Moving on not so easy, says Martial Law victim

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2016 08:43 PM | Updated as of Aug 31 2016 09:22 PM

MANILA – Forgetting the abuses committed during the Martial Law period is not an easy thing to do, said a victim of human rights violation as he and several others attempt to block the planned burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery).

Several human rights victims recounted their ordeal before the country's high court on Wednesday, saying Marcos' interment in the revered grounds would be a "mockery" of the country's struggle against authoritarian rule.

One of them was Felix Dalisay, who said Filipinos who approve of Marcos' burial must learn about the victims' experiences.

''Sa totoo lang, maraming nagsasabi na 'forget about the past, ilibing na natin iyan dyan.' Sa aming mga naging biktima, hindi ganoong kadali iyon,'' Dalisay said during the Supreme Court's oral arguments on the petitions against the burial.

(Many are saying that we should forget about the past and allow Marcos' burial. To us victims, that does not come easy.)

''Ang trauma hanggang ngayon dala-dala namin. Naaawa kami sa sarili namin."

(The trauma is still there. We pity ourselves.)

For many victims of human rights violations, old wounds were reopened after President Rodrigo Duterte stood by his campaign promise to allow Marcos' burial at the cemetery, which had been set on September 18. 

One of the more prominent petitioners was former human rights commissioner Loretta Rosales, who said she was raped and tortured by soldiers.

"For 24 hours [there was] continuing torture -- no sleeping, eating. After the electric shock, I was traumatized physically I could not control my tremor. I pretended I was dying,'' Rosales said.

Another rape and torture victim, Hilda Narciso, said she and her fellow petitioners were actually luckier compared to those who did not get to live after suffering in the hands of the military.

''They handcuffed me and then a lot of hands were all over my body. They also put their penises one a time on my mouth, finger my vagina, and all that for several hours,'' Narciso said.

"I kept on asking them, do you have daughters, mothers, or wives? What if you did this to them, how would you feel?" she recounted asking her tormentors.

''I felt bad about it because they were doing this to a lot of women. I'm lucky I'm alive."

Trinidad Herrera, an urban poor leader during the Marcos era, said the wounds left by her torture and incarceration during the Martial Law period have never healed.

''Nang ako ay medyo may edad na, nararamdaman ko na ang pagpapahirap, yung pagpukpok sa likod,'' said the 75-year-old Hererra.

(Now that I have aged, I can now feel the effects of torture, especially the hitting of my back.)

''Sabi nila pampalakas daw iyon, pero masakit po talaga. Hanggang ngayon nararamdaman ko."

(My captors said it would make me stronger, but it was really painful. Until now I can still feel it.)

A hero's burial will mark a high point in the Marcos family's political comeback, which was severely set back by the narrow loss of former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in the vice presidential elections last May.

The late dictator's body was returned to the Philippines in 1993, four years after he died in exile in Hawaii. He was overthrown by a military-backed popular revolt in 1986.