Pepito Deheran was a quiet teenager in Angeles City, Pampanga, happy to play basketball with friends. He stopped going to school after his second year in high school and tried in various ways, mostly as a tricycle driver, to augment his family’s income.
After Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was killed in 1983, Pepito, called Peng by family and friends, became involved with the Concerned Citizens of Pampanga. He joined protest rallies organized in Angeles City to denounce the regime’s abuses. He campaigned actively to expose the May 1984 Batasang Pambansa elections as a maneuver to fool the people, organizing meetings in his barangay and building core groups for the boycott movement. The local authorities did not like it.
In the early dawn of May 30, 1984, soldiers and members of the local militia (Civilian Home Defense Force, or CHDF) surrounded a hut in Sapang Bato, where Deheran, with his close friends Rolando Castro and Lito Cabrera who owned the hut, had been sleeping. The three were brought to a nearby constabulary detachment, where they were tortured. All of them denied being members of the New People’s Army. They were then taken out of the constabulary detachment to an isolated place, and there stabbed repeatedly. They were then left for dead, on the banks of the nearby Apalit River, one kilometer apart from each other.
After his attackers had gone, Deheran crawled to the roadside, hailed a passing vehicle and asked to be taken to a hospital. At the Central Luzon General Hospital, he was treated for 14 stab wounds, a broken leg, and bruises all over his body. Some of the attackers were known to him, he told his mother Gregoria, naming two militia members. He also said the soldiers were in uniform but without name tags. He gave the same information in a sworn statement witnessed by several lawyers.
Very early the following day, June 2, Gregoria was keeping watch when she saw a man pull down the hospital’s electric power switch, and another man entered the intensive care unit where her son was lying in critical condition. Then she heard her daughter shout: “Mother, Mother, Peng has been stabbed again!”
Pepito Deheran died from his many wounds that same evening. He was 27.
During his wake, his mother recounted, they received the news that Deheran’s passport had been approved; he could now leave for the Middle East, where he would have worked as a laborer.