Friday, July 11, 2008

Remembering Fr. Rudy Romano - Desaparecido, presumed dead

Today we mark the 23rd anniversary of the disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano. He was a Redemptorist assigned in Cebu who was actively involved in struggle against the Marcos dictatorial regime. He courageously spoke out against the abuses of under martial law. On July 11, 185 he was abducted by military intelligence agents and since then has not been found. Fr. Rudy was one of the hundreds of desaparecidos -victims of the the dictatorial rule. After Marcos was deposed by people power, we heard from sources within the military that he died during interrogation. Until now we still don't know where they buried him.
I have known Fr. Rudy since 1972 when he was assigned in Iligan. I accompanied him in the parish mission in Balingoan during my summer vacation in May 1972, a few months before the declaration of martial law. I was impressed by his missionary zeal as we moved from barrio to barrio conducting mission evangelization seminars among the people.
As we remember Fr. Rudy, I am appalled that cases of forced disappearances and political killings are still happening under this supposedly democratic government. Many continue to be missing - among them Jonas Burgos. Marcos the dictator is gone - but his legacy is lives on under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Some of those involved in the abduction and death of Fr. Rudy Romano are probably still around and occupying high positions in the military, hiding their dirty secrets and continuing their dirty war.
Never again! This was our cry after the fall of the dictator. And now we have more of the same. When, O Lord, can we be truly freed from evil? When can we be freed from corruption and abuses of those in power?
I hope that someday, the truth will come out and those responsible for the abduction and death of Fr. Rudy and thousands of desaparecidos under the Marcos regime and the Arroyo administration will be brought to justice.
(For Fr. Rudy Romano)

From this dark and lonely cell
I cry out to you
Lord, hear my groaning.

I don't know where I am.
I don't know whether it's night or day.
I don't know what will happen next.

My throat is sore, I cannot scream anymore.
My fingers are swollen, I cannot clench my fist.
My ribs are broken, I cannot stand erect.

I hate the sight of water
I can no longer bear a single drop.
I loathe those cigarettes
that penetrate my skin.
I dread the sound of footsteps
and the opening of the door.
I prefer this darkness
than face the glaring light.
I can just imagine
what they are going to do next.

They said only I can end my suffering
if I cooperate with them
and sign the confession they manufactured
and bear false witness against myself
and those who oppose this diabolical regime.

How much longer, O Lord, can I hold on?
How much longer can I maintain my sanity?
How long will they keep me in this limbo?

Will I ever see again the sun?
Will I ever see again the faces
of those I love and serve?
Or will they make me disappear forever?

Lord, deliver us from these kidnappers and murderers
who are trying to maintain peace and order.
Deliver us from these mercenaries
whose obsession is to defend national security‑‑
the security of this bloodthirsty
and power‑hungry dictator,
the security of his cronies and their
big business interests,
the security of his alien lords
and their bases and investments.

O Lord, my God,
I know that you are neither blind nor deaf.
your mercy and compassion endures forever.
You have always been a subversive God:
you scatter the proud,
you depose the mighty,
you empty the rich,
you lift up the lowly,
you free the oppressed,
you fill the hungry.

I cry out now to you:
subvert this evil kingdom and empire!
Let your spirit fill the hearts
of those who are struggling to build your kingdom
of justice, peace and freedom.

From this dark and lonely cell
I cry out to you, Lord hear my prayer.

Into your hands, O Lord
I commend my broken body
and my wavering spirit.

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