Peace Advocates For Truth, Healing & Justice

What is PATH?
Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing & Justice (PATH) was formally organized in 2002, pioneering in its focus on human rights violations by a non-state armed group. Composed of torture survivors, families, relatives and friends of victims missing or executed during the anti-infiltration campaigns within the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) in the 1980s, PATH seeks truth and justice from the CPP-NPA and other Left blocs involved in the anti-infiltration campaigns. PATH believes that all non-state armed groups, including those not from the Left movement, should observe human rights in the conduct of their resistance against the State. Ultimately, PATH holds the State accountable as well for the purges, and for military atrocities during martial law and throughout successive administrations.
Goals & Objectives
PATH's goals and objectives are as follows:
  • 1. Complete the documents of the cases of all victims during the purges and all those involved.
  • 2. Organize a national community of human rights defenders and advocates composed of survivors, families, relatives and friends of victims during the purges.
  • 3. Facilitate the healing of survivors as well as the families, relatives and friends of purge victims.
  • 4. Conduct exhumations so that victims are given due respect and proper burial.
  • 5. Conduct a comprehensive advocacy work. Its main components will be public information and campaign, solidarity-building and lobbying at the local, national and international levels.
  • 6. Deepen and popularize the culture of human rights through artistic and popular education, productions and other cultural endeavors.
  • 7. Come up with case studies of country experiences on the setting up of Truth and Justice Commissions and strive for the creation of a Truth and Justice Commission in the country together with other human rights organizations and individual human rights advocates.
  • 7 Committees
  • Research & Documentation. Documents stories and produces a database of victims in aid of locating burial sites; conducts research to surface facts and circumstances of the purges; publishes materials as tools for justice campaigns; ensures confidentiality and security of records and files.
  • Recovery of Victims' Remains. In cooperation with the victims' kin, locates gravesites, retrieves the remains and arranges their proper burial; mobilizes the services of forensic experts and other professionals; initiates dialogues with the victims' families as well as with perpetrators.
  • Counseling & Therapy. Facilitates healing sessions that address the long-term trauma of surivivors and victims families; mobilizes professionals in the fields of psychology and psychiatry; builds support groups for victims and their families towards eventual closure.
  • Communications & Popular Education. Develops education programs, including theoretical materials and tools for reflection, that revolve around human rights and respect for human dignity; holds commemoration activities and builds memorials for the victims; develops external communications through publications and mass media.
  • Legal & Security. Leads in the initiation and pursuance of legal actions for victims; assist in the handling and protection of material evidence in coordination with the RVR Committee; conducts research on the possibilities of a Truth Commission; studies the implications of PATH's work on the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the CPP-NPA-NDF; and ensures lines with established institutions that will help strengthen PATH;
  • Arts & Culture. Produces musical compositions, literary works, plays, video documentaries, films, and other cultural works from the stories of survivors and victims.
  • Organizing & Advocacy. Reaches out to survivors and victims' families in different regions and encourages solidarity in their journey towards justice and healing.
  • Comments
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    Monday, October 30, 2006
    an offering

    This All Souls Day Let us offer a prayer for victims of political killings and purges.

    PATH asks of you to light up a candle in their memory so their souls may rest in peace and find justice.

    Thank you Very Much

    posted by PATH @ 10/30/2006 05:18:00 PM   0 comments
    Friday, October 27, 2006
    Alleged pic of Luz Aniasco

    posted by PATH @ 10/27/2006 10:08:00 AM   0 comments
    Thursday, October 26, 2006
    Forum on Violence Against Movements, Movements Against Violence
    Organized by the Institute for Popular Democracy and the University of the
    Philippines College of Social Sciences Student Council

    12 September 2006, 1-5 pm, UP Recto Hall

    Presentation by Miriam Coronel Ferrer
    Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the
    Philippines; Co-convener, Sulong CARHRIHL

    For centuries, national security options of states straddled between two
    approaches: one based on power, the other based on peace. The first
    option, power, may be better said as “power over” or the principle of
    domination over the groups posing a challenge to the state – its policies,
    actions, and more fundamentally, its nature. “Power over,” at the minimum,
    aims to neutralize, and at the maximum exterminate, eliminate, subjugate
    contending forces in the name of the state and its desired attributes –
    sovereignty, stability, survival. At a glance, this approach seems to be
    the only logical option for a weak state, whose very weakness forces it to
    make a show of being strong.

    The second approach is peace – that is, to seek peace, peace as a
    precondition to and/or an outcome of security. This approach is founded
    on the core values of tolerance, pluralism, and dialogue, the exact
    opposite of the values in the first approach: intolerance, inclusivity,
    brute force and monologue. It involves state-building through much needed
    reforms. Its guiding principle is “do no (more) harm” to the situation as
    it is.

    Collective impact measures

    What we have been witnessing in the last years is an internal security
    approach founded on the state’s attempt to dominate and subjugate critical
    socio-political forces (first option). Its guiding principle is precisely
    to “do harm”.

    It incorporates the usual military operations against communist guerillas
    operating in the countryside. Such an approach relies heavily on the
    Philippine army whose marching orders are to clear, hold and consolidate
    (the latter now entailing the participation of state welfare agencies in
    what effectively is a lopsided application of a “comprehensive approach”).

    Reports of de facto curfews, arbitrary searches, harassment, imposition of
    the cedula, mopping up operations, notably in Nueva Ecija, but also
    elsewhere reflect that the classic counter-insurgency approach of draining
    the fish of its water continues. To suffocate the fish, the water is
    contained, drained or rendered unable to resist military pressure.

    These methods have been referred to as “collective impact measures.” As we
    have seen, this type of measures intends to hurt the populace in order to
    render them submissive, not really to finish them off. A local resident
    who gets killed in the process is, well, seen as collateral damage to the

    Collective impact measures also function as “collective punishment”.
    Residents are scolded, chided, threatened for acts deemed sympathetic to
    the enemy. Read the accounts of the general assemblies recently held in
    Central Luzon by the military under General Jovito Palparan. Residents are
    beseeched and courted, entertained with songs and sexy dancers in exchange
    for their sympathies. They are urged to speak out despite the asymmetry in
    the situation: unarmed, poor farmers facing fully armed lieutenants,
    colonels and generals. And when they do speak out, and complain of abuses
    of government soldiers, they are reprimanded, accused of already being
    “influenced” if not themselves NPAs. They become the brunt of displaced
    aggression, the easy target of traumatized soldiers faced with elusive

    The unprecedented high number of killings of political activists
    associated with national democratic organizations (as well as other
    left-wing groups such as the KPD) in compressed time is part of this
    “collective punishment” frame. The extrajudicial killings we have seen
    share the same features of rural community-based counter-guerilla warfare:
    indiscriminate or dismissive of the distinction between combatants and
    non-combatants, and clouded by “hate language” and demonization of the
    enemy. A slight difference is that the killings are somewhat disguised,
    they are not done by men in military uniform, and are individual or tandem
    acts, whereas the usual counter-insurgency is marked by troops descending
    in communities (although their name plates may be covered, and their truck
    plates missing) who seek security and cover in numbers.

    The killings’ desired impact is the same: fear, paralysis, scuttling of
    the organizational network, albeit not just in the local but the national
    sense. The goal is to break the political infrastructure of the movement
    whose good showing in the past election (under the party list system) and
    corresponding access to pork barrel funds and a public platform, were,
    from the point of view of the anti-communist state, alarming. National
    politics is after all the bigger pond where the fish swim. But here the
    instructions are straight to the point: kill the fish.

    In this power-based approach manifested in collective punitive measures,
    victory is easy to measure. One is through body count: how many dead and
    wounded? Another is through weapons count: how many weapons seized? And
    finally, how many communities, organizations, people neutralized? (We can
    discuss later how the same tendency is shown by the armed left.)

    As we should all know by now, collective impact measures create more
    problems due to the social tensions and resentment they generate in the
    communities, and the affected public. They erode the fabric of society,
    confuse its norms, polarize, and desensitize. They provide fodder to
    counter-violence, and diminish faith in the system and peaceful change.
    They are sure-fire formulas for greater violence. They are our own
    “low-tech” version of weapons of mass destruction which nonetheless leads
    to the same MAD-ness, or “mutually assured destruction.” The victory they
    lay claim too is short-term, flaky, and one-sided.

    Multi-Layered Contexts

    Let us not lose sight of the multi-layered contexts of this intensified
    state violence against a certain social force, its various apparatuses,
    but ultimately, violence or assault on the citizen at large.

    One context is the short term: GMA’s political survival. I will not
    belabor this point since it is already fairly well-established and
    well-reasoned out.

    The long and short of this context is the legitimacy question raised
    against the GMA administration. Here the national democratic left has
    played a major role, whether in the attempts at setting off an impeachment
    process (through its party list members in Congress pushing for it, not
    once, but twice), or in military coup-cum-street protests that will force
    GMA to step down (through its waltzing with the malcontents in the
    military, in a queasy utilitarian alliance between the left and the
    right). The natdem left has also put blocks (lodging cases in the Supreme
    Court, protest rallies) to moves to strengthen emergency powers or
    insulate the presidency from the checks powers in the hands of Congress
    and the citizens.

    It is to the GMA presidency’s interest to weaken the multiple machineries
    of the national democratic left through both judicial (arrest warrants,
    and actual arrests, e.g., of Crispin Beltran) and extra-judicial means, as
    well as of all those lined up against her (why stop at one when you can
    cast a wider net?). At the same time, it is to GMA’s interest to feed the
    loyalty of key state players crucial to her political survival, notably,
    the military (give them their war, medals, promotions, a free hand), the
    police (give them their balato), the members of Congress (give them their
    pork). It is in her interest to join the “coalition of the willing” and
    the US-led global fight against terrorism in order to get the backing and
    material support of US President Bush. In this regard, the GMA
    administration actively lobbied for the inclusion of the CPP-NPA in the
    list of terrorist organizations of the US and European bodies – even
    though the CPP-NPA does not as a rule employ terrorist methods like

    But beyond the GMA presidency is the state of affairs of the Philippine
    state – the more important, larger context. This is a question that will
    transcend GMA (even if she stays up to 2010), and is related to but
    distorted by the partisan peddling of charter change. I am referring to
    the specter of not just a weak state but a disintegrating, failing state,
    one where governance (led by whomever) increasingly becomes unstable and
    short-sighted, and reforms impossible. The prospects of a failed state
    result from the features of the post-Marcos state that we have inherited,
    worse off in its fracturedness and the frankensteins that were born out of
    the Marcos period, -- and how our political elites have selfishly played
    their games in this situation. It is the bigger context where the wanton
    use of state violence by both civilian and political leaders, and the
    military’s privileged role in national security and national politics have
    become even more ominous.

    What is a failed state? Rotberg describes it as one marked by enduring
    violence, though not necessarily always of high level of intensity. It is
    tense, deeply conflicted, dangerous and contested bitterly by warring
    factions, with varieties of civil unrest and two or more insurgencies,
    different degrees of communal discontent and other forms of dissent
    directed against it and at groups within it. Parts of the territory,
    notably the peripheral regions, are not under its control. There is high
    level of physical insecurity among citizens, thus they are armed or they
    join rebel groups. The society endures a high level of criminal violence,
    and delivery of socio-economic goods is limited. Its institutions are
    flawed; its infrastructure, deteriorating or destroyed.

    The more recent line from Palparan, said over one ANC program last week,
    is almost a tacit recognition of our situation as a failing state. Because
    only in such a state can his explanation for the killings make sense.
    According to Palparan, the killings are perpetuated by people taking
    vengeance on the NPA for the latter’s abuses. Queried if these people
    include soldiers, he replied in the positive, saying such soldiers are
    probably taking revenge for the death of other soldiers. If the state
    were a viable state, the military with a chain of command, the President
    the chief executive and implementer of the laws of the land – can this
    kind of anarchy, can this lame excuse be palpable?

    Anti-communism and anti-terrorism

    The ideological foundation of and justification for the state’s excessive
    use of violence remains, oddly anachronistic enough, anti-communism. The
    language of anti-terrorism adds a new more contemporary twist, and locates
    our domestic wars in the context of the post-9/11 world order.

    The language of anti-communism remains effective, given a general
    antipathy to communism, and an increasing alienation of the citizenry to
    national politics. To those who have fallen for this anti-communist
    “rhetorical hysteria” (defined by Wole Soyinka, first African to win the
    Nobel prize for literature, as the one-dimensional approach to all faces
    of reality, however varied or internally contradictory), the killings are
    not a case of “slaughter of innocents” given that these people are somehow
    allied with the CPP-NPA. They don’t think much about the fact that
    slaughter remains slaughter; that the basic principle of respect for human
    life and human dignity is for everyone, including the enemy number one of
    the state, and yes, including terrorists; that there are rules even in war
    that must be followed, notably distinction between those who carry arms
    and those who do not. Meanwhile, businessmen and professionals may be
    morally aghast at the unabated killings of alleged communists, but are not
    motivated enough to put pressure to stop it, until somehow, it starts
    hurting their economic interests, or their immediate environment. The
    middle class will continue to fight for their own means of survival
    regardless of the course of Philippine politics.

    However, class analysis alone cannot explain part of the lingering potency
    of anti-communism. Part of the effectiveness of the language of
    anti-communism and resultant alienation is also due to the CPP-NPA-NDF
    themselves – their excesses (revolutionary taxation of rich and poor,
    infliction of punishments), own pandering of violence and machismo, their
    inclusivity and dogmatic framing of Philippine society and politics, and
    their counter-monologue to the state’s anti-communist mantra. The purges,
    the CPP-NPA-NDF hopefully recognizes by now, cannot be simply forgotten
    without full retribution and honest accounting before former and present
    comrades and the greater public. The ghosts of murdered comrades will
    haunt the party forever. And though not particularly convincing to explain
    away the recent spate of political killings among those who study their
    politics, and revolting for the disrespect shown the dead lying in mass
    graves, the purges of the 80s and 90s will remain scraps (war material) to
    poke around with, in the AFP and police forces’ psywar ops.

    In all, taken in the context of an untransformed state and
    reform-resistant state elites, the language of anti-communism coupled with
    anti-terrorism is actually anti-left (because the communists do not alone
    make up the Philippine left), and even more broadly, anti anti-status
    quo. Thus while we have our differences with the communist left, and as
    human rights advocates, oppose terrorist methods, we cannot tolerate the
    rhetorical hysteria of anti-communism/terrorism. We cannot be unconcerned
    with the killings of branded communists/terrorists, because the label
    easily includes all of us unhappy with the status quo, and exercising our
    rights to express our beliefs.

    Ways Out

    I have long been asking myself this rhetorical but really incisive
    question: what is the central political question of today? During the
    martial law regime and even during EDSA 2, the answer seemed simple
    enough: Marcos, in the case of the former, and Erap, in the case of the
    latter. Today, fortunately and unfortunately, we have to find the answers
    beyond Garci, Gloria and the two Gonzaleses in government.

    The political killings is a problem with GMA – her leadership, her policy
    preferences, her questionable legitimacy based on her ascent to power
    (EDSA 2 and dubious elections) – but is also a problem that transcends
    her. Thus, removing GMA can be one short-term solution, but is not enough
    for the long haul. And neither is the long-haul solution contingent on
    removing her.

    We must resolve how to deal with armed challenges faced by the state:
    resolution through conquest of power by a dominant force using force, or
    through sustainable, inclusive peace through peaceful means. The state has
    been pursuing the former, it’s time to put more stake in the latter. But
    it will only do this if we achieve critical mass in forcing the state to
    take this direction.

    We must work for a sustainable change founded on human rights and dignity
    – or a peace process alongside pursuit of specific reforms. There are key
    critical areas where state reforms are needed and where we should spread
    out and simultaneously intervene: reform of our electoral institutions and
    processes; reform of the security sector (cleansing and
    professionalization of the military and police); enhancing governance
    processes (depoliticization and upgrading of the bureaucracy),
    strengthening of local governments leading to greater autonomy; and
    putting more resources in the educational system so that education is
    provided for all, and it is the kind of education where the values of
    human rights and peace are at the core.

    Correspondingly, we cannot accept counter-violence as the better nor best
    way to fight state violence.

    Our society is festering in a culture of violence -- violence that begets
    violence, that dehumanizes the victims and the perpetuators, reduces all
    fora to monologues, and elevates killing to the status of a national
    sport. We find in our midst self-righteous protagonists out to lay claim
    to their rights while blinded by their dogma and politics to the rights of
    others. There is much to untangle in the orthodoxy of class antagonism, of
    class struggle being necessarily violent, the state being the instrument
    of the ruling class, and the primacy of armed struggle in achieving
    political change. There is much to question about the soundness of the
    Maoist injunction to encircle the cities from the countryside as the route
    to revolutionary victory, the national democratic revolution as a stepping
    stone to a socialist revolution, etc. Certainly, we should discuss these,
    debate and challenge (but not kill) each other.

    Let us have a national debate not to divide us further but in order for us
    -- state actors, counter-state forces, and ordinary citizens -- to reach
    some national consensus on how to best achieve social and political
    change. Without a shared norm or ground rules, and a consensual road map
    to start as off, we are doomed as a nation.

    To conclude, the campaign against political killings of leftwing activists
    requires focused, case-specific response directed against the perpetrators
    and their chain of command. It also compels us to ask hard questions about
    the national security orientation and national security policies of the
    state and concerned agencies.

    But our advocacy should be extended to become a campaign for a peace
    process; a movement against political violence as a whole, promoting human
    rights and extracting accountability from all parties (such as what Sulong
    CARHRIHL aims to do, using the CARHRIHL as framework); a dialogue for
    norms founded on life-affirming means and ends; a national quest for peace
    built on respect for human rights.

    Human rights, peace, students, development and other groups should come
    together to work for new politics, the kind of politics that makes a firm
    stand against political violence.

    Buzan, Barry. 1983. People States & Fear, The National Security Problem in
    International Relations. Hertfordshire: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
    Rotberg, Robert . 2004. When States Fail, Causes and Consequence.
    Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
    Soyinka, Wole. 2004. Climate of Fear. London: Profile Books Ltd.
    Stepanova, Ektarina. 2003. Anti-terrorism and Peace-building During and
    After Conflict. Stockholm: Stockholm International Peace Research
    posted by PATH @ 10/26/2006 10:55:00 AM   0 comments
    Wednesday, October 25, 2006
    Ang Mga Nawawala
    Isang araw sila'y Nawala na lang at sukat.
    may hindi pumasok sa opisina,

    hindi sumipot sa appointment,
    nang-indyan ng ka-deyt.
    May hindi umuwi sa bahay
    at hindi nakasalo ng pamilya sa hapunan,
    hindi nakasiping ng kabiyak.

    ang inihaing ulam ay ligalig,
    at ang inilatag na banig ay ayaw dalawin ng antok.
    Nang hanapin sila'y
    walang masabi ang kamag-anak at kaibigan,
    walang ulat ang pulisya, walang malay ang military.
    Kung mayroon mang nakakita
    nang sila'y
    ng malalaking lalaki at isakay sa dyip o kotse,
    pabulong-bulong ang saksi,
    at kung pakikiusapang
    tumestigo sa korte,
    baka ito'y tumanggi. Pagkaraan ng ilang araw,
    o linggo, o buwan, o taon,

    pagkaraan ng maraming maghapon at magdamag,

    pagkaraang ang agam-agam
    ay maparoo't parito sa mga manhid na pasilyo at ang pag-aasam-asam ay mapanis sa mga tanggapan,
    pagkaraa ng luha't tiyaga,

    ang ilan sa kanilay
    muling lumitaw.
    Lumitaw sila sa bilangguan, sa bartolina,
    sa kubling bahah na imbakan ng ungol, tili at panaghoy,
    himpilan ng mga berdugong eksperto sa sanlibo't isang istilo ng pagpapahirap.
    Lumitaw silang
    bali ang buto o sira ang bait.

    O kaya'y lumitaw silang
    lumulutang sa mabahong ilog,
    o nakahandusay sa pampang,

    o umaalingasaw
    sa mga libingang mababaw na hinukay ng mga asong gala.
    Lumitaw silang may gapos ang kamay at paa na wala nang pintig,
    o watak-
    watak ang kamay, paa, ulo,
    o tadtad ng butas ang bangkay,
    likha ng bala o balaraw.
    Ang iba'y hindi na lumitaw,
    hindi na kailanman lumitaw,
    nawala na lang at sukat, walang labi, walang bangkay,

    hindi malaman kung buhay o patay, Hindi mapaghandugan ng lamayan, pasiyam,
    Hindi maipagtirik ng kandila kung Todos los Santos.
    Nakaposas pa ba sila sa paa ng kinakalawang
    na kama
    sa loob ng kuwartong may tanod,
    busog sa bugbog,

    binabagabag ng bangungot
    sumisipol kung nag-iisa ng "San Ka Man Naroroon,"
    Iniisip kung ano ang iniisip ng magulang at anak, kasintahan o kabiyak?
    O sila ba'y umayaw na sa pakikibaka
    at nagbalik sa dating buhay,
    o nagtaksil sa simulain at nagtatago sa takot,

    O nag-asawang muli
    at nangibang-bayan,
    O tinamaan ng amnisya
    at lalaboy-laboy sa lansangan,
    O lihim na namundok
    at nag-iba ng pangalan?
    O sila ba'y
    pinagpapasasaan na ng uod?
    Nag-uugat na ba ang talahib sa mga mata ng kanilang bungo?
    Bahagi na ba sila
    ng kanilang lupang tinubuan,
    ang lupang kanilang pinaglaban?

    Sinusulat ko ito
    para sa mga kakilalang hanggang ngayon ay nawawala,

    Para kina Charlie del Rosario

    at Caloy Tayag
    at Manny yap
    at Henry Romero
    at Jun Flores
    at Rudy Romano,
    Sila na kahit hindi ko

    Nakilala ng husto
    ay alam kong naglingkod sa api at hikahos.
    Buhay man sila o patay,
    Sa aking alaalaa'y
    mananatili silang buhay.

    ni Jose F. Lacaba (read in the concert "Unsung" a tribute to nameles heroes last Nov. 29, 2003)
    posted by PATH @ 10/25/2006 03:48:00 PM   1 comments
    Friday, October 20, 2006
    exhuming the bodies of Luz and Lando

    posted by PATH @ 10/20/2006 03:04:00 PM   0 comments
    Tuesday, October 10, 2006
    Remarks & Reflections at the PATH Celebration of Cebu Exhumation II
    I won't take long. Since PATH's creation I've done too much speaking and writing. I thus made a small resolution to engage in a little less talk and a little more action.

    In the middle of watching Probe's Uli na ta sa Ato, I spontaneously shook the hands of my seatmate Pamboy and blurted one small realization: "Ang galing natin, 'no?" Setting aside our characteristic modesty, it suddenly dawned on me how we managed to bring together the talents of a disparate bunch of people to accomplish the task, yet again. It was quite a complete brew: some in our team were adept at tracking people and information, others were good at communication. We had natural networkers, fundraisers, lawyers, forensics experts, techies, and most importantly, humble and trusty soldier ants. Somehow things fell into place.

    A few years back, we cannot imagine how we can muster it, facing reluctance and even hostility all around. "...ang halos kaimposiblihan ng gusto nyong mangyari," as one cynic put it. Despite the odds, we did good work.

    I appreciate friends from the media, who joined our activities not only to fulfill their duties, but to empathize as well. They always came, with or without their cameras. They came in solidarity, as many of us do now, and that's what matters.

    Looking back, we are, indeed, a group of imperfect people. Each of us has his/her own idiosyncracies, ill-discipline, insensititivity, vanity, malfeasance, shenanigans, and plain bad manners. But this work was bigger than our egos, much more than what's pre-set by our frailties. That made all the difference.

    As we lifted the rocks from Luz' and Lando's shattered remains, wrapped our arms around Aling Cion and Aling Lita, and as they hugged the late Herlo's little survivor Aaron Heaven, we knew in our hearts that it was well worth the toil, and that we somehow helped set something right.

    This is a journey that has gone the distance, with more miles yet to be covered. Some of us may have dropped off at the last stop, some may alight at the next, but we may pick up new co-travelers along the way. Most importantly, the heavy rocks have been lifted, and it's all that matters.

    Bobby Garcia
    9 October 2006
    posted by PATH @ 10/10/2006 03:41:00 PM   0 comments
    Monday, October 09, 2006
    Mass for Luz and Lando Photos

    Bobby Garcia with Aling Cion talking with Fr. Noli

    Aling Cion with her daughter

    Blessing Luz and Landos' remains

    Fr. Noli and Luz's relatives blessing the remains of Luz and Lando

    Group Picture with Luz's relatives and PATH Members
    posted by PATH @ 10/09/2006 12:25:00 PM   0 comments
    Friday, October 06, 2006
    Mass For Luz And Lando

    There will be a mass to be held this Sunday Oct. 8, 2006 for the remains of our exhumed brother and sister.

    Address is at Holy Family Parish K-i corner K-7 Kamias.
    Meeting place will be at PGX at 1 pm while mass proper will start at 2 pm.

    Hope you guys could come.

    Thank you very much,

    PATH Admin
    posted by PATH @ 10/06/2006 10:37:00 AM   1 comments
    Monday, October 02, 2006
    Past revisited
    I saw ABS-CBNs Probe Team feature last Sept. 20, 2006 on the successful exhumation in Sitio Amaga, Barangay Bonbon, Cebu City of the bodies of suspected deep penetration agents (DPAs) killed in a purge inthe middle 80s. It was the second digging after the bodies of Jess and Nida Libre and Ben Valmoria were recovered in Sitio Bocaue, Barangay Pamutan also in Cebu City last Nov. 4, 2005.

    Those dug were among what the Peace Advocates for Truth, Justice and Healing (PATH) is calling the "Cebu 13″ victims of the anti-infiltration campaign of the underground movement some two decades ago. Like in the first exhumation, relatives of those dug up were there to get back the bodies of their loved ones.

    Watching the coverage, including the footages of the first and second diggings and Probe Teams "reenactment,” conjured ambivalent feelings in me. Even if I am a media person, my view has always been to keep media people away. Those involved in that sorry episode in the revolutionary movements history are better off making the closure without the glare of the cameras.

    My point is that it would be difficult to put in its proper context a one to two minutes report on a very complicated issue. Either the anguish suffered by the victims will be downplayed or the actions of the abuser magnified–which is unfair to both sides. I know, and felt, the situation prevailing at the time of the purges in Cebu, and I could not help but be understanding of the actuation of the victims and the victimizers.

    I squirmed watching Probe Teams reenactment, for example, because it really wasnt like that, at least with regards to the Cebu experience. Some of Prof. Jerome Bailens initial findings also were not right on target. I agree, however, that the report failed to depict fully the pain that the victims felt.

    Anyway, I dont know the exact place where the bodies supposedly of Luz and Herculano Laguna were buried, but I know Sitio Amaga in Barangay Bonbon, Cebu City. When I set foot there for the first time in 1981, I was a clueless cadre quarantined in a hut waiting for deployment. I cried after a few days of being left alone with cooked banana for food.

    The area would later become the base of the propaganda staff that I headed, and was the scene of many of my triumphs and failures, of my ups and downs as a peasant organizer. I havent been there in, I think, two decades. But I really want to go there if given the chance: to reminisce and dig up more lessons from that youthful rebellion.

    I have heard stories about how the suspected DPAs (they were called zombies) were interrogated and killed in that area, but its difficult to recall them now because of the years that I tried to suppress the memories of that episode in my life. I think its enough that some of the bones have been returned to their relatives, and for that I doff my hat to the PATH members for their effort to locate the burial sites as well as the relatives.

    An interesting sidelight, at least for me, in that Probe Team report was the showing of the face of a familiar face from Mandaue. I could not recall her name but I lived for a few days in their house, which was in a community not far from City Hall. Since they didnt have a toilet, I ended up doing my thing at the still vacant Mandaue reclamation area.

    I always had difficulty adjusting to the life in the city that was why I stuck it out in the countryside for years, until my arrest in 1987 and my re-arrest in 1988.

    Meanwhile, the story of Luz and Herculano, their son Herlo (who was killed by members of a fraterity in 2005) and their grandson Aaron Heaven will not be forgotten. If I have the time, I will be writing about their story, probably in fiction form, in the future.

    Candido O. Wenceslao

    September 27, 2006

    from ---> Click Me
    posted by PATH @ 10/02/2006 11:01:00 AM   1 comments

    About Me

    Name: PATH
    Home: Quezon City, Philippines
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  • Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing and Justice (PATH) 45 Matimtiman St., cor. Magiting St., Teachers' Village East Quezon City 1101, Philippines Tel. No: (632) 921-8049 Telefax: (632) 926-2893
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  • "Bobby Garcia provides a riveting account of the Communist Party of the Philippines' "killing fields" and situates it within the context of a revolutionary movement that was nobly motivated but also tragically flawed. To Suffer Thy Comrades goes beyond Garcia's narrative of his and other survivors' harrowing experiences and explains why the purges took place, how both torturers and victims coped and made sense of their plight, and how they survived in the aftermath of the purge. The book sheds light on the darkest and deepest secrets of the revolutionary movement and provides insights that are useful now that the communists are negotiating peace with the government" - SHEILA CORONEL, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
  • "...Bobby Garcia had the courage to write about the 'killing fields' despite some people's efforts to dissuade him. Bobby was one of its victims -- he was 21 when his entire future was nearly taken away from him -- who was lucky enough to survive. And who is even luckier to retain a huge sense of humor and equanimity, even when talking about his ordeal, at least with friends. His book is called "To Suffer Thy Comrades"...It is certainly not something that will set your mind at rest. But read it anyway. Its virtue is to be found in that biblical observation, 'The truth shall set you free.' - CONRADO DE QUIROS, Philippine Daily Inquirer
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