They Grieved Then Took on the Struggle for Justice

Going Back to the Mass Movement

For Ernan, 30, his father’s death led him back to the mass movement.

In his college days, Ernan used to be an activist. Then a student at the Aklan College, Ernan was the national chairman of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP). From 2001 to 2003, he also served as spokesperson of provincial chapter of the League of Filipino Students. After seven years of being an activist, he decided to lie low and work full time as a journalist. Shortly before his father’s death, Ernan was the media bureau manager of Panay News in Antique.

“His death served as a wakeup call for me. I asked myself, why did I stop [being an activist]? My father sacrificed his life to the movement. It’s my turn to continue what he had left behind,” Ernan said.

Ernan assumed his father’s post as municipal councilor. He also became a member of Bayan Muna. “It is challenging. I do my best to fulfill the tasks but I know I cannot fit in his shoes,” Ernan said, adding that his father was a father not only to his constituents but to those who are in need.


Ernan Baldomero vows to continue what his father Fernando left behind.(Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)

Fernando was regarded as an icon of the mass movement in Aklan. He was a known NPA leader in the ‘90s before he joined mainstream politics. Even as Fernando was already in the legal mass movement, the military still accused him of being the leader of the communist movement in the province. He was slapped with criminal charges twice by the military, but these cases were dismissed for lack of merit.

“All those who are in need turned to him,” Ernan said. From Fernando’s salary of P16,000 ($369) as a councilor, he would only take home P4,000 to P6,000 ($92 to $138). The rest would be spent for contributions.

“I am proud of my father,” Ernan said.

Up to the Challenges

At the first national assembly of Hustisya! (United for Justice) held recently in Quezon City, Nanay Evan was elected chairwoman and Ernan as vice chairman.

Nanay Evan said the gathering of relatives of victims of human rights abuses is important. She told the other relatives that they have to act together to struggle for justice.

“We demand justice for the victims of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government and also for the victims under the new Aquino government,” Nanay Evan said.

Ernan retorted that President Benigno S. Aquino III’s inaction on the new spate of killings has allowed the killings to go on.

The two Hustisya! leaders vowed to be a thorn on the side of human rights violators. (Bulatlat.com)

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