(For 2013 Mother’s Day celebration, http://philippinehistory.ph opts to honor the mothers of Martial Law heroes and martyrs. These mothers had helped us survive Martial Law period that goes down as one of the darkest sagas in the country’s history.)
The fruit does not fall far from the tree. Martial Law heroes and martyrs have mothers whose political beliefs and personalities may differ from their children but whose virtues and guidance have made them to be the upright and principled Filipino citizens they ought to be.
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Pargas Rosales, endearingly called Etta in the education and human rights communities, got her feisty personality from her mother Angelita Peredo. Married to Navy Commodore Rafael Pargas, she raised her children by herself as an insurance sales person when she was widowed.
Twice incarcerated in 1972 and 1976, Etta’s harrowing experience of torture and abuse in military safehouses before being brought to Camp Crame was halted when her mother summoned heaven and earth to save her daughter. Her being married to a military intelligence officer had somehow helped. Etta’s whereabouts were traced; she was saved in the nick of time.
Her mother’s courage and resourcefulness were put to test once again when Etta’s younger sister Maria Cristina Pargas Bawagan, also a teacher, was imprisoned in 1981. Demure and soft-spoken Tina was finally released after her mother’s knocking on doors of military officials, one is an uncle who was with the National Intelligence Security Authority.
She had connections she can seek help for her daughters’ welfare. She was able to have a direct line with then General Fidel Ramos. Ramos was once again asked for help for the release of Tina’s would-be husband Ishmael Quimpo Jr. Exasperated, the General asked the mother: “Who is it this time?”
Freed at last from Camp Olivas in Pampanga after one month in captivity, Tina’s ecstatic mother, with Etta’s two high school daughters in tow, drove her back to the camp to get her clothes and things back. Only to find out a great surprise of her life: Tina will be imprisoned again! Camp Commander Vicente Eduardo cited then President Ferdinand Marcos’ signed Presidential Order of Commitment that binds political prisoners to indefinite detention.
Hell hath fury like a mother scorned. Etta’s and Tina’s mother told the Camp Commander: “No, I will not leave my daughter until she is released!” Tina remembers that their mother had been arguing with the military official endlessly for almost the whole day. Etta’s daughters also stood by their aunt’s side holding both of her hands tightly.
Commander Eduardo must have pitied the sight of Tina and her nieces seated on a sofa holding on to each other and their mother’s bravado who finally warned: “Don’t let me call the President. I have a direct hotline to Marcos.”
Tina was released again the same day. On their way home, Tina asked her mother: “Ma, do you really have a hotline to Marcos?” To which her mother replied: “Nah, that was only a bluff.”
The mother had been leading the Catholic Women’s League in political rallies that call for the ouster of Marcos eventually. It was not only the call of the times. She is a mother imbuing the virtues of courage, tenacity and patriotism.
Tina describes their mother as a woman who laughed loudly and who danced gracefully. “She loved the tango,” Tina recalls her mother’s last few years spending her time with the family. She died at 81 years old.
(More stories about mothers of Martial Law heroes and martyrs coming up.)-Gloria Esguerra Melencio
Celebrating its 26th anniversary, the Commission on Human Rights reported that 859 human rights cases have been filed on behalf of 886 victims from 2010-2013. In her Ulat ng Bayan on PTV4 last Friday, CHR Chair Etta Rosales said there has been a marked reduction in the number of cases and victims of enforced disappearances reported to the CHR.
Rosales cited notable cases where her office rendered CHR’s protection services. One is the Jonas Burgos case where CHR identified Army Intelligence Officer Harry Baliaga, Jr. as the one who led in the abduction of Jonas Burgos, son of journalist Jose Burgos and former teacher Edita Burgos, in 2007. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals ruling directed CHR to continue investigating the case.
Both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police were put to task for failure to cooperate fully with the CHR. In a statement earlier issued, Rosales said: “ Unfortunately, by failing to fully cooperate with the CHR investigation team, to the extent of denying the team access to vital documents, the AFP has failed to comply with its duties.”
This has prompted the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to offer its help to CHR related to the Jonas case last Friday. CIDG Acting Director Francisco Uyami has sought an appointment with the CHR Chair to discuss details on the matter.
In Leonard Co case, the CHR released a resolution finding the Philippine Army under IHL command responsibility liable on the killing of the scientist.
The CHR likewise documented, investigated and monitored for actions the Tampakan case where pregnant Jovy Capion and her children were murdered. The Xstrata-SMI mining company in this B’laan area in Davao del Sur has been investigated.
Rosales also reported a marked reduction in the number of cases and victims of extrajudicial killing reported to the CHR. From 140 cases in 2010, it dropped to 80 in 2013. Likewise, there has been a significant drop in the number of reported cases and victims of torture and other forms of ill-treatment. From 50 cases in 2010, it was reduced to 40 in 2013.
HINDI na nakagugulat ang dagsa-dagsang paglilipat-bakod ng mga pulitiko sa Partido Liberal. Sa isang kisapmata naging mayorya ang partidong ito sa Kongreso dahil ito ang partido ng nanalong pangulo ng Pilipinas.
Ganito ang kalakaran sa sawimpalad nating bansa dahil wala naman kasing tunay na prinsipyo ang nangungunang mga partidong pulitikal. Pwede silang magpapalit-palit ng kulay gaya ng hunyango o chameleon depende sa kapaligiran o kung saan sila makikinabang.
Kaya ’yung dating mga tuta at tagapagtanggol ng dating presidente e biglang lumipat at kumakahol ngayon depende sa kumpas ng bagong amo. Kaya ’yung mga pulitikong walang kahihiyang nagsayaw ng Cha-cha para kay Aling Gloring e walang kahihiyan ngayong nangangakong sosoplahin ang panukalang Cha-cha ng dating pangulo na ngayo’y kasama na nilang nakatira sa Bahay ng mga Kinatawan.
Nakakapanindig-balahibo ang kakapalan ng mukha ng mga pulitikong palipat-lipat at papalit-palit kahit walang malinaw na dahilan kundi sariling kaligtasan o ganansya. Alam kasi nilang hindi mapuputol ang dating ng kanilang pork barrel kung kakampi nila ang namimigay nito. Alam na nila kung sino sila.
Ang kabilang dulo ng mga partidong “mainstream” e ang ilang makakaliwang partido na may tendensyang maging “sectarian” naman o panatikong sarado. Isang halimbawa ang ginagawang pag-atake ng isang grupong makakaliwa sa dating kakamping sina Etta Rosales at Risa Hontiveros dahil lamang kakaiba ang bersyon nila ng pagiging “kaliwa.”
Nanghihinayang ako at hindi nakapasok sa Senado sina Hontiveros, Ka Satur Ocampo at Lisa Maza dahil nagkaroon sana ng kinatawan ang kaliwa kung nakapasok sila. Sigurado namang hindi magbabago ang sistema ng pamahalaan kung naroon sila pero nagkaroon sana ng boses ang masa kahit mahina.
Nakalulungkot ding makita na hindi na nga solido ang kaliwa, personal pa kung magbanatan sila sa publiko. Sino ang maniniwala, halimbawa, na kakampi ng human rights violators si Etta Rosales at hindi siya bagay ilagay sa Commission on Human Rights? Sino ba ang tingin nilang bagay sa CHR? Hindi ba dapat silang matuwa na ang “burgis” na pamahalaang ito e handang humirang ng mga taong galing sa kaliwa at sa gayon ay mapalawak ang larangan para sa tinatawag nilang rebolusyon?
Ito rin ang linya nila nang akusahan si Hontiveros ng pakikipagkaisa sa mga berdugo ng bayan at mga panginoong maylupa noong panahon ng kampanya; ginagawa nila iyon habang ipinagtatanggol nila ang isa ring panginoong maylupa at inaakusahan ng corruption na si Manny Villar.
Hindi ba sila pwedeng maging masaya para sa mga hindi nga nila kakampi pero nagmamalasakit din sa bayan at pinapayagan ng administrasyon na magsilbi?
Ang totoo nga niyan baka hindi rin magtagal sa pwesto ang mga kagaya ni Etta tulad ng nangyari sa mga Leftists na itinalaga ni Tita Cory sa gabinete niya noong katatayo pa lamang ng kanyang “revolutionary” government.