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bantayog.foundation

MUÑOZ-PALMA, Cecilia

MunozPalma Cecila Arreglado

“We shall be judged by history…not by what we want to do and can’t, but by what we ought to do and don’t.”

Cecilia Muñoz-Palma was associate justice of the Supreme Court when she spoke these words in a speech on International Law Day. It was the third year of President Marcos’ martial law regime, and despite being herself a Marcos appointee to the high court (in 1973) she was pleading for the return of the rule of law. It was an astoundingly brave stance, implying that Filipinos needed to resist the dictatorship despite their fear of it. The audience gave her a five-minute standing ovation. (But a senior justice called her “ingrata” – which made her proud.)

Under Marcos, magistrates sitting in the country’s highest tribunal had been turned into docile justifiers of his rule. Not  Muñoz-Palma. She declared: “My oath of office is an oath of loyalty to the Constitution, to justice and the people and is not an oath of fealty to the appointing power.”[1]

When opposition leader Jose W. Diokno petitioned the court to order his release from military custody – having been detained without charges for more than two years – the other justices wanted to turn him down; she dissented. Diokno was released even before the decision was made public.

When Benigno Aquino Jr. asked to be tried before a civilian court, the other justices agreed with Marcos that he should face a military tribunal; Muñoz-Palma dissented.  She was thinking of the effect such a majority ruling would have on the rest of the citizenry: “There rose before my eyes,” she explained, “this gruesome specter of one, a hundred, a thousand civilian Filipinos being dragged by the mighty arms of the military before its own created and manned tribunals…for offenses, real or imaginary….”[2]

After retiring from the Supreme Court in 1978 and desiring to continue serving the country, she sought election to the Batasang Pambansa that same year, representing Quezon City.

When Marcos was forced to call for a snap election in 1985, Muñoz-Palma played an important role in unifying the various opposition groups behind the candidacy of Corazon Aquino.  Appointed by the new president to be a member of the 1987 Constitution, and elected by the delegates to be the chairman, she fulfilled her task with integrity, foresight and statesmanship.

Cecilia Muñoz-Palma died in 2006 at the age of 92.

BORN                                    :               November 22, 1913 in Bauan, Batangas

DIED                                      :               January 2, 2006 in Quezon City

PARENTS                             :               Pedro Muñoz and Emilia Arreglado

SPOUSE/CHILDREN         :               Rodolfo Palma / 3

EDUCATION                       :               Elementary: St. Bridget Academy, Batangas, Batangas

Secondary: St. Scholastica’s College, Manila

College: University of the Philippines

Postgraduate: Yale University, USA

 

[1] The Mirror of My Soul: selected decisions, opinions, speeches and writings by Cecilia Muñoz-Palma, Supreme Court Printing service, Manila, 2001.

[2] 100 Women of the Philippines: Celebrating Filipino Womanhood in the New Millennium by Joy Buensalido and Abe Florendo, Buensalido and Associates, Makati City, 1999.

MALAY, Paula Carolina S.

Malay Paula Carolina Santos

Affectionately known as “Ayi” to a generation of antidictatorship fighters old and young, Paula Carolina S. Malay found the full expression of her life in the struggle to defend and promote human rights in the Philippines.

She was already in her 50s when she threw herself into the rushing stream of activities that propelled the people’s movement forward during the turbulent period of martial law.  Before it became easier to express open resistance through the “parliament of the streets” (especially after the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983), she dared to work even clandestinely because there was no other way in the earlier years.

She visited jails, raised funds, and distributed news bulletins from the underground and alternative press.  She marched in the streets, waved placards and signed petitions.She wrote letters of appeal to friends abroad, prompting them to pressure their own governments to oppose Marcos’ repressive rule.

Hosting innumerable meetings, Ayi participated in the forging of democratic consensus, and helped strengthen – through simple acts of friendship and compassion – the then-emerging community of human-rights activists.

Indeed, Ayi played an important role in encouraging the latter, most of them young enough to be her children, in their commitment to country and people under conditions of great personal risk.  Likewise, she tried to do what she could for the families of imprisoned peasants and workers.  All of them could come any time and unburden themselves for a while – and Ayi would cry along with them, sharing her own worries and problems.

The Quezon City home of the Malays (he was dean of student affairs at the University of the Philippines during martial law) served as a haven for friends from all walks of life who found themselves united by the need to resist the repressive Marcos regime.  When political prisoners were freed in 1986 after the dictatorship was toppled, it was in the Malay residence that a joyful reunion was held where hundreds came to celebrate.

Ayi’s involvement was rooted in her own strong political economic and social advocacy, mainly acquiredthrough self-study. But it was also very personal, as the entire family participated in the resistance movement as well.

Even after the fall of the dictatorship, Ayi continued to be active in the human-rights movement, especially in behalf of political detainees and children.

She died in 1993 at the age of 77.

BORN                                    :  April 4, 1916 in Obando, Bulacan

DIED                                      :  December 24, 1993 in Quezon City

PARENTS                             :  Ricardo C. Santos and Paula Guevara

SPOUSE/CHILDREN         : Armando J. Malay / 3

EDUCATION                       : Elementary:Obando Elementary School, Bulacan

Secondary: Torres High School, Manila

College: Philippine Normal School; University of the Philippines Diliman

MALAY, Armando J.

malay-armando-de-jesus

It was not easy for Armando J. Malay to openly take the side of the resistance to martial law. In April 1970 he had agreed to be dean of students at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, at a time when it had already become a hotbed of open defiance against the authorities.

The Diliman Commune some months later, when students took over the campus for more than a week, tested the limits of his ability to balance between his innate sympathy for the activist youth and the expectation that he would enforce rules and regulations in a very unruly situation.

After all, Malay used to be an impulsive young man who once resigned from a prestigious, well-paying job at one of the country’s leading newspapers because he felt that staying on would compromise his integrity as a journalist. Besides, he and other top UP officials, as well as President Marcos himself, were loyal members of a college fraternity that fostered close personal ties.

In 1978 Malay chose to retire from UP: “…tired of being caught in the middle between students who accused him of acting as a censor when he considered himself very lenient, and the military, who thought he was a radical because he allowed anti-government leaflets to proliferate in UP.”[1]

Freed from the obligations of being a UP official, Dean Malay happily returned to being a fighting journalist. The alternative press -- so-called because it published news and opinions that were suppressed by the pro-dictatorship media – had gained its footing. Malay began writing for Who, Jose Burgos Jr.’s pioneer independent political magazine under martial law. In 1981 he joined Burgos in We Forum, and enjoyed a wide readership for the critical columns he wrote three times a week. In 1982 he was among the writers and staff who were arrested and detained by the military for alleged subversion.

Particularly after the assassination of Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. (another fraternity brother),Malay had also stepped up to the frontlines of the human-rights movement. He was founding chair of Kapatid, a support and advocacy group in behalf of political detainees all over the country.  He and his wife Paula were among the many oppositionists and cause-oriented leaders indefatigably marching in rallies and demonstrations.

Having seen the downfall of the dictatorship and its aftermath, Dean Malay died at the age of 89 after a long and eventful life.

 

BORN                                                   :               March 31, 1914 in Tondo, Manila

DIED                                                      :               May 15, 2003 in Quezon City

PARENTS                                             :               Gonzalo C. Malay and Carmen de Jesus

SPOUSE/CHILDREN                         :               Paula Carolina Santos / 3

EDUCATION                                       :               Elementary: Gagalangin Elementary School, Manila

Secondary: Torres High School, Manila

College: University of the Philippines

 

[1]Marites N. Sison and Yvonne T. Chua, Armando J. Malay: A Guardian of Memory. The Life and Times of a Filipino Journalist and Activist. Pasig City, Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2002, p. 195.

HIZON JR., Manuel L.

hizon-manuel-llanes

Manuel Hizon Jr. had a well‑to‑do family. His father occupied an important position as chief actuary and senior vice‑president of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). His mother, who hailed from the prominent Llanes family of Ilocos Norte, was an entrepreneur who handled businesses engaged in trading and real estate.

Manuel, or Sonny as he was called by family and friends, was the elder of two sons. The boys grew up in surroundings of prosperity and wealth, but tempered by their parents with positive values such as respect for others and responsibility for one's actions.

Sonny had a happy disposition, and therefore, had many friends in campus, where he played in various sports, creating an incongruous image of the tall bespectacled athlete. He became involved in two socially-oriented groups, the Sodality Movement and the Student Catholic Action (SCA), where he later became chair. Later he joined the Ateneo Political Society, where he became its vice‑president for a time, and also served as representative to the Sanggunian ng mga Mag‑aaral ng Ateneo, which put him into Ateneo's circle of activists during that time.

Soon, Sonny was joining trips to urban poor areas and other poverty‑stricken places, earning him the tag "Catholic activist." Sonny saw faces and forms of poverty he never knew existed. In 1969, Sonny joined Lakasdiwa, an Ateneo‑based Christian Democratic organization. He engaged Lakasdiwa members in long discussions about the Christian faith and about the country's social problems. When he felt he was outgrowing Lakasdiwa, in 1970, he joined an even more militant group, the Liga ng Demokratikong Atenista (LDA). He started to read political material. With this deepening political consciousness, he started to shed some of the personal privileges he took for granted, including being chauffeured daily to and from school.

Sonny completed his economics degree in 1972 and easily found a job in a private firm. For several months he juggled life in the corporate world with his militant activism.

Meanwhile, he had joined the Kilusang Kristiyano ng Kabataang Pilipino (KKKP), an even more militant Christian group. Sonny was elected KKKP general secretary in 1972 and on his shoulders fell the task of organizing chapters around the country, holding education meetings, preparing the organization for political rallies, releasing statements on various issues, and even building up funds for the organization. Sonny took his new tasks in stride. He kept his sense of humor, played his guitar, and even had time enough to fall in love.

When a series of floods hit Metro Manila in the summer of 1972, Sonny left his job, worked fulltime, organizing, among others, volunteers for flood relief operations.

When Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law, KKKP leaders opted to keep the organization running and even expanding its chapters nationwide. Sonny continued to lead KKKP until in 1973, he decided to leave for Cagayan Valley to respond to requests for political leadership to armed units operating in the area. Later the unit moved to Nueva Ecija, an extremely risky move. His team often faced skirmishes with government soldiers. On one such fateful encounter, Sonny met his death. Sonny was 22 years old.

BORN                                    :               May 24, 1952 in Quezon City

DIED                                      :               June 17, 1976 in Nueva Ecija

PARENTS                             :               Manuel Hizon Sr. and Yolanda Llanes

SPOUSE                                :               Ella Valmonte

EDUCATION                       :               Elementary/Secondary: Lourdes School, Quezon City

College: Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City

DIMARANAN, Mariani C.

dimaranan-mariani-cuevas

One of the most well-known personalities of the antidictatorship struggle was a small, dark-skinned Catholic nun who worked tirelessly to seek out and defend victims of human-rights violations, presenting factual data that the regime could not deny.

For 21 years, Sister Mariani Dimaranan headed Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, (TFDP, popularly known as TFD), which had been created in the early years of martial law by the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines precisely to investigate and document human rights abuses and, whenever possible, intervene with the military for the release of detainees.

Under her fearless leadership, TFD played a critical role as an independent agency documenting and publicizing those abuses. She set up local TFD offices to provide direct service to prisoners and their families, worked out prisoner releases, and built up an international network to campaign against political detention in the Philippines. By 1986, the final year of the Marcos dictatorship, TFDP had 65 local offices across the country, and Sister Mariani’s name had become synonymous with the defense of political prisoners and human rights in the Philippines.

Dimaranan was a member of the Franciscan sisters (SFIC), and taught high school and college courses in the congregation’s schools in Luzon.  Before devoting herself fulltime to the work in TFD, she was the registrar and head of the social sciences department at St. Joseph’s College in Quezon City, and assistant dean at Our Lady of the Angels Seminary also in Quezon City.

Because of her concern for the plight of the poor, on her own she had been participating in protest actions as early as the 1960s. In 1973, Dimaranan was detained for six weeks in Camp Crame and Fort Bonifacio for alleged involvement in subversive activities. It was a disturbing experience. Being a nun gave a measure of protection from her military captors, but in detention she learned the truth about the huge number of those who had been arrested and tortured by the authorities. Thus, upon her release she volunteered to join the newly set-up TFD.

Dimaranan was an exemplary teacher who taught by example.  She trained countless volunteers in gathering reliable data, and trained staff and paralegals in development work. Today many Filipino aid workers who learned from her serve humanitarian organizations all over the world.

The fall of the dictatorship in 1986 did not convince Dimaranan that the defense of human rights had become irrelevant. Until her failing health obliged her to slow down, she continued to lead Task Force Detainees actively until 1996.  Still, she did what she could, until her death in 2005 at the age of 81.

BORN                                    :               February 1, 1925 in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro

DIED                                      :               December 17, 2005 in Quezon City

PARENTS                             :               Mariano Dimaranan and Maria Cuevas

EDUCATION                       :               Elementary: Stella Maris School, Lubang

Secondary: Holy Infant Academy, Calapan, Mindoro

College: Divine Word College, Calapan; University of Santo Tomas,

Manila

Postgraduate: De La Salle University, Manila; Maryknoll School of

Theology, New York (USA)

CRISMO, Romeo G.

crismo-romeo-final

Romeo Crismo was the eldest son of a government employee (his father was the postmaster in the small town of Cabarroguis, Quirino).  The family being devout Methodists, he and his six brothers and sisters regularly attended Sunday school and Bible studies.

Active in the 4-H Club, Crismo often represented his town in provincial and national meetings. In 1972 he was elected president of the high school student body, and was even conferred the school’s Politician of the Year Award.  He really wanted to take up law after high school, but enrolled in accounting instead, upon his father’s advice.

Crismo was very active in the United Methodist Youth Fellowship, rising to leadership positions from the local chapter presidency to the district presidency and the Northern Philippines Annual Conference presidency.  He was involved in redrafting the UMYF constitution, and in 1976 was elected as the organization’s first national executive secretary.

Crismo’s church participation was wide-ranging, from the youth leadership training program of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines, to rural youth projects undertaken for the Christian Conference of Asia, to education work for the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines.

After becoming a certified public accountant in 1977, he worked as a cooperatives examiner in Cagayan for the Department of Local Government and Community Development.  Later he was to join the Commission on Audit, becoming one of the youngest government auditors in Region II at the time.

Although he appeared to be leading a “normal” life and working at a “normal” job, the martial law dictatorship stirred a yearning in the young man for something else, a radical alternative. “In our hearts, we believed in the alternative that aimed to restore justice and freedom in the country,” said a close friend.[1]  In 1973, Crismo had already aroused the suspicion of church elders when he campaigned against the sham plebiscite being organized by Marcos to legitimize martial law.  He did go on to help establish an underground network in his church that engaged in active resistance to the dictatorship.

In 1980, Crismo and his new bride moved to Tuguegarao, where he began teaching at the Cagayan Teacher’s College and St. Louis College.  He had not been a teacher for long when he disappeared.  On August 11, unknown men tried to take him away in a van as he was leaving school for the day.  He was saved only by the presence of his students.  The following day, he failed to make it to his afternoon class.

Since then, despite years of patient effort, his wife Phebe has not been able to find any trace of her husband.

BORN                                    :               December 8, 1955 in Saguday, Quirino

DISAPPEARED                    :               August 12, 1980 in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan

PARENTS                             :               Pepito Crismo and Nellie Guilao

SPOUSE                                :               Phebe Gamata

EDUCATION                       :               Elementary: Saguday Central School, Quirino

Secondary: Nueva Vizcaya Comprehensive High School

College: St. Mary’s College, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya

 

[1] Jefferson P. Tugawin, “The Northern Passion of Romeo Crismo,” a tribute delivered at the Good Samaritan United Methodist Church, August 12. 2000.

CORTES, Ellecer E.

cortes-ellezer-eugenio

Ellecer Cortes lived a brief 22 years but he left behind a legacy of commitment to his principles. Ellecer was the eldest of seven children of a fairly ordinary middle-class couple in Quezon City.

In college, Ellecer, called Boyong by friends, started out as a student activist at the University of the Philippines. He joined the Movement for Nationalism, the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation and the Student Cultural Association of UP (SCAUP), where he met his future wife Mariquit Rivera.

He was one of the founding members of the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), and was active in its cultural bureau. He was also one of the founders of the Samahang Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK), another militant youth organization.

Even as a student he became interested in the cultural and educational enlightenment of rural people in Central Luzon. This brought him starting 1967 to faraway places such as San Miguel in Bulacan, Bongabong and Talayan Nueva Ecija, Laguna and Iloilo.

He wrote skits and staged plays highlighting rural issues. Some of his skits spoke of the evils of martial law long before martial law became a possibility. He held these plays in town plazas, public markets, churches and even under the shade of trees. He became a fulltime rural organizer.

Local folk in Central Luzon were soon treating him as a local hero. They felt that he articulated in his writings and organizational work their dreams and goals. Student activists in Manila campuses also made him out as a hero, for his pioneering involvement as a student activist working among rural people, preaching about nationalism and democracy.

Boyong’s work was not without danger. On one occasion, he and his group was stopped by the armed men of a local politician. The unarmed activists identified themselves as traders but the goons refused to believe them and ordered them to kneel on the riverbed. Luckily, the goons found a business card and a P1,000 bill inside the pocket of one of Boyong’s companions, which made their claim credible and allowed them to escape.

In another incident in Nueva Ecija, Boyong and his friends again barely escaped a military operation sent to hunt down then New People’s Army leader Bernabe Buscayno, otherwise known as Kumander Dante. Farmers hid Boyong and his friends in the sugarcane fields.

With his growing popularity/notoriety, Boyong was refused treatment in several hospitals when he contracted malaria. He was finally brought to Manila where he was taken to San Lazaro Hospital.

Boyong’s last place of operation was in Zambales province. Soldiers found the hut that he and his activist companions were sleeping in, and believing them to be insurgents, shot them down. Boyong sustained a minor stomach wound, but without medical treatment, he bled to death. Another student, Jose Ramirez, from Feati University in Manila and a farmer, Ernesto Miranda, also died in the incident.

Grief poured at the UP Diliman campus and other Manila schools, as soon as the news of his death spread. When President Marcos declared martial law in 1972, he cited the Zambales incident as proof that students and farmers were conspiring against the government. Together with the bombing of Plaza Miranda in August 1971, Marcos used the Cabangan incident to justify his dictatorship.

Boyong left behind his wife Mariquit and only child Jenny Lin, barely 11 months old he died. Mariquit herself was imprisoned twice during martial law.

 

Born          15 April 1949 in Manila

Killed        1 October 1971 in Cabangan, Zambales

Parents :  Rosendo Cortes and Rosalina Eugenio

Spouse :  Mariquit Cortes

Child    :  1 (Jenny Lin)

Education :

Elementary - Ponciano Bernardo Elementary School, Cubao, 1961

High School - Ramon Magsaysay High School, Cubao, 1965

College – BA in history, University of the Philippines Diliman, 1969

CONSTANTINO, Renato R.

constantino-2

The writings of Renato Constantino were a major influence in the intellectual formation of countless young Filipinos who staked their lives and future in opposing the Marcos dictatorship.

At a time when the dominant, elitist view of Philippine-American relations was one of benevolence and mutual benefit, Constantino pointed out that on the contrary, our subservience to the interests of the United States had resulted in stunted growth.

Colonial miseducation was responsible for the lack of critical thinking, he said, and urged a re-examination and redefinition of the Filipino identity that would affirm our independence, uniqueness and democratic values.

Furthermore, he said, the country’s underdevelopment can be traced to our colonial history: “This condition was not abolished with independence; it was merely transformed. We see the economic structure as the basis for the iniquitous political system in which economic privilege becomes the pillar of political power – a power that enhances colonial control and further entrenches the hold of the local elite over the people.”

During the 1950s, Constantino had already been branded a “security risk” by state intelligence agencies. His continuing prolific output of scholarly books and articles, however, found fertile ground in the youth and student movement here in the 1960s, amid worldwide questioning of American domination. These ideas were taken up in activist study courses and discussion groups – where the rebellious students said they were learning more than when they were dutifully taking notes inside the classroom.

In 1972, Constantino published The Marcos Watch, a collection of critical newspaper columns. When martial law was declared, he was placed under house arrest for seven months, and not allowed to travel abroad for several years.  Still, he continued to research and write, in collaboration with his wife Letizia.  In 1976 the couple established the Foundation for Nationalist Studies, Inc. (now the Constantino Foundation) to initiate, sponsor or finance programs and projects for the advancement of Philippine nationalism.

Among Renato Constantino’s well-known books are A Past Revisited  and The Continuing Past (a two-volume history of the Philippines), The Making of a Filipino (a biography of Claro M. Recto), Neocolonial Identity and Counter-Consciousness, and The Nationalist Alternative. His most widely read essay, The Miseducation of the Filipino, had to wait five years before it saw print.

 

He died in 1999 at the age of 80.

BORN                                    :               March 10, 1919 in Manila

DIED                                      :               September 15, 1999 in Quezon City

PARENTS                             :               Amador Constantino and Francisca Reyes

SPOUSE/CHILDREN         :               Letizia Roxas / 2

EDUCATION                       :               Elementary: Bonifacio Elementary School, Manila

Secondary: Arellano High School, Manila

College: University of the Philippines

CARINO, Jennifer K.

carino-jennifer-kintanar

Jennifer Carin͂o was a bright young woman who, during her short life, did more than her share in strengthening the unity of the Cordillera ethnic communities notably through cultural work.  In the process, she helped build the people’s resistance to the Marcos dictatorship and its oppressive policies.

Carin͂o belonged to a large, well-known Ibaloi clan; her grandfather was the first Igorot mayor of Baguio City. (On the other hand, her mother was also part of a large, well-known clan originating in Cebu.) She was the first of eight children, all of whom later became activists.

It was in high school that the young Carin͂o first publicly stood up for Igorot pride, reacting strongly to a statement by then foreign secretary Carlos P. Romulo that “Igorots are not Filipinos.”   In an article published in the student organ, she criticized the discrimination against the Cordillera highland tribes and recalling their proud history of resistance to foreign domination.

But she was not simply one angry, politicized teenager.  She enjoyed singing, parties, playing the guitar, reading widely, going out with her friends.  Singing songs of protest, she became involved in Baguio student activism. Mass actions always meant popular cultural expressions, and soon Carin͂o had dropped out of school to work on this aspect full-time for the movement.

Shortly before martial law was declared, she married fellow activist Gilbert Pimentel from the Mountain Province.  Together, at a conference in Bontoc, they had helped organize what would later be known as Kilusang Kabataan ng Kordilyera.

Giving birth in November 1972 and caring for her baby girl, Carin͂o experienced the hardships endured by many other parents unable to provide a safe and stable environment for their families. Moreover, her husband was in prison and she could not visit him for fear of being arrested herself. In 1974 she finally decided to leave the child with her family, and work with the resistance organization in the Cordillera mountains.

The area between Ifugao and Benguet provinces was one of the most depressed areas in the region.  There was a lot to do, as members of the Kalanguya tribe who lived there had very few material resources and visiting their settlements meant very long, arduous treks along mountain trails.

Carin͂o wrote songs for the Kalanguya, conducted literacy lessons, applied acupuncture therapy to the sick.  She learned their language, and enjoyed eating such upland delicacies as wild ferns and the beetle grub found among fallen pine logs.

Sadly, Jennifer Carin͂o died on July 13, 1976, when she was hit by a bullet misfired from a comrade’s gun.

BORN                                    :               March 4, 1950 in Baguio City

DIED                                      :               July 13, 1976 in Hungduan, Ifugao

PARENTS                             :               Jose Cortez Carin͂o and Josefina Kintanar

SPOUSE/CHILD                  :               Gilbert Pimentel / 1

EDUCATION                       :               Elementary: Baguio Central School

Secondary: St. Theresa’s College, Baguio City

College: University of the Philippines College Baguio

BUGAY, Amado G.

bugay-amado-guinto

Amado Bugay died a guerrilla fighter in Bataan in 1977, exactly 37 years to the day the province fell under Japanese assault, with scores of guerrillas dying to defend their beloved soil.

His umbilical cord was wrapped around Amado when he was born. The midwife believed it meant that dreadful things would happen to the boy someday. Amado’s mother thought it meant that her son would bear a great burden.

Amado’s parents were peasant farmers, who labored like carabaos tilling their ricefields, in order to pay the landlord on time and feed the family until the next planting and harvesting season. The local school was so poor that Amado got admitted to first grade only after his father made him his own chair. Amado was a conscientious pupil, but school authorities were often alarmed at his bold ideas. His parents wondered where the boy got them. Amado quit after high school and became a farmer.

Like most other young men in his community, Amado liked to play basketball with friends, strum the guitar and sing in the town fiesta, and preen before the girls. But he had a depth in him not seen in others. He took time to attend political discussions with a townmate known for his nationalistic views and class sentiments. Amado joined the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) and later on taught and organized other young people in the community. Not even the imposition of martial rule in 1972, and the ensuing arrest of suspected activists and raid of houses stopped Amado from his activism.

Amado was well-groomed, looking like someone the villagers described “tipong artistahin,” while he pursued his work for the resistance to martial law. After basketball he would sit with the young men on their papags, seemingly idling their time away but actually discussing issues and making more plans for the resistance.

But Amado began to see more fully what repression meant when he saw soldiers actually kill someone one early dawn in July 1973. He was preparing for his farm when he heard a truck pass by. Following the wheel tracks he saw political cadre Ed Pili together with a visitor from Pampanga killed by constabulary soldiers.

The experience changed the 19-year-old farmer. Peaceful dissent was futile under martial law, he decided. Not long after, he joined an armed propaganda unit of the New People’s Army. He had good looks, a pleasant voice, an unfailing courteous demeanor, and a charm that had barrio folk flocking to the meetings called by his armed unit. But he made them think serious thoughts, telling them how desperate the situation was and how they had to fight the dictatorship.

Relatives tried to get him to leave the NPA when he married his childhood friend Procy and the couple had a son. Amado said no. “I have greater reason to fight now. If I will not wage war against this oppressive system, my son will also suffer the same fate. Jomar and his generation will always live in fear and want,” he told his mother.

In 1974, his unit was sent on an expansion mission to Morong town, where, again by building sincere relationships with the local folk, his team won the support of Aetas, settlers, kaingeros and peasant farmers.

In April 1977, Amado and two of his comrades were killed during an armed encounter with soldiers. The guerrillas were severely outnumbered and Amado asked his comrades to retreat while he covered them. He kept the soldiers at bay until he fainted from his wounds. When roused, he bore the brunt of the soldiers’ anger until they finished him off with another round of fire.

The local people mourned the death of this “beloved warrior.” People from all over Bataan came to his wake. Some 5,000 attended his funeral held in a barrio of less than 4,000 residents. The funeral procession filled the streets, with red flags waving and banners held high. The funeral march participants was so defiant of the military that truckloads of soldiers stopped the procession before it reached the cemetery and arrested several participants. Others offered to join the rest in jail.

Amado lives in the memory of the people of Bataan today.

* Born 6 February 1954 in San Juan, Samal, Bataan

* Died 9 April 1977 in Morong, Bataan

* Parents : Manuel Bugay and Perfecta Guinto

* Spouse : Eufrocina Lacanare

* Child    : 1 (Jomar)

* Education

Elementary    Samal North Elementary School, Bataan

Secondary      St Catherine of Sienna Academy, Bataan

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