It’s now mid-2006, and the killings and abductions, as well as the AFP and Malacañang’s lies have yet to stop.
BY DEE AYROSO
In March 1989, Honor Ayroso, then a 21-year-old leader of the League of Filipino Students, was abducted. That week, nine other activists from Nueva Ecija also went missing. The 10 were supposed to hold a meeting in Mandaluyong in Metro Manila.
For days, Honor’s parents along with the families of the others abducted went the rounds of police stations and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters but were given the standard reply: “No, we don’t have them, no; we don’t know anything about them.”
After a week of lies and denials, Honor and his companions were surfaced and presented to the media by the military, their names attached to their corresponding “rank and position” as “cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army” who were bagged in a joint operation by elements of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), and the Capitol Regional Command of the Philippine Constabulary or Capcom (to be later renamed as the Philippine National Police or PNP).
It was then that Honor’s group, which came to be known as the “Pasig 10” were able recount their ordeal, of abduction and torture in an ISAFP safehouse. Torture included electrocution, “water cure”, aside from the usual karate chops and beatings.
Charges of illegal possession of a firearm and inciting to sedition were filed against the 10, which included activist leaders of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Nueva Ecija (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance), Alliance of Concerned Teachers and a health NGO. The Capcom claimed they found a gun in the house where the 10 were supposed to meet.
In March 1990, after a year in detention, a Pasig Regional Trial Court judge dismissed the case against the Pasig 10. The gun was obviously planted, said the judge.
Thirteen years later, on February 9, 2002, Honor and Johnny Orcino, a Bayan Muna activist-friend were abducted, this time in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija. It was my turn, as Honor’s wife, to search for him at the headquarters of the police and military, and listen to their denials and lies.
But this time, nobody owned up to the abduction and the two never surfaced.
A week before Honor and Johnny were abducted, two other Bayan Muna activists were also abducted in Aurora province, and in a manner which makes their abductors’ identity so obvious: an armored personnel carrier blocked their tricycle, after which their abductors forced them to transfer to a white van. The two are still missing
Johnny, a former officer of Bayan-Central Luzon, had his own share of military brutality in December 1990, when he and his wife were abducted from their home in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. Intelligence officers of the Phil. Constabulary took the couple to a safehouse where they underwent physical and psychological torture.
Given the military’s style, capability and motive to do harm to Honor and Johnny, we have no other suspect in the abduction but the military, this time, under Pres. Arroyo.
After Honor and Johnny went missing in 2002, Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Jose Mabanta claimed that there was a “second wave of purge” within the CPP, and that my husband and other victims of abductions and killings might have been done in by “their comrades.” The AFP went as far as digging up what they called a mass grave of victims of the CPP purges. For all we know, those could have been victims of the military.
It’s now 2006, and the killings and abductions, as well as the AFP and Malacañang’s lies have yet to stop. We are still hearing their stories of “purging” and “mass graves”, of assassination plots and CPP titles and for all we know, the tortured Erap supporter could have very ably tortured himself while in ISAFP captivity.