Remember Doris Baffrey – #rememberML@40
HRonlinePH.com celebrates Mother’s Day by remembering stories of Mothers who fought against Martial Law – women who have given us a vision of potential for human strength and renewal. Those who died leave us their stories of heroism. A repost from #rememberML@40
“In a nutshell, the worst experience a political prisoner goes through is the loss of his/her dignity as a human being –getting treated like an animal by that species which refuses to be human – the military… The loss of human dignity is a continuing process in prison – the mocking smiles of fatigue- clad men are usually more telling than their guns. It’s more I think as a woman because the taunting doesn’t cease – and neither does the sexual harassment from arrest through detention.” – Doris Baffrey
Doris is a Maryknoll Communication Arts graduate, batch 1973 and was a foreign service officer based in New York before she was accused of being one of the bombers of the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on October 19, 1980. The bombing incident resulted injuring seven American delegates to the American Society of Travel Agents Convention and eight Filipinos.
She was arrested nine days later after a manhunt by the Special Operations Group. On February 10, 1982, she pleaded guilty to charge of subversion before a judge in the Quezon City Court. She was meted a four-month prison term but having been detained for 15 months by then, she was considered free.
Two week later, the judge advocate general and a colonel of the Philippine Constabulary Metrocom’s judge advocate filed a complaint against her at the Pasay City Fiscal for “multiple frustrated murder with damage to public building through use of illegally possessed explosives” for the same act for which she had already been convicted.
She experienced mental torture, harassment, and intimidation. Torture instruments were shown to her to scare her. Even an older sister was held hostage in Manila for several months and barred from leaving for the United States until she cooperated. Sexual advances and threats of rape were fended off by her physically and verbally.
She has tasted isolation in Fort Bonifacio. She was put in a cell in the company of common crime violators and nearly been raped in the stockade.
On December 1980, a team of Americans who identified themselves to her as the Anti-Terrorism Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Customs Service and which included a legal attaché of the United States Embassy investigated her anew.
Doris called them “FBI-CIA agents” and said she was offered “ a change of identity, a new place/ job to live/work if I agreed to go with them to the US to pinpoint my ‘US counterparts’ and get them indicted”. The offer left her unmoved.
The greatest pain inflicted on her, more than anything else, was when she was asked by the American team if there was anything that would make her yield. Two seconds passed and she replied that there is nothing they can do.
“Little feet, little hands?” cooed one of the agents and Doris felt the heat rising in her eyes.
“Little feet, little hands… Mama… Mama…,” echoed another voice that smacked with sadist delight.
Not wanting to give the agents the satisfaction they wanted, She stood up and ran outside the room – hurling expletives to the Americans.
At that time her son Robert Michael, was a prep student in Makati City.
Source: “Filipino Women in Struggle” TFDP
On the 40th Anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, let us push for the ‘Compensation Act’ for all victims
of human rights violations of the Marcoses,
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Never Again to Martial Law!
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Our youth with the truth and lessons of Martial Law.
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