Rights violations vs Adora Faye de Vera, testament to impunity from Marcos Sr. to Marcos Jr. - Karapatan

“The case of Adora Faye de Vera is more than what the current Marcos administration paints it to be. It is a strong testament to the prevailing impunity that has seen resurgence with the installation of the dictator’s son into the presidency. From Adora’s abduction, torture and rape during the elder Marcos’s martial law, to her arbitrary arrest and unjust detention under another Marcos, hers is a most vivid illustration of the continuing injustice against human rights violations victims,” rights group Karapatan said a week after the elderly activist was arrested on August 24 in Quezon City.

Karapatan joined calls to free de Vera, and stressed that her arrest on the basis of murder and frustrated murder charges are an absurd reversal of the fact that it should be her who should be demanding justice from the perpetrators of all the crimes against her family from martial law to present.

“State forces portray Adora Faye as a terrorist, purportedly erasing the crimes they have committed against her, from her detention, torture and rape, and the disappearance of her husband. Adora Faye’s testimony of her harrowing ordeal was one of the strongest testimonies monumental in the filing of the class suit against the Marcos estate in Hawaii after the fall of the dictatorship,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said, emphasizing that de Vera is among the ten named plaintiffs in the landmark class action suit against the Marcos estate in the US courts.

Adora Faye de Vera is an activist, writer, researcher and former deputy secretary general of Gabriela, who has consistently fought for women’s rights, being a victim of sexual violence against women when she was arrested and tortured by the military under Marcos’ martial law.

The Hawaii class suit opened an avenue in rendering partial justice to all victims of rights violations, including the passage of a law for the recognition and reparations for martial law victims. However, despite being one of the named plaintiffs in the class suit, Adora Faye did not apply for recognition or reparation, and said that no amount of monetary compensation can make up for all the crimes committed against martial law victims.

“Adora Faye’s stance on pursuing justice, along with her lifetime advocacy for women’s and human rights, exposes the absurdity of the trumped-up cases filed against her. We can only believe that these are made along the same breath of so many trumped-up charges invented and concocted by State forces against activists and political dissidents, spun from the same old narrative of pointing and picking at anyone labelled and red-tagged as ‘rebel’ and ‘subversive’ as terrorists,” said Palabay.

She also deplored the manner in which she was arrested, which according to her, is an inch close to abduction. The group also said that had it not been reported by the media, they fear that Adora Faye may have suffered the same ordeal as her husband, Manuel Manaog, who was forcibly disappeared in 1990.

“Based on her account, members of the arresting team posed first as from the Bureau of Fire Protection, and only introduced themselves as cops when they have positively identified her. They snatched Adora Faye out of the apartment where she was staying, with no coordination from the local barangay, and flew her immediately from Quezon City to Calinog, Iloilo. For 24 hours, she was not seen by any family member or legal counsel. Her arrest was only known publicly after a news article was released by an online regional newspaper,” recounted Palabay.

According to Karapatan, there are 801 political prisoners in the Philippines, like Adora Faye, who face trumped up criminal charges. Close to a hundred have illnesses, including life-threatening medical conditions made even worse by their incarceration in overcrowded detention facilities and cruel treatment by jail authorities and personnel.

Karapatan strongly called for an immediate junking of the trumped-up charges against Adora Faye. “In her advanced age, Adora Faye does not deserve more jail time, with her lifetime work to uphold the rights of women, peasants and families of victims of rights violations. We demand the dismissal of trumped up charges against her. ‘Never again’ has never been so true in the case of Adora Faye, a survivor and twice victim of the Marcoses. We demand that the Marcos II administration release her soon. Free Adora Faye de Vera now!” ended Palabay. #