I hope local human rights advocates will still remember to commemorate the abduction of Redemptorist priest Fr. Rudy Romano and Levi Ybanez tomorrow, July 11. The two were abducted by armed agents of the Marcos dictatorship way back on July 11, 1985.
Their disappearance triggered an avalanche of protests in CEbu that was grew larger until the February 1986 revolt in Metro Manila.
I personally knew Fr. Rudy being a staff in the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and several multisectoral protest groups before this like the Coalition Against People’s Persecution (Capp), the Nagkahiusang Sugbo alang sa Demokrasya (Nasud) and the Cebu Oust Marcos Movement to Advance Nationalism and Democracy (Command).
I was with him in the picket lines, in anti-Marcos rallies, and in secret meetings to plot out the Cebu protest movements next moves either with our politician allies at the house of the late Inday Nita Cortes-Daluz, at our secret meeting places in local religious houses, or in private residences.
Shortly after Edsa, I helped organize some annual commemorative activities when I was active with Selda, a group of former political detainees.
Fr. Frank Connon, who succeeded Fr. Romano as head of the Redemptorist JUstice and Peace office in CEbu, contracted me to go through Fr. Rudy’s files to help Lillette Santos, then of the Philippine News and Features (PNF), write a book about Fr. Rudy.
So far I have postponed writing my version of those years with Fr. Romano. Maybe sometime in the future after my current book project on the history of Naga City.