Mariano Lopez was quiet and soft spoken, very bright. He was a government scholar from high school to college. He was among the first students who qualified for the Philippine Science High School in 1964, graduating fifth of the batch five years later.
Introduced to political activism as an engineering sophomore in UP Diliman, Lopez listened and read. The UP Nationalist Corps was the first organization he joined. Then he became a member of the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan and Gintong Silahis, its cultural arm.
With thousands of other UP students, Lopez attended the rally in front of Congress on January 26, 1970, which was brutally dispersed by the police. The experience affected him deeply. He got involved more intensely in political discussions and organizing.
He argued with his parents, telling them that it was love that made him want his country to be free, that he was casting personal ambition aside for the sake of the people. Eventually in 1972 he dropped out of school to devote himself to organizing work in the poor communities of Manila. He also stayed for months in his home province in Bataan, discussing politics with farmers.
When martial law was imposed, Lopez was arrested and detained until February 1974. After his release, he worked as proofreader with the Daily Express. In the few short months he worked in the newspaper, he managed to organize a union, leading it in demanding higher wages from management.
Not long after, Lopez joined the armed resistance in Isabela. He was reported slain by government troopers in 1976. His body was never recovered.