Political Detainees in the Philippines (Book, 1976)

This iconic 128-page little book, published in 1976 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, destroyed the benevolent image that the dictator Ferdinand Marcos had sought to paint about his rule.

It identified at least 36 detention centers across the country where political prisoners were being kept and tortured. Whenever possible, it provided the number of prisoners in these detention camps, including the number of detained nursing mothers and babies. It provided grisly accounts of torture and execution, accompanied with photos and doctor’s certificates.

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), the courageous group under the AMRSP that was responsible for its preparation, called it the “black book” not only for its powerful black cover but for the darkness and human suffering documented inside its pages, all instigated by the dictatorship forces. The book presents three case studies, one of which is that of the unfortunate 25-year-old Fortunato Bayotlang, of Davao City, found tortured to death.

The book is accessible at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani library.