During a surprise celebration of her 82nd birthday, Sr. Letecia “Letty” Daral attended a mass held in Butuan City, where she had worked. Rather than a homily, retired Butuan bishop Zacharias Jimenez asked Daral to speak, reminiscing on how their life was during the Martial Law period. With a cane in her hand, Daral walked up to the front and narrated her recollections of abuse and harassment. “For me, it’s not important who you are. If people ask for help, we should help,” said Daral, recalling the time she and her coworkers helped people who were targets of military forces during Martial Law.
Sr. Letty Daral was the former regional head and coordinator of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) in Butuan and a member of the Missionary Sisters of Mary. Little is known about Daral’s personal life, but she is fondly remembered by her fellow workers from the TFDP. TFDP workers actually planned a reunion in August of 2015 to coincide with her birthday as a surprise to their former regional head and to celebrate their continued quest for a humane social order.
The TFDP and the Church had a unique working relationship during the period of unrest and uncertainty. During the reunion, Jimenez, who was still a priest in Pagadian city during their time with Daral and the TFDP, recalled being repeatedly contacted by TFDP personnel to aid them in cases of human rights violations. He lamented that, at the time, many church workers were reluctant to help victims of military abuse. This was understandable, of course as people who came to the defense of victims would often find themselves attacked as well. “They would call you by any name – communist, subversive – in order to hide the real issue,” said Jimenez.
The Church would soon slowly open its doors to assist the TFDP workers, and they were exposed to how easily antagonized the latter were. During this reunion, several workers narrated their stories of how they were accused of being radicals, mistaken for rebels and how they had close brushes with death while doing their job to help the poor, particularly in the war-torn areas of Mindanao.[] Daral recalls that the workers themselves were being accused by the military as they continued helping people. “The military said the people we’re helping were New People’s Army (NPA) members. Maybe some were really NPAs, but most of them were just ordinary people who were accused of fighting the government,” said Daral.
Throughout the years, Daral continued working closely with the TFDP to help victims of human rights abuses and harassment from the military. She has established links with other human rights fighters throughout the country and remained closely connected to the cause of the TFDP even in old age. In 2012, she was even invited to speak during the commemoration of the 90th birth anniversary and 25th death anniversary of Jose “Ka Pepe” Diokno, the eminent martial law opposition leader and human rights defender.
Sources on the life and work of Sr. Letty Daral are scarce, and most only come from an article by her fellow TFDP worker H. Marcos C. Mordeno, who also served as a regional head for the organization. However, already apparent from her stories and the stories of her colleagues were their efforts during Martial Law to help the marginalized and the oppressed. The Church opened its doors to help and made no exception. As Daral had put it, they cared not if they were possibly helping the unfairly persecuted members of the resistance movement or actual NPA members. They would help anyone that came their way asking for aid. For having lived true to her religious advocacies and altruism, Sr. Letecia “Letty” Daral is given her due adulation and recognition as one of the many motu proprio victims of Martial Law.
Mordeno, H. Marcos C. “Remembering the days of fear, celebrating courage.” MindaNews. September 2, 2015. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2015/09/remembering-the-days-of-fear-celebrating-courage-2/.
The PCIJ Blog. “Sen. Jose “Pepe” Diokno, 1922-1987.” The PCIJ Blog. February 26, 2012. Accessed May 27, 2021. https://old.pcij.org/blog/2012/02/26/pepe-diokno-1922-1987.
 H. Marcos C. Mordeno, “Remembering the days of fear, celebrating courage,” MindaNews, September 2, 2015, accessed May 27, 2021, https://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2015/09/remembering-the-days-of-fear-celebrating-courage-2/.
 Ibid. Translated from Cebuano: Tawgon kag bisan unsa na lang – komunista, subersibo – aron lang matabonan ang tinood nga isyu.
 One such case was of a certain Zwingli, who was once detained on suspicions of being a communist and on multiple occasions was nearly killed in mortar fire from nearby military camps. He and his wife were both part of the local TFDP group.
 Mordeno, “Remembering the days of fear, celebrating courage.”
 The PCIJ Blog, “Sen. Jose “Pepe” Diokno, 1922-1987,” The PCIJ Blog, February 26, 2012, accessed May 27, 2021, https://old.pcij.org/blog/2012/02/26/pepe-diokno-1922-1987.
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