William Vincent “Bill” Acuna Begg was a native of Legazpi City, Albay, originating from the Bicol region. A student activist and social action worker among the urban poor communities of Marikina, Begg was abducted, tortured, and killed at the age of 24 by state forces. 


Bill, the third child in a family of five, was born to John C. Begg, a dedicated engineer working at the Clark Air Base, and Zenaida Acuna, a loving mother hailing from Legazpi City. At the tender age of 14, Bill embarked on a profound journey, entering the San Jose Seminary in Balintawak, Quezon City, driven by a sense of purpose that would shape his life. In that space, he dove headfirst into social activism, reaching out to underprivileged communities in Barangka, Marikina.

By 1970, his academic prowess and leadership in extracurricular activities had become evident, but there was something more profound brewing within him. Bill’s heart and soul were deeply intertwined with the fervor of the times; he found himself passionately immersed in the nationalist student circles of radical young minds on his college campus. He became a part of Kabataang Makabayan (KM), pouring his heart and soul into student and community organizing, fueled by an unshakeable belief in a brighter future for his beloved homeland.


In 1971 the writ of habeas corpus was suspended and Bill, along with three fellow KMs, were detained for posting subversive posters in Marikina. This event was followed by another arrest in 1972, leading to his detention in Fort Bonifacio. Following his release in April 1973, Begg enrolled at UP Diliman, where he endeavored to “live a normal student’s life, joining a fraternity and helping organize a history majors’ society.”


However, in September 1974, when martial law was declared, Begg made a life-altering decision to leave for the countryside, seeking refuge in the underground resistance movement. 


Three years later, records show that in March 1975, Begg was with a team of guerrillas that had gone to meet a doctor in Villarey, Echague, Isabela, when they were attacked by a battalion of AFP troops. In the exchange of fire that followed, four of his comrades were killed, while Begg himself was hit in the leg. With his situation, he urged the others to leave him behind so he could cover their escape. 


He was apparently captured alive; when his body was eventually recovered, it bore the marks of severe torture. After Bill was killed, when his battered body was eventually recovered, it bore the brutal imprints of unimaginable torment – 17 stab wounds, 11 gunshot wounds, a broken rib cage and smashed hands. This was the price he paid for his unwavering commitment.


On the 51st anniversary of the start of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s dictatorial rule under Martial Law, join the Angelite in standing resolute against historical distortion and blatant acts of brutality and injustice that persist to this day. In the era of yet another Marcos presidency, may we always stand firm in remembering—and may we never forget. 







Written by Lady Jeofele Castañeto

Layout by Dian Lars Soliman

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