Sunday, October 11, 2015

Today in Marinduque History: 30th Anniversary, "Kami'y Binilad sa Lupac"

Gina O. Reyes at Karahasan sa Lupac, 1985
“I never expected that in this modern age of law and reason, there are still people who are minded to dealing others with uncivilized and inhuman treatments. As I go around the province these last few days people keep asking me if there is a possibility of changing the name of Lupac to Little Tokyo because what happened thereat poses to them a grim reminder of the brutalities during the Japanese occupation. This is worse they said because the atrocity was committed not by the Japanese but by Filipinos against Filipinos." - former Governor Aristeo M. Lecaroz, 1985


Unang naging usap-usapan sa Marinduque ang pangalang "GINA O. REYES" noong 1985. Ayon sa mga dokumentong hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay pinakatago-tago ng ilan nating mga kababayan, yung tipong may pagkiling sa kasaysayan, nagulantang ang tahimik na lalawigan ng mga panahong iyon dahil sa sinapit ng ilang mga taga-barangay Lupac sa bayan ng Boac. Nangyari ito - ayon sa mga biktima, mga saksi, mga dokumento, at pahayag ng mga opisyal ng pamahalaan at mga grupong pang-sibiko - sa ilalim ng kamay ng mga taong dumusta at umapi sa kanilang pagkatao, kasama na nga si "Gina O. Reyes", abogada.

Sumigaw ng  No to ‘Human Rights Violation!’ ang ilang samahan ng mga edukadong mamamayan noon tulad ng BOAC ORGANIZATION OF AWARE AND CONCERNED CITIZENS (B.O.A.C.) na ayon sa mga dokumento ay pinangunahan nina Ricardo G. Nepomuceno, Jr., Antonio E. Barroro, Romulo Sto. Domingo, Salvador Larracas, Rey Cerezo at Boy Santiago.

Ang sabi ng mga ito ayon sa mga nakalap na dokumento ay ganito: “Ang pangyayari sa Lupac ay dapat na magpamulat sa mga mamamayan ng Marinduque: ang Kalayaan at karapatan ay di dapat ipagwalang bahala… At tanging ang mamamamayan ang dapat kumilos upang ang mga ito ay galangin at bigyang halaga.”

Ayon din sa kanila, ang pangyayari sa Lupac “kung saan ang ating mga kapatid ay DINUSTA at INAPI, kung saan ang kanilang karapatang pantao (Human Rights) ay nilapastangan…” ay patuloy na magaganap “maliban na lamang kung ang sambayanan ay isisigaw at isasambulat ang kanilang poot na damdamin…”

Dahil sa pangyayari nabanggit, isang grupong pang-simbahan, ang CONCERNED CATHOLICS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE (CCJP), ay nagpahatid rin ng kanilang panawagan, “…nananawagan kami na tayo ay magkaisa sa pagtataguyod at pagtatanggol sa ating mga karapatan (Vigilance is the price of Liberty)… at ipaalam ang kanilang responsibilidad: “…ang Simbahan ay may karapatan at may tungkulin na ipahayag sa antas ng lipunan, bansa at daigdig ang katarungan at isumpa ang mga gawaing di makatarungan…”

Sa paglahad ng pangyayari sa Barangay Lupac, Oktubre 11, 1985 na naganap “sa malaking bahay na bato sa Lupac na pag-aari ni Delegada Carmencita O. Reyes” ay nailahad ng CCJP na ito “ay isang pangyayaring ni sa panaginip ay hindi dapat naganap sa ating hugis-pusong lalawigan”.

ANO ANG MGA KARAHASANG NAGANAP SA LUPAC?

Ayon sa mga tala, ang malagim na pangyayari ay kinasangkutan ng pagpasok at paghalughog sa mga bahay ng biktima sa gitna ng gabi kahit walang ‘search warrant’ “o ni kasamang isa mang authoridad”. Ayon din sa mga tala, naganap din ang paglulublob sa dagat ng makailang ulit ng isang 14 na taong gulang na bata, pananampal, pagsuntok, pagtadyak, pagpalo ng puluhan ng baril sa balikat ng iba pang biktima. May isa pang “kinarati at sinakal”.

“…Hindi pa nasiyahan ay ibinilad mula 10:00 ng umaga hanggang alas 3:00 ng hapon sa arawan sa tabi ng aplaya”. (Tala ng CCJP)

Matapos ito, ikinulong sila ng mahigit sa apat na araw: “… ang mga katulong sa malaking bahay at iba pang hindi nabanggit ay nakakulong pa sa komandansya simula pa noong Linggo na sa sandaling ito ay may apat na araw na o 96 oras na ngayon…”

Isa pang grupo, ang NABABAHALANG MAMAMAYAN NG MARINDUKE, ang naglahad ng ilang katanungan dahil sa pangyayari:  Mga inilahad na tanong nila:: "1. Tayo ba’y nabubuhay sa isang bansang DEMOCRACY O DEMO-CRAZY namay JUSTICE O JUST-TIIS?"; 2. Binigyang-pansin ba naman ng mga kinauukulan ang mga hinaing at sakit ng mga biktima?; 3. Ito ba’y simula ng ating pagpapabaya para ito’y lalong lumala?; 4. Ang hangad ba natin ay kalayaan o karahasan?”

 About the Lupac incident, then Governor Aristeo M. Lecaroz, member of the ruling party Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), delivered a speech some two weeks later, on October 29, 1985. Excerpts from his speech follows:

                “I never expected that in this modern age of law and reason, there are still people who are minded to dealing others with uncivilized and inhuman treatments. As I go around the province these last few days people keep asking me if there is a possibility of changing the name of Lupac to Little Tokyo because what happened thereat poses to them a grim reminder of the brutalities during the Japanese occupation. This is worse they said because the atrocity was committed not by the Japanese but by Filipinos against Filipinos.

               " The joke is now on us, my friends. Everywhere in Marinduque, Filipino humor has taken over and people have now injected a different meaning to our party, the KBL. They say it no longer means Kilusang Bagong Lipunan but “KAMI’Y BINABAD SA LUPAC”, ‘KAMI’Y BINILAD SA LUPAC” and phrases of such kind. It is a crying shame for us who belong to the KBL to be witnesses to the crumbling of such a household name in just a day, after all the years we have dedicated and devoted to keep it strong, credible and progressive.

                "But I assure you that there are groups of men who are decided in seeing to it that the untarnished truth is preserved. Efforts are now underway to perpetuate the truth. In due time, this will be made available and open to public scrutiny, despite the apparent efforts to the contrary of certain quarters to kill these truths.

               " Also, you and the public can be sure that no pressure of any kind from my Office or whatsoever source was exerted upon the affiants. Their narrations are purely voluntary and spontaneous and beyond question as to their veracity and motivations.”

“KAMI’Y BINILAD SA LUPAC”

Full text of Lecaroz’ speech is reproduced below (Lecaroz remains active today as a member of local socio-civic organizations engaged in the uplift of less fortunate Marinduquenos). It is one of the most eloquent and moving speeches I've ever read on a matter that pertains to atrocity committed against some people in the province. 

This a story, he said then, that "has been the continuing topic of discussions, jokes and condemnations province-wide, among the young and the olds, students, teachers and professionals, the lettered and illiterates, among men of goodwill and cynics alike, voters and non-voters.."
Former Governor Aristeo M. Lecaroz of Marinduque
"SPEECH OF GOVERNOR ARISTEO M. LECAROZ PRESENTED BEFORE THE MEMBERS OF THE SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN IN THE REGULAR SESSION ON OCTOBER 28, 1985.

                Sometime ago last week, a group of concerned and affected citizens made it their priority to see me. They had a story to tell me. And it is their express desire that I handle the matter concerned to its logical conclusion. After all, it is the sworn duty of my Office as Chief Executive of this province, to see to it that all laws are implemented with justice and equality in every nook and corner of our jurisdiction. I also consider it my sacred duty to ascertain that our constituents are accorded equal protection of the law at all times, irrespective of political affiliations and consideration.

                The story they narrated to me is now well known to each one of you, I am sure. It has been the continuing topic of discussions, jokes and condemnations province-wide, among the young and the old, students, teachers and professionals, the lettered and illiterates, among men of goodwill and cynics alike, voters and non-voters, etcetera.

                I am referring to none other than the infamous incidents at Lupac, Boac, where an alleged robbery took place in the house of Assemblywoman Carmencita O. Reyes sometime between October 11-12, 1985.

                The incident actually consists of two (2) phases. Phase I started in the morning until late afternoon of October 13, 1985 at Lupac.

                I shall refrain from dealing in detail with the facts and happenings that transpired under Phase I, lest my political opponents in the KBL accuse me of political gimmickry and witchhunting at the expense of truth and justice. Nor will I name names for the same reason.

                Suffice it for me to state here and now that I am deeply pained and saddened by what transpired during Phase I at Lupac. I never expected that in this modern age of law and reason, there are still people who are minded to dealing others with uncivilized and inhuman treatments. As I go around the province these last few days people keep asking me if there is a possibility of changing the name of Lupac to Little Tokyo because what happened thereat poses to them a grim reminder of the brutalities during the Japanese occupation. This is worse they said because the atrocity was committed not by the Japanese but by Filipinos against Filipinos.

                The joke is now on us, my friends. Everywhere in Marinduque, Filipino humor has taken over and people have now injected a different meaning to our party, the KBL. They say it no longer means Kilusang Bagong Lipunan but “KAMI’Y BINABAD SA LUPAC”, ‘KAMI’Y BINILAD SA LUPAC” and phrases of such kind. It is a crying shame for us who belong to the KBL to be witnesses to the crumbling of such a household name in just a day, after all the years we have dedicated and devoted to keep it strong, credible and progressive.

                But I assure you that there are groups of men who are decided in seeing to it that the untarnished truth is preserved. Efforts are now underway to perpetuate the truth. In due time, this will be made available and open to public scrutiny, despite the apparent efforts to the contrary of certain quarters to kill these truths.

                Also, you and the public can be sure that no pressure of any kind from my Office or whatsoever source was exerted upon the affiants. Their narrations are purely voluntary and spontaneous and beyond question as to their veracity and motivations.

                The real reason why I relinquished the chair and took the floor for the time being today is to focus our individual and collective attentions to Phase II of the Lupac incident.

                In the late afternoon of October 13, 1985, the group being held at Lupac were then turned-over to the PC Headquarters for investigation.

                Some of the group were released only after being detained for more than 60 hours on end, while the rest were released only in the afternoon of their 4th day of detention. Aside from this group, others from Lupac were also herded to the PC Headquarters for investigation. 

                Interesting and curious things happened to these people while in PC custody. Consider:

-       Those turned over in the afternoon of October 13, suffered hunger and inconvenience till the following day; .  All were custodially investigated in connection with the alleged robbery without being informed of their constitutional right to remain silent and to the presence and assistance of counsel of their choice in case they opt to give any statement; on the contrary, they were being required to affix their signatures on certain documents on the threat that they will not be released until they sign the same;

-     No criminal complaint based on any evidence was filed against them during the material periods of limitation, to justify their prolonged detention;

-     At least one among them was physically injured with fist blows and another subjected to electric shock torture in order to extract confessions from them on the alleged crime. Even very young children were included in the group.

                All these acts of the military are in evident violation of the human, legal and constitutional rights of the victim in such cases, and results in the unnecessary degradations and humiliation of these poor people before their fellowmen, oppressive and high-handed.

                To the poor and unlettered whose good names and simple aspiration in life are the only wealth they consider their own, such abuse they encountered at the hands of the military opens the door to a sneaking senselessness of being law-abiding citizens. It gives them a basis for concluding that they are no entities under the law – that the laws were made only to favor the rich and to grind the poor. A dismal feeling of hopelessness is created that ultimately erodes their confidence in the government and law-enforcement agencies who are supposed to implement the law impartially, without fear or favor.

                I have firmly resolved on my own to bring to your attention the challenge posed by these abuses against our legitimate authority, our mettle, our efficacy and our grit as the duly elected leaders of our constituency. The raging question that stores us directly in the eye as real men is: Shall we act in the defense of our people or do we abandon them in times of crisis when their rights and safety are trampled upon and in danger? Shall we allow ourselves to be guided by selfish political inclinations or by our sworn duty to defend and support the constitution as imposed upon us under Sec. 4, Art. XV thereof. Shall we turn our backs against the constitutional grant in our favor of supremacy of civilian authority over the military under Sec. 8, Art. 11 of the constitution? Is it not high time for us to assume these constitutional duty and grant of superior authority in favor of our people, now that the military has slapped us across our faces because they think they can always hide behind the barrel of the gun?

                Let no one ever under-estimate the courage and intelligence of Marinduquenos. As long as we have faith in the belief that reason and justice are more powerful than the gun, there is no reason why we should not prevail in our quest against all kinds of abuses.

              To run away in retreat would be unmitigated cowardice under pressure and we would cease to be entitled to receive any salary from our tax-paying people, the victims of the abuse included, because of a plain and patent dereliction of duty on our part which we owe to our people who expect so much from us in times of evil like this.

                In councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military, or any group for that matter, at the expense of our liberties, because the potential for a disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist, unless we stand on the way.

             Let me caution you my friends that unless we condemn, resist and emphatically show our displeasure against the abuses we are discussing now in the strongest possible terms, we shall remain to be continuing victims of oppression from all quarters, because of our timidity and acquiescence by silence.

                It is, therefore, clear that our rights, liberties and freedoms are not enough. Without eternal vigilance on our part, all the liberties we hold sacred will be swept out to sea by the tide of tyranny and despotism.Indeed, those who expect to reap the blessings of right and freedom must bear the fatigue of supporting it, like true men. If we fail to act now in the face of these transgressions, it would be like denying these same freedoms to others while claiming them for ourselves. As Abraham Lincoln had warned: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not”.

                It is unfortunate that the civil rights of our people were violated in the name of law and order. But it would be doubly tragic and unfortunate if we sit back in silence and allow this to pass unrebuked, also in the name of law and order. Let us not forget that peace without justice is a tyranny, like in communist countries, where peace is equated with the silence of the grave. We don’t want that kind of peace, do we?

                As long as I am the Governor of this province, I will not and cannot allow it to be said that I have consented to a reign of terror, fear and oppression in my time. For all intents and purposes, this provincial capitol building is one which I consider founded on the principles of peace, freedom and justice.

                As this provincial capitol housing this Session Hall where we are now, stands side by side with Camp Col. Maximo Abad, let us remind the military personnel occupying the camp that Maximo Abad was a patriot beloved by Marinduquenos and the celebrated hero of the Battle of Pulang Lupa who fought for democracy and independence, and that the use of this camp for arbitrary detention and torture, is a desecration of his memory and an unacceptable insult to the intelligence and sensibilities of the people of Marinduque.

                I therefore propose that we pass a resolution condemning the military abuse in question and take all necessary action in the premises against such abuses, with the aim in view of galvanizing public opinion against the same and prevent a repetition thereof in the future by continuing vigilance on our part."


Sasahan sa Barangay Lupac, Boac, Marinduque

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