As we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972, InterAksyon.com posts a series of testimonies from human rights victims of the Marcos regime. Thousands of Filipinos were murdered, tortured, or disappeared in the country’s decade under military rule.
But aside from those who directly suffered the regime’s atrocities, there were the other victims — their families. The widows and widowers, the orphans, those who saw loved ones savaged or slaughtered before their very eyes, or taken away never to be heard from or seen again. And there were the children born and/or raised behind bars by parents jailed for opposing tyranny, and those who grew up with surrogates as their fathers and mothers acted on their convictions by taking to the countryside to wage actual combat against the forces of dictatorship.
“Ano ba trabaho mo ‘Tay [Father, what do you do for a living]?” journalist Estrella Torres, 39, recalled asking her father Eric when she was still in elementary grade.
Estrella was only three years old when she, her older brother, and mother went with Eric, an activist-teacher, to the detention center in Camp Crame, Quezon City in 1976.
She only has a hazy recollection of what had happened inside the camp.
What Estrella remembers was her parents hiding her under a mat every time their jailers made the rounds, inspecting the cells of detainees. “Parang ‘yong Schindler’s List [Just like in the movie Schindler’s List].”