Fabian Ver's daughter comes to terms with his legacy in Martial Law

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 1986/01/01: General  Fabian Ver salutes at a military parade. He was one of Ferdinand Marcos's right hand men and stayed loyal to the President throughout the 'People's Power' revolution. Just a day before he was to flee the Philippines with the Marcos family, the General argued for permission to use heavy weapons against the rebels and presumably the 'people' -
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 1986/01/01: General Fabian Ver salutes at a military parade. He was one of Ferdinand Marcos's right hand men and stayed loyal to the President throughout the 'People's Power' revolution. Just a day before he was to flee the Philippines with the Marcos family, the General argued for permission to use heavy weapons against the rebels and presumably the 'people' - "We are ready to destroy them sir," he told Marcos. The "People's Power" revolution finally ousted the President of the Philippines. On February 25th 1986 Marcos and the First Lady, Imelda fled the country with their family and General Ver. Cory Aquino became the new President with Doy Laurel sworn in as her Vice President.. (Photo by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The daughter of the former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff and National Intelligence and Security Authority Fabian Ver, Wanna, reflects on her father’s legacy and role during the Martial Law of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., in an article published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

The article looks back at the childhood of daughter Ver during the early years of the Marcos Martial Law, their subsequent exile to Hawaii and Hong Kong in the aftermath of the 1986 People Power Revolt, and how she learned of her father’s direct hand in the greatest human rights violations in the history the Philippines.

As a child, Wanna grew up in the exclusive village of Forbes Park in Makati, where she was chauffered in a stretch limo from their house to school and back. Early on, she learned of her extreme privilege as she recounts seeing children her age knocking on the window of her car, begging for alms. Her nanny, whom she calls “Nanay,” taught her to feel for these children.

“It was a lot of luxury and a lot of feeling guilty of how much I had and how little everyone else had,” Wanna recounts in the article.

Later on, after they were exiled and made an entirely new life in America and Europe, she would learn the truth about Martial Law after reading American investigative journalist Raymond Bonner’s “Waltzing with a Dictator,” and meeting a doula (professional labor assistant) and fellow Filipina in Sweden, Michelle Soderman.

She also watched Laura Greenfield’s documentary “The Kingmaker,” which had the most impact on her. “After seeing the interviews of [human rights victims] Hilda Narciso, Etta Rosales and May Rodriguez, they turned into real people to me. They had been harmed and continue to suffer from the abuses of my father’s regime. It was the human rights survivors that made me finally realize that the Marcos’ Golden Age history was a fabrication,” Wanna explains in the article.

The article also chronicles the many cases and lawsuits filed before different federal courts in the United States against the Marcoses, and how, to this date, many victims have yet to receive compensation because the Philippine government’s Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board is still not being given enough time to conduct a thorough investigation.

But unlike the surviving Marcos family, Wanna is offering an apology to each and every victim of Martial Law that her father helped to implement, and supports their quest for justice and compensation.

“We need to listen to each other and acknowledge wrongs done before our country and people can heal and move forward. When my daughter grows up, I want her to be able to know her history and lineage without avoiding it, like I did. The shame I’ve carried for years can be debilitating. Still, I’ve learned that with work, it can also be transformed into healing,” Wanna says in the article.

You may read the full article here.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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