Source: Humans of Pinas

“As a young boy, I came to read and romanticize about this White Stallion from a DC classic comics who chose freedom, and death, over a life in captivity. It was a very poignant scene with an insight and value that I have since embraced … that there is no price for Freedom.

In 1970, I experienced my first protest rally in support of the jeepney drivers” strike/mobilization against the oil price hike.

From 1971 until my father unexpectedly passed away in 1973, I lived in Bacolod and Iloilo while my father worked in Bacolod, then went into the farming business in Capiz. It was during this time that I had a glimpse of the great divide between the hacienderos and the struggling sacadas.

During summer, I had my first taste of farm work, living and working with the farmers in the fields.

While studying in San Agustin, Iloilo, I got involved in lighting rallies and teach-ins with foremost leftist leaders.

When Martial Law was declared, as a graduating student, I was fearful of my present and my future.

After my father passed away, we had to relocate to Manila, at the advent of Martial Law. I enrolled in Adamson University while working to help support myself. It was during this period that the country hosted a lot of international events. I found myself joining protest rallies by leftist organizations, even as I was not affiliated with any of them.

In April 7, 1978, the country held its Interim Batasang Pambansa elections. Benigno Aquino was the opposition’s stalwart leader, and the team was largely supported by the Social Democrats.

I was the Laban elections area coordinator for San Juan. On the eve of the elections, the first noise barrage happened, and the country’s public protest against Marcos was awakened.

Elections was marred with massive cheating and terror by the Marcos government. A lot of indignation protest actions and rallies occurred with many marchers arrested and detained.

The political terrain would be uneventful for a long while; it seemed Marcos had a good grasp of the Filipino psyche.

In 1979, exhausting all possible peaceful means of dissent, progressive SD elements and their allies mobilized and escalated their protest against the oppressive Marcos government.

One of these groups was the Light a Fire Movement which mounted urban guerrilla warfare as part of their destabilization plan.

I was glad that there were already forces moving against the dictatorship. I wanted to be one of those freedom fighters, feeling a sense of duty for my country.

In December 1979, after several successful missions, the operation of the LFM was stopped with the arrest of their leaders.

In the 2nd quarter of 1980, after Marcos released Aquino for his heart operation, the bombing of government installations and private establishments commenced as a continuation of the destabilization.

This time, the April 6 Liberation Movement claimed responsibility.

The US government took notice, and this pressured Marcos to forge a moratorium on the bombings in exchange for the lifting of ML.

On January 17, 1981, Marcos declared the lifting of ML. A victory, even if it was only a paper lifting of the dreaded decree.

On October 27, 1980, I was arrested and implicated with the A6 LM.

I was set up in a trap, literally kidnapped and tortured in the course of their tactical interrogation.

The A6LM case was the last one handled by the military tribunal and the first one under the new civilian courts on account of the ML’s lifting.

Representing us were lawyers affiliated with FLAG and MABINI, pro bono publico, namely: Pepe Diokno, Lorenzo Tanada, Juan David, Sedfrey Ordonez, Rene Saguisag, Jojo Binay, Ding Tanjuatco, Efren Moncupa, Joey Lina and Jun Simon, and many others of kindred spirit.

We were all agents of change, burning with fire in our hearts, in our desire to make a difference in our country.

Then, in August 21, 1983, Ninoy was assassinated and that caused nationwide outrage. Marcos was going to ride this wave and let it pass.

After 3 years, Marcos committed his biggest blunder. Amidst political pressure, he agreed to a snap election.

By February 22, 1986 , the defection of Marcos’ staunch officials, Enrile and Ramos, coupled with the call of Cardinal Sin, the historic EDSA People Power Revolution caused the end of Marcos’ long reign of dictatorship.

As I was still in detention, I felt helpless, but victorious, seeing all these events unfolding.

On February 25, 1986, Corazon C. Aquino was installed President of the Philippines.

One of her first official acts was the release of all Political Detainees. After 6 years, I became a free man.

Today, I am at that period in my life where I look forward to enjoying the simple and finer things in life. And I will always mean well.

But, when awakened from blissful slumber, when the dragon rears its ugly head from dark, you just move and slay that dragon – no second thoughts about it. We will all kick the bucket one day.

My prayer is to skip that line with a smile on my lips, and that it be a meaningful one, or a fun one. Or both.”