa after branding me as a leader of the armed Left in their previous statements. But even at a distance, drawing renewed strength from Luisa’s example, I will quietly, painstakingly, arduously, relentlessly follow her path, much reddened by the blood of our martyrs.

I am very satisfied with the relentless and massive effort of Luisa’s organizations, families, and friends in the furtherance of her return and for justice wherever events may lead to even under the threat of fascist attack. I am sure that in the short or long run, we will succeed in letting justice prevail. For, after all, this is what all our life’s efforts (me and Luisa’s and a lot of other activists and leaders) amount to – a people that is conscious, organized, and powerful enough to exact justice and build peace.

Allow me to cry out that I am in great pain and my family, Luisa’s family, friends, and co-workers are in great anguish. Yet what strange solace we do get from realizing that such pain is but a drop in an ocean of the people’s oppression, exploitation, hunger, and hopelessness. What great inspiration we do derive in the thought that justice and peace could definitely be achieved if only we redouble our collective effort in realizing democracy. That only in the protracted struggle for liberation could we achieve our goals that are far more worthy than what we did and could lose – even our most loved ones, even ourselves. That justice for Luisa and Nilo could only be fully realized if justice for all state repression is achieved.

I will still be preparing 31 stems of very red roses next year, whatever the outcome of this case will be – that much is certain. A flood of red roses would also be offered next year and in the years to come for all our victims of repression and for our people. For an unending stretch of flower gardens had now been planted, in full bloom and dedicated to their cause. #

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