Experiences as a political detainee.: Becoming Minnesotan

Addi Batica at Macchu Picchu, Peru, 2004. Minnesota Historical Society, Oral His
  • Name - Adelbert Batica
  • Age at interview - 61
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.26.2011
  • Addi Batica picketing at the federal building in downtown Minneapolis, 1985.

    Filipino, Oppression, Politics

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    Essential Question

    Life in the Old Country: What makes a country a person’s homeland?

    Politics & Government: How are other systems of government different than the U.S. government?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Ferdinand Marcos became president of the Philippines in 1965 but his second term saw growing violence and unrest in the country, due to increasingly poor economic conditions. The attempted assassination of the country’s defense minister in 1972 led Marcos to declare martial law. Marcos abolished congress and began to rule by decree, clamped down on individual freedoms and freedom of the press, rewrote the constitution to allow himself additional terms and more power, and began to arrest his opponents.

    To learn more about Filipino history and culture, visit our Filipino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Adelbert Batica 4
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    Narrator: Adelbert Batica (AB)

    Interviewer: Lita Malicsi (LM)

    LM: You spent some time as a political detainee. What was that like? Where were you placed? How were you treated? Talk to me about your being a political detainee.

    AB: I was held at a military camp in Mindanao and, for now, I won’t name the place or its exact location. But, I was kept there. There were some officers, especially those who were graduates of the Philippine Military Academy, who did their best to treat us well. However, there were also others, mostly enlisted personnel, non-commissioned officer types, who saw in this an opportunity to show their power or to get back at us for being critical of the government.

    LM: Can you be more specific? What specific things did they do to you? Was there physical abuse? Was it verbal abuse? What exactly did they do?

    AB: There was verbal abuse. There were long hours of tactical interrogation. There were also long hours of being kept under the sun, being forced to work without a hat or without anything to cover your head in the heat of the day. There were also times when they resorted to sleep deprivation, tried to keep us awake, force us to be awake.

    LM: Were there any casualties? Did some political detainees get sick or died during the detention?

    AB: Well, actually, I remember one of my companions who had a nervous breakdown as a result of his detention.

    LM: How many other political detainees were with you? And what did these people do to cause this kind of detention?

    AB: At the time that I was detained, there must have been at least fifteen to twenty of us being kept in that army barracks. All of us were, of course, alleged to have violated the anti-subversion law by - and the language of the military was - being either wittingly or unwittingly involved in a conspiracy to overthrow the government, which was, of course, ridiculous.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun: A group of buildings used by military personnel as housing.


    Noun: Collective tally of injuries and fatalities of an event.


    Noun: A secret plan among a group of people to commit an unlawful or wrongful act.


    Noun: The act of taking something away or denying someone something.


    Noun: A person imprisoned or held in custody, especially for political reasons.


    Noun: The act of questioning someone, especially in an aggressive manner.


    Noun: Employees; office staff.


    Noun: A systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government by working from within.


    Adverb: Intentionally; on purpose.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 2124