At the age of 22, Crispin Tagamolila joined the Philippine Army in 1967 where he was initially assigned to do administrative work and allowed to take up law studies.
It took only a few years for him to fully realize that the organization of which he had become a part was not where he should be. For someone who wanted to help those in need – “gusto kong tumulong sa mahihirap at inaapi,” he often said – being a lieutenant in the Armed Forces of the Philippines was an eye-opening experience.
He observed how army officers treated enlisted men like servants, and the prevalence of “palakasan” or political patronage.
Training to be a military lawyer, at the same time handling classes in nationalism at the Philippine Constabulary Law School, Tagamolila began reading voraciously. He spent most of his allowance on books about history and political science. He was also taking up a masteral course at the Ateneo de Manila University.
It was during this time of intensive study and observation of the situation around him that Tagamolila’s radical politico-social outlook took shape. He began contributing small amounts to finance the activities of the student activists pouring into the streets. He stayed away from anti-riot duties. He actively campaigned for ex-Major Bonifacio Gillego, whose liberal views set him against the military establishment, to win a seat in the Constitutional Convention of 1970. Later that year, Tagamolila’s best friend, Lt. Victor Corpus, made a sensational defection to the New People’s Army.
Just three months later, Tagamolila also defected. In a statement, he said: “I have realized that the AFP is the primary instrument of suppression of the righteous dissent of the suffering masses.” He went on to “testify and witness” to the extent that the United States controls the Philippine military, the corruption of the armed forces by President Marcos to ensure their loyalty to him, and the elimination of activists by military intelligence units and liquidation squads.
Crispin Tagamolila was killed in a gunbattle with government troops in Isabela in 1972. Two years later, his younger brother Antonio (similarly honored by Bantayog ng mga Bayani) , died in an encounter in the mountains of Panay. ®
BORN : January 7, 1945 in Tubungan, Iloilo
DIED : April 16, 1972 in Echague, Isabela
PARENTS : Manuel Tagamolila and Casiana Sandoval
SPOUSE : Elda Bala
Elementary : La Paz Elementary School, Iloilo
Secondary : Iloilo High School
College : University of the Philippines Diliman, Ateneo de Manila
University, Philippine Constabulary Law School
 See “The Defectors: Part 2 / Lt. Crispin Tagamolila joins Corpus,” by Millet G. Martinez, The Sunday Times Magazine, April 25, 1971, pp. 10-11.