MIGUEL (10 POINTS - ENFORCED DISAPPERANCE)

MARCO

Written by: National Service Training Program Student
Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan

During the time of the Martial Law period of President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., wherein there were numerous cases of human rights violations committed, accusations were thrown around to unsuspecting victims that led to their abuse in various forms. In the case of Marco, he was a victim of being wrongly accused for something that he did not do, and the consequences of the accusations lead to a lifelong suffering for him and his family.

On one morning in 1985, Marco and his family were in their house in Ilocos Norte when soldiers suddenly came and asked them if the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) visited them. This was not the case, and so Marco and his family became fearful and apprehensive. Marco was then asked by the soldiers to come outside with a bag from the second floor of their home. Knowing that this might be a plot to further accuse him of something that he did not do, Marco refused. When he did so, the soldiers proceeded to physically inflict pain on him.

Marco relays the events, remembering that one soldier grabbed his shirt while another hit him on the chest. As they were not satisfied, Marco said that the soldiers also struck him with the butt of their rifle on his chest. The soldiers then continued to abuse him until he lost consciousness. Marco says that when he regained consciousness, he was drenched in water and realized that the soldiers poured water on him in an attempt to wake him up when he lost consciousness. The soldiers at that time did not have an arrest warrant with them to justify their actions, and eventually no charges were filed against Marco.[1]

Marco filed a claim for reparation and recognition for seven (7) points under Torture at the Human Rights Violations’ Victims Claims Board (HRVCB).[2] He submitted related documents to support his claim, such as an affidavit, a certification issued by the local Office of the Civil Registrar, and an NSO-issued marriage contract. Marco’s brother, who was also a victim of abuse by the soldiers, also applied for a joint affidavit with him to relay what truly happened in their home to further prove their case.

However, the Board found no basis to grant the points for Torture as Marco failed to prove its acts. Marco was not able to present findings that prove that he was tortured under Republic Act. No. 9745, also known as the “Anti-Torture Law of 2009.”[3] Also, Marco’s affidavit does not corroborate with the affidavit of the witnesses who claim to have personal knowledge of his torture. Nevertheless, as the Board still recognizes him as a human rights violations victim and upholds his claim that he was physically abused by the soldiers, the Board granted him one (1) point for Physical Injuries instead.[4]

The human rights situation in the Philippines is not confined to extrajudicial killings and disappearances. The country has been beset with political, economic, social, and cultural issues that exacerbate human rights violations. Stories like this should be remembered, so that we can prevent it from happening in the future.



[1] Victim’s affidavit (Case No. 2014-01-00020, Ilocos Norte: 2014), accessed through the archives of the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission.

[2] “Resolution” (Case No. 2014-01-00020, Metro Manila: 2014), accessed through the archives of the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission.

[3] Ibid.; “Republic Act No. 9745,” Official Gazette, November 10, 2009, accessed July 29, 2022, https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2009/11/10/republic-act-no-9745/.

[4] “Resolution.”