ANNA (9 POINTS - TORTURE)

ANNA

Written by: Alleana Vea Morrene D. Luzon
Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan

There are so many untold stories of suffering and many cases of injustice during the Martial Law period that have been left out to collect dust. Although many suffered in silence, some were able to take a stand for themselves, after years of trauma and constant mental anguish. One can revisit, among these, the story of a woman, Anna, who fell victim to the intrusive hands of soldiers during the time of Marcos’ martial rule.

It happened one morning in early 1985, in Negros Occidental. Prior to the incident, Anna, then a mere teenager, was home alone while there were around 20 soldiers in the area conducting military operations. Some time later, three of them came knocking at the door of Anna’s house, asking for a drink of water. For what happened afterwards, it can be definitely said that there is no justification. The soldiers committed an act purely for their personal pleasure and lust, at the expense of a young woman’s life.[1]

As Anna allowed the soldiers to come upstairs so she could serve them water, one soldier asked her where her parents were. When she told them that they were out working on their farm, the soldiers immediately took advantage of her, holding her against her will.[2] One of the soldiers held Anna down tightly while another pulled down her skirt. In her struggle to break free from the soldiers, she kept fighting back while shouting for help. In retaliation, she was punched in the abdomen by another soldier, which caused her to faint. Once she came to consciousness, she woke up naked, feeling terrible pain and blood in her genitals.[3]

After the incident, Anna’s neighbors, Louella and Teofisto, who had heard her screaming and crying as if she were fighting with somebody, rushed to her home. Upon reaching her house, they ran into the three military men leaving the premises.[4] The two asked the soldiers what the problem was with Anna. The soldiers assured them that everything was perfectly fine. Seeing through the soldiers’ deceit, they hurriedly made their way up the stairs to find Anna naked and trembling. The two helped her get dressed, calmed her down and stayed comforting her until her parents came home.[5]

Due to her traumatic experience, Anna suffered from many sleepless nights, something which she still continues to deal with. She has carried the horror and the fear since the day of the incident even until now that she already has a husband.[6] Indeed, the incident caused great distress and terribly affected Anna’s life. It prevented her from finishing elementary, caused her to seldom leave her home, and altogether “made [her] life miserable.”[7]

Years later, in 2014, Anna, with the help of Louella and Teofisto, the two neighbors who had helped her back then, sought justice by filing a claim to the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB). The two wrote a joint affidavit to corroborate her claim as her witnesses.[8] Through the documents presented, they were able to paint a harrowing picture of the incident, pointing to three members of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) and the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF), a paramilitary group of local volunteers supervised by the PC,[9] as perpetrators. The HRVCB processed and adjudicated Anna’s claim. For the claim of torture, the HRVCB could not find sufficient corroboration, given that the witnesses did not directly see the incident, and the claim therefore did not satisfy Sec. 5 and Sec. 10(i), Rule V of Republic Act No. 10368’s Implementing Rules and Regulations.[10] Nonetheless, the witnesses’ testimonies, combined with Anna’s own recollections of the incident, proved enough to the HRVCB that she was indeed raped, which merited her an award of 9 points. Her name is currently included in the HRVCB’s Roll of Victims, which is now being disseminated and publicized by the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission, or the HRVVMC.[11]

With such acts done by uniformed personnel of authority, one can really question what the cost was for these men supposedly protecting the people. Did the circumstances of the time warrant the untethered reign of these military men, who freely and frequently abused their positions of power? These foul acts should never be forgotten; rather, they should be brought to light so as to prevent such things from happening again. It should never be forgotten, as these are concrete examples of how authority and power can be easily abused, as sufficiently displayed during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.. For those who have had similar experiences, have been left traumatized, and have been unable to properly regain the normal flow of their lives, may this serve as a sign and a reminder that they have a voice and can use it to speak up, as they are not alone – they are never alone – and that they too can have the justice due to them.



[1] Victim’s affidavit (Case No. 2014-06-01078, Negros Occidental: 2014), accessed through the archives of the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Witnesses’ joint affidavit (Case No. 2014-06-01078, Negros Occidental: 2014), accessed through the archives of the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission.

[5] Ibid.

[6] These were things that Anna shared that she was still dealing with, at least, as of 2014, when she submitted her affidavit.

[7] Victim’s affidavit; Witnesses’ joint affidavit.

[8] “Resolution” (Case No. 2014-06-01078, Metro Manila: 2014), accessed through the archives of the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission, 1; “Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10368,” Official Gazette, April 24, 2014, accessed June 19, 2022, https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2014/04/24/implementing-rules-and-regulations-of-republic-act-no-10368/. Section 5 focuses on substantial evidence. Section 10(i) focuses on a sworn statement being provided by two people who have personal knowledge of the circumstances. As such, the HRVCB, upon adjudicating that the claim for Torture do not satisfy these conditions, disapproved of the claim.

[9] “Alleged Perpetrators,” accessed through the archives of the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission.

[10] “Resolution,” 2; “Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10368,” Official Gazette, April 24, 2014, accessed June 19, 2022, https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2014/04/24/implementing-rules-and-regulations-of-republic-act-no-10368/. Section 5 focuses on substantial evidence. Section 10(i) focuses on a sworn statement being provided by two people who have personal knowledge of the circumstances. As such, the HRVCB, upon adjudicating that the claim for Torture do not satisfy these conditions, disapproved of the claim.

[11] Ibid.