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40 years ago today mark the dark days of Philippine Martial law

Four decades ago just one decade short of a half century, marks the darkest days in the annals of Philippines history. The late strongman Ferdinand Marcos officially declared martial law that is akin to an open season for repression and silencing of his detractors. On that day thousands were rounded up mostly from the left and student activist and those of his political opponent to pave the way for the pillage and plunder running the country to the ground. All these unabated pillaging and plundering happened while the gullible public seems to see reality selectively gave him a thundering applause lauding his “New Society.”

One of those victims and one of the first to suffer at the hands of a despotic regime was Liliosa Hilao a bright promising young sickly student. The day they arrested her marks the start of the culture of impunity unleashing the barbarity of men in uniform out to please their master. Their master the dictator who to this day stays in a crypt in a state of limbo. No one seems to pay attention at the circus like manner he was preserved in a refrigerated frozen state when the Marcoses shows a picture of forever grieving Imeldific beside the frozen stiff one. All these drama that makes tele-novelas a run for their money  while the family thinks of ways on how they can hoodwink the people into buying him at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes Cemetery).

Words simply cannot describe the horrific rape and torture she was subjected to by people who acts worse than wild animals, this how Arkibong Bayan describes her case:

The case of Liliosa Hilao and the Hilao Family 

Liliosa Hilao was a sickly student whose frail body was wracked by regular asthma attacks.

However, she was strong of mind and convictions. In 1970, she joined the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK). She could hardly join rallies due to her poor health but she expressed her convictions in her writings as associate editor of the Hasik, the student paper at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, where she was a student in communication arts.

Despite her weaknesses, Liliosa (“Lilli”) was active in school. She graduated with honors in elementary and high school. She was features editor of her high school organ. In college, besides writing for Hasik, she was twice elected as student president of the communication arts department. She was a representative to the Pamantasan students’ central government. She served as secretary of the Women’s Club of Pamantasan, and organized the Communication Arts Club also in Pamantasan. She was also a member of the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines.

Lilli was abducted in 1973 by drunk soldiers who raided her family’s house. She was found dead the following day.

The soldiers, members of the Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), had come looking for her brother. Lilli had demanded a search warrant, and was slapped and her body mashed by the soldiers. Then she was handcuffed and taken in for questioning. A brother-in-law came to see her at the camp and found her face swollen. Lilli said she was tortured. The following day, Lilli’s sister Alice was called to the Camp Crame Station Hospital where she was told Lilli was in serious condition. Alice found Lilli dead.

The official CANU report was that Lilli committed suicide by drinking muriatic acid. But post-mortem findings confirmed her torture. Her face was severely swollen. Her lips bore burns from cigarette butts. She had 11 injection marks in her arms and deep handcuff marks on her wrists. Her torso was badly bruised with finger marks and gun-barrel marks. It is possible she was repeatedly abused sexually. Her brains and other internal organs were cut to pieces, soaked with muriatic acid.

Lilli died before she could graduate, but because she was a consistent scholar, Lilli was given posthumous honors (cum laude) and her seat kept vacant for her during the graduation ceremonies. Lilli’s was the first reported case of death under detention during martial law.

March 14, 1950
Place of Birth:
Bulan, Sorsogon
April 6, 1973
Place of Death:
Camp Crame, Quezon City

If they can do such horrific inhumane cruelty to a young sickly student Liliosa Hilao what more with others? It is this traumatic experience that made Amarylis "Marie" Hilao-Enriquez dedicates most of her life in seeking justice for the victims of martial law. To this day the very government that plunge the nation into its darkest crevices are the ones that tries to snatch the compensation out of the hands of the victims.

Perhaps people did not have a good appreciation of the gravity and inhumanity that once prevailed in the Philippines that it seems to revert back like a recurring nightmare when activist to this day are still imprisoned, abducted, tortured, killed, or worse disappeared leaving the family forever grieving without any closure as they are left in the dark.

The month of September should have been the month when  the nation’s leader  get reminded of the dark years of martial law courtesy of the frozen stiff one and yet they seem to revert back even further like a recurring canker sore.  The irony of ironies is to see the super majority in the senate with TG Guingona as the lone opposition in passing of the CyberCrime Prevention Act with the heinous criminalized Libel Law insidiously inserted by a proud plagiarist Senator Tito sotto. Sottomized clearly describes what this law is all about that indicates the juvenile mindset of the upper house of Lolong errrr senate that has no qualm appeasing their colleague allowing him to insert an obvious vindictive provision.  As if their action shameless action is not bad enough the president who was elected overwhelmingly due to his parents legacy of fighting for freedom unthinkingly signed the CyberCrime Prevention Act pronto as if he was in a shooting range having a contest on who can draw and shoot from the hip the fastest. Do we even wonder why the nation seems to be suffering from amnesia when our so-called leaders just can’t wait to silence their detractors even at the expense of bringing us back to the medieval times?
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