He died in Camp Crame, for a cause he believed in. The Philippine Constabulary had taken Jose Mariano into custody. He was arrested without a warrant and suffered tortured from the hands of his captors. He was a defiant hero and disappeared in the middle of the night. Someone had already raided his office. The souvenirs he brought home from China turned up missing.
His murder occurred on the ides of June. It was, as depicted, unnecessary. He had become an armchair revolutionary and as such wasn’t going to build a bomb or kill anyone. One can only imagine what he endured for an interminable month, as they tried to squeeze information out of him. The torture was unsuccessful. He died in his cell from an unspecified cause though his injuries revealed that he’d been repeatedly tortured. (At least he didn’t die of boredom). Somehow the public learned of it. I, nevertheless, didn’t learn of it until many years later. Who the enemy was seemed cleared to me then. I missed my friend. Understand that Pontius Pilate, in his palace, perceived a threat: a portent at the university, others in Central Luzon and far to the south, suggested riot. His retainers, in buri hats, umbrellas and scarves, taking care to give their better side to the camera, were made up of relatives. Harlequins were everywhere. But where were the traitors? In Pilate’s play book almost anyone could’ve been a traitor, while names and lists were compiled, and without a doubt Jose ended up on one of them. (I foresaw that he would.) One would’ve thought that he would’ve been clearly warned…although he was not in the forefront, not much of an activist, but instead he was rather bookish. That brings up the question why he had to die.
All right, but didn’t they even beat up girls?
Jose avoided his torturers’ eyes. He’d look up at the bare ceiling or down at the wet floor. He was very weak and could hardly stand up, and he felt, too, a profound sadness. It had already been a month since he was taken from an apartment in Ermita to Camp Crame in Quezon City. He’d attempted a hunger strike. Failing, he considered the problem with heroism. “In detention there weren’t many options,” former detainees said, “I know some have survived solitary confinement without going mad, but many simply couldn’t take it.” When I think of Jose, it’s clear to me that, even without torture, detention would’ve taken a toll on him. And the hunger strike seems in character, and in another incarnation he might’ve joined the communist party and Jose Maria Sison in his fight against repression and fascism, but I can’t picture him ever considering himself a hero. They saw marks on his body, which were identified as burns from electrocution.
“The next time I kill you,” Pilate said, “I won’t leave any marks.”
Each time they killed one of the activists, they moved a step forward. Then, very patiently, they waited.
“Pnoy’s action of going after all corrupt government officials is in line with his saying that he wanted to prosecute corrupt government officials so that they will no longer be emulated by coming generations of public servants. It is high time untouchables were sent to jail so that Pnoy’s government can truly address the root cause of Philippine poverty, which is corruption.’ And we can’t fight graft and corruption by simply delivering wang-wang speeches!
ORAPRONOBIS Directed by Lino Brocka Screenplay by Jose F. Lacaba
On the night of April 16, 1985, in the obscure town of Dolores, Father Anthony Hill, of St. Joachin Parish (originally from Post, Texas), had a dream that bothered him. He had just given last rites to an alleged rebel, and in his dream had exchanged places with the deceased man: he had been shot in the chest. No one knew what the stakes were or why he’d been shot. The stakes for the country, however, were enormous, with the attempted assassination of the Pope and the EDSA revolt. Father Anthony (in his dream) was cut down in his prime. The priest liked to dig in his garden and the assassin knew it, which provided him the opportunity he needed. The dreamer rode horses and punched cattle as a boy, and was unable to do the same thing in the Philippines, and wasn’t sure whether he was in Texas or the Philippines in his dream. It was the clangor of rain that woke him up and not his dream. The Orapronobis, a local cult, had executed the rebel, and what Father Hill didn’t know was that they were after him too. It was dawn, and the cult leader, Kumander Kontra (Roco) was entering Dolores.