Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Making of a Modern Day Warrior Princess

Unknown to many is the story of a low keyed intelligence officer in the military
who refused to 'dance with the tune' as most of his fellow officers did during the Martial Law regime. This principled military officer was aghast at how democracy is being blatantly trampled and the people vocally opposing the regime being jailed or mercilessly murdered with the women being raped even.

Unable to take the abuses anymore, he secretly joined an underground movement that resisted the dictatorship. He was known in the underground as 'Ka Rass. He knew it was a great risk to his life and his family but he deep in his heart, he also knew he had to do something to help end the dictatorship.

One day, he was assigned to be part of a military unit that was tasked to cart away gold bars from the Central Bank and ship them abroad. He refused to be part of it and that was when the other officers became suspicious of him. He was shadowed from then on. And since he was privy to the plan to ship gold bars out of the country, they wanted to silence him for good.

And so it happened. A group of unidentified men carted him off one day. He was found later on with a bullet wound in his head and 142 stab wounds all over his body.

Days before this happened, the young officer already sensed that he is marked for liquidation. And so he called for his daughter to prepare her for such a likelihood. The daughter who is now known as Ka Sesa Digma among today's progressive groups fighting for truth and justice can  and will never forget that night she had her last embrace with her father before he was murdered. The incident made a deep dent on her young mind. But more important, it imbued in her the same patriotism, the same fervent spirit to champion freedom.

This is Warrior Princess' own account of that 'last embrace' she had with her father:

THE LAST EMBRACE FROM MY FATHER
By: Warrior Princess
Twenty Nine years ago at around this time, when my brother suddenly appeared in my boarding house door. He said he came to fetch me as ordered by our father. I was hesitant to go home, I was preparing for my final exams but my brother was adamant that I must go home urgently. We left the town and we started our journey home. When we arrived home, from a distance I saw my smiling Papa waiting for us at the gate. I got off the vehicle and I came running to catch his open arms. I asked him what the urgency was and he said I miss you my warrior princess. I thought it was silly of him to pull me out of my school but I was glad to be home.
My mom said ‘lunch is ready’ and so my entire family feasted on tinolang native na manok. After our meal, our maids together with my mom left our farm cottage and took with them the rest of my siblings as per my father’s wishes. Papa started to hum the guitar and we started jamming his favourite patriotic songs but ‘Bayan Ko’ was the most touching of all. After the music session, my father started talking to me. He talked about democracy and why he fought against the Marcos tyranny. He said as a man in uniform, he sworn to serve the people and that his love for his country was absolute. To see my freedom secured, to give my family a new hope is an additional bonus. He lectured me about the importance of freedom, he talked about his life as a political prisoner and those who were jailed with him. He talked about Ninoy and the rest of the VIP political prisoners whom he shared the cell with. He talked about their struggles behind bars and their dreams as soon as they become free. It was like a lecture session while he was brushing up to me the dictatorship era and Edsa Revolution. He apologized for taking me to his underground operations and for exposing me to the dangerous work that he was doing for the country. He asked me to speak up and to say honestly what I thought of what he did. I asked him why me and his answer was because I have that warrior’s spirit & bravery just like him. He stood up and grabbed his caliber 45 and he passed me another gun. We started to shoot at the target range and we had so much fun. When we got tired of shooting, we went inside the cottage. My father sat beside me and said something that I could never forget for the rest of my life. In his words he said ‘there are 3 things I want you to promise me my princess’
1. When I am gone, be strong for your mom and siblings
2. You will keep the secrets that I entrusted you
3. No matter what happens, protect democracy at all cost
My father made me swear to God and so I did. He opened his arms, he embraced me tightly and touched my hair. He said ‘you know where the guns are kept, use it if the need arise’. He kissed my forehead and told me he had a political meeting to attend to at 5pm. All of a sudden I started to get worried so I begged him to stay. He asked me to calm down and that I have no reasons to be scared. Papa hugged me once more and I was clinging hardly until he got away from me. I wanted to run after him but my mom came out and shhhh me. Little did I know that what comes next would change my life forever.
At 10pm my Papa’s bodyguards arrived in our house, they brought a shocking news that my father was taken away. Our personnel left the house to help find my father's whereabout but they could not find any trace of him but they came across the scattered blood by the pathway. A few hours passed by before my family’s private guards were able to locate my missing father. He was gruesomely murdered (salvaged) and dumped in the canals of a nearby farmland. His body bore a total of 142 stab wounds and a bullet wound to his head. His stomach organs scattered as well as his brains. They took his cadaver to the morgue where my mom and uncle went to claim his remains after few hours.

As a 13 year old kid, I learned to become tough right at that moment. For weeping is a sign of weakness and weakness I can’t show to my siblings. I gathered our belongings, ready to go at any minute. My 15 year old brother went rampaged, he left the house and took 1 of my father’s gun. I was the oldest left in the house and with a 5 yrs old and 3 yrs old brothers and a baby sister. My head was spinning at that time and was thinking of what was to come next. Will my father’s enemies come to finish us all? What should I do to protect my siblings? I was getting ready for any eventuality until I heard the cars at the gate. To my delight, it was my family’s vehicles who came to fetch us from our house. I was told that we have to evacuate immediately and will never return there. We left right away and that was the last time I had a glimpse of that home. To this day, I loathe the way I lost my father. I could not bear to set my foot to revisit the place where his life was taken away. I can't move on, how can I? The Marcos loyalists who did it to my father have escaped the law of man. I'm trying to live my incomplete life knowing that God will give us the justice in the end. Papa it’s been 29 yrs since you were taken away from us but every single day I still long for you. You said I should accept whatever will happen to you and I said yes... but the fact is I could not. I know that if given a chance, you will still do what you did for Inangbayan and I will still live fatherless just like today. Acceptance is hard but my consolation is knowing that you fulfilled your dreams for me and for your country. You’ve been a great democratic warrior Pa but above all you are the greatest dad I know and I am so proud of you! I will always cherish your memories and as I promised you, I will continue what you started. I will fulfil my promises to you Pa, I will be as patriotic as you!