SOURCE : Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Liliosa Hilao, or Lilli to friends, was a consistent honor student and scholar of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM). The communication arts student, an active member of different student organizations, was due to graduate cum laude. (READ: ‘#NeverAgain: Martial law stories young people need to hear‘)

Her weak health did not stop her from being an active student leader. She was editor-in-chief of HASIK, PLM’s student publication that openly criticized the Marcos administration. Lilli was too sickly to rally on the streets and channeled her strength through her pen, writing thoughtful essays against the dictator’s regime.

At 23, Lilli made it to history books and publications, but not because of her academic excellence nor her writing talent. She was the first female and student activist to die in detention during martial rule.

Lilli suffered a fate worse than death.

Drunken soldiers from the Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) beat up Lilli and took her to Camp Crame. She was eventually found dead in the detention center. CANU reported she committed suicide by drinking muriatic acid, but her body showed signs of torture: her lips bore cigarette burns, her arms had injection marks, and her body was full of bruises. According to her sister, her internal organs were removed to cover signs of torture and possible sexual abuse.

Lilli’s tragedy is just one of the many stories of torture during the Marcos regime.

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