SALES, Jessica


Jessica Sales graduated cum laude in 1972 with a degree in the social sciences from the Centro Escolar University in Manila. For five years after that, she taught sociology and political science at the University of the Philippines in Manila and later at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna (UPLB).

She then worked as a research associate at the Department of Agricultural Education at UPLB’s College of Agriculture, while taking masteral units in the same department. She was preparing to defend her thesis when she disappeared in 1977.

Friends and colleagues describe Jessica as diligent and hardworking, lively and passionate, very intelligent, conversant in many subjects, and having an insatiable thirst for knowledge and experience.

She was involved in student politics in college. She was chair of the student government from 1971 to 1972, editor of the CEU student paper, and an active member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.

At the UPLB, Jessica is remembered for allowing her students much leeway in discussions. She urged the students to ask questions about the country’s sociopolitical situation under martial law. With her support, students organized forums inviting nationalist speakers such as senators Jose Diokno, Lorenzo Tañada, and Jovito Salonga.

Jessica encouraged all types of student groups, from trekking groups, poetry groups, rodeo clubs and others, and was adviser or honorary member to many of them. She initiated the formation of the Student Christian Movement (SCM) in UPLB and represented it in a conference in Hong Kong of the Asia Youth Mission, under the auspices of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). She also served as youth consultant to the CCA in its assembly held in June 1977 in Penang, Malaysia.

With fellow teachers, Jessica conducted discussion groups tackling issues concerning teachers and teaching. Often, the discussion centered on how to make teaching more relevant despite the curtailment of freedoms under martial rule. She organized the Kapisanan ng mga Gurong Makabayan (Kaguma), a teacher’s organization that worked for the promotion and protection of teachers’ rights and actively campaigned against the repressive policies of the dictatorship.

She became involved with the Folk Medicine Society, which counted as members, doctors, nurses, sociologist, biology professors and students, and the community of folk healers (herbolarios) in Laguna and Batangas. The society aimed to revive and popularize traditional and herbal medicine to alleviate the health conditions of the poor. It conducted seminars and workshops for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and biology students. Members went to far-flung communities conducting seminars with local healers and other community members. The society also conducted research on medicinal plants.

Jessica disappeared on 31 July 1977 with six others (Gerardo Faustino, Rizalina Ilagan, Bong Sison, Ramon Jasul and Cristina Catalla. The military never verified reports of their arrest. Reports of sightings have occasionally reached the family but all efforts to locate her have proved fruitless.

Born 24 October 1951
Disappeared July 1977
Mother Eufrocina Sales
Education College - Centro Escolar University, Social Sciences.
Master - University of the Philippines Manila



When Lourdes Garduce was in high school, the nuns in her school sent her to work in an outreach program called Kasapi, which brought her to many places in the country and exposed her to various situations of poverty. The most memorable was her experience at the Central Azucarera de Bais in Negros where she encountered the misery and oppression suffered by sugarworkers, or sacadas.

Her involvement with the Negros’ sugarworkers made the military suspect her as a “subversive,” and Lourdes and her group once had to seek refuge at the parish church of Bais because of military harassment.

Lourdes, called Dodie by the family, had to explain her activities to her father, who was then a lawyer with the National Post Office.
In her own community, Dodie and her sister Maridol organized the Conchu Youth Society. Conchu was the name of the street where they lived in Project 4. Later on, this youth group joined the very militant Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) as a community chapter. From the Conchu society, Dodie was recruited to the SDK, while keeping her old friends among the more reformist organizations.

She became very active with the SDK, engaging in organizing activities and building alliances with other groups. Dodie married fellow activist Felimon Lagman in the early 1970s, soon after martial law was declared. The newly married couple moved often to evade detection and arrest. Dodie often asked her family’s help in retrieving furniture or in settling with their landlords. Dodie’s two children were reared by her mother in law, Cecilia Lagman.

Dodie and her husband were leaders in the underground in the late 1970s. Although military targets at this time, the couple’s group decided on a policy of participation in the 1978 Batasan elections. Dodie became involved in alliance work, finance work, and electoral activities.

Dodie kept in touch with her family and her children. She saw them last just days before she died when the children were brought secretly to visit their parents in Nueva Ecija.

Not long after, Dodie and her team had a chance encounter with soldiers, and Dodie was killed in the ensuing shooting exchange. Her family quietly retrieved her body and was brought it to Manila for burial.

Born 12 October 1954 in Manila
Died 23 June 1979 in Bo.Tugatog, Bongabong, Nueva Ecija
Parents Venancio Garduce and Felina Petate
Spouse Filemon Lagman
Children Dante Joseph and Iskra Mahalia
Education Elementary - Our Lady of Loreto College (now Sienna College)
High School Our Lady of Loreto College
College BS statistics, University of the Philippines, entered in 1970



Alex Torres was the third of four children but because he was his family’s youngest for a long time, family members called him “Baby.” As a young boy, he was exposed to a variety of environments because his father, a geodetic engineer-surveyor, often brought his children with him to the field, taking them to places such Diliman, Singalong, and V. Luna, and even farther to Cotabato and Baguio cities.

His mother Eugenia worked with the Bureau of Lands.

His father taught him to play chess at which game Alex became a wizard. His prowess at math also became the family’s pride as he made easy work of the computing work his father needed in his surveying work.

At the UP High School, Alex was an active member of the math and chess clubs. Later he and a group of high school friends were pulled into activism. Alex joined the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) while school friends Alex Fider, David Villapando and Romeo Candazo joined the Samahang Aletheia.

Alex had passed competitive tests and became a grantee of the UP-Government scholarship in college. Despite the heavy academic load, Alex continued to be active with the SDK’s UP chapter and a UP-based group, the Nationalist Corps.

In the turbulent months of 1970 to 1971 which saw the First Quarter Storm and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus by then president Ferdinand Marcos, Alex and his brother Renato (“Boy”) Torres were organizing students into the Nationalist Corps, SDK, as well as the Serve the People Brigade and the Kabataang Makabayan.

Boy and Alex brought UP students with them for integration trips with farmers in Morong, Bataan, and in Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Every weekend and during school breaks, the brothers themselves lived in farmers’ communities in Samal and Botolan, recruiting and organizing young farmers for the SDK. Here, older brother Boy remembers, Alex displayed leadership qualities through his methodical, scientific and sympathetic way of dealing with the local residents.

The brothers Boy and Alex organized an SDK chapter in Kamuning, Quezon City, together with SDK member Mariano "Rock" Lopez (PSHS 1969). The brothers further associated with the SDK’s Old Balara chapter, so that a house they rented in Old Balara at the time was raided by Metrocom-5th MIG soldiers when martial rule was declared in 1972.

Alex met his future wife Nona del Rosario, another activist in UP, during these SDK days.

During the early days of martial law, when universities were temporarily shut down, Alex and Nona continued to organize among youths in communities in various parts of Quezon City and Marikina, but clandestinely, thus, helping build up the underground resistance to martial rule.

Not long after, in June 1973, Alex and Nona were arrested by intelligence operatives in a combined operation of the 5th MIG-CSU-NISA that also netted Alex’s brother Boy. They were later taken to be detained at the CSU headquarters in Crame, then headed by Major Miguel Aure and Lieutenant Rodolfo Aguinaldo. The brothers were tortured under interrogation by Aure’s soldiers and members of a NISA team under a certain Atty. Castelo and a NISA torturer the detainees called Fu Manchu.

Boy and Alex were later transferred to Fort Bonifacio’s Ipil Rehabilitation Center, where Nona was also detained in the center’s women's quarters. Despite their arrest and the freshness of their torture, the brothers were soon among a group of political prisoners leading protests and hunger strikes at the center. In punishment they were moved to another prison in Fort Bonifacio called the Youth Rehabilitation Center (YRC). Alex is remembered by fellow prisoners for sharing food and other necessities he and his brother received from visitors with those who enjoyed no such visits.

The brothers and Nona were detained for several months. After they were released, they stayed in contact with their comrades still in detention, even secretly supporting some of their escape plans.

As part of martial law monitoring procedures, the three former political prisoners were required to report to camp authorities regularly. At that time, Alex and Nona were living with the Torres family in an apartment near Katipunan in Quezon City. Although they complied at the beginning, the three activists felt stifled by the restrictions imposed by martial law authorities. Alex and Nona soon decided to pursue their activist commitment in the countryside. Boy, on the other hand, planned to join his mother in the United States, which he did in 1978.

Alex and Nona took up their organizing work in the Hapao-Hungduan in Ifugao, Alex as political officer of an armed unit, and Nona as propagandist, handling a local newsletter and broadcasting revolutionary news through the armed unit’s portable radio transmitter. Alex used the name Rex Edralin.

They faced danger all the time because they worked in guerrilla expansion areas where conditions were unpredictable. Alex rarely got to visit his family in Manila, but when he did, they found him fit and hardened, his soles turned tough as the soles of a shoe through walking barefooted among Ifugao’s rice terraces.

The couple wrote letters to their families, saying they were happy with their decision to leave the city and to live in the countryside, and reiterating their preparedness for “the ultimate sacrifice” involved in their decision.

Around 1975, Alex’s brother Boy received a tip saying that Alex was captured in Kabayan in Benguet, along with a local resident. Attempts by the family to find Alex failed, but they found enough information to convince them that Alex was first taken to Camp Bado Dangwa in Benguet province and then to the NISA headquarters in V. Luna, Quezon City. A detainee then at Camp Dangwa claimed seeing Alex taken away by NISA personnel. Another report claims that was killed in Camp Dangwa, his body is buried there with others who met the same fate.

A few months after Alex disappeared, Nona’s group was attacked by government soldiers. Nona died in the resulting firefight, the only casualty. Nona’s family and Boy Torres traveled to Ifugao province and retrieved her body. During her wake, the same NISA agents Castelo and Fu Manchu approached Boy Torres and told him they knew “where” Alex was. In Boy’s belief, this confirms NISA’s role in his brother’s disappearance.

The family has never seen Alex again, but they continue to celebrate his heroism and courage. Alex’s own mother subsequently became an active member of the anti-dictatorship movement abroad.

In a letter Alex and Nona had once sent to Boy from Banawe, they cited a popular quote from Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, who said:

"Wherever there is struggle there is sacrifice, and death is a common occurrence. But we have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart, and when we die for the people it is a worthy death.”

Born : October 8, 1953
Missing : 1975
Grade School : Kamuning Elementary School
St Louis Boys Elementary Department, Baguio City (Salutatorian)
High School : UP High School, University of the Philippines, Diliman
College : UP Diliman
Father : Gregorio S. Torres Jr. (Pandan, Catanduanes)
Mother : Eugenia Flores Gabriel (Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija)

Escalante Massacre, 31 Years Ago Today

The following account is taken from the narration of events given by participants Eddie and Alma Villalon, in an interview with Bantayog researchers Carrie Panaligan-Manglinong and Cathy Abrazado, August 2, 2013, in Escalante City.

Escalante massacre, 31 years ago today

It was September 20, 1985, and President Marcos had declared it to be a “Thanksgiving Day” to celebrate the “New Society” under his iron-fisted rule.

The people had nothing to be thankful for. Years of corruption, self-enrichment by the Marcos family and their cronies, subservience to foreign interests, the unrelenting violation of human rights had become like a deadweight that was pulling the Philippines down. There was massive public debt. Investors were pulling out of the economy. The effects of the crisis were being felt all over the country, and most especially by the poor.

The murder of Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. in August 1983 had accelerated the demand for the ouster of the dictatorship. More and bigger rallies and demonstrations were held. People’s organizations, creatively named, emerged at all levels. New forms of mass protest, such as the “lakbayan,” mobilized hundreds of thousands of Filipinos all determined to express their resistance to oppression. The traditional elites were sharply divided: some began to side openly with the opposition, while others beefed up their private armies.

Still pretending (for the benefit of his patrons in the government of the United States) that his dictatorship was a democracy, Marcos announced the holding of a presidential election. He even picked his own opponent, an old friend from Bulacan, to run against him.

By this time, there were only a few places in the Philippines that could be considered “Marcos country.” Almost everywhere, Filipinos were overcoming their fear of martial law. Thus, the call to boycott the bogus election received tremendous, open support.

People’s strike in Negros

A three-day people’s strike (“welgang bayan”) had been declared in the entire island of Negros against “hunger, extreme poverty and increasing militarization.” Although the sugar industry had brought fabulous wealth to the ruling landlord families there, such riches were made possible by the inhuman labor and social conditions to which the plantation workers and their families were subjected.

The Negros Occidental provincial governor then was Armando (Armin) Gustilo, who was known to be extremely loyal to Marcos. His armed bodyguards enjoyed paramilitary status as a Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF), operating together with the regular military and police units.

The strike in Negros saw the paralysis of public transportation, as the members of 28 bus and jeepney drivers associations refused to ply their routes. Public and private schools suspended classes. Offices and some business establishments were closed. Rallies and marches were held, peacefully, in the major city of Bacolod and the towns of Binalbagan and Kabankalan.

The people of northern Negros decided to hold their own welgang bayan from Sept.19 to 21, with their activities centered in Escalante City (98 kilometers away from Bacolod). In the morning of Sept. 20, about 7,000 had already gathered in two places – some in front of the municipal hall, and others blocking the road going to Bacolod.

Many soldiers were deployed in the area, in full battle gear including high-powered firearms. Firetrucks arrived with CHDF personnel aboard. To relieve their tension, the people started clapping and shouting : “Makibaka! Huwag matakot!”, “Militarisasyon labanan!” (Let’s fight, don’t be afraid! Resist militarization!)

The firetrucks began to pump water at the protesters, but ran out of water. Then the CHDF men started firing tear gas canisters into the crowd. One canister fell near Juvelyn Jaravelo, a young woman who was in the front ranks, and she picked it up and threw it back. At that point the CHDF began shooting, and Jaravelo was the first to be hit. Suddenly, the machine gun mounted on the rooftop of the municipal hall also spitting out automatic fire. People were running in all directions, while others linked arms and stayed put. Many bodies were lying on the ground.

After the shooting stopped, more troops arrived and encircled the survivors, who thought they were sure to die. But a door suddenly opened in the market, and everyone rushed inside, making their way to safety in the town convent. From there they saw how the CHDF were firing more bullets at the wounded lying everywhere, still alive.

Fifteen people died instantly in the Escalante massacre. Six more died in hospitals and very many were injured. The terror continued as soldiers were present in the hospitals, intimidating the doctors and other medical personnel.

The Escalante massacre shocked the entire country. It was the first time that so many people – 21 in all – were killed in just one attack by government forces. The anger that it provoked added fuel to the citizens’ determination to oust the dictatorship. And indeed the people’s resistance to the brutal and corrupt Marcos dictatorship bore fruit less than six months after, on February 26-28, 1986.

The first anniversary of the massacre -- with the dictator Marcos and his family finally out of Malacan͂ang Palace – was a collective commemoration by the people of Escalante. Since then, September 20 has been an annual day of mourning and prayer, declared as such by the local city council. On this day, they reenact the tragic event and recount the inspiring stories of heroism and solidarity that they witnessed. Some years later, an impressive monument to the martyrs of Escalante was erected in the town plaza.

Lean's Letter to Dr. Rita Estrada, 1985



CELESTIAL, Artemio Jr.


Artemio Celestial Jr., or Jun to family and friends, spent his childhood in Cavite where his father was public schools superintendent. He went to the Ateneo in Quezon City for all his schooling years. Jun was outgoing and amiable, and a bright and hardworking student. He taught catechism to poor children.

As in most schools in Manila in the early 1960s, Ateneo was electrified by student activism. Students held hold discussion groups, symposia and other mass actions as issues raged through the campus such as campus repression, violation of civil liberties, militarization, and the impending martial law.

Jun became involved in the Student Catholic Action (SCA) and joined student assemblies marching across the campus, calling on other students to become involved.

In November 1971, leading officers of the Student Council were expelled for their activism. Jun became the council’s secretary-general. The council continued to pursue its militant actions. Jun got other campus groups to join council-sponsored activities. He raised funds and mobilized students to help in flood relief operations in Central Luzon. He even hid in his car students banned from the campus.

After martial law was declared, Jun himself was expelled along with other activists, their pictures posted in the school’s guardhouses. The following year, soldiers raided the Celestial home in Project 4. Jun and younger brother Joel, also an activist, escaped arrest but they had to leave home for some time.

Jun later found a job at the National Grains Authority (NGA) where he worked for two years. He rose to a supervisor’s position. One day, soldiers arrested him and brought him to camp mistaking him for his brother Joel who had gone underground. Jun was released after a few days.

Jun left the government and put up a tailoring business with a friend. Joel was arrested in 1973 and Jun also spent time visiting him in Fort Bonifacio. Many of Jun’s own friends were also in prison. Jun himself continued to help the underground movement.with financial and logistical support.

One day in February 1975, Jun took a cab to somewhere but left a strange letter addressed to Ferdinand Marcos, exhorting the president to free all political prisoners, among other demands. He handed the letter over to a person at a toll gate who then gave it to a passing army soldier. Three days later, Jun’s body was found floating in the Montalban River near the Wawa Dam, his skull and body badly broken. Local police who undertook the investigation believe Jun might have been taken by the army. His family did not pursue the case.

Born 16 September 1950 in Maragondon, Cavite

Died 19 February 1975 in Montalban River

Parents : Artemio Celestial and Marina Somoza

Education : Elementary - Ateneo de Manila, Honorable Mention

Secondary – Ateneo High School

College – Ateneo de Manila University, AB Economics

ORDOŇEZ, Sedfrey A.

Ordonez Sedfrey copy

Sedfrey Ordonez was raised in rural Nueva Ecija by parents of modest means. He studied in public schools, doing farm work and small jobs to help in the family's finances. His friends were children of farmers and his early teachers his parents and neighbor farmers. His father owned a homestead, and the young Sedfrey's days were filled with hunting, fishing, swimming, with school a long way down in the list of his youthful priorities.

He studied liberal arts at the University of the Philippines in Manila, then law at the Far Eastern University and Manuel L. Quezon Law School. He worked between classes, including helping out in his cousin's slipper-making shop. He did not complete his law degree, but he was allowed to take the bar and was one of the top ten in his batch of examinees.

He first practised law with famed lawyers Jovito Salonga and Pedro Yap. Then in 1970, he was elected delegate of his home province to the 1971 Constitutional Convention. Sedfrey was among the minority who opposed the manipulation by Ferdinand Marcos of the 1973 Constitution in an attempt to perpetuate himself in power. Sedfrey also opposed the sham ratification of the constitution through citizens' assemblies. Later he defended a fellow member of the Constitutional Convention, Eduardo Quintero, who was harassed by the Marcos government after he (Quintero) revealed that the Marcoses were paying off a significant number of members of the convention. When Marcos imposed martial law in the country and proceeded to arrest his political opponents as well as critics and activists, Sedfrey handled more civil rights cases, including the high-profile case of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. He also joined such organizations as the Civil Liberties Union (CLU) and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). Sedfrey became an active member of the IBP's Human Rights and Due Process, and Legal Aid.

He had a short stint in politics when he became an active campaigner for Corazon Aquino during the 1986 snap presidential elections.

In the years immediately after the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship, Sedfrey served the Aquino government as solicitor general, secretary of justice, and permanent representative and ambassador to the United Nations. As solicitor general, the bulk of his time was spent in trying to recover the Marcoses' illegally-gotten wealth.

As a human rights advocate who was at the same time a senior official in the Aquino administration, Sedfrey was very much saddened by the fact that in his time, such atrocities as the Mendiola and Lupao massacres had happened.

Later he served as Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights under the Ramos administration.

Sedfrey was also a prolific writer. He wrote poetry, plays, essays, and his autobiography, titled 50 Years in Law and Letters. He could wax romantic but he also wrote about his everyday business of working in government. In his book Nuclear Poems (1995) he wrote:

"Subic and Clark / have witnessed war / both as battleground /and as launching pad /for their death missions!"

The year before that, inside a hotel in Japan he had written a poem about the famed Mendiola bridge:

"Those who fell and those who rushed the bridge / did not perceive the flow of blood in france / but the bridge united them where they / shed tears and raised clenched fists - they knew Mendiola shall forever / be their country's bridge of liberty!"

On a slow train to Berne in Switzerland, on a mission to recover part of the Marcos illegal wealth in 1986, Sedfrey had written:

"Purse keeper / of the world / from Mafia master / to drug dealer / and royal thief / and dictator / and mer-chantmen / alike, / it offers haven in numbered codes / the launderer of stains / of plunder .... / why can this tiny land / be filled with beauty / and yet hide / the pains / of many?"

Amb. Sedfrey A. Ordonez had lived a full and remark-able life. In private and in public, that life had been varied and interesting, challenging and successful, helpful and rewarding, inspired and inspiring. As a man he was known to be dignified and humble, thoughtful and gracious, creative and productive. He was the Chairman Emeritus of Bantay Katarungan, an NGO for the promotion of the delivery of judicial service (Sentinel of Justice) and an ac-tive Trustee of Bantayog ng mga Bayani and Kilosbayan (People's Action).

Sedfrey A. Ordoliez joined his Creator on November 18, 2007 while in the company of loved ones and friends. He was 86 years old.

In a poem he wrote upon turning 70 in 1991, he ended with these lines:

"Merely simply contemplating the enormity of the tasks ahead urges me to start right now and fill my last ten years with music, with the wisdom, with the daring, with the vision of the Master."


BORN                 1 September 1921

Gapan, Nueva Ecija

DIED                  18 November 2007

PARENTS           Domingo Ordonez and Consolation Andres

SIBLINGS           Socorro, Alfonso, Pacita, Genoveva, Marcelo & Mario WIFE Josef ma Vijandre CHILDREN Roberto, Philip, Cristina &         Helen


Elementary   Laur, Nueva Ecija (accelerated)

Secondary    Nueva Ecija High School, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, 1938

College        College of Liberal Arts, UP Manila

College of Law, UP, 1940-41 LL.B., Manuel L. Quezon University, 1947-48 LL.M., Philippine Law School, 1954 Ateneo University

Graduate            School of Business, 1973-74 University of Minnesota, USA

Fast Facts: Libingan Ng Mga Bayani

(This is a re-post of Rappler's Fast Facts on the  Libingan ng mga Bayani, text and photos attributed to Rappler)

Libingan ng mga Bayani was initially known as Republic Memorial Cemetery

Established in 1947, Libingan ng mga Bayani was first known as the Republic Memorial Cemetery. It was established by the Philippine government to commemorate the lives of the fallen Filipino soldiers who fought in World War II.

Its existence was in accordance with Republic Act 289, which provides for “the construction of a national pantheon for presidents of the Philippines, national heroes, and patriots of the country.”

The law, signed by President Elpidio Quirino, states that the cemetery is supposed to commemorate the presidents, national heroes, and patriots, “for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn.”

The initial construction was given a funding of at least P1 million.

In 1954, then president Ramon Magsaysay “rededicated and renamed” the cemetery into what it is now known: Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Marcos, through Proclamation Number 208 in 1967, reserved 142 hectares from the Fort Bonifacio Military Reserve for the future expansion of the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Dishonorably discharged, convicted personnel cannot be buried

Much has been said regarding individuals who can be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which holds and oversees the property, there are specific guidelines that state who exactly can be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Based on the The Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the following can be interred at the cemetery:

  • Medal of Valor awardees

  • Presidents or commander-in-chief, AFP

  • Secretaries of national defense

  • AFP chiefs of staff

  • Generals/flag officers of the AFP

  • Active and retired military personnel of the AFP (including active draftees and trainees who died in line of duty, and active reservists and CAFGU Active Auxiliary who died in combat-related activities)

  • Former members of the AFP who laterally entered or joined the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police

  • Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1890, World War I, World War II, and recognized guerrillas

  • Government dignitaries, statesmen, national artists and other deceased persons whose interment and re-interment has been approved by the commander-in-chief, Congress, or the secretary of national defense

  • Former presidents, secretaries of defense, dignitaries, statesmen, national artists, widows of former presidents, secretaries of national defense, and chief of staff

Worth noting is AFP Regulations G 161-375, which says the prohibition of interment applies to “those who have been dishonorably discharged from service or personnel convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude.”

Executive Order No. 131, signed by then president Fidel V. Ramos in 1993, allowed for state burial and funeral of national artists and scientists of the Philippines.

Final resting place of more than 49,000 Filipinos

The 103-hectare cemetery, located in Taguig City, currently houses the remains of more than 49,000 Filipino soldiers, statesmen, heroes, and martyrs.

A specific number of grave sites is also allocated to individuals who are qualified to be buried in the cemetery.

According to the AFP, the allocations for each position are as follows:

  • 46 allocated grave sites for presidents

  • 94 plots for secretaries of national defense, government dignitaries, and statesmen

  • 133 for the AFP chiefs of staff

  • 118 for Medal of Valor awardees

  • 183 for other generals and flag officers

  • 5,334 for World War II veterans

  • 1,375 for national artists and scientists

The remaining grave sites, meanwhile, are designated for retired AFP personnel and veterans.

Memorials inside Libingan ng mga Bayani

Scattered across the vast land are several memorials for individuals who fought in the wars the Philippines fought.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, considered as one of the main structures, can be found at the center of the cemetery bearing the inscription: “Here lies a Filipino soldier whose name is known only to God.”

The memorial, which features 3 pillars representing the 3 island groups in the Philippines, is often the place where government officials conduct wreath-laying ceremonies.

The Korean Memorial Pylon, meanwhile, serves as a tribute to the fallen members of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (Peftok) during the Korean War.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Pylon is dedicated to Filipinos who served during the Vietnam War as part of the Philippine contingents and Philippine civic action groups.

Erected by the Veterans Federation of the Philippines, the Philippine World War II Guerrillas Pylon serves as “a testimony to the indomitable spirit and bravery of the Filipino guerrillas of World War II who refused to be cowed into submission and carried on the fight for freedom against an enemy with vastly superior arms and under almost insurmountable odds.”

The Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial, meanwhile, was erected in 1977 in memory of those who served during World War II.

Lastly, the Black Stone Walls erected near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier bear the words of General Douglas MacArthur: "I do not know the dignity of his birth, but I do know the glory of his death.”

SIN, Jaime Cardinal

Sin Jaime Cardinal

Jaime Sin was ordained a priest in 1954, and started out as a missionary in Capiz. He then served as seminary rector in Roxas City before he was appointed bishop of Jaro in Iloilo in 1967. He was appointed Jaro’s coadjutor archbishop in 1972, and took full control as archbishop of Jaro later that year.

When he learned he was being considered to become Manila’s archbishop, Jaime Sin demurred, saying he never had a university education, all his studies having been completed in seminaries, he did not speak Tagalog, the language of the people of Manila and its environs, and that he was content to serve in Jaro. Nevertheless he became Manila’s archbishop in 1974, and two years later its cardinal, in which roles he would leave a unique mark in the movement to oppose the Marcos dictatorship. Until then he had been an unheard-of bishop from the Visayas.

One of Sin’s first acts as Manila archbishop was to issue a pastoral letter condemning the summary arrest of priests Jose Blanco and Benigno Mayo, both of the Society of Jesus, who were arrested in a raid on the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches. Sin presided over a prayer vigil for the detailed priests attended by 5,000 persons, the largest anti-martial law protest at that time.

Pope Paul VI made Sin a cardinal in 1976, succeeding then Rufino Cardinal Santos. Sin became the youngest member of the Vatican’s College of Cardinals. Later he served as vice-president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in 1974, was elected president in January 1977, and reelected president in July 1979.

Cardinal Sin soon became one of Asia’s most prominent religious leaders, known for his vocal stances on politics, economics and church concerns. He was courted and schmoozed over by the Marcoses. He set out to disarm the faithful, winning them over with jokes he cracked usually at his own expense.

Under his watch the Catholic Church became one of the few institutions where critics and opponents, human rights victims, and even rebels found shelter from the forces of the state. Because of his prominence, he commanded resources and exercised influence strong enough to counterbalance Marcos’ tremendous power.

He chose to wield this power when he issued a historic call for people to come to the aid of soldiers that had rebelled against Marcos and were holed up in Camp Aguinaldo. Thousands responded to this call, which grew into the movement that toppled the 14-year dictatorship.

Sin retired in 2003 when he turned 75, having served as priest for 29 years. He died of natural causes two years later. At his funeral, he was accorded full military honors and a 21-gun salute, the first time a clergyman was given the honor.


Born 31 August 1928 in New Washington, Aklan.

Died 21 June 2005 in Manila

Parents : Sin Puat Co (Juan) from Xiamen, China, and Maxima Lachica of Aklan,

Education : Grade school - New Washington, Aklan

Theological studies, St. Vincent Ferrer Archdiocesan Seminary, Iloilo

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Filipinos Protest Hero's Burial for Marcos

guardian pic

Hundreds of people in the Philippines rallied in stormy weather to protest after the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, approved the burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a heroes’ cemetery.

(Article and photo from The Guardian / Photographed by Bullit Marquez)

Police said about 1,500 protesters carrying a large streamer that read “Marcos not a hero” braved the rains, wind and mud at the seaside Rizal park, in Manila, on Sunday to call on Duterte to reconsider his decision. They launched a signature campaign to try to stop the burial, which is set for September.

Loretta Ann Rosales, who formerly headed the government’s commission on human rights, said she was tortured, electrocuted and molested with thousands of other detained leftwing activists under Marcos during a period in Philippine history that clearly showed why the leader, who died in 1989, did not deserve to be accorded state honours.

“Is that not enough evidence? ... Is Marcos a hero?” Rosales asked. The crowd responded: “No!”

Risa Hontiveros, who joined the protest, said she had filed a senate resolution opposing a hero’s burial for Marcos, adding that Duterte should not commit the “atrocious mistake” of bestowing honours upon the former dictator. “Marcos went down in history as an unrepentant enemy of our heroes,” Hontiveros said. “To honour the man [as] a hero and bury his remains in a place reserved for the brave and martyred is an inimical political abomination.”

Using the heroes’ cemetery to bury a dictator accused of massive rights violations and plunder has been an emotional and divisive issue in the country, where Marcos was ousted by a “people power” revolt in 1986.

Marcos fled to Hawaii, where he lived with his wife and children in exile until he died, in Honolulu, three years later. His remains were returned to his north-Philippines hometown and displayed in a glass coffin. His wife, Imelda, and two of three children gradually regained political influence after being elected to public office.

Duterte, who was sworn in as president in June, argues that Marcos is qualified to be buried at the military-run cemetery as a former soldier and president. He revealed he once voted for Marcos and that his late father, a politician, served in Marcos’s cabinet.

Duterte’s communications secretary, Martin Andanar, said on Sunday the president’s position remained firm, arguing that military rules allowed Marcos to be buried at the hallowed cemetery as a former president and soldier.

Selda, an organisation of former political detainees and rights victims under Marcos, said in a statement that it planned to ask the supreme court to stop what it called a grave injustice to thousands of human rights victims.

Communist guerrillas, who are due to restart peace talks with Duterte’s government this month, condemned the president’s move for its “extreme insensitivity”.

In a statement, they said: “Duterte is virtually deleting Marcos’ bloody record as a military despot and the fascist violence, human rights violation, corruption and economic hardships he made the Filipino people suffer through 14 years of dictatorship.”

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