Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 3, Number 36 October 12 - 18, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
�Walang Bakas� Makes a Mark
television special on state-sponsored abductions showed how those in power
silence persons who go against them, that the abductions go on, even after the
toppling of the Marcos dictatorship.
network�s teasers said it was the network�s most courageous documentary ever
non-traditional program at a time-slot when just about everybody wants to see
the usual old movie.
to its promise, �Walang Bakas,� (Without a Trace) a two-hour
documentary-drama shown over the network GMA 7 last Oct. 5, discussed the
dangerous lives of the people who have disappeared without a trace.
docu-drama presented the lives of four desaparecidos, a term that came
from Latin America referring to victims of involuntary disappearances and which
the Philippine militant movement has adopted. Each case occurred under a
different term, covering the Corazon Aquino presidency to the incumbent Gloria
cases depicted were those of:
historical presentation strongly suggested that even after the dictatorship of
President Ferdinand Marcos, the state continues to employ abductions � called
the worst form of human rights violation � to silence persons who go against
of the usual re-enactment found in public affairs shows, the producers of �Walang
Bakas� took effort to produce a good 15-minute drama for each story.
It was effective in showing the emotions of the characters.
It also satisfied the visual-hungry viewers who are used to tele-novelas
docu-drama made use of popular Filipino novelty songs as background to the
Aside from lightening the mood, it was a good and entertaining way to
present the ironies of life.
example, while everyone was dancing to the tune of �Spageti� (a
novelty song popularized by the dance group Sexbomb Girls), no one noticed a
Muslim being abducted for alleged involvement in the Davao bombing.
the biggest credit goes to the families of the desaparecidos who were not
afraid to come out and tell their story. They poured out their pain and their
tears despite the desire to keep their anguish to themselves.
narrated how desperate they became in their search for their loved ones. They
went to morgues and funeral parlors while some asked for help from spirit
desperation was especially vivid in the words uttered by Portajada�s wife: �kahit
mga taong grasa hindi ko pinapalagpas, nagbabaka-sakali akong isa sa kanila ang
asawa ko �(I would even look at vagrants in case one of them was my
children were also fearless in revealing their angst, as shown in a letter
written by Legaspi�s son: �Sabi ng mga kaibigan ko hindi ka naman daw
nawala, iniwanan mo lang kami para sumama sa ibang babae� (My
friends tell me you were not really abducted, that you just left us to live with
most importantly, the loss of their loved ones did not silence them. Rather, the
families of the victims of involuntary disappearances have found strength in
each other and continued hope that together they can attain justice.
GMA 7�s �Walang Bakas� succeeds in delivering a strong message of injustice, not only for the victims but more so for their families who carry the load of an unending trauma. Bulatlat.com