To those who prefer to be anonymous

March 20, 2006

Hindi kita masisisi. Sa mga panahong tulad ng sa atin, safe ang anonymity.

You’re probably, what,12, 18, 24, 30 years old? Or a fresh, vibrant, youthful 20 like Cris Hugo.

You sound like a lawyer, a professor, a bum? Or maybe you’re a 4th year journalism student like Cris Hugo.

I imagine you to be a film buff, or a nerd, maybe? Or you probably love to now and then tinker with your guitar like Cris Hugo.

I sometimes like to humor myself and wonder how you would look like. Tall and dark? Pink and petite? Do you smile with your eyes, like Cris Hugo.

But you’re not Cris Hugo, and so you live to pluck a melody or two in your guitar. You hide behind anonymity, duwag at pinipiling magkubli. And so you get to live another day.

Not Cris Hugo. He did not go nameless, not for one day. Cris Hugo is now dead, because he dared.

——-
Cris Hugo was a 20-year-old activist leader from Bicol. Last night, he was shot three times in the back. Only a coward would do that. He was declared dead on arrival when he reached the hospital.

He was a 4th year journalism student at the Bicol University. I don’t really know when he turned 20. When I met him at the Anakbayan National Council meeting held in Bicol, he was probably only 19. That was only last November. He was so alive then, always eager to help, learn, participate.

I remember he loved to play the guitar. He would wait patiently for whoever was playing the guitar to finish and then he would play a song or two. He may not have known it but we realized that he was very self-conscious about it. He would peek at us to see if we were listening. To see if we heard him play and sing. Funny, when we finally asked him to sing for us in the cultural night, he refused and acted as if he had nothing to do with performing. He was just a kid, really.

But he was dead-serious with his convictions. He did a damn good job with it, too. Otherwise, those cowards who killed him wouldn’t have been so threatened. He was a National Council member and regional coordinator of the League of Filipino Students when he died. He was a youth activist leader, a freedom fighter, democracy defender.

The last time I saw him alive was when he accompanied us to the bus station on our way back here to Manila. He was concerned with our safety. He told us to always look out for suspicious persons, elements of the military. We didn’t really take his admonition seriously. We figured, praning lang siya. We were after all among dozens of passengers, in broad daylight.

How I wish now that Cris had taken his own caution to heart on the fateful night he was brutally killed. He was so young, he was on his way home from a school outing. He was walking with his professor when they shot him.

—–
The Philippine National Police were quick to dismiss allegations that the killing was politically-motivated. They even had the gall to suspect the professor he was with. Marami raw inconsistencies ang testimonies nung professor. To hell with them. If I were the professor, I would probably be shocked senseless too and blabber on incoherently.

They did their research too. They were quick to suggest that the killing was in all probability frat-related. Cris was also the newly-elected Grand Chancellor of Alpha Phi Omega-Bicol University chapter. But friends and comrades attest that he had no enemies at all. No one would wish him dead.

Or only one. Cris was the 33rd victim of extra-judicial killings perpetrated by suspected elements of the military for this year alone. He was the third leader of a militant organization to be killed in the province of Albay and the 77th documented victim in Bicol under the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration.

For this week alone, Cris was the 3rd victim of extra-judicial killings in the regions, ironically, barely a month after the lifting of PP 1017. First was Ka Santi Teodoro, chairperson of the BAYAN chapter in Malolos, Bulacan. A day before Cris was killed, Tirso Cruz, director of the United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU) was shot dead in Tarlac by elements of the military. And even after barely a day of mourning Cris’ death, a peasant couple and their son were ambushed in Central Luzon. Amante Abelon, Anakpawis coordinator and vice chairperson of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL-KMP), remains in critical condition. His wife Agnes and five-year-old son Elvin John are now dead.

The list goes on.

And even as our campaign to defend our Batasan Five legislators and for Ka Bel’s freedom continues, more and more fall victim to political repression and harassment.

Last Friday, Raunil Mortejo, Anakbayan-Davao City chairperson, was abducted by suspected elements of the Isapf. He was released an hour later after rigorous interrogation on his fellow activists’ whereabouts.

The reason: one of his comrades, Lorie Ann Cascaro, Anakbayan’s National Council member and Vice Chairperson for Mindanao, was charged with seven others after being implicated as conspirators in inciting to sedition and rebellion cases filed against Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador.

The list goes on.

——
Anyone is vulnerable to warrantless arrests, political prosecution and, yes, even extrajudicial killings by the Arroyo administration. Those implicated in the baseless infamous arrest list released by the government earlier; or those pin-pointed by that modern day Makapili; or those who, simply, dare to stand up to ‘the powers that be’ – they can range from Arroyo’s most ardent political foes to the most unsuspecting ordinary bystander.

It’s not so safe to be anonymous after all. ###

—–

i was supposed to post Cris’ foto, taken after he was killed. he looked as if he was just sleeping. but i couldn’t get myself to look at him like that anymore, sleeping or not. i hope our friends from bicol could send us a foto of the Cris we knew…and the Cris we wish to remember.

also posted at the young radicals blog

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13 Responses to To those who prefer to be anonymous

  1. Kiko says:

    So sad, so someone pushed your buttons. You could do much better. Using Cris Hugo to address anonymous comments. Oh my, you could have fooled me. What a loser.

  2. Anonymous says:

    SINO TONG KIKO’NG TO? Di ko alam ang context, pero sa itsura pa lang, mga nagmamagaling lang na olats up there. Ang wish ko lang sa mga tulad niya, di niya maranasan ang panunupil at karahasang nararanasan ng marami ngayon. Wish ko lang na di mangyari sa kanya ang nangyari kay Cris, kay Ka Tirso, at sa maraming maraming iba pa na ang ginawa lamang ay ipagtanggol ang demokratikong karapatan nila. Sana manatili silang safe sa kanilang mga bahay, patuloy na gawin ang kung anuman ang mga pinagkakaabalahan nila. I would not wish that the fate of the victims of state repression to happen to even the stupidest of people like this kiko.cutie

  3. Anonymous says:

    You might as well be Kiko, anonymous.

  4. Kiko says:

    Empty rhetorics. Keep focused pipol!

  5. Anonymous says:

    anyone can be a very different person in another place from ho he really is in another…sadyang magulo ang katotohanang ito… ngunit sa aking pananaliksik, si cris hugo ay ganito…hindi ako tibak gaya n’ya, ngunit hindi sa lahat ng oras, itatapon ko ang ideya ng pagiging tibak…kinukundina ko sa puntong ito ang “extreme right” na napagturingan sa maling gawaing ito kay hugo.

  6. Anonymous says:

    me pangalan pala sya… me job description na ba sya? kabilang ba yun sa new, lucrative jobs created by the arroyo administration?wundering

  7. Anonymous says:

    im from bikol at kasama ni cris sa mga bagay na trip nyang gawin ang maglingkod sa bayan, kiko alam mo ba talaga ang sinasabi mo? cguro nga hindi, kasi ur in the comfort ng bahay mo paupo upo sa couch nag oonline o kaya nageenjoy…punta ka sa bikol…immerse ka sa mga boarding houses at mga lugar kung nasaan ang mga kabataan,,punta ka sa bikol.. sa rapurapu island dun sa maraming toxic waste dun sa unti unting nilalason ang mga tao…dito ang retorika na sinasabi mo ay realidad… punta ka sa bikol 2nd poorest region daw ito…inuulit ko punta ka po.

  8. Kiko says:

    Oy, di lang sa bikol ang mahirap ang buhay – sa buong Pilipinas! Papunta ka pa lang pabalik na ako. Kayong mga istudiyante: maaring nasa tamang lugar ang damdamin, pero kulang sa karanasan. Matagal ko ng alam ang buhay sa Sorsogon: sa San Jose, sa Pilar, sa Dunsol at iba pang lugar na binabahayan ng NPA ang kabundukan, na walang mangahas maglakbay ng gabi, na maraming lupain ang walang produkto, na ang opisyal ng gobierno ay magnanakaw. Napapansin ko na karamihan sa young radicals ay may sampalataya sa komonista. Nakasisiguro ako na ang mga ito ay nakiki-romansa sa mapanganib na ideology na sa katunayang buhay ay hindi nila nauunawaan. Ang mga magulang niyo ay walang pahinga sa paghihirap Ano kayo? Nag tatrabaho na ba at tumutulong sa magulang o palamunin ka pa hanggang ngayon? Huwag naman sana. Kung matigas ng buto na magsalita ng kahirapan, nararapat lamang na may isip at nakakaintindi na ng reponsabilidad. Kung ikulong kayo sino tutubos sa inyo? Sino mag-aalala? Sino ang magdurusa? Sino maghihirap?Walang mali sa pakikipagbaka, kung alam ang ginagawa, kung ang tungkulin sa magulang at tahanan ay binibigyan ng sapat na pansin. Kung hindi ninyo magawa ito, sa bayan pa kaya?Hindi gimick ang labanan. Serious bisnis yan. Alamin ninyong mabuti ang ginagawa ninyo. Kung hindi man, sagabal lang kayo sa labanan.

  9. Anonymous says:

    isang malaking argumentum ad hominem! ngayon di na lang si cris kundi ang iniispouse nyang paniniwala ang tinira mo, at tinira mo pa kaming mga kamyembro ni cris! hehehehe di ako pabibingwit dyan! e ang inaawit mo parekoy ay lumang tugtugin na ng mga paid jacks ng afp at intelligence eh.. pilit kaming idadawit sa mga rebelde para anu? para maging legit target ng mga motorcycle death squads nyo! mula pa noong oplan gordian knot…oplan makabayan 1 and 2 at ang bantay laya nais nyo nang ilikida ang mga nagaadvocate ng legit dissent.nag argumentum ad mesirecordiam ka pa! kahit kailan hindi mo maituturing na TARANTADONG anak si cris o sinumang aktibistang kabataan! hinding hindi mo yan mapapatunayan! mulat lang sila at ipinaglalaban ang mga isyung alam nilang dapat ipaglaban para sa nakakarami!anu ba ang may isip at responsabilidada sa iyo? ung basta tatango na lang at di man lang nagtanong? ung sinasaksak nay di pa rin umaaray o baka yung katulad mo? na nangmumuddle ng isyu…nagpaka beterano epek ka pa! anung akala mo sa pakikibaka ng mga kabataan? joke joke joke? eto na nga at pinapaslang lang na! sumali kami sa kilusan ng kabataan na alam na hindi party ang dadaluhan, alam naming itoy mageentail ng sakripisyo at hirap pero sumali pa rin kami dahil alam naming may purpose ang laban na ito. at alam naming ang kilusan ng kabataan ay mahina kung hindi ito i hahanay sa mas malwak na kilusan ng sambayanan, kaya maski ang isyu ng magsasaka at manggagawa ay dinadala namin….alam na alam naming serious business yan. di namain kailangan ang paalala mo.at kung sa tingin mo sgabal kami sa labanan….. sinong gusto mong makipaglaban? ang mga katulad mo? wag na lang mabuting pang maging sgabal kami…CRIS HUGO, MARTYR AND HERO! LONG LIVE STUDENT ACTIVISM! LONG LIVE CRIS HUGO AND ALL MARTYRS OF THE STUDENT AND YOUTH MOVEMENT

  10. Kiko says:

    Lumang tugtugin para sa lumang awitin. Iyan ang sinasayawan bago pa kayo ipinanganak. Tarantadong anak? Hindi sa akin nangaling iyan, sa iyo. Isang halimbawa sa mga tinatawag na ‘cocky,’ na pag-iisip sa panahong ito. It is an expected response, lacking in carefull thought. Can we not expect something more? Kung ganyan ang sagot: marahas, jumping into conclusions, talagang sagabal lang, kundi man ingay lang.Sana meron diyan sa inyo na may pakiramdam ng tunay na pulso ng bayan. Na marunong gumamit ng nakasusuyong salita, na may pag-iisip ay di mula sa galit, init ng ulo o pagkapikon, na nakababasa sa mga pagitan ng salita.Sa ngayon bawat komento na hindi ayon sa isipan ninyo ay mali. Sa ngayon, hindi pa kayo marunong tumangap ng criticsm. Sa ngayon, walang pinagkaiba ang mga salita ninyo kahapon, ngayon at kung hindi magbabago ang inyong pamamaraan, bukas.

  11. Anonymous says:

    ang matiyagang pinapaliwanagan ay ang mga taong gusto at dapat maintindihan ang kanilang abang kalagayan… pero kung KAAWAY dapat walang habas na dinudurog-durog at hindi dapat pagpakitaan ng munti mang tanda ng pangangayupapa…sa tingin ko ay hindi naman pamumuna (in da spirit of CSC o PPS) ang ginagawa ni kiko kundi pang-AATAKE. sa ganyang diskurso, hindi kailangang magpakumbaba sa kanya… well, gusto rin nating marinig kung paano na tayo nagpapaliwanag, painstakingly pero obviuosly,bihira talaga ito sa venue na ito kung saan ang mga nagpopost ay usually mga pakawalang may unlimited net access.. needless to say, ang kilusang estudyante ay equipped ng katalinuhan para madistinguish kung sinu-sino pa ang dapat pukawin at pakilusin, at sino ang naggugulo lang

  12. Anonymous says:

    So typical na kayo kayo ang mag-alitan. Palagay ko tama si Kiko. Mga bata batuta pa lang talaga kayo. Di pa pedeng mag prime time.

  13. Anonymous says:

    DUH! kahit blues clues di mo masosolve with your logic, the intricate and mind-boggling plots of philippine primetime television pa kaya? hrdeharhar

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