In an opinion article by Raissa Robles, she reveals the truth behind the torture and death of Archimedes Trajano, a student of Mapua Institute of Technology found lifeless on a road during the reign of Martial Law.
His parents were informed that Trajano’s death was a result of his fight with his dorm mates. Other than his immediate family, friends and school, only a few people knew the real reason for his torture and murder by the military bodyguards of Imee Marcos.
In an excerpt from Robles’ book, Marcos Martial Law: Never Again, she relayed the actual events that led to Trajano’s killing. On the fateful day of August 31, 1977, Archimedes Trajano attended an open forum with Imee, who was then 21 years old, same as Archimedes. Her father appointed her National Chairman of the Kabataang Barangay youth organization during this time. Trajano questioned her on the appointment, which irritated Imee giving her guards reason to seize and drag him away. Hours later, his body was found severely tortured and beaten to death.
If this event took place as of present, Agapita, Trajano’s mother, could file murder charges against the military bodyguards. However, charging the president’s daughter and her bodyguards of conspiracy to murder was not possible under the Martial Law.
After nine long years, Agapita Trajano was able to file a case in a Hawaii court against Imee Marcos and General Fabian Ver, who was the late dictator’s spy chief. She charged them for “false imprisonment, kidnapping, wrongful death, and a deprivation of rights” of her son, Archimedes.
The damage suit was won by Agapita in Hawaii which is the same reason why Imee transferred her residency to Singapore.
What is also important to note is that Imee, in order to counter a civil lawsuit which accused her of “wrongful death”, argued that even though she admits to her military bodyguards torturing Trajano and her knowledge about the torture, the case against her cannot proceed before the Hawaii Court because the court only has jurisdiction over torturous acts that occur in the US.
This was the same Imee who stated on national TV that she was “too young” to know about the human rights abuses that occurred during her father’s dictatorial rule.
The Hawaii court countered this argument and ruled in favor of Agapita.
However, what was tragic was the Philippine Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Imee, whose ponente was none other than Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco. Justice Presbitero was part of the ruling party who voted in favor of Marcos’ burial at the LNMB.
To read more on the case, search for Trajano v Marcos.