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General Ver's daughter attends screening of martial law docu '11,103' in New York

Don Tagala | TFC News New York

Posted at Oct 01 2022 04:35 PM

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There is an underlying message that the martial law documentary called '11,103' is trying to tell its viewers.

That's according to Attorney Robert Swift, the lead counsel to a class action lawsuit against the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Swift, who has tirelessly tracked down and recovered some of Marcos' hidden wealth, was a speaker at a recent screening of '11,103' in New York City.

"A magnificent memorial piece. The underlying theme was that we will forget unless we strive to make some memory of what actually happened and if we document it well," Swift said.

11,103 is the exact number of Filipino victims of human rights abuses who were compensated with Marcos' ill-gotten wealth recovered from a Swiss bank.

In 2013, then-Philippine president Benigno Aquino III signed a landmark bill that recognized martial law victims. That law is now the basis for compensating the victims with recovered Marcos assets.

'11,103' tells the real-life stories of victims, and features their testimonies of what really happened during the brutal era.

Part of a post viewing panel discussion was Wanna Ver, the daughter of General Fabian Ver who was the most powerful military man during the dictatorship.

Ms. Ver said she wanted answers so she dug into her family’s past.

"Because I couldn't find the research data that I was looking for, I enrolled in an investigative journalism program in Sweden so that I could have the skills to mine the data myself and I interviewed a number of martial law survivors and I recognized that my anxiety and pain is not even a fraction close to all these thousands of people have endured," she shared.

A big question in her mind, she added, was whether the martial law era was supposedly the Philippines' golden age or was it the darkest chapter of the country's history?  

"I'm still understanding, trying to seek understanding, but one thing at least I can say is that this happened, that this is not a form of propaganda to tarnish a name. It’s not leftist musings. It happened and reckoning is uncomfortable."

For community leaders, Ver's acknowledgment of her dad's and Marcos' actions was necessary to get to the collective truth.

"I will really, really thank Wanna for what she has done, for coming forward because it's one thing for me to walk around NYC showing Marcos buildings... It will not change things. It will reinforce your anger at what the Marcoses did, but it will not combat disinformation. It will not make the truth easier to accept until you have a daughter of Fabian coming forward and saying I'm willing to accept that truth," former Philippine Commission on Good Government commissioner Ruben Carranza noted.

Meanwhile, New York Attorney Lara Gregory believes, "that acknowledgment that that happened or are part, or family's part in hurting the Filipinos who lived during the time, that is just going to be powerful."

Anti-Marcos activists vow to never forget the abuses and to keep on chanting, even if they are being silenced, so that the younger generation is aware of this dark chapter of the Philippines' past.