QUINTERO, Eduardo T.


In 1971, a Constitutional Convention was called to draft a new basic charter to replace the 1935 Constitution. President Marcos was then nearing the end of his second term in office, and the law expressly prohibited him to run for reelection. He saw an opportunity to perpetuate himself in power if the new Constitution allowed him to do so. He tried to ensure that as many of the delegates elected to the Convention would support him.

But there was also strong opposition to Marcos’ continuing monopolization of power. Many delegates were prepared to block Marcos’ plan to shift to a parliamentary form of government in which he could be prime minister, and where an opening could be made for his wife’s own ambitions. Meanwhile, a set of transitory provisions would prevent block legal objections to the planned changeover.

Eduardo T. Quintero was a retired ambassador who had been one of the first to be recruited into the country’s diplomatic service. A native of Tacloban and distantly related to Imelda Romualdez Marcos, he was said to have been elected to the Constitutional Convention as delegate of Leyte province’s first district with the family’s support. At 70, he was older than most of the other delegates.

In May 1972, before all the assembled members of the Convention, Quintero unexpectedly made a public disclosure that the media called a “bombshell.” He had been receiving, he said, money in envelops, amounting to over P11,000 which almost certainly came from Marcos’wife. He set all the envelops aside, waiting for the right time for him to speak out. “I want to do the correct thing,” he said.

Later exposés revealed that other Con-Con delegates were similarly bribed by the Marcoses, or acted as their agents, in order to get their votes. Public opinion believed Quintero, the “whistle blower.”

Marcos launched personal attacks against him, and Imelda Marcos tried to gain sympathy by claiming she had suffered a miscarriage due to the scandal. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raided Quintero’s home and seized bills amounting to P390,000. Charges of perjury, bribery, and graft and corruption were slapped on Quintero. But many came to his defense, and he did not waver in his testimonies against the presidential couple.

Several months later, Marcos imposed martial law as he had threatened to do many times before. In ill health, Quintero was allowed to return to Leyte quietly, and in 1977 was able to leave for the United States with his family. There he kept in touch with the America-based anti-Marcos opposition, and wrote a book which was to be entitled “The Envelops of Imelda Marcos.” Today, the manuscript remains unpublished and certain chapters are said to be mysteriously missing.

After the Marcos dictatorship was ousted, Quintero was vindicated by the Supreme Court in 1988, when finally it ruled that the NBI raid on his house was orchestrated "from beginning to end" to destroy him.

Eduardo T. Quintero died poor at the age of 84 in San Francisco, USA.

PARENTS                             Eduardo Quintero Sr. and Baldomera Torcelo

SPOUSE                                Tarcila Pariña / 3 (No. of children)

EDUCATION                       Elementary: Leyte Intermediate School

Secondary: Leyte High School

College: University of the Philippines, Philippine Law School

PEREZ, Dante D.


He wanted a life spent in the service of others so that his death would be meaningful, the young Dante Perez told his brother Romeo. He had just experienced the fulfillment of helping the victims of the Ruby Tower disaster, when a multistory building in a busy part of Manila collapsed due to an earthquake, burying numerous people.

Helping others was something Perez liked to do. Before spending days and nights at the site of the ruined Ruby Tower, he had also raised funds to support relief operations when Taal Volcano erupted. It was a personality trait strongly influenced by his mother, who always found time to help the unfortunate despite her own busy schedule (she managed her own chemical company). Mrs. Perez helped care for child patients in a government hospital, initiated rehabilitation projects for jail inmates, and brought material assistance to victims of natural disasters. She used to bring her son along to help feed sick children, distribute relief goods and go caroling during the Christmas season to raise funds for charity.

Perez was in his first year of college when the First Quarter Storm swept the country. He was then a member of the National Union of Students of the Philippines , advocating peaceful reforms, clean and honest elections, and so on. The two brothers, Dante and Romeo, started living with jeepney drivers, writing manifestos, and preparing food and giving medical aid to striking drivers. Working closely with his friend, Reynante Andal from Mindoro, founder and president of the Samahan ng mga Kabataan Para sa Ikauunlad ng mga Tsuper, Dante worked until the wee hours of the morning preparing study modules for students and drivers.

When martial law was declared in 1972, Perez abandoned his reformist ideas and turned to the guerrilla underground in order to fight the dictatorship. Together with old friends from Kasapi and the Kilusang Kristiyano ng Kabataang Pilipino, he joined Andal in moving to Mindoro Oriental where they started organizing for the anti-dictatorship struggle.

Just a few weeks later, on November 3, 1972, Perez was killed by the military. He was with a group inside a hut one evening when they heard a voice outside telling them to surrender. Andal thought it was a joke and shouted back to stop the fooling. Gunshots followed. Andal was hit in the abdomen and Perez in both legs; his wife, Teresita Lioanag, (a student from Maryknoll College), rushed outside and called on the attackers to stop firing. The soldiers then entered the hut and pumped more bullets into Perez, who was still alive. Later the National Bureau of Investigation would find Dante negative for powder burns and his body riddled with 32 gunshot wounds.

All the survivors were taken to jail. Perez's parents came and took his remains back to Manila. Lioanag was kept in jail for more than a year but the others were released after several weeks in detention.

PARENTS                             Amador M. Perez and Remedios Dizon

SPOUSE                                Teresita Lioanag

EDUCATION                       Elementary: Ateneo de Manila, Quezon City

Secondary: Ateneo de Manila University; De La Salle High School, Lipa City

College: De La Salle College, Manila; University of the East

GREY, Eugene David C.

grey, eugene

The first Grey to set foot in the Philippines was an officer of the British Royal Navy who opted to stay in the country after Spain and England settled their hostilities in the Philippines. The British defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in 1762.

Fernando Grey was the captain in Emilio Aguinaldo's revolutionary army who reported the start of hostilities at the Pinaglabanan Bridge that led to the Philippine‑American War.

After the end of the Spanish era, the Greys established themselves in the elite districts of Manila. Eugene David Conejero Grey, the fifth of seven children, grew up amid gentility. His father was a marketing manager for Caltex Philippines, and Eugene spent his high school years in Bauan, Batangas, where he lived in a compound exclusive to families of Caltex’s executives. He was sociable, talented, and popular. He excelled in sports. He spent his weekends swimming with the neighborhood children or playing tennis or golf, in which he won several tournaments. He taught himself to play the guitar, playing his favorites, the Beatles, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan.

In the mid 1960's, Eugene's father Edgardo, then a leader of the Caltex Filipino Managers' and Supervisors' Association (CAFIMSA), joined the first-ever strike against Caltex on the issue of racial discrimination. Eugene tagged along with his father during the strike.

Enrolling at the Lyceum of the Philippines in 1967, Eugene became drawn to the growing campus movements calling for reforms in the educational system. He participated in discussion groups, fora and symposia that decried anti‑student policies. Soon, he was a leader of campus protests.

He became one of the leaders of the Kabataang Makabayan (KM).

Eugene, or Gene to friends, was a wide reader and an exceptionally articulate speaker and debater. Friends recall how intensely he punctuated his arguments, often citing sources that astonished his listeners.

During the First Quarter Storm of the 1970s, Eugene earned the respect of his comrades for his tirelessness, dedication, and resolve. He helped organize rallies and demonstrations, wrote press releases for the KM, and held television interviews. He joined laborers at the picket lines. He visited poor communities and talked with out‑of-school youths. He spoke at mass actions. He awed and amazed his comrades, who called him “unstoppable.”

When the writ of habeas corpus was suspended by Ferdinand Marcos in 1971, Eugene’s name was in the list of students wanted by the government. He decided to go underground and leave for the rural areas.

He was killed in January 1973 in a dawn raid by the Philippine Constabulary on the house where he and his friends were staying, in Bo. Ibas, in Mt. Banahaw, along the border of Quezon and Camarines. Eugene was asleep when he was killed. A firefight ensued, which resulted in the killing of everyone in the house.

He was 23 years old. Eugene’s remains were never recovered. The family was devastated, deciding to leave the Philippines for good. But Eugene’s friends have continued to remember this exceptional young man’s intellectual drive, commitment and selflessness. His friends say that he could very easily have chosen the easy life, being bright and coming from a wealthy family. Instead he chose the more difficult path.

PONCE, Rodrigo

In November 1985, with mass protests against his regime breaking out all over the country, President Marcos was pressured to call for elections that, he hoped, would allow him to claim renewed legitimacy for his dictatorial rule.

He had “lifted” martial law and gotten himself a six-year presidential term in 1981, but as far as the Filipino people were concerned nothing had changed. They had had enough. So strong and so loud was their call for Marcos to be ousted that the United States government, his chief international backer, at last considered letting him go because he had become a big liability. President Ronald Reagan sent a personal representative to Manila to conduct secret negotiations, after which Marcos announced on American television that he was calling for special elections to be held in about three months’ time.

Although many believed that the snap presidential elections would be another manipulation of the people’s will and called for a boycott, many others thought that this was a chance to show and further solidify their opposition to the Marcos regime. Corazon Aquino, widow of the assassinated senator Benigno Aquino Jr., reluctantly agreed to run for president, with Salvador Laurel as her vice-president. They were pitted against Marcos and his vice-presidential candidate Arturo Tolentino.

Headed by church and business leaders, the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) had first participated in the regime’s elections in 1984, accredited as the citizens’ arm of the Commission on Elections or Comelec. For the 1986 snap presidential elections, over 500,000 volunteers participated in its effort to safeguard against the expected massive electoral fraud.

Rodrigo Ponce was a NAMFREL volunteer in Capiz who was killed by unidentified persons during the canvassing of the results in Bating Elementary School. According to the scant information available, three armed men and a young woman arrived and seized the ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia. They had apparently come from another school where they had also taken the ballots away.

Apparently, Ponce was killed because he recognized one of the group. He was then told to step out of the room, ordered to lie face down on the floor, and simply shot dead. The autopsy report showed six bullet holes fired from two different guns.

In many parts of the country, especially in rural areas where tyrannical local politicians enforced obedience through “guns, goons and gold,” election volunteers were killed because they were perceived to be either independent or against the ruling authorities. Thus, there was widespread consensus, even internationally, that the snap presidential elections had been conducted fraudulently.

Two days after the February 7 elections, computer programmers of the Comelec walked out of the vote canvassing, denouncing the ongoing falsification of election returns. But the Batasang Pambansa issued a resolution proclaiming Marcos and Tolentino to be the winners. Aquino and Laurel refused to accept this decision, and they were supported by the majority of the people.

On February 22-25, four days of tumultuous people power at EDSA culminated in the final ouster of Marcos. He was forced to leave Malacanang, with his family and cronies, aboard military helicopters sent by the US government. On March 24, the Batasang Pambansa passed a resolution nullifying the results of the snap presidential elections, and proclaimed Aquino and Laurel as the winners.

DIED                                      February 1986 in Mambusao, Capiz

SPOUSE                                Elma Ponce

SUMILANG, Michael J.


Michael Hiram Sumilang was studying mechanical engineering in Manila when demonstrations, rallies, boycotts of classes and other forms of protests erupted there in the 1970s. Sumilang interrupted his schooling in 1972 (he was in 3rd year) and returned to his Southern Tagalog hometown of Tayabas.

He went into business exporting handicrafts, and got married. He was in his mid-20s when he ran for municipal councilor in 1980, and won. He headed various committees to improve the business and trade sectors as well as the agricultural sector in Tayabas. But the Marcos dictatorship was still in effect, and the young politician was aware of the many abuses of martial rule that had been going on for years.

Sumilang increasingly became identified with the province’s militant opposition especially after the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983. He helped to found the Quezon chapter of the Concerned Citizens for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in 1984. Under the CCJP, he organized marches and rallies seeking justice for victims of militarization and calling for the release of political prisoners. He joined factfinding missions organized by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines to document military abuses in Quezon.

Chosen to be the municipal chair of the Unido party in Tayabas in 1985, he joined opposition stalwarts in touring the province to campaign for Corazon Aquino during the snap presidential elections. Bobong Sumilang was an effective campaigner. He had a movie actor’s good looks, a deep booming voice, the ability to make audiences laugh, and strong convictions. He was the youngest in the group of veteran politicians, and was soon being referred to as the "rising star" of Quezon politics.

Only a few days after the snap presidential elections, late in the evening of February 10, 1986, Sumilang was driving a friend’s jeep on the way home from attending a meeting with other political leaders. Just past the boundary betweenTayabas and Lucena City, a car blocked his way. Sumilang told his four companions to get off and run. The ambushers aimed their guns and shot him dead. His remains were brought to the municipal hall. Thousands came to express their sorrow and recall the good deeds of Bobong Sumilang.

PARENTS                             Mario Sumilang and Romana Jardiniano

SPOUSE / CHILDREN       Myrna Mojica / 4

EDUCATION                       Elementary: Tayabas East Central School

Secondary: St. John Bosco Academy, Tayabas

College: Adamson University, Manila

UMALI, Ysmael Gonzales


Ysmael Umali was a familiar figure at the Western Philippine Colleges in Batangas City, not only because he was visibly a polio survivor, or that he was a friendly and happy person but also because he was a well-known student leader, a fighter for student rights.

He was a senior political science major when he started to become involved in school activism. At first, the students were calling for the restoration of their student council. Then when tuition fees were raised by 15%, the students demanded that the increase be lowered to 5%. Ysmael and two of his friends, Noel Clarete and Aurelio Magpantay, formed the Makisama Party that led the successful opposition to the tuition fee increase.

The assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr. had a big impact on the three, and they joined the Batangas chapter of the Justice for Aquino Justice for All movement. In 1984, the military briefly detained them when they tried to organize a rally in Batangas calling on people to boycott the Batasang Pambansa elections.

He became a member of the League of Filipino Students, the Youth Citizens of Student Committee, and the Batangas City Student Forum. He was also an officer of the Omega Epsilon fraternity.

Umali disappeared in March 1984, together with Clarete and Magpantay, after they joined the Lakbayan, a massive people’s march that ended in a big rally in Manila. Their battered bodies were found in Cavite after days of searching by their families. Umali’s remains were easily identified from the slight deformation of his leg caused by polio. But the handicap did not affect the patriotic spirit of this young man, who was willing to walk many kilometers in support of justice and freedom.


Pedro Dungoc was a farmer in the village of Bugnay in the Cordillera mountains in northern Luzon. He supported himself through elementary and high school and two years of college. He then worked as a telephone operator for the Ministry of Public Highways.

Pedro and his village of Bugnay got drawn into national politics early in the martial law regime when the Marcos government decided in 1974 to build dams along the Chico River. The project would generate 1,000 MW of electricity but drown villages and ricefields, and culturally valuable sites such as sacred grounds and burial sites. About 100,000 Kalingas and Bontocs would have been displaced, along with their traditions.

Pedro joined the active opposition to the project. Because he was one of the very few in his tribe who was literate, and who spoke Ilokano and Filipino, soon he was the spokesperson for Macliing Dulag, one of the Bugnay elders, and one of the staunchest oppositionists to the dam.

Pedro was not an elder as Macliing was. But he helped forge a pact among Cordillera elders consolidating their opposition to the dam. He served as liaison of the oppositionists to support groups in urban areas. Of particular merit was his work for the establishment of a functional literacy program in the localities. It is to his credit that many peace pact holders in Kalinga can at last sign their names to documents.

Militarization of the villages did not cow the oppositionists. Checkpoints and searches were established. Soldiers raided villages, burned granaries, raped women, and mauled men. Pedro's village was under constant watch, and dam oppositionists harassed constantly.

Pedro and another villager were arrested and beaten up by soldiers in 1980 on charges they had stolen a rifle. The missing rifle was found the next day, but the two were detained a few days longer, released, bruised and hungry, on the intercession of Macliing.

One night in April 1980, soldiers came to the village and shot down Macliing in cold blood. They also tried to kill Pedro, but he managed to escape, suffering only an arm wound. The incident changed Pedro. Although then a family man with five children, Pedro decided that the fight against the dictatorship could not be waged on the legal front and alone. He joined the New People's Army.

Pedro died at the height of a typhoon named Kuring in the early morning of 22 June 1985. He and a comrade had been huddled under a tent as the winds wrought their destruction. An old, dying tree fell on their tent. Pedro's companion died instantly. Pedro's ribs and legs were broken but he and his comrades were hours away from any medical facility. Pedro died after a few hours.

The government discontinued plans to build the dam along the Chico river, and no other big dam has been built in the Cordillera.

Born 1943

Died 22 June 1985

Place of birth : Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga‑Apayao

Parents : Dungoc Puyoc and Chucnoy Dungoc

Spouse : Alice Chuki

Children: Julie Ann, Pedro Jr., Gilbert, Lorenza and Ramon

Education : High School - St. Teresita's High School

College - St. Louis College, Tabuk, Apayao, 2 years

Justice for the Farmers in Cotabato!

Open letter to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III

Justice for the Farmers in Cotabato!

Mr. President, we appeal to you to take a decisive executive action on the violent dispersal of farmers attending a rally at Kidapawan, Cotabato, by the local police.

Already, the dispersal caused the death of three farmers, and wounding many more – including women and children.
It is bad enough that the harsh weather conditions of Mindanao had destroyed rice fields and other agricultural crops, it is worse - and heartbreaking - that those who may have sincerely sought assistance to have rice on their tables have been killed or wounded.

It has become even heart-rending, because the problem was so simple, it could have been solved by delivering rice to the farmers. The police force’s solution was far worse than the problem.

Our brother farmers belong to the class which plays a great role in assuring food security for the country. And, yet they are the first victims of a severe lack of that food security.

They were at the rally asking for “bigas” (rice), but the heartless policemen, in supreme irony, responded with “bala” (bullets). We are distressingly reminded of the violent dispersal of rallies under the Marcos dictatorship, when protesting farmers were killed in Daet, Escalante and elsewhere. We must assure our people, who suffered so much under martial law, that we are determined to help make things better today.

Mr. President, we appeal to you to order a swift and impartial investigation to identify those responsible for this nameless cruelty, and bring them to justice.

And we affirm our shared faith in our Filipino farmers – their peaceful existence and their future!

Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation

Open Letter to the President

(Photos from Kilab Multimedia & Pinoy Weekly)

Open Letter Featured Photo

Kidapawan 1

Kidapawan 2

ZALDIVAR, Calixto O.


Calixto O. Zaldivar is remembered for his courageous solo refusal, in the early months of martial law, to let President Marcos get away with a claim of legitimacy for his 1973 Constitution.

An associate justice of the Supreme Court since 1964, Zaldivar declared that the 1935 Constitution was still in force and that therefore the new basic law had not been validly ratified through the prescribed procedure. But the other justices chose to accept Marcos’ argument that his Proclamation 1102 had the force of law when it announced such ratification by the citizens’ assemblies.

Held under the rule of the gun, a series of barangay assemblies were allegedly conducted all over the country from January 10 to 15, 1973. It supposedly involved gathering the residents of each barangay, and asking them to raise their hands if they approved the new Constitution. Of course the fake plebiscite produced overwhelmingly positive results.

Again in March 1973, Zaldivar issued a second dissenting opinion, this time with Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, categorically declaring that the new Constitution had not been validly ratified and therefore could not be enforced. But they were not able to convince the other justices.

Zaldivar was one of those rare public officials who served in each of the three (the legislative, then the executive, and finally the judicial) branches of government.

In 1934 he served as elected representative for Antique, and again in 1938 as his province’s representative in the First National Assembly. During World War II, he served as deputy chair of the Civilian Emergency Administration in Antique. Later he served with the Judge Advocate Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines holding a lieutenant colonel's rank.

He was elected Antique governor in 1951.

Later he was appointed member of the Reparations Commission, which tested his integrity as a public official. Gaining the president's confidence, he was then appointed acting assistant executive secretary, concurrently as reparations commissioner in 1963. One year later, he was appointed acting executive secretary to President Diosdado Macapagal.

Appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court by Macapagal in 1964, Zaldivar distinguished himself further as a man of courage, integrity, and independence, someone “whom money could not buy.” He is remembered for his landmark decisions and opinions upholding the freedom to form associations, religious freedom over contract rights, equal protection of the law, social justice, and the reserved power of the state to safeguard the people’s vital interests.

After his retirement from the court, at the height of the Marcos dictatorship, Zaldivar served as president of the Philippine Organization for Human Rights in 1976-1979.

Chief Justice Concepcion called Zaldivar "a great man…, who had the courage to act in accordance with the dictates of his conscience," who was "firm in his defense of his conviction and the rule of law." President Macapagal said Zaldivar "did not join in delivering a free people to the slaughterhouse of totalitarianism" and was a "gigantic figure in the libertarian struggle of his people."



YUYITUNG, Quintin G.


Born and educated in the Philippines, Quintin Yuyitung was the eldest son of Yu Yi Tung, who founded the Chinese Commercial News in 1919. He was in his senior year as a student in commerce at the Far Eastern University when World War II broke out in the Pacific. The Philippines was invaded and occupied by the Japanese military. The elder Yu closed his newspaper and refused to allow it to be used by the invaders. For this he was court-martialed and executed in 1942.

At the end of the war, Quintin Yuyitung decided to continue the work for which his father had given up his life. He reopened the Chinese Commercial News in 1945, and built it up to become the most widely circulated Chinese-language newspaper in the Philippines, respected for its independent positions and coverage of the news.

Quintin and his younger brother Rizal, who was editor of the newspaper, were advocates of closer integration of the local Chinese community into mainstream Philippine society. At the time (the People’s Republic of China had been established in 1949), this was considered a ‘subversive” idea by the Philippine authorities and the conservative leadership of Chinese-Filipino businesses in the country. In 1962 the brothers were arrested, detained and threatened with deportation but eventually released.

Still they were fearless in reporting the news as it was happening, covering the accounts of fraud that marked President Marcos’ reelection in 1969, and the series of protest actions of the First Quarter Storm. Together with other leaders of the Philippine media, they defended press freedom and warned against the looming possibility of martial law.

Late one night in May 1970, Quintin and Rizal Yuyitung were picked up by immigration personnel and sent off to Taiwan on a military plane. “Now we have an undeclared state of martial law,” Senator Jovito R. Salonga said of their abduction.

Although the brothers had renounced their Chinese citizenship and had never set foot in Taiwan before then, the Kuomintang regime in Taipeh subjected them to a military trial. Quintin was sentenced to imprisonment of two years, and Rizal, three years. In Manila, their friends took over the newspaper’s operation.

Shortly before the declaration of martial law in the Philippines, Quintin Yuyitung had been released and allowed to leave Taiwan after serving his sentence. He proceeded directly to Jerusalem where an annual convention of the International Press Institute was being held. There he denounced the Marcos dictatorship and its suppression of press freedom.

He spent his exile in San Francisco, California, participating in many activities alongside other anti-dictatorship activists based in the United States. His brother went to Canada.

After the Marcos regime fell in 1986, the Yuyitung brothers returned to the Philippines and revived the Chinese Commercial News. In 1990, Quintin Yuyitung died in San Francisco after a stroke. Rizal Yuyitung died in Canada in 2007.

In his life, Quintin was also noted for his dedication to the welfare of Manila’s urban poor who had been resettled in Sapang Palay, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. For many years, he spent weekends helping them, contributing substantial personal funds and soliciting donations from friends and the public through his newspaper.

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