Scarred for Life

September 11

It was a full day, and I am eager to close my desk and call it a day. She was the last person on que. An elderly lady who deliberately took her time before approaching my desk. She was with another companion. Three of us left in the front-desk.

She handed over her affidavit of human rights violation. She did not say a word, but waited for me to ask her questions. I browsed over her written statement. Then proceeded with the question, “maari ninyo po bang ikwento ang nangyari sa inyo?…” to which she narrated: my siblings and I are inside our home when the military came, then began straffing bullets into our house. Immediately after the gun shots stopped, I saw my sister dead sprawled on the floor, and another sibling dead. The bullets marks can still be seen in my house until today. When I am finally awarded a bonafide gross human rights violations victim, I will show to the whole world what happened to my family.

She then went back to her story, “after the shots, the military took my brother and myself to the camp. I never saw my brother again from that fateful day. I was brought to the barracks. Then there…”pinagpasa-pasahan ako. Simula sa pinakamataas na opisyal hanggang sa pinakamababang sundalo…”

Watching her narrate her experience made me feel transported into the time and place where she was raped. Her face was full of anguish, her voice trembling, almost as if she was reliving the incident all over again. I could not dare to ask another question, lest I trigger another outburst from her…

Like a seasoned interrogator, I needed to ask one probing question- nakapag-asawa ho ba kayo kalaunan?  to which she answered, “paano ka makakapag-asawa kung bababuyin ka lang?”

And that ended my interview.

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You see, celebrating the birthday of Ferdinand E. Marcos is a self-serving law. It was never meant to help us, citizens, to regain the common good we all aspire for. It was meant to perpetuate in history the memory of a man whose evil and vile regime made thousands, like the woman in my story suffer from haunting, debilitating effects of their being victims of gross human rights violations.

#neverforget #NeverAgainToMartialLaw #mlchronicles