Profiles of Courage

Rev. Reuben Genotiva

Despite an exhaustive online search of articles, e-library databases and websites, only one mention of Rev. Reuben Genotiva can be found other than his name in the Freedom Memorial’s Roll of Victims.[1] The United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) mentions Rev. Reuben D. Genotiva, Sr., who was at one point, their conference minister in the Cotabato Annual Conference.[2]

However, a publication by the Promotion of Church People’s Rights, entitled That We May Remember, tells of the stories of church members who fought against repression and became victims themselves. One story mentions Rev. Ruben Genotiva, along with another motu proprio victim, Rev. Ben Barloso.[3]

On August 16, 1983, the house of Rev. Reuben Ong-oy, a pastor of the UCCP, in Cotabato hosted a wedding reception attended by several noteworthy guests, such as Leoncio “Jun” Evasco, Jr., as well as Rev. Genotiva and Rev. Barloso, both from the UCCP as well. The following day, right before the ceremony proper took place, some 100 soldiers from Task Force Makabansa XI, led by Col. Nelson Estares, invited themselves inside the house, ordered all the men out and interrogated the women. The men were later blindfolded, with their hands tied behind their back, face down on the ground. When the operation concluded, eighteen persons were arrested, including the couple to be married, Manny Sagaral and Agnes Jabilles, Jun Evasco, Rev. Genotiva, Rev. Barloso, Celso Maghanoy, Clemente Espina, Heracleo Pacquera and Trifonio Andres.[4]

The military operation was supposedly conducted on the basis of a diary they obtained from a slain rebel suggesting an upcoming “communist leader’s meeting” in Libungan, Cotabato, where Rev. Ong-oy’s house was. They also alleged that Jun Evasco, a former Catholic priest, became a ranking member of the National Democratic Front’s United Front Commission in southern Mindanao. Those arrested were hauled in military vehicles headed to Davao City, but midway through the travel, they were intercepted by soldiers, led by Col. Laudemer Kahulugan, who requested to borrow Maghanoy, Espina, Pacquera and Andres. The four were accused of being part of the New People Army (NPA)’s liquidation squad, brought to the Metrodiscom Headquarters in Digos, Davao Del Sur, where they were summarily tortured and executed.[5]

The following day, dailies quoting Col. Kahulugan reported that the four were killed in a military encounter between the state forces and the NPA guerrillas. Their deaths were ultimately connected to their initial arrest in Libungan, and, as part of an effort to deflect suspicions, the other detainees arrested with them were released, except for Evasco. According to Evasco, they were already mauled by their captor upon their arrest and while they were being moved.[6]

Not much is known about Rev. Ruben Genotiva prior to his arrest and after his subsequent release. However, given that he was a member of the UCCP, it may be safely gleaned that he adopted a similar stance with that of his church. During its Greater Manila Annual Conference in January 1974, the church adopted a resolution originating from the General Convention of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) urging the President to lift Martial Law, restore the freedom of the press and grant political prisoners an immediate and fair trial. In May that same year, during their general assembly, the church reaffirmed their commitment to truth, freedom and justice, asserting the UCCP’s position in the New Society. This resolution was later forwarded to the office of Marcos himself.[7]

The Church and its people became key figures during the Martial Law dictatorship. They were among those groups consistent in pressuring Marcos to restore freedom and democracy and to put an end to his martial rule. As Evasco once put it, “death is a certainty that will befall everyone, but there is a ‘qualitative difference’ depending on the circumstances. Some deaths are ‘as light as a feather,’ while death in the service of the people is meaningful.” Rev. Genotiva and his peers, who were themselves eventually victims of military repression and violence, may have shared the same sentiment. Even in the face of certain death, they were willing to continue their work in this service of the people.

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References:

“Andres, Trifonio.” Bantayog ng mga Bayani. October 11, 2015. Accessed July 6, 2021. https://www.bantayog.org/andres-trifonio-n.

Promotion of Church People’s Rights. That We May Remember. Quezon City: Promotion of Church People’s Rights, 1989.

Rigos, Cirilo A. “The Posture of the Church in the Philippines under Martial Law.” Southeast Asian Affairs, 1975, 127-32. Accessed July 6, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27908249.

“Roll of Victims.” Freedom Memorial. Accessed May 20, 2021. https://thefreedommemorial.ph/roll-of-victims.

United Church of Christ in the Philippines. “The History of Midsayap United Church of Christ in the Philippines.” United Church of Christ in the Philippines. Accessed May 20, 2021. https://sites.google.com/site/uccpmid/who-we-are.

[1] “Roll of Victims,” Freedom Memorial, accessed May 20, 2021, https://thefreedommemorial.ph/roll-of-victims.

[2] United Church of Christ in the Philippines, “The History of Midsayap United Church of Christ in the Philippines,” United Church of Christ in the Philippines, accessed May 20, 2021, https://sites.google.com/site/uccpmid/who-we-are.

[3] Note the variation of the first name as “Ruben,” instead of “Reuben.”

[4] Promotion of Church People’s Rights, That We May Remember (Quezon City: Promotion of Church People’s Rights, 1989), 207-208.

[5] Ibid., 208; “Andres, Trifonio,” Bantayog ng mga Bayani, October 11, 2015, accessed July 6, 2021, https://www.bantayog.org/andres-trifonio-n.

[6] That We May Remember, 209.

[7] Cirilo A. Rigos, “The Posture of the Church in the Philippines under Martial Law,” Southeast Asian Affairs, 1975, 130-31, accessed July 6, 2021, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27908249.

Arado, Reynaldo

Genotiva, Rev. Reuben

Birthday: N/A

Parents: N/A

Spouse: N/A

Children: N/A

 

 

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