Three Martyrs of Bakun

29 Years and Counting: The three martyrs of Bakun. 

WHEN I was involved in a cause-oriented group in the Philippines prior to EDSA People Power I and right after, I came across a book, 'Bakun: Three Martyrs for the People.' 

By then, I have had a dose of stories of deaths, arrests, bartolina, and summary executions of people who were involved in a variety of causes, some of them involved in that left-wing of the ultra-conservative Catholic Church at that time.

Somewhere, Cardinal Sin even came up with a phrase to justify his Church's silence, and he called that 'critical collaboration.'

In the seminary, there were days when talk would spread like wildfire, and no one among the priests would neither confirm nor deny what was happening.

And then this: the reported deaths. Three deaths, in fact.

Some newspapers picked that up, like Bulletin, Tempo, and the Inquirer, but the reports were sporadic, sometimes the details were wrong. And always, the slant was some kind of an encounter of the close kind, as if extra-terrestial beings came into the Bakun earth, and thus, had to be repulsed by the soldiers whose salaries were paid for the by people.

On Holy Thursday, I took the trip to the Cordilleras to find Bakun, and there, on Good Friday, to pay my respects to the three martyrs, heads severed from their bodies, and never to be found again.

And their bodies were stolen too, dug up from fresh graves, and never to be found as well.

To you three, salute: Father Nilo Valerio, Soledad Salvador, and Resteta Fernandez.

BAKUN/April 2014.

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