Philippine Daily Inquirer - - PROPERTY -

Aptly named be­cause of its red ex­te­rior, “Bahay na Pula” was a man­sion owned by the Ilu­so­rio fam­ily, who con­tin­ues to fight to this day over the es­tate left by pa­tri­arch and Mar­cos crony Po­ten­ciano af­ter he died in 2001.

The pre-war struc­ture lo­cated in the town of San Ilde­fonso in Bu­la­can be­came a sym­bol of sav­agery dur­ing World War II since a num­ber of “com­fort women” from Bu­la­can and Pam­panga provinces were abused in­side it by mem­bers of the Ja­panese im­pe­rial forces.

The house was less than two kilo­me­ters south of the vil­lage of Ma­paniqui in Pam­panga, where war atroc­i­ties be­gan in 1944.

On Nov. 23, 1944, the Geki Group of the 14th Dis­trict Army un­der Ja­panese Im­pe­rial Army Gen. To­moyuki Ya­mashita at­tacked Ma­paniqui, a sus­pected baili­wick of Hukbo ng Bayan La­ban sa Hapon, the armed wing of the old Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines.

Ac­cord­ing to ac­counts of one of the com­fort women, Ja­panese sol­diers pil­laged and burned the en­tire vil­lage. They then rounded up men and boys, sev­ered their sex­ual or­gans, and forced these into the mouths of the vic­tims. When the mas­sacre was over, the corpses were thrown into a large pit and set ablaze. Around 200 girls and women were forced to carry the Ja­panese loot to Bahay na Pula, where the sex­ual abuse com­menced. Girls who had not yet be­gun men­stru­at­ing saw no respite from sex­ual abuse, ac­cord­ing to the Asian Cen­ter for Women’s Hu­man Rights, which doc­u­mented the cases and brought them to the at­ten­tion of an in­ter­na­tional war tri­bunal. Last year, the red man­sion was de­mol­ished and will re­port­edly be re­con­structed in the sea­side “her­itage re­sort” of Las Casas Filip­inas de Acuzar in Ba­gac, Bataan prov­ince. The man­sion had been be a sub­ject of a num­ber of para­nor­mal shows and pro­grams of var­i­ous me­dia out­lets and film out­fits.

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