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Siblings refuse to follow rebel parents’ footsteps

The cycle of violence that bedevils the family of slain Boholano rebel leader Domingo Compoc will be buried with him in his grave. 

Domingo’s wife, Hermosilla, a known leader in the underground movement in Bohol, is back in mainstream society after her surrender to the government in 2016. 

Rolly, their eldest son, has been kept away from the armed movement since the day his parents left him to the care of a member of the masa, or the unarmed supporters of the revolutionary movement. 

“He never liked to join the movement. His adoptive parents pampered him so much that he is now suffering from gastritis due to uncontrolled consumption of sweets and soft drinks when he was young,” Hermosilia said during the wake of her husband in Hanopol, Balilihan, Bohol. 

Rolly was left in the care of a supportive couple in Hanopol who immediately accepted the three-month-old child as their own. 

While they were still active in the underground movement, Domingo was leading the District Guerilla Unit while Hermosilla was involved in organizing the mass base. They would send couriers to fetch their children so they could meet and have short family times. 

Hermosilla recalls that during those times, Rolly never showed up. 

In 2022, Rolly was hired as a casual worker at the provincial government. He took the opportunity to be able to feed his family through hard work. 

Jingler’s story

While Rolly was the silent type, the couple’s second child, Jingler, was different. Hermosilla said Jingler was three months old when they had to leave him. 

“We left Jingler with a couple in Catigbian when he was three months old. After a few weeks, the adoptive couple deprived us of our right to see our child, so I organized a squad to operate so we could take him,” she recalled. 

For six months, Jingler lived with them in their sorties until Domingo’s brother, Pelagio, and his family returned to Bohol from Mindanao. Jingler was left in his uncle’s care.

However, tragedy struck in 2020 when Pelagio was murdered. A barangay tanod at the time, Pelagio was tending his carabao when he was shot. Rebels accused the military of killing him amid allegations that the military was constantly visiting Pelagio to convince his brother to give up. 

Pelagio’s death led Jingler to join his father in the insurgency movement, where he was an active armed member until he died in an encounter in September 2023 in Sitio Ilaud, Campagao in Bilar town. 

Jerielou’s story

Around this time, the Compoc couple welcomed another child, Jerielou. Just like her two brothers before her, Jerielou was entrusted to her grandmother in Batuan, who raised her and sent her to school. 

Her grandmother made sure that Jerielou was not exposed to the world that her parents lived in. 

“She was a scholar in high school, which was good because with the NPA family assistance only P3,000, it was obviously not enough to get them to school,” said Hermosilla. 

In a video message, Jerielou said she only learned that her parents were communist rebels when she was eight years old. 

“The one who cared for me, discouraged me from pursuing the same life that my parents lived, because it would amount to nothing,” she said. 

In college, Jerielou studied at Trinidad Municipal College and pursued political science. 

When most people would find this a jump-off point for a life in activism, Jerielou has other things in mind. Remembering what her grandmother always told her, the young student exerted her full dedication to be successful so she could change the world her parents have been trying to fix. 

“Daghan ko og mga ig-agaw nga wala ka eskwela, gusto nako silang matabangan, aron mouswag ilang kinabuhi,” she said. 

(I have many relatives who were not able to study. I want to help them so they can improve their lives.)   

Through hard work, patience, and determination Jerielou finished college with Latin honors. 

(L-R) Rolly, Hermosillia, and Jerielou reunite during the wake of Domingo Compoc in Bohol. (PIA Bohol)
Time to be a family again

During their family visits, both Jingler and Jerielou would beg their parents to surrender. 

Ma, undang na, karon na ang panahon nga kami na pod ang imong atimanon, wala mi katilaw ug pagpangga sa ginikanan.  Kanunay lang ninyo nga atimanon ang uban nga pamilya, ang atoa na pod ang atimana,” recalled Hermosilla in her children’s plea for her to give up the armed struggle. 

(Ma, please surrender because now is the time for you to take care of us. We have not experienced the love and care of parents. It’s time for us to be a family again.) 

That time, what her children told her finally sunk in. Hermosilla surrendered to the Philippine Army 3rd Infantry Division based in Negros island in 2016, where her former comrades could not hunt her. 

Upon her surrender, Hermosilla received a package of government assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) composed of cash, livelihood, housing, and legal assistance. 

ECLIP is a government initiative that provides a comprehensive package of benefits and assistance to former rebels who have decided to return to the fold of the law.

Same fight, different roads

Jerielou is currently undergoing officer’s training with the Philippine Coast Guard in Cavite. She took a leave from training to attend the funeral of her father.

While her father died “fighting” for the country, she said she’s doing the same in a different way. 

“Ako pa, para sa bayan pod ning ako. Lahi man ta’g dalan nga gitaak, mao pod ni ang akong ikapanghambug sa imo Pa, nga naa pod koy barugagan nga naa sa katarungan,” she said. 

(What I’m doing is also for the country. Although we took different roads, I can proudly tell you, Pa, that I also stand by my principles in my fight for justice.)  (RAHC/PIA7 Bohol)

About the Author

Rachelle Nessia

Assistant Regional Head

Region 7

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