Giving up

I do not know Luciano Poro and his wife Roselyn Nurab. Or at least that is what I think after I looked at news fotos and footages on the couple’s surrender and the visit at the Capitol. I could not recall having met them in the past.

But I do know the kind of situation they are in now, having been “rehabilitated” after my second arrest in 1988. Don’t be fooled by their appearance in front of the media and during courtesy calls with local government officials. There is always the turmoil within to contend with.

The Poros are not the first to have given up the revolution for the sake of family. Nor will they be the last. When you are in the underground, especially in the countryside, the idea of giving up always presents itself. You are constantly tested, especially in the current stage the struggle in Cebu is in.

I wasn’t married in the movement, although when I was arrested I had just been through a tumultuous relationship with Ka Ivy that produced a child, Marie Stephanie, in 1987. That was the period when military offensive in the hinterlands intensified and I was forcefully separated from the underground and Ivy during my first arrest that year.

Admittedly, I cried when I saw Marie Stephanie’s photo that my sister sent to me when I was already in Bohol, evading a warrant of arrest by going back to the underground. The child was already dead when born. There was also some guilt there because months before, we tried to abort the child after a discussion with the other members of my collective.

Ivy would later go back to his family, which was all the while trying to survive the military offensive in their place. Eventually she married a military man apparently to buy peace for the family. She died several years after. She was pregnant then with her third child.

Anyway, that illustrates the difficulty of maintaining a relationship while waging war. Only those who are lucky or who have real commitment will survive. But those who give up should not be condemned for their decision. That does not mean they have jettisoned their principles.

When you are in a situation the Poros are now in, psychological turmoil is inevitable. You are in limbo because while you are still unable to fully cut the ties that bind you to your former comrades, connecting with your former enemies is difficult. Then there is the question of when you will finally be left alone to lead a normal life.

I lived in a military camp for more than a year. During that time, I spent my time writing to drive away the boredom, the sadness and the feeling of uncertainty. In the camp, I was dishwasher, janitor, errand boy, sometimes clerk. Those months tested me psychologically.

I don’t know if the wounds have healed. While more than two decades have passed since then, the ghosts of those months still visit me sometimes.

—Candido O. Wenceslao

November 10, 2006

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