Even when he was alive, Teofilo Valenzuela, whom everyone called Teope, was already an authentic hero in the eyes of his townmates in Samal, Bataan.

Thus, after he was killed by government troops in a dramatic gunbattle, thousands came to his funeral even though it was the height of martial law. It is said that entire villages were emptied of people that day as everyone had gone to pay their last respects to Teope.

The eldest son of a poor peasant couple, Valenzuela had little formal schooling beyond the elementary grades, but he was conversant in a broad range of topics. At the age of 15, after his father died, he took over the duties of caring for his mother and four siblings. He planted and fished, and worked as a laborer in construction sites. Eventually he found a regular job at the pulp and paper mill that was the town’s biggest employer.

Student activists started coming to Samal in the late 1960s, and they found ready support in the community. Teope and his two brothers joined the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan. Their house became the group’s headquarters. Among his first projects as an activist was to organize the local young people to help out in planting and harvesting rice from the farmers’ fields.

After the declaration of martial law, Teofilo Valenzuela tried to continue with his activities but soon left home to join the armed guerrilla movement already active in the Bataan-Zambales area. This was of course a time-honored recourse of those with legitimate grievances against the authorities: they “took to the hills” where at least they had a chance of putting up a good fight.

Valenzuela was a mature man respected by all – easygoing and generous, someone who told funny stories and sang kundiman love songs. The townspeople understood and accepted his decision to go underground.

Soon he became Ka Miguel who, in behalf of the local farmers, bargained with the landowners for better terms and conditions. Confronting the environmental pollution being caused by the pulp and paper mill, he persuaded his townmates to protest by writing letters and launching mass actions. As a result, the management installed an antipollution mechanism at the factory site. Valenzuela also helped the workers to pressure for higher wages and better working conditions.

The authorities sent troops to hunt down the people’s champion. In a surprise attack one early morning, Valenzuela was hit in the knee in the first volley of fire. Knowing that his team’s firearms were no match for the high-powered rifles of their adversaries, he firmly ordered them to escape while he stayed behind. For hours, he was able to hold them off with just his old carbine and careful use of his remaining ammunition; he was even able to grab and use an automatic rifle that had rolled near him during the gunfight. By mid-afternoon, however, Valenzuela had been overpowered, his body peppered with bullets. He was 35 years old when he died.

BORN                                    :               March 1, 1940 in Samal, Bataan

DIED                                      :               January 25, 1975 in Samal, Bataan

PARENTS                             :               Roman Valenzuela and Isabel Barcenas

I Commit Myself to the Revolution by Sr. Asuncion Martinez, ICM

I Commit Myself to the Revolution by Sr. Asuncion Martinez, ICM

ROQUE, Magtangol S.

Magtangol Roque was the beloved kuya of his brother and sisters – the elder brother who supported their studies and gently imposed discipline.  Best of all, he affirmed them in their belief that the principles they shared must be fought for: the struggle for a better life, love of country.

During the demonstrations of pre-martial law days, it was great to have a Kuya Tanggol  to count on.   His younger brother Patnubay[1] remembers phoning him at the office after some of these rallies, to ask for help in being released from police custody.

“He would come to pick me up, saying only that I should take care next time,” narrated Patnubay. “Then he would ask, where do you want me to drop you? And I’d say, Take me to the picket line, kuya. And he’d really bring me there.”[2]

After graduating from the University of the Philippines in the mid-1960s, Tanggol Roque had no trouble finding a series of good jobs as an engineer for multinational corporations.  He was thus able to take care of his siblings in Manila before their parents returned to Luzon from Davao, where they had been making a modest living as hardworking migrants.

Though he had not been an activist in college, Tanggol Roque had embraced radical views himself without his siblings knowing it. Thus it was a big surprise when the Marcos government announced that criminal charges were being filed against their kuya, for his alleged involvement in the communist movement’s attempt to smuggle a shipment of firearms into the country.


Roque evaded arrest by going underground. He eventually found his way back to his native Mindanao, where his natural leadership came to the fore. People remembered a kindhearted man who often smiled and joked, playing tunes on the harmonica he kept in his pocket. But he was also a softspoken disciplinarian who reminded everyone that they were there to serve the people in every way, even in the humble tasks of daily life.

In May 1981 in Davao City, Tanggol Roque was killed by military personnel while aboard his motorbike. He was shot while attempting to warn his comrades about an imminent raid, not knowing that it was already taking place.  He was finally laid to rest in a barrio graveyard in Malolos, Bulacan where his family traced its roots.

BORN                                    :               March 10, 1941 in Digos, Davao

DIED                                      :               June 11, 1981 in Davao City

PARENTS                             :               Alfredo Roque and Liwayway Sayas

SPOUSE  /CHILD               :               Mila Aguilar / 1

EDUCATION                       :               Elementary: Davao Central Elementary School

Secondary: Ateneo de Davao

College: University of the Philippines


[1] Alfredo Roque, who was a writer and community leader in his native Bulacan, gave his children meaningful names: Kalayaan, Patnubay, Lualhati, Tagumpay, Pilipinas.

[2] Interview with Patnubay Roque on April 1, 1987 in Quezon City, by Bing Galang and Carrie Manglinong of  Bantayog Research and Documentation.

PEÑA, Jacinto D.

One of the methodical steps taken by President Marcos when he declared martial law was to immediately seize control of the mass media. Troops were sent to padlock the different newspaper offices and radio and television stations. Many journalists were detained by the military; the rest lost their jobs. Sometime later, the regime began allowing the mass media to operate again, but under strict surveillance and, eventually, self-censorship.

A tiny underground press immediately sprang to life, scrambling to disseminate the information, analysis and calls to action that were eagerly awaited by the anti-dictatorship resistance.

As soon as they could, those student activists who had not taken to the hills, or been arrested or killed, went into action by reviving the campus press. They moved cautiously at first, limiting themselves to the discussion of nonpolitical, “safe” issues. But it didn’t take long for the school publications to become vehicles for consolidating the resistance. Even before the legal opposition’s commercial publications emerged, the campus press was already publishing articles analyzing programs and policies of the dictatorship, as well as interviews with the victims of human rights violations.

During the early phase of the struggle against martial law, Jacinto Peña was a key figure among those who proudly called themselves revolutionary propagandists in the tradition of Rizal, Lopez Jaena and Antonio Luna.  At the University of the Philippines Diliman, he was a reporter for the Philippine Collegian. While devoting much of his time to organizing and training student journalists in other campuses, he pursued his studies and graduated with a journalism degree in 1975.

In 1978, Peña joined the campaign for the LABAN team, led by imprisoned Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. that contested the Interim Batasang Pambansa elections.  Although they knew that Marcos would not allow anyone from the genuine opposition to win, still Peña and his coworkers worked hard to voice the message of resistance, and to strengthen the people’s unity against the dictatorship.

By that time, the underground press had taken root in all the regions of the country, keeping pace with the growth of the organized resistance. Despite the use of primitive technology, and the very real danger to the safety of their staffmembers, these regional newspapers helped spread the message of struggle and liberation from tyranny. Jack Peña was then asked to train grassroots activists how to gather accurate news reports, how to write for their intended audience, how to produce an attractive newspaper.

It was on one of those trips to the countryside that Jack Peña was caught in a military operation. He had just arrived and was preparing to travel on foot further inland, when government forces dragged him out of a house. After forcing him to admit that he was a member of the New People’s Army (which he was not), they shot and killed him in cold blood.

BORN                                    :               March 26, 1949 in Iloilo City

DIED                                      :               November 11, 1979 in Gattaran, Cagayan

PARENTS                             :               Faustino M. Peña and Gorgonia Dechavez

EDUCATION                       :               Elementary: Ilaya Elementary School, Iloilo City

Secondary: Iloilo High School, Iloilo City

College: University of the Philippines Diliman

Unang Kapihan March 23

On the 23rd of March 2017, we shall have Gen. Lina Sarmiento to give us an update on the claims of martial law victims; a forum follows. But before the serious part, let's laugh a bit with Dr. Crispin Maslog. Also, a human rights kapihan isn't complete without the former CHR Chairperson Etta Rosales.

Let's discuss matters over cups of coffee.

Diokno: We Will Sing Our Own Songs

At the height of the martial-law dictatorship’s abusiveness and greed, Jose W. Diokno never lost faith in the Filipino people’s ability to overcome hardships and construct a better future.

Related Article


Marking the Beginning of the Reparation Process

A statement on the initial release of compensation to human rights victims.


On Presidential Proclamation 216

martial law in mindanao

Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation considers the declaration of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao a wrong solution to the curent crisis in Marawi City.

We draw lessons from our country's past experience of martial law and on the wisdom of our heroes and martyrs who fought against Marcos’ authoritarian regime.

The Duterte government wants to apply to problems besetting Mindanao – and threatens to apply on the rest of the country – a military solution that will create even bigger problems, leading to more human rights abuses, communities disrupted, and Filipino lives needlessly lost.

History has shown us that no true peace and order can be achieved through such brutal means. On the contrary, a military solution will sow seeds of discontent and spread violence instead of containing them.

We call on Filipinos to stay informed and vigilant and to offer assistance to communities disrupted by the crisis.

Bantayog calls on government to immediately lift martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao. We must not forget the lessons of the past. NEVER AGAIN.

Board of Trustees
Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, Inc.
May 29, 2017

mindanao martial law

Heroism and Resistance: Samar

Listen as the people of Samar share their horrid experience under Martial Law. The video is from a human rights oral history project called Stories of Heroism and Resistance.

Who Benefits From Martial Law in Mindanao?

Who benefits from Martial Law in Mindanao? Certainly not the Marawi residents. So who?

A group of students and their teachers from Manila's University of the East try to work out the answer to this curious question at a forum organized by pre-law students under the Lex Societas Orientis organization. Bantayog executive director May V. Rodriguez joined the forum "Duterte's Martial Law: Serving Whose Interest?" as a panelist alongside guest speakers Christian Gultia of Beinte Uno, Al Omaga of National Union of Students of the Philippines, and Atty. Wilhelm Soriano, law professor, and formerly of the Commission on Human Rights.

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