Solitary Confinement during the Dictatorship (Memoir of a Martial - TopicsExpress


Solitary Confinement during the Dictatorship (Memoir of a Martial Law Detainee) Whenever she spoke of these experiences, she would refer to them as her “Alma Mater” –for she was a graduate of Class 1081 and Alumna of ABCP University –Aguinaldo, Bonifacio, Crame and Panopio University, the four camps she had been taken to at various times during his detention. The arresting team was led by General Prospero Olivas of the Philippine Army in that gloomy day October 1973, almost a year after the declaration of Martial Law via Presidential Decree 1081. The soldiers search the whole of her house, and gathered all her house-help, a visiting nephew and his girlfriend, and nieces. Only one servant, Ernesto Tagari, an Ilocano who pretended to be just visiting and not really part of the household, was able to elude arrest. All the rest, including her, were carted away to Camp Panopio. After her interrogation at Camp Panopio, she was transferred to Camp Crame blindfolded by her captors and was hauled to an unknown vehicle. She tried to guess where they were heading by sensing the vehicle’s direction, but she soon got confused and gave up. When the vehicle stopped, they help her alight, but still with her blindfold on. They walked some distance, she felt that they entered in a room, a gate opened, and then once inside, they removed her blindfold. She looked around and found out that she was in a tiny cell of three (3) meters by three (3) meters floor area, which she later on measured by placing her foot one after the other. The room is barest of amenities - a cot or wire folding bed, comfort bowl and wash lavatory but electric fan ventilator is missing. When the door was bolted from the outside, she ran to a tiny window but all she could see was a barren field. She realized that a solitary confinement was imposed on her. The most frustrating part about solitary confinement was the helpless feeling of being wasted, of not being able to do anything – void of reading materials, radio, telephone, ray a sunlight and someone to lean on. As the martyred hero have said during his piece of solitary confinement, “When your chips are down, all alone and nobody at your side to value your seemingly worthless self, even you don’t believe in God, you have to create your own God. The heat in the inhumane cell was extremely roasting. The mosquitoes and other insects that bit her flew in through the unscreened window pestered and tortured her at night, resulting to hampered sleep. The monotony of her tormented days was broken only by the approach of her jailers as they pushed her food tray through a hole in the door. But even her situation became monotonously near to insanity, she devised ways and other means to let her brain cell keep functioning by doing some stretching and calisthenics suited to a dungeon like cell. Each morning, she dressed up as if she is going somewhere; and with her meager writing materials, she kept writing the authorities depicting her sorry state, her skin full of insect bites and red spots and the furnace like heat in due to the absence of electric ventilator. Getting no response, day by day, she gathered the insects from under his spring and wire cot and put them inside an envelope, then sent them to the authorities. She tried to communicate to air her predicament to guards and other jailers but they evade talking to her for they were muted by the Dictatorship. It was only after almost three months that screen was installed in his small window and electric fan was finally provided to cool her cell. Before her arrest, she had been scheduled for operation – a hysterectomy. So, she wrote the prison commandant about it. She hoped that they would confine her in St. Luke’s Hospital which is near her New Manila home. However, she was booked at the Veterans Memorial Hospital instead. From the time of her arrest in October 1973, no formal charges had been filed against her and the other political detainees. To protest this injustice, many movements sprang up from within and outside prison cell calling for International attention to their plight. Now Senator Sergio Osmena and Geny Lopez decided to stage a hunger strike that caught the attention both in the Philippines and abroad through their connections in media, and eventually, different countries denounced the bestiality of the Dictatorship. Jaime Cardinal Sin joined the in the demand for the release of political prisoners, together with former Senator Lorenzo Tanada, Jr. and Jake Almeda Lopez and other well-known personalities. She and about 1,000 political prisoners nationwide supported a mass celebrated by the good Cardinal in their behalf, and the event reverberated and splashed in major newspapers both in the Philippines and abroad. The Marcos Dictatorship was embarrassed momentarily, and the day finally came when *Charito Lim Planas and the others were released from the dreaded prison cells of Martial Law. * Born in 1931, she was thrust into the spotlight as a political and human rights activist during the Marcos administration. She participated in the Interim Batasang Pambansa election, joining the Lakas ng Bayan (Laban) party in Metro Manila on April 8, 1978 with Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. and activist Alex Boncayao. Laban ran against the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan ticket, led by then First Lady Imelda Marcos. She was jailed by President Ferdinand Marcos for his anti-government movement, but managed to escape with the help of some nuns. To avoid being tracked down, she sneaked into Malaysia then spent eight years in exile in America. Dr. Delmar Topinio Taclibon Reference: Escape! Charito Planas: Her Story, Chic Fortich, Copyright 1991 In the Image: The detainee with August 26 People’s Coalition Secretary General Delmar Topinio Taclibon, Bayan Muna Partylist Cong. Lisa Maza and DevNet Phil. Chairman/Citizens Crime Watch Secretary General Carlo Batalla Philippines
Posted on: Sun, 28 Sep 2014 11:26:09 +0000

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