Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. VI, No. 16      May 28-June 3, 2006      Quezon City, Philippines











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The following is the English translation of an account written in Filipino by Honorio Ayroso, a student leader from Nueva Ecija.  He was abducted in March  1989 in Mandaluyong along with nine other activists by elements of the ISAFP and Capcom.  Honor and his companions were surfaced a week later after undergoing interrogation and torture, and were tagged as “communist cadres”.  They were charged with illegal possession of firearms and subversion, but were acquitted and released in March 1990, a year after their abduction.

On February 9, 2002, Honor, then 34 years old, was again abducted, along with Bayan Muna Nueva Ecija coordinator Johnny Orcino, 44, in Sto. Nino 1st, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.  The abductors were suspected military men, yet the military and police denied having any knowledge of the crime, nor did they conduct a thorough investigation.  The two men are still missing.

As soon as I had knocked on the door, I felt a barrel of a .45 calibre pointed at my head.  I couldn’t do anything.  I was forced inside the house and I saw two comrades tied up and lying on their stomachs.  They made me lie down  on my stomach and tied my hands at my back.  They blindfolded me, took my wallet, my bag which was full of documents, my wristwatch.  Then they forced us inside a vehicle and brought us to who knows where.  It was there that I felt the savageness of the enemy, their inhumane treatment to comrades who fell into their hands.

At first there was no body contact.  There were four of us side by side a long bench.  Because we were able to support each other in answering their questions, they interrogated us separately.  I was taken to an air-conditioned room which I think was a conference hall.  I couldn’t see a thing because of my blindfold.  They sat me on a chair then proceeded with the interrogation.  They asked the same questions over and over.  I think they asked about my real name 30 times, even though they already have my school IDs, my voter’s ID and my ID in my former employment.  Where do I live, where did I study, my parents, my reason for coming there, the contents of the documents, and the plans, about the other comrades they’ve captured.... and other questions.  When they couldn’t squeeze any information from me using threats, they began to use body contact.  For every question to which I answer “I don’t know” or “I know nothing about it” or “I don’t know him” – I was given body blows.  I couldn’t see who were hitting me because of my blindfold.  One of them apparently got irked at me and gave me karate chops on the nape.  At that time, I had wondered if I already got a broken rib or a broken vein in the nape.

The enemy played tricks on me upon learning I finished ROTC.  They made me squat on a chair until only my toes clung to the edge.  I would intentionally make myself fall because it was difficult to hang on.  They made me squat on the cement floor and put heavy books on my head and my stretched arms. I would drop the books on purpose... during such torture, I used everything I know about acting, because they only make it more difficult if they know you can stand it. 

But my acting was useless when they used watercure and electrocution.  If I remember right, I went though seven sessions of water pouring through my nose.  They untied my hands at my back, only to handcuff me in front.  They made me lie down a table, with my head hanging down a sink.  Four burly men held me down.  Two held my feet, one held my hands, and another pressed my mouth.  They gagged my mouth with a rag, then slowly poured water through my nose.  I felt i was drowning.  I couldn’t breath.  My head ached as if it was being axed.  All the mucous came out.  During such times, one would be able to throw every last strength left, and so I was able to struggle free from the four men holding me down.

After every session, they question me.  When I don’t give the answers, they repeat the torture.  To make me stop struggling, they rammed my head on the table which caused a concussion.  They recessed the torture because I was getting too weak.  They made me rest for an hour and left me with one guard.  Various scenarios and events came flashing through my mind.  I remembered my childhood, my parents, my growing up years, entering high school, college, my recruitment to the movement, my friends, relatives, and my present condition in the hands of the enemy.

After an hour, my interrogators returned.  They transferred me to a different spot and removed my shoes and socks.  They poured water at my feet and the cement floor.  They placed an electric cord at my hands.  As the voltage went through my body,  I felt worse than a fish being electrocuted.  Was I petrified.  Then they pointed the electric cord at my feet.  I was shouting and cursing at all of them.  But they were worse than sadists and blood-thirsty killers.  They repeated it three times which almost made me pass out.  To think that  I even had the advantage because I had a background on electricity in my electronics course.  I tensed up all my muscles so it won’t hurt so much.  I was already weak as a vegetable so they made me rest again. 

Around 10 pm, I was feeling very weak so I asked to be given food.  What was important to me was to regain my strength so I would still have presence of mind. It was then that I felt how a blindman eat.  With my one hand tied, and blindfolded, I groped through my meal.  After eating, the torture began again.  They repeated everything they have already done on me.  Still, they got no information from me.

Around three am, the enemies made me rest.  They made me lie on a folding bed, still in handcuffs, and blindfold.  They turned an electric fan on me, which made me shiver because my clothes were all wet, a result of my struggling through the watercure.  One military man approached me and said: “Sorry, kid, you don’t want to cooperate so we’ll just salvage you.”  Because of that, I have prepared myself to die anytime then.

By morning, one military man brought me outside and told me to run although I was still handcuffed and blindfolded.  I didn’t run because I knew it was too risky and I shouldn’t.  They made me kneel down and pointed a gun to my head and cocked it.  “What’s your last wish?”  the enemy asked.  I told them to inform my parents that I’m dead.  In my head, I just thought “Good-bye, Philippines” and waited for the gunfire.  One of them told the one holding the gun: “Just kill him later, we still haven’t extracted any information.”  They brought me back to the room for further interrogation.  After that, there wasn’t as much torture.

They made me rest then by afternoon, they brought me to a vehicle along with the others who were captured, inside a closed vehicle.  They brought us to Bicutan.  They took our pictures, our fingerprints, and locked us up inside a bartolina.  There were four of us in one bartolina, while the others were in other bartolinas.  We were still handcuffed inside the bartolina which was only 2x3x2.  We were cramped like sardines.  The next night, they presented us to the media.  We were heartened because it meant we were not going to be killed. Bulatlat



© 2006 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

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