Melito was an only child of a well-off family from Quezon province. Melito was a natural leader, and was once described by a teacher as a thinker and one of his best pupils. Melito’s ambition, he had written in his high school yearbook, was to be a soldier. The yearbook described him as the “Campus James Dean.” He had polished manners, but he was bold and daring, and he bore an aura of danger and mystery.
In college, Melito enroled in a pre-med course at the University of the Philippines, intending to go on to the university’s College of Medicine and to become a full-time town doctor. A conscientious college student, Melito’s only other occupation besides his studies was his membership in the Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity.
The bloody police dispersal of student rallies during the First Quarter Storm of 1970 disturbed his complacency, however. He started attending protest actions, listening to activist discourses, and reading protest materials.
When martial law was declared in 1972, Melito decided to return to his home province of Quezon to build resistance to the dictatorship there. For a while, he recruited for the resistance in the town of Mauban, later moving on to Tagkawayan. In no time, he became one of the leading political officers of the local New People’s Army, covering an area of responsibility that spanned several provinces. His band would visit villages and urge them to build local organizations.
Melito got married in December 1973, telling his bride Flor he would be a good husband but that the life they would build together would not be easy. Melito took a few months’ leave but returned to Quezon in March the following year picking up where he had left off. His wife followed him after a few months.
In December 1974, Melito and two of his comrades as well as his wife, then nine-month pregnant, were cornered inside a house by soldiers in a campaign against the NPA. Melito was killed in the very first volley of fire. His wife and companions were arrested. One later escaped, but the other was executed after he refused to cooperate during interrogation. Melito’s widow went into labor and underwent caesarean operation in the military camp. She was later told her baby was born dead.
Melito’s and his companion’s bodies were first left exposed on a roadside near the military camp, then later buried together in a public cemetery. Melito’s body was later retrieved then reinterred by his family in their hometown of Atimonan. Melito had returned at last to where it all began.