A Millennial Reflects on the Life of Sen. Jovito R. Salonga

Quina reflection on Salonga

Hindi Tayo Maaring Makalimot, by Jovito R. Salonga, November 1998

hindi tayo maaring makalimothindi tayo-2

SOLANA, Nicolas Jr., M.

solana pic

Ateneo is a school known to have produced student heroes who died in defense of freedom and democracy in their country. The names Edgar Jopson and Emmanuel Lacaba come to mind. A less known, but no less heroic Atenean, was  Nicolas “Nick” Solana Jr.

Nick was a bright young boy, earning consistently good grades in elementary and high school. He was a natural leader. He acted in school plays and was active cub scout and boy scout. When he was in his senior year in high school, he won an oratorical contest called National Voice of Democracy sponsored by the Jaycees and Meralco. Nick won by a unanimous vote over eight other contestants from other provinces. The tall and lanky Nick awed the audience with his passionate speech, anchoring his defense of democracy on what he felt was the “root of the nation: the family.”

On a scholarship, Nick enrolled at the Ateneo de Manila for college. His new friends called him “a regular guy.” He played basketball, drank and caroused with fellow students, played pranks on friends, always cracking jokes.

Nick loved music. He played the guitar every chance he got. He sang second bass at the Ateneo Glee Club and was part of the chorus that sang at the Ateneo Experimental Theater’s production of T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral. He joined The Ambivalent Crowd, a popular singing group at the time, helping arrange the group’s Davao tour and even hosting some of them at his family’s residence.

Nick became a member of a religious movement of Ateneo students called Days with the Lord, which promoted a joyful and personal kind of Christianity.

After college, Nick went back to Davao City and enrolled at the Ateneo de Davao School of Law. It was 1969, and the country was agitated over then President Marcos’s increasingly repressive rule.  The situation in Mindanao was explosive – a militarized countryside and rural communities reeling from soldiers’ abuses such as massacres, bombings and strafings.

Nick did community work, introducing the Days with the Lord movement to poor people, particularly among Davao City seaside communities. Nick’s easy disposition and excellent communication skills served him well. He won over many people, including neighborhood toughies, to the Christian movement.

But Nick himself was changed in a fundamental way by the misery he became exposed to in these slum areas. Soon, Nick was talking about the need for “land for the landless.” While he continued to pursue his law studies, he joined a group called Malayang Lipunan, which gave aid to victims of calamities as well as farmers protesting a giant banana plantation spraying pesticides (and causing the locals to develop skin diseases). He believed that the farmers should resist the abusive conditions. When elementary school teachers at the Ateneo staged a strike to press for higher wages, Nick rallied fellow students to give their support. He spoke against the “miseducation” of the Filipinos who were being conditioned to serve the interests of the rich classes.

He finished his law studies in 1973 but refused to take the bar in protest of the imposition of martial law the year before. He instead chose to work with a non-government organization, and, by this time, with the left underground movement.

Nick was killed in a military ambush in early April 1975. He had been with an armed group.

Habagat, an underground newsletter, reported that Nick was killed by “three traitors and a PC-CHDF team.” The newsletter said that Nick (referred to as Ka Noni, his revolutionary alias), suffered from five bullet wounds and died instantly. Habagat said that Nick had been working fulltime in the underground for one year when killed. It described Nick as someone coming from a privileged family, but striving hard to live a simple and “proletarian” life.

His family grieved for what Nick had to give up for his beliefs, but they believe that he followed “where his conscience and faith led him.”  People in the slum areas of Davao continue to speak fondly of Nick.

The late poet and fellow Atenean Emannuel Lacaba, who also later died as a revolutionary, wrote the poem “Sa Alaala ni Nick Solana:” Ipaghihiganti namin kayong lahat, / Mga martir, kayong natuklaw ng ahas / Paghawan ng landas tungong / katuktukang, Kasimbigat, Ka Nick, / ng iyong pagpanaw.

Parents                    Paulina Moralizon and Nicolas Solana

Siblings                   1 brother, 3 sisters


Elementary             Davao Central Elem. School, Davao City

High School            Ateneo de Davao, Matina, Davao City

College                    Ateneo de Manila University, AB Economics, 1969

Ateneo de Davao Law School, finished in 1973 but did not take the bar

DEVERATURDA, Dennis Rolando R.

Deveraturda Dennis Rolando Ramirez

Dennis Rolando Deveraturda had a sharp mind, and he dreamed about becoming a lawyer. To study for college, he left his province of Zambales and moved to Manila.

In 1968, he joined the UP Nationalist Corps, thinking to put his free hours to good use.To his surprise, the daily discussions and debates inside the organization absorbed him. He started reading Marx and Victor Perlo. He became not a mere a participant but a discussant on several topics.

When he went home the next summer, he was a fullblown activist. He and his friends held discussion groups in the town plaza, sought out residents in nearby villages and even in farther barrios near the mountains to discuss pressing issues with them, at the same time, helping in the planting and harvesting.

When school opened the following year, Dennis went home on weekends, always visiting with barrio people. He started skipping classes. When scolded by his parents for this, Dennis explained how he thought the social conditions were deteriorating and that he felt the need for reforms. To continue as if nothing was happening, he told his father, was like covering one’s eyes with textbooks in order to be blind to the injustices.

He became active with the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), sometimes staying the night at the organization’s headquarters for more discussions.

When the writ of habeas corpus was suspended, he felt threatened but he continued to do political work with farmers in Zambales.

In February 1972, soldiers surrounded the house in which Dennis had been staying, seized him and two of his friends. Later, Dennis’ bullet riddled body was recovered by his parents, his body black and blue.

Dennis’ funeral was attended by hundreds of people from all walks of life: farmers, peasants, teachers, neighbors, market vendors, even some town officials. His remains were buried in Iba, Zambales.


Born :        12 March 1952 in Calapandayan, Subic, Zambales

Died :          3 February 1972 in Malomboy, Bo. Poong Bato, Botolan, Zambales

Parents :     Juan Deveraturda Jr. and Rosita Ramirez

Education : Elementary - Calapandayan (Subic) Elementary School / Iba Central School

High School - Zambales High School, Iba, Zambales, 1964‑1968

College - University of the Philippines, BS Economics 1968

HOLLERO, Manolo J.

Hollero Manolo Jubelag

Manolo Hollero Sr. was a college student in Manila during the First Quarter Storm and was drawn into the militant student movement. He joined several demonstrations and rallies where, on one occasion, his right hand was hurt by an improvised explosive (“pillbox"). In early 1971, Manolo decided Manila had become too dangerous and went home to Iloilo, where he continued to organize protest activists together with local activists.

In 1974, Manolo was arrested and subsequently detained for seven months at Camp Delgado. He was tortured. After his release, he left Iloilo City and went to join the armed opposition in the hinterlands of central Panay. There he continued his organizing work among the peasantry.

Manolo easily won the affection of the people in the communities he stayed in. He was helpful and sensitive to the needs especially of the poor and the oppressed people. He also showed leadership qualities.

Manolo was killed in November 1977 in Calinog, Iloilo, in circumstances that have not ever been established.

According to his comrade’s accounts, Manolo was hurt in an ambush. He was hit in the leg and unable to run away, so he was captured by the soldiers. But he was brutally tortured and finally killed by his captors on November 3, 1977 in Calinog, Iloilo. The military commander who led the ambush was Captain Nick Roca of the Constabulary Security Unit then operating in Panay island.

When his body was recovered and brought home to Jaro two days later, it bore stab wounds in the neck, ears and body, his right leg almost totally severed,. His hands and feet were broken, and parts of his body bore torture marks. His remains were never autopsied.

Hundreds paid homage during his funeral although it was the height of martial rule.

Parents : Carlos S. Hollero and Angeles Jubelag

Spouse : Nelly Angeles

Children : 2, ages 26 & 28

Education :      Elementary ‑ La Paz Elementary School, La Paz, Iloilo City, 1963

Secondary ‑  Iloilo Provincial High School, La Paz, Iloilo City, 1967

College ‑       Central Philippine University, 1967‑1969

PSBA, Manila (Commerce, undergraduate), 1969‑1971

Bantayog Announces New Museum Hours

Bantayog Museum is now open on Saturdays!

Please be informed of the new museum hours:  TUESDAYS to SATURDAYS,(9 - 11 a.m. and 1 - 4 p.m.)

Guided tours for groups of at least ten (10) persons must be arranged one week in advance.

Please contact Ms. Betty Dela Cruz at these numbers: 9851126, 938-7981, 0977-6220828 (Globe) or 0908-5054761 (Smart) for details.

SARMIENTO, Abraham Jr., P.


Kung di tayo kikibo, sino ang kikibo? Kung di tayo kikilos, sino ang kikilos? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?

This passionate cry, defying the Marcos dictatorship at the height of its reign of terror, was echoed by young people across the land, and soon taken up even by their elders who drew their own inspiration and courage from it: “Who will speak up if we don’t? Who will act if we don’t? If not now, when?”

It was Abraham Sarmiento Jr., the editor of the Philippine Collegian, student paper of the University of the Philippines, who threw down that challenge. They were not mere words for him either, and he paid with his life for his daring leadership of the campus press in 1975-1976, when the martial law regime jailed him for his many critical articles and editorial policies.

At a time when the major media outlets – commercial newspapers and magazines, radio and television stations – were firmly controlled by the Marcos regime, the Collegian upheld its proud tradition of press freedom and independent thinking. Under “Ditto” Sarmiento, the UP student newspaper refused to be timid and safe. It tackled the issue of presidential succession, for example, protested the waves of illegal arrests, and demanded the release of political prisoners. It took a strong stand on campus questions, and Sarmiento and his staff led rallies in support of their positions.

Only the Collegian dared to report on the publication by the Civil Liberties Union of a critical pamphlet, Three Years of Martial Law. It published the article "For Those Who Care," signed by 500 opposition leaders, notably Diosdado Macapagal, Gerardo Roxas and Jovito Salonga. It also published the letter of Macapagal to the Philippine Constitutional Association advocating the convening of an interim national assembly as mandated by the 1973 Constitution, in order to end martial law.

In December 1975 Sarmiento wrote an editorial that offended the then minister of national defense, Juan Ponce Enrile. He was “invited” for interrogation and then sent home. A month later, he was picked up from the house of his father, Abraham F. Sarmiento, who had been vice-president of the 1971 Constitutional Convention (and who later served, in 1987-1991, as associate justice of the Supreme Court).

Ditto Sarmiento was detained for over seven months in Fort Bonifacio and later in Camp Crame, where he was placed in isolation for two months. He had always been in poor health, being asthmatic, and the harsh conditions caused him to grow weaker. He died of a heart attack, at age 27.

The UP College of Business Administration and Accountancy honored Sarmiento with a posthumous bachelor’s degree in 1978, as he was never able to finish his academic program. It was the first time the college did this. In 1986, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines gave him a posthumous Plaridel Award.

PARENTS                             Abraham F. Sarmiento and Irene Pascual

SPOUSE / CHILD                Marsha Regala Santos / 1

EDUCATION                       Elementary / Secondary: Ateneo de Manila

College: University of the Philippines Diliman

ONGPIN, Jaime V.

Ongpin Jaime Velayo

Jaime Ongpin studied at the Ateneo de Manila, graduating with a degree of in business administration in 1958. He took a master’s course at the Harvard Business School.

Jaime Ongpin, or Jimmy, took his first step from being a business executive to joining the opposition to then President Ferdinand Marcos when he wrote a simple letter to the editor for the Asian Wall Street Journal in 1981. The letter was sharply critical of government bailouts and “crony capitalism," a phrase he had coined and made popular as a ringing indictment of the Marcos administration.

Before this, Jimmy studiously avoided politics up to that time when the domestic money market collapsed and the government, using public funds, resorted to bailing out the Marcos cronies.

The action was personally difficult because his older brother Roberto was then Marcos’ trade and industry minister and mainly responsible for carrying out the bailout policies.

Because until then businessmen did not speak against the Marcos regime, Ongpin’s letter created a furor. Friends called him crazy and stupid, even suicidal. Ongpin merely said that "if we kept on looking the other way, things would only get much worse." Later friends started approaching him to say they supported his views but they themselves could not come out publicly. They also warned Jimmy against “going too far.”

From that first letter, Ongpin went on to write more letters, deliver speeches and give interviews. He became an increasingly prominent voice of the opposition. He began to be referred to in the international press as "the leader of the business opposition to Marcos."

In March 1983, Jimmy wrote a paper signaling unequivocally his condemnation of the regime’s policies. In a satiric take‑off on the "Eleven Major Industrial Projects" initiated by his brother the minister, which Jimmy felt was a misguided allocation of government resources, he entitled his paper "The Eleven MIP's (a.k.a. The Eleven Major Infuriating Problems)." Here he questioned the manner in which government lending institutions bailed out a distressed crony corporation called the Construction Development Company of the Philippines (CDCP). He presented the paper before the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, and later before the Harvard Club of the Philippines and Phi Delta Kappa‑Manila RP Chapter. The paper gave a stinging criticism of government policies and ended with a challenge to the private sector to "lift a finger" to help solve the country’s most serious financial problems.”

After the assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983, Jimmy became more open about his commitment to the removal of the Marcos dictatorship. He became an active supporter of Manindigan (Take a Stand!), a cause‑oriented group of businessman and professionals. He opened the facilities of his company, the Benguet Corporation, to the activist organization.

He helped raise funds for Veritas, an independent weekly that took up a crusade against the dictatorship while most of the mainstream media was bowed in passivity and submission.

In December 1984, Corazon Aquino, former Senator Lorenzo Tañada and Jimmy Ongpin created a Convenor Group to unite the forces opposed to Marcos.

When Corazon Aquino launched her bid for the presidency, Ongpin's solid business reputation helped generate funds for the campaign. Friends and business leaders disgusted with the regime donated generously.

Ongpin readily put his life on the line during the 1986 people power revolution. Corazon Aquino later appointed Jimmy her finance minister.

Parents : Luis R. Ongpin and Lourdes M. Velayo Morales

Education : Ateneo de Manila

Harvard Business School

Spouse : Maria Isabel Ongpin

Children : 5

MIJARES, Antonio S.

Mijares Antonio Sibuya

The family of Antonio Mijares lived next door to the municipal jail. In the early days of martial law, Antonio, whom the family called Diore, would hear suspects being beaten and crying out. Diore would slip them ginger ale and pandesal for breakfast.

Diore excelled in drama, oratory and pingpong. He served as altar boy and was a church-goer. His father noted that he liked to read books on politics, science, and philosophy. He liked biographies and battle stories. In college, Diore haunted the libraries, but he was also active in various activities, sometimes cutting classes to attend to them.

Later he moved back to Aklan, joining the staff of the campus paper in Aklan College and was said to have helped revive that paper. He also helped in organizing the Aklan chapter of the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines.

Diore fell under military suspicion. Once he was questioned by the local provincial commander who suspected him of recruiting and soliciting funds for the New People’s Army. The commander also tried to recruit him to spy on his classmates and town mates. Diore refused.

He decided instead to go more deeply into organizing work in the mountains and hills of Aklan and Antique.

Diore died at the age of 22, on a Good Friday, on April 20, 1984, in an ambush. Diore was captured while his two companions (one was Edward dela Fuente) were killed.  Diore was wounded but the leader of the constabulary team later fired on him, riddling him with bullets.

LUCMAN, Haroun Al Rashid

Lucman Haroun AlRashid

Rashid Lucman’s illustrious ancestors include Sharif Kabungsuan and Angintabu, daughter of the chieftain of Malabang, Lanao del Sur, who bore Rashid Lucman’s father, Sharif Maka‑alang (who succeeded as chieftain).

He fought under the US Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) during World War II, organizing the first guerrilla force in Mindanao which fought fierce battles against the Japanese. His war record led to his appointment as deputy governor for Lanao del Sur in 1944.

He worked in 1949 as newspaper correspondent for the Manila Chronicle but returned to politics in 1953. He was elected congressman of Lanao del Sur in 1961 and served until 1969. He also served as regional development officer of the Convention on National Integration at Marawi City from 1959 to 1961. He served as Lanao del Sur congressman from 1961 to 1969.

As deputy governor, Lucman worked for the surrender of loose firearms in his province and helped bring in the Tausug outlaw Kamlon in the 1950s. He helped rescue non‑Muslims and Subanons from what was then a flourishing slave trade in Mindanao.

In 1968, Lucman, then already a congressman, called for the impeachment of President Ferdinand Marcos for the latter’s responsibility in what later came to be known as the Jabidah massacre. It turned out that the Philippine government had secretly trained Muslims to implement a clandestine plan to invade the island of Sabah. The Muslim trainees had rebelled over miserable training conditions in Corregidor island. As a result, 68 Tausug trainees were killed.

Lucman failed to generate the support he expected from Congress, and became convinced that Muslims should rule themselves in Muslim Mindanao. He supported the training of young Muslim men for armed resistance and raised funds abroad, particularly from Muslim countries, for Muslim self-rule. He sent young men to be trained in guerrilla warfare under a special Malaysian force. Among them was Nur Misuari, later to become the guerrilla leader of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

He chaired the Union of Islamic Forces and Organization from 1968 to 1972 and at the same time was a member of the Military Council. He also chaired the Supreme Revolutionary Council from 1970 to 1972, and the Bangsa Moro Liberation Organization (BMLO) from 1976 to 1984. The BMLO later joined forces with Nur Misuari’s MNLF.

In 1974, Lucman was declared second paramount sultan of Mindanao and Sulu. Here he raised the call for self‑rule for the Bangsa Moro of Mindanao. Lucman left for Saudi Arabia in 1976. In 1984, he was elected vice‑president of the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM) in San Francisco, California.

He pursued his campaign for unity among Muslim members of the various opposition political forces, including the underground resistance movement led by the Left and Filipino opposition groups in Europe, the Middle East and the United States. He died in Riyadh in 1984.


* Father : Sharif Maka‑alang

* Spouse: Princess Tarhata Alonto‑Lucman

* Education : Associate in Arts, 3 years of law

prev 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200 210 220 230 240 250 260 270 280 290 300 310 320 330 340 350 360 370 380 390 400 410 420 430 440 450 460 470 480 490 500 510 520 530 next