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When the waiting has been too long

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When the waiting has been too long

Covering human-rights issues enabled me to meet wonderful people. These include Jose “Bong” Barsoles and Romeo “Tatay Romy” Luneta, both victims of torture during martial law. News of their passing away — Ka Bong on June 29 and Tatay Romy on July 9 — saddens me.

I was struck by their resilience. In my separate interviews with them, Tatay Romy and Ka Bong narrated how they endured the torture at the hands of their captors. After being released from prison, it would have been easy to just forget but both chose to continue the struggle to achieve justice. They are among the 9,539 original petitioners to the class suit filed against the Marcoses in 1986.

I always saw them during protest actions of Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) demanding just compensation for victims of the Marcos dictatorship. They also attended rallies condemning extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations.

During my last interview with Ka Bong in March 2011, he could not believe that he was delisted from the list of original complainants. He did not receive a single centavo from the $10-million settlement agreement with a Marcos crony awarded by a district court in the United States.

Tatay Romy, meanwhile, gave me a phone call after the dialogue of Selda with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte in January this year. He would have joined the dialogue had he not fell twice that morning.
Fr. Diony Cabillas of Iglesia Filipina Independiente, one of the leaders of Selda, captured the poignancy that comes with their death. He wrote this after Ka Bong died –

Pumanaw ka na hindi man lang nasaksihan ang maraming palakpak ng ating kasamahan at sambayanang Pilipino sa pagsasabatas ng Kumpensasyon sa mga biktima ng martial law..... MORE

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/11/when-the-waiting-has-been-too-long/


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