A Woman's Place in the Struggle
Volume 22 Number 1
Friday, 15 January 2010 11:54
March 8 is International Women’s Day.  

It is an occasion marked by women’s groups around the world.  
International Women's Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of herstory; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men.
In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) brings into focus two cases of women political detainees.
Wenifreda Marigondon
26 years old, female, married

Date of incident: November 25, 2005
Place of incident: Barangay Plaridel Ilaya, Plaridel, Quezon
Motive: alleged member of the New People’s Army
Alleged perpetrator: Members of the 76th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines headed by Lt. Juanito Paraso

Wenifreda was pregnant when she was arrested without being presented a warrant on November 25, 2005. She was dragged out of the house and when she asked what she was being arrested for, commanding officer Lt. Paraso shouted that she need not ask because she has a warrant of arrest.

In the custody of the military, she was intimidated, interrogated, verbally abused and was denied sleep, food and medicines.  At one time, she was permitted to visit a doctor who prescribed her pre-natal medicines but the soldiers told her that if she wants to have said medicines she had to disclose information about her NPA comrades.

On December 22, 2005, she gave birth while in detention at the military hospital in Lucena City. After giving birth, she was visited several times by Lt. Paraso in the hospital. At one time, during the visits of Lt. Paraso, he interrogated her and intimidated her, which caused her to suffer bleeding.

Currently, Wenifreda is still in detention in the Female Section in Camp Bagong Diwa.

Marilou Aligato
31 years old, Female, Married

Date of incident: November 7, 2006
Place of incident: Kanangga, Leyte
Motive: suspected conspirator in the murder of Ssg. Guillermo Analasan and alleged member of the New People’s Army
Alleged perpetrators: Elements of the 19th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army

In the afternoon of November 7, 2006, Marilou, four months pregnant at that time, was on her way to her pre-natal check-up at the Municipal Health Office in Kanangga, Leyte when members of the 19th Infantry Battalion nabbed her.

The nabbing is in relation to an earlier incident in the town where a military man, Ssg. Guillermo Analasan was shot at close range by two unidentified men near the town market.

Certain witness for the first incident commented that a woman was seen with the two gunmen before the shooting and that said woman was wearing a red shirt and maong pants. Unfortunately for Marilou, she was wearing a similar attire.

Two soldiers grabbed Marilou. Her head was wrapped with a cloth and was hit with a butt of a gun before she was brought to the Kanangga Police Station.

Her cellular phone was confiscated by one of the soldiers without it being recorded in the police blotter in the station. Ironically, this is the same phone being used as evidence against her.

From the police station, Marilou was dragged to the military truck. Her head was still wrapped with a cloth and was again hit with the butt of the gun.

She was brought to a military detention cell where she was again tortured.  Her torturers did not even consider her vulnerable condition.  

Soldiers brought her to the Municipal Health Office of Kanangga, Leyte for physical examination, but with her head covered, the examining doctor did not see her head bruises.

On her 33rd week of pregnancy, her request to transfer to a better facility for the duration of her pregnancy until delivery was granted by the Regional Trial Court of Leyte.

After giving birth, Marilou filed a case in the Ombudsman against the 19th Infantry Battalion for grave misconduct and arbitrary detention and physical injuries.

She is still in detention.

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