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MANILA, Might 5 (Reuters) – Former political prisoner Cristina Bawagan nonetheless has the gown she wore the day she was arrested, tortured and sexually abused by troopers through the late Philippines’ dictator Ferdinand Marcos’s brutal period of martial regulation.

Bawagan fears the horrors of Marcos’s rule can be diminished if his namesake son wins the presidency in subsequent week’s election, a victory that may cap a three-decade political fightback for a household pushed out in a 1986 “individuals energy” rebellion.

Often known as “Bongbong”, Marcos Jr. has benefited from what some political analysts describe as a decades-long public relations effort to change perceptions of his household, accused of residing lavishly on the helm of one in every of Asia’s most infamous kleptocracies. learn extra

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Rivals of the household say the presidential run is an try and rewrite historical past, and alter a story of corruption and authoritarianism related along with his father’s period.

“This election is not only a struggle for elected positions. It is usually a struggle towards disinformation, pretend information, and historic revisionism,” Leni Robredo, Marcos’s principal rival within the presidential race, instructed supporters in March.

TSEK.PH, a fact-checking initiative for the Might 9 vote, instructed Reuters final month it has debunked scores of martial law-related disinformation it says had been used to rehabilitate, erase or burnish the discreditable file of Marcos Snr.

Marcos Jr.’s camp didn’t reply to written requests for remark from Reuters on Bawagan’s story.

Marcos Jr., who final week known as his late father a “political genius”, has beforehand denied claims of spreading misinformation and his spokesperson has stated Marcos doesn’t have interaction in damaging campaigning. learn extra

Bawagan, 67, stated martial regulation victims like her wanted to share their tales to counter the portrayal of the elder Marcos’s regime as a peaceable, golden age for the Southeast Asian nation.

“It is rather essential they see main proof that it actually occurred,” stated Bawagan whereas exhibiting the printed gown which had a tear under the neckline the place her torturer handed a blade throughout her chest and fondled her breasts.


The elder Marcos dominated for 20 years from 1965, virtually half of it beneath martial regulation.

Throughout that point, 70,000 individuals had been imprisoned, 34,000 had been tortured, and three,240 had been killed, based on figures from Amnesty Worldwide – figures which Marcos Jr. questioned in a January interview. learn extra

Bawagan, an activist, was arrested on Might 27, 1981 by troopers within the province of Nueva Ecija for alleged subversion and dropped at a “safehouse” the place she was crushed as they tried to extract a confession from her.

“I’d obtain slaps on my face each time they weren’t glad with my solutions and that was on a regular basis,” Bawagan stated. “They hit strongly at my thighs and clapped my ears. They tore my duster (gown) and fondled my breasts.”

“The toughest factor was after they put an object in my vagina. That was the worst a part of it and all all through I used to be screaming. Nobody appeared to listen to,” stated Bawagan, a mom of two.


In a dialog with Marcos Jr. that appeared on YouTube in 2018, Juan Ponce Enrile, who served because the late dictator’s defence minister, stated not one individual was arrested for his or her political and spiritual views, or for criticising the elder Marcos.

Nevertheless, greater than 11,000 victims of state brutality throughout martial regulation later acquired reparations utilizing thousands and thousands from Marcos’s Swiss financial institution deposits, a part of billions the household siphoned off from the nation’s coffers and recovered by the Philippine authorities. learn extra Amongst them was Felix Dalisay, who was detained for 17 months from August 1973 after he was crushed and tortured by troopers attempting to power him to tell on different activists, inflicting him to endure listening to loss.

“They kicked me even earlier than I boarded the navy jeep so I fell and hit my face on the bottom,” Dalisay stated, exhibiting a scar on his proper eye as he recounted the day he was arrested.

After they reached the navy headquarters, Dalisay stated he was dropped at an interrogation room, the place troopers repeatedly clapped his ears, kicked and hit him, generally with a butt of a rifle, throughout questioning.

“They began by inserting bullets utilized in a .45 calibre gun between my fingers and they might squeeze my hand. That basically harm. In the event that they weren’t glad with my solutions, they might hit me,” Dalisay pointing to totally different components of his physique.

The return of a Marcos to the nation’s seat of energy is unthinkable for Dalisay, who turned 70 this month.

“Our blood is boiling at that thought,” stated Dalisay. “Marcos Sr declared martial regulation then they are going to say no one was arrested, and tortured? We’re right here talking whereas we’re nonetheless alive.”

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Reporting by Karen Lema; Enhancing by Lincoln Feast.

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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