Last Sunday, September 17, GMA-7 actor Alden Richards transformed into the activist and award-winning screenwriter Bonifacio Ilagan who was tortured during the Martial Law era.
Joining him in GMA Public Affairs’ Alaala: A Martial Law Special was Rocco Nacino who brought life to editor and journalist Pete Lacaba.
This short film written by Boni himself was aired on the 45th anniversary of President Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law.
Around 70,000 people were imprisoned; 34,000 were tortured; 3,240 were killed; and 884 disappeared involuntarily, from which 612 are still missing—more than four decades after former President Marcos declared Martial Law, human rights victims still cry for justice.
Those who survived these dark years urge Filipinos to “Never forget.”
Pete Lacaba and Boni Ilagan were just some of the young Filipinos who suffered under the hands of the Philippine Constabulary.
In a statement released by GMA, Rocco disclosed how he discovered that he was related to Lacaba.
“[Sir Pete] came to me, saying, ‘Hey you know what I’m your mom’s second cousin.’ So that night halos hindi ako makatulog. Nag-research ako, I called up my mom and then na-confirm na kamag-anak ko pala si Sir Pete. It makes everything more meaningful at mas malalim para sa akin,” Rocco said.
This film within a documentary started by showing Alden's Boni attending rallies against the dictator.
Boni and Rocco's Pete are shown being captured by the Philippine Constabulary at a printing press.
In a column written by Lacaba for the September 1995 issue of the Philippine Graphic, he called the torture done to them as "San Juanico Bridge."
In his own words, Lacaba described it: "I was made to lie down with the back of my head resting on the edge of one steel cot, both my feet resting on the edge of another cot, my arms straight at my sides, and my stiffened body hanging in midair.
"This was the torture they called higa sa hangin (lying down in air), also known as San Juanico Bridge, named after the country's longest bridge, built during martial law and dedicated by Marcos to his wife Imelda."
AGB RATINGS. How did Alaala: A Martial Law Special fare in AGB ratings?
Based on AGB Nielsen data, GMA-7's special Alaala got a TV rating of 3.6%. It aired from 10:36 pm to 12:02 AM.
Its ABS-CBN counterpart, Vice Ganda's Gandang Gabi Vice got an AGB rating of 4.5%. It aired from 10:37 pm to 11:41 pm.