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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Datu Pakung "Pax" Mangudadatu

Hon. Pakung S. Mandudadatu also known as Pax Mangudadatu is the newly elected Representative of the 1st district of Sultan Kudarat with Tacurong City under the administration's Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) party.

He was born in Buluan, Cotabato (now Buluan, Maguindanao). He served as municipal mayor of Lutayan before he ran for governor of the province in 1998. During his campaign for governor, he and Rep. Angelo Montilla created the SK UNA political party. He defeated Sultan Kudarat Vice Gov. Rose Jamison for governor of the province and making history as the first Muslim governor of the Christian-dominated province. He served as provincial governor for nine years from 1998-2007. During his campaign for his last term as governor last 2004, he was challenged by his ally Rep. Angelo Montilla who he defeated. He was reelected as governor and his son, Mayor Suharto Mangudadatu of Lutayan won the lone district congressional race.

Last May 14, 2007, he was elected as representative of the first district of the province over his rival Angelo Montilla. Again, he made history for being the first representative of the first district of the province; While his son, Rep. Suharto Mangudadatu, succeeded him as provincial governor.

Datu Zaldy Ampatuan

Zaldy Ampatuan (born August 22, 1967) is the Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and was elected on August 8, 2005. He is former chairman of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats for ARMM, but was ejected when his brother, Andal Ampatuan Jr., was accused of carrying out the Maguindanao massacre. He is one of the sons of Andal Ampatuan Sr., head of the powerful Ampatuan family political clan in Maguindanao province.

On December 8, 2007, P1,000 bills rained at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) when 2 Mindanao governors played Santa Claus. Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and his father Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan distributed the bills near the VIP lounge, before a 5:20 p.m. flight for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for “30 to 40 minutes."

Datu Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu

Esmael “Toto" Mangudadatu is the Vice Mayor of Buluan, Maguindanao, in the Philippines. Mangudadatu is a candidate in the 2010 general elections for governor of Maguindanao. The race came to international attention after the Maguindanao massacre during which men from a rival clan kidnapped and murdered his wife, sisters, aides, and lawyers, plus several journalists.

Four days after the massacre, Mangudadatu traveled along the same road where the attack had occurred to successfully file his candidacy in the election.

Datu Andal Ampatuan Jr.

Andal Ampatuan, Jr. is the current mayor Datu Unsay, Maguindanao. A member of the powerful Ampatuan political family in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, his father, Andal Ampatuan, Sr., is governor of the province and patriarch of the family. His brother, Zaldy Ampatuan, is the regional governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Ampatuan came to international attention in November 2009 as a result of the Maguindanao massacre. He was to run for governor of the province against Esmael Mangudadatu in the 2010 elections. However, Mangudadatu's female relatives and a group of journalists were ambushed and killed in the massacre, and Ampatuan Jr. quickly became the prime suspect. A member of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party, he and his father and brother were expelled by party chairman Gilberto Teodoro due to the massacre. He surrendered to Filipino authorities and was charged with murder. He has denied any involvement, though several witnesses have gone on record stating that they saw him at the scene of the crime.

Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr.

Andal Ampatuan, Sr. is the patriarch of the powerful Ampatuan political family in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. He is the governor of the province.

Ampatuan first came into prominence when President Corazon Aquino appointed him as officer-in-charge of Maganoy (now Shariff Aquak) in 1986, right after the People Power Revolution. Aquino, having come into power via revolutionary means, replaced every locally-elected official with officers-in-charge. The town of Maganoy was approached differently; the ageing mayor, Pinagayaw Ampatuan, was replaced by his vice mayor, Andal Sr. He won the 1988 local elections, then served for ten years. In the 1998 elections, Andal Sr. was elected as governor.

Ampatuan's sons, Zaldy Ampatuan and Andal Ampatuan, Jr., are both members of his political clan. Andal Ampatuan Jr. came to international attention in November 2009 as the prime suspect in the Maguindanao massacre. As a result, all three Ampatuans were expelled from President Gloria Arroyo's Lakas Kampi CMD political party.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Andres Bonifacio


In one of the houses located opposite the present Tutuban Station lived a young couple, Santiago Bonifacio, a tailor and Catalina de Castro from Zambales. On November 30, 1863, a boy was born to them and was christened Andres. As devout Catholics, Andres' parents took him to the parish of Father Gregorio Prieto in Tondo where he was baptized by Fr. Saturnine Buntan with Vicente Molina as godfather. Andres was the oldest of four brothers, the other three being Ciriaco, Procopio and Troadio and two sisters, Esperidiona and Maximina.

His first teacher was his aunt Remigia Castro de Sanchez, who taught him his prayers and the alphabet. Later, he attended the school of Don Guillermo Osmeña from Cebu.

Orphaned at an early age, Andres and his brothers and sisters made canes and paper fans which he sold to meet their bare necessities. He also made posters for commercial firms as he had a fine penmanship and a keen interest in the calligraphic arts. Subsequently, he was employed as clerk-messenger in the British commercial firm of Fleming and Company. His industry and honesty earned him promotion as an agent of the firm, he was authorized to sell rattan and other articles of trade. It was while working for this firm that he learned the rudiments of the English language.

Later, Andres transferred to work again as an agent at Fresell and Company, a German commercial firm located at 450 Nueva Street. To augment his income, he continued to make canes and paper fans with his brothers and sisters until 1896.

To educate himself, he bought a few good books and read them avidly deep into the night under the flicker of the lamp. Among these books were Robiespiere's The French Revolution, Eugene Sue's The Wandering Jew, Hugo's Les Miserables, Rizal's Noli and Fili, The Ruins of Palmyras, The Holy Bible, International Law, Penal and Civil Code, Lives of the Presidents of the United States, and the novels of Alexander Dumas and his son.

To improve his Tagalog, he joined the dramatic society in Palomar, Tondo. Ha would memorize his lines patiently and take part in the moro-moro to learn more of the nuances of the language. In 1887 he and his friends founded the El Teatro Porvenir. Inspired by his profound knowledge of the Tagalog tongue, he gradually changed to Tagalog the names of things, places and scenes in the Spanish plays staged in the vernacular.

Andres married Monica, a comely and beautiful neighbor. A year later, however, she contracted leprosy and died. Fond of fiestas and dancing, widower Andres came across Gregoria de Jesus of Kalookan and fell in love with her. Gregoria's father objected to the match because Andres was a Mason, having affiliated himself with the Masonic lodge Taliba. But the old man finally acceded to the entreaties of the young lovers. In 1893, less than a year after Bonifacio founded the Katipunan, Andres and Gregoria were wed at the Binondo Church. Restituto Javier and his wife, Benita Rodriguez were the sponsors.

As a katipunero, he later took his bride to Oroquieta Street, the home of his sponsors where they were married again in accordance with the rites of the Katipunan. Present in the affair were Dr. Pio Valenzuela, Josefa and Trinidad Rizal, Jose Turiano Santiago, Marina Dizon, (Turiano Santiago's fiancee), Roman Basa and other members of the Katipunan. Gregoria de Jesus-Bonifacio was initiated into the organization as Lakambini (muse) and was made custodian of the Katipunan seal and of the society's valuable papers.

The founding of the Katipunan took place on July 7, 1892 in a house on Calle Ilaya with Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata, and Deodato Arellano. Its full name was Kataastaasang Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (K.K.K.N.MA.N.B.), Bonifacio adopted the name Maypagasa .

It was at this time that Bonifacio became closely acquainted with Emilio Jacinto then a law student at the University of Santo Tomas. Bonifacio chose Jacinto to be the Secretary of the Supreme Council. He later became the "Brains of the Katipunan." Taking extreme precaution and foresight for the safety of their documents in the event that the authorities would discover the society, Andres, together with Emilio Jacinto, Guillermo Masangkay, Aurelio Tolentino, Faustino Mañalac, Pedro Zabala and a few other katipuneros convened in the mountains east of Manila on April 12, 1895.

In San Mateo and the Montalban mountains, they came upon the caves of Makarok and Pamitinan. Deep inside the cave of Pamitinan was an ideal place. It was selected for an initiation site as well as for a hiding place. Rebels from Morong joined them. With a piece of charcoal, Andres wrote on its walls: "Long Live Philippine Independence."

Because of the dangerous and heavy responsibilities imposed upon him as head of the Katipunan, he returned to Manila. He expanded the society's activities; removed members who were less active in the performance of their duties: imposed discipline on its members: and embarked on espionage missions to keep them well-informed of the movements of the Spanish civil and ecclesiastical officials. With cunning persuasion, Andres was able to secure a recommendation from the parish priest of Santa C'ruz for the employment of Julio Navarro, a katipunero, in the Spanish secret service Likewise, Jacinto succeeded in getting a recommendation from his professor in the University of Santo Tomas for the employment of secret katipuneros in the branches of government.

Andres was a calm and composed individual, yet alert and prudent in avoiding leakages of the activities of the Katipunan. In one instance, a coded message of the Katipunan fell into the hands of a certain Professor Arias of the University of Santo Tomas. This professor was a close friend of a Spaniard, the husband of Felicula Javier who was a half-sister of Jose Turiano Santiago then, the Secretary of the Supreme Council. Although Santiago's complicity in the leakage of information was not clearly established, he was expelled in accordance- with the meeting of the Katipunan under Bonifacio at Kalookan in 1895.

In 1896 Andres, together with Dr. Pio Valenzuela, Procopio Bonifacio, Candido Tirona and Emilio Jacinto, toured Cavite to recruit more members to the Katipunan. Upon his return, the house where he left Gregoria de Jesus was burned. They moved to Lavezares Street then to Magdalena. Two months later, their only son died.

By this time, alarming reports about the Katipunan reached Governor-General Bianco. But Bianco, in his disdainful attitude and tired of the complaints of the friars, dismissed the information as mere imagination of the overzealous clergy.

On May 1. 1896, a meeting was held by Bonifacio at Ugong. Morong Province (now Rizal) where they decided to consult or enlist the support of Rizal the moment the armed clash would start. Dr. Valenzuela was chosen to carry out the mission. With a blind man, Raymundo Mata and a boy named Rufino Magos, Dr. Valenzuela boarded the S.S. Venus for Dapitan under the ruse of seeking medical consultation with Dr. Rizal.

Upon reaching Dapitan, Dr. Valenzuela told Rizal of his mission. The latter, however, advised the group that the Filipinos must be financially and militarily prepared before staging an armed revolution.

After the discovery of the Katipunan by the Spanish authorities, Bonifacio and his men prepared for the eventual armed struggle. Bonifacio ordered his men to assemble in Balintawak. In a place called Kangkong, on the 21st of August in the house of Apolonio Samson they discussed the start of the armed rebellion but they were unable to come to an agreement.

On August 23 in the yard of Juan Ramos, son of the famous Tandang Sora, Bonifacio and his men decided to start the armed uprising on the 29th. There, they tore their cedulas to symbolize their final determination to rise in arms and to free the country from Spanish sovereignty this is called "Unang Sigaw sa Balintawak".

The pursuig Spanish soldiers however, dispersed them. On the 24th, Boaifacio and his men lodged in the house of Tandang Sora. The next morning, the civil guards and infantrymen overtook them but they fought back under the command of Bonifacio. The battle swung back and the Katipuneros had to retreat, under the cover of darkness and thick cogon grass to Balara. They reached Marikina, then Halang Bato where Bonifacio proclaimed the general uprising against Spain on Saturday, August 29, 1896.

The plan to lay siege on Manila did not materialize. Instead, Bonifacio and Jacinto's men attacked the powder magazine at San Juan. From Marikina, they seized the powder magazine and encircled the Spanish garrison. On the 30th however, a relief column of Spanish soldiers arrived and completely routed the rebels. But the flame of armed resistance had already engulfed Pasig. Noveleta, Tagig, Kalookan, Kawit, San Francisco de Malabon and Makati. Bonifacio's men assaulted and captured San Mateo only to yield the town to the enemy three days after.

On August 30, 1896, Governor-General Bianco declared martial law in the provinces of Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Bulakan, Pampanga, Tarlak and Nueva Ecija.

Meanwhile, in Cavite, Aguinaldo, a young revolutionary leader, proposed the establishment of a revolutionary government. The issue as to who should head the new government began to divide the Katipunan. The Magdalo faction maintained that the victories were attributed to Aguinaldo's leadership while the Magdiwang faction held on to the idea that since they were the instigators of the rebellion in Cavite, they were entitled to higher recognition as leaders of the armed organization. Magdiwang leaders, however, believed that the question of leadership could only be resolved by Bonifacio. An invitation was sent to the Supreme who was then in the mountains of Montalban. On December 31, 1896, the revolutionaries convened the Imus Assembly. Unfortunately no agreement was reached to transform the Katipunan into an organized government, much, less was there an agreement on the leadership question. They agreed, finally, to hold another meeting in Tejeros on March 22, 1897.

Before the assembly started, they decided to respect the majority. In the election for president, Aguinaldo was elected in absentia. Bonifacio placed second. Severino de las Alas, suggested that Bonifacio be the vice-president but his plea was not heeded. Instead, Mariano Trias was elected vice-president and Bonifacio was chosen minister of the interior. But his qualifications were questioned by Daniel Tirona who said a lawyer was more fit to occupy that office. Feeling gravely insulted, Bonifacio threatened to shoot Tirona but cooler heads intervened.

Bonifacio and his followers believed that as Bonifacio was the founder of the Katipunan and initiator of the armed rebellion, he should have been president. Embittered, Bonifacio and his followers determined to ignore and to nullify the results of the elections. Even General Ricarte affirmed the irregularity of the elections by refusing to take his oath as Captain-General. He was, however, prevailed upon by those present to accept the position. On March 24, Bonifacio and his men drew up a document repudiating the validity of the Tejeros electoral results. Misleadingly called the Acta de Tejeros, it showed the repugnant character of the new government and expressed the threat that should other parties impose its sovereignty over them they would resist.

Bonifacio, with his wife, brothers and a few followers left Tejeres for Limbon, a barrio of Indang, Cavite. The Magdalo faction overtook them, fought the men of Bonifacio, killing Ciriaco and wounding Bonifacio. Gregoria de Jesus, Procopio and the Supreme were taken to Maragondon where they were tried by a military court presided over by General Mariano Noriel. The prosecuting fiscal was Jose Elises. Teodoro Gonzales was the defense lawyer of Procopio and Placido Martinez for Andres Bonifacio. The military court, allegedly found them guilty of sedition and condemned them to death.

On May 7, 1897, the papers were forwarded to President Aguinaldo, who after a study of the case, commuted the death sentence to exile in a distant place. Upon learning of this decision, General Mariano Noriel and General Pio del Pilar rushed to Aguinaldo and prevailed on him to confirm the original sentence in order to safeguard the interests of the revolution and prevent the demoralization of the officers and men. Cautious of the position of the President in those times of emergency, Aguinaldo acceded to the entreaties of the two military officers.

On May 10, 1897 Bonifacio and his brother Procopio were taken by Major Lazaro Makapagal from the prison at Maragondon and brought them to Mt. Buntis where they were shot to death.

In his memory and honor, November 30th of every year was declared a legal holiday by virtue of Act No. 2946, approved on January 16, 1921. To perpetuate his greatness further, the cornerstone of his monument in Monumento, Caloocan was laid on November 30, 1929.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Juan Nakpil

Juan F. Nakpil (1899 – 1986) was a Filipino architect, teacher and a community leader. In 1973, he was named one of the National Artists for architecture.

Among Nakpil's works are:

    * Geronimo de los Reyes Building
    * UP administration building and library
    * Quezon Institute
    * Social Security System
    * State and Ever Theaters
    * International Eucharistic Congress altar, 1937
    * Magsaysay Building
    * Rizal Theater
    * Capitol Theater
    * Captain Pepe Building
    * Manila Jockey Club
    * Avenue Hotel and Theater
    * Rufino Building
    * Philippine Village Hotel
    * Philippine Trust Building


    * Architect of the Year, 1939, 1940, 1946
    * GGold Medal from Institute of Architects, 1950
    * Most Outstanding Professional in Architecture, 1951 from Philippine Association of Board Examiners
    * Honorary correspondent member ng Societe de Architectes par le Gouvernement Francais, 1952
    * Chevalier de la legion d'Honneur, 1955
    * Presidential Medal of Merit from President Ramon Magsaysay noong 1955
    * correspondent member of Colegio de Arquitectos de Chile, 1956
    * Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award, 1968
    * Republic Cultural Heritage Award, 1971
    * Rizal Pro Patria Award, 1972
    * Pambansang Alagad ng Sining, 1973

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jose Torres Bugallon

Jose Torres Bugallon (b. August 28, 1873 – d. February 5, 1899) a revolutionary soldier, was officer in command of the Filipino army who fought the Spaniards in the Battle of La Loma in 1899. In 1896, he went to Toledo, Spain where he studied military organization and warfare. By December 10, 1898, after the Treaty of Paris, he worked as aide-de-camp of General Antonio Luna.

Jose's father was from Baliwag, Bulacan and his mother was from a well-known Gonzalez family of Pangasinan. He was in the guardian of Rufino Villacruz who was a well-known schoolmaster of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. In 1888, he studied at Colegio de San Juan de Letran where he took up his secondary course, with excellent grades. He entered the Seminary of San Carlos but his real passion was to became a soldier, he took up a military entrance exam. After passing the validation, he was granted to study at the Military Academy of Toledo, Spain, 1892, where he studied for three years and concentrated in the study of military organization and warfare.

Upon his return, he was appointed second lieutenant by the Spanish army and served under the 70th Infantry regiment . After the batlle of Talisay, Batangas,May 30, 1897, he was promoted to captain and was awarded the highest medal of San Fernando. He was also awarded with Cross of Maria Cristina and the Red Cross for Military Honor (Cruz Roja Del Merito Militar). After the Treaty of Paris, he obtained clearance papers. When the Americans came to the Philippines on February 1899, he joined the the rebels. Gen. Antonio Luna needed instructors for his officers in the European art of warfare at Malolos,Bulacan. He was the aide-de-camp and the recruiter of the Spanish war veteran. His knowledge was very instrumental in the reorganization and dicipline of the Filipino soldiers at that time.

On February 5, 1899, he was in La Loma defending the fronline. The Americans under Gen. Douglas MacArthur were attacking their defences at that time. They were outflanked, thus exposing Bugallon to the advanced firepower of the enemies, he was hit by a bullet in the thighs. Col. Queri told Gen. Luna that Bugallon was wounded, The general ordered: " Bugallon wounded. Order forward. He must be saved at all cost. Bugallon is worth 500 Filipino soldiers . he is one of my hopes for future victory." After which, the general found him along side of the road. All that he could utter was "My..... don't expose yourself so much. Don't advance any further." He was withdrawn by Commander Hernando and Gen. Luna himself, he was taken to Kalookan medical station where he was given first aid by Dr. Jose Luna and Santiago Barcelona. Later was rushed by train to Malolos, Bulacan for hospitalization, somewhere after Lolomboy and nearing Bocaue, Bulacan, Bugallon asked "Have the reinforcement arrived?", But he was too weak to keep up and he was bleeding, he died in the greast of Gen. Antonio Luna.

Bugallon was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel after his display of gallantry in battle and heroism. The former town of Salasa in Pangasinan was renamed Bugallon in honor of Jose Torres Bugallon. This was law sponsored by Congressman Mauro Navarro of Pangasinan in 1921 to perpetute Bugallon's gallantry. His remains lies in Sampalok Church in Manila.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Don Mariano Ponce

Mariano Ponce (March 23, 1863-May 23, 1918) was a Filipino physician who was a leader of the Propaganda Movement that spurred the Philippine Revolution against Spanish in 1896.

He was born in Baliwag, Bulacan where he completed his primary education. He later enrolled at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran and took up medicine at the University of Santo Tomas. In 1881, he left for Europe to continue his medical studies at the Unversidad Central de Madrid.

While he was studying in Spain, he joined Marcelo del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena and Jose Rizal in the Propaganda Movement which espoused Filipino representation in the Spanish Cortes and reforms in the Spanish colonial administration of the Philippines. He wrote in the propaganda publication La Solidaridad under several pseudonyms, including Naning, Kalipulako and Tikbalang.

He was briefly imprisoned when the revolution broke out in August 1896 but was later released. Fearing another arrest, he fled to France and later went to Hong Kong where he joined a group of Filipinos who served as the international front of the ongoing revolution.

In 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo chose him to represent the First Philippine Republic in Japan to seek aid and purchase arms. He went to Yokohama on June 29, 1898. During his stay, he met and befriended Sun Yat Sen, first president of the Republic of China (Sun Yat Sen also supported Philippine Independence by supplying him with arms) and even show sympathy to the Chinese. Mariano married a Japanese woman named Okiyo Udanwara.

With the help of a Filipino-Japanese named Jose Ramos Ishikawa he purchased weapons and munition for the revolution. But the shipment did not reach the country due to a typhoon off the coast of Formosa.

When he returned to the Philippines, he was made director of El Renacimiento in 1909. He also joined the Nacionalista Party and established El Ideal, the party's official organ. He later ran for a seat in the Philippine Assembly and was elected assemblyman for the second district of Bulacan. Ponce wrote his memoirs, Cartas Sobre La Revolucion, before he died in Hong Kong.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Federico I. Abaya

Federico Isabelo Abaya (b. 1854 – d. May 3, 1900) was a member of the Espiritu de Candon, a revolutionary group founded in Candon, Ilocos Sur. He led the Ikkis ti Kandon (in English: Cry of Candon) on March 25, 1898 which drove the Spaniards away and made him declare a free Republic of Candon.

The young Federico, studied at a public school in Candon, Ilocos Sur. He then enroll at Vigan Seminary, but later decided not to pursue his priesthood. An Uncle took him to Pangasinan, where he learned the art of fencing.

Upon his return to his hometown, Federico became a policeman and a cabeza de barangay. In 1898, he joined the Philippine Revolutionary Army, then under Col. Manuel Tinio. At the onset of the Filipino-American War, with his recruited Igorots (under the command of General Antonio Luna), he led the Battle of Caloocan in February, 1899. Later, he became a commander of forces of a guerrilla movement in southern Ilocos headed by Col. Juan Villamor. Federico Abaya was, likewise, responsible for the termination of the Spaniards in Ilocos Sur.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Nick Joaquin

Nicomedes Márquez Joaquín, usually known as Nick Joaquin (May 4, 1917–April 29, 2004), was a Filipino writer, historian and journalist, best known for his short stories and novels in the English language. He also wrote using the pen name Quijano de Manila. Joaquin was conferred the rank and title of National Artist of the Philippines for Literature.


Joaquín was born in Paco, Manila, one of the ten children of Leocadio, a colonel under General Emilio Aguinaldo in the 1896 Revolution, and Salome Marquez, a teacher of English and Spanish. Being read poems and stories by his mother, Joaquin taught himself by reading widely at the National Library of the Philippines and the library of his father, hwo by that time was a successful lawyer after the revolution. This developed further his interest in writing.

At age 17, Joaquín was first published in the literary section of the Pre-World War II Tribune under writer and editor Serafín Lanot. Before publishing in the Tribune, Joaquin worked as a proofreader of the paper.

After winning a Dominican Order-sponsored nationwide essay competition for La Naval de Manila, the University of Santo Tomas awarded Joaquín an honorary Associate in Arts (A.A.) and a scholarship to St. Albert's Convent, the Dominican monastery in Hong Kong. Upon his return to the Philippines, he joined the Philippines Free Press, starting as a proofreader. Soon, he was noticed for his poems, stories and plays, as well as his journalism under the pen name Quijano de Manila. His journalism was markedly both intellectual and provocative, an unknown genre in the Philippines at that time, raising the level of reportage in the country. Nick Joaquin is interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Joaquín deeply admired José Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. Joaquín paid tribute to Rizal by way of books such as The Storyteller's New Medium - Rizal in Saga, The Complete Poems and Plays of Jose Rizal, and A Question of Heroes: Essays in Criticism on Ten Key Figures of Philippine History. He also translated the hero's valedictory poem, "Land That I Love, Farewell!"

Joaquín served as a member of Motion Pictures under President Diosdado Macapagal and President Ferdinand E. Marcos. According to writer Marra PL. Lanot, Joaquín was untouched by Marcos' iron fist. Joaqun's first move as National Artist was to secure the release of imprisoned writer José F. Lacaba. Later, at a ceremony on Mount Makiling attended by First Lady Imelda Marcos, Joaquín delivered an invocation to Mariang Makiling, the mountain's mythical maiden. Joaquín touched on the importance of freedom and the artist. As a result, for the remainder of the Marcos regime, Joaquín no longer received invitations to address important cultural events.

Joaquín died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of April 29, 2004. He died in his home in San Juan, Metro Manila. At the time of his death, he was editor of Philippine Graphic magazine and publisher of its sister publication, Mirror Weekly, a women’s magazine. He also wrote columns (“Small Beer”) for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Isyu, an opinion tabloid.


Tatarin, a movie based on Philippine National Artist Nick Joaqin’s short story The Summer Solstice, was directed by Amable “Tikoy” Aguiliz and released in 2001. The screenplay was written by Ricardo Lee. Nick Joaquin was consulted on his portrayal. The cast consisted of famous Filipino actors Edu Manzano (Paeng Moreta,) Dina Bonnevie (Lupe Moreta), Rica Peralejo (Amada), and Raymond B. Bagatsing.

Works of Nick Joaquin

* Prose and Poems (1952)
* The Woman Who had Two Navels (1961)
* La Naval de Manila and Other Essays (1964)
* A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino(1966)
* Tropical Gothic (1972)
* A Question of Heroes (1977)
* Jeseph Estrada and Other Sketches (1977)
* Nora Aunor & Other Profiles (1977)
* Ronnie Poe & Other Silhouettes (1977)
* Reportage on Lovers (1977)
* Reportage on Crime (1977)
* Amalia Fuentes & Other Etchings (1977)
* Gloria Diaz & Other Delineations (1977)
* Doveglion & Other Cameos (1977)
* Language of the Streets and Other Essays (1977)
* Manila: Sin City and Other Chronicles (1977)
* Tropical Baroque (1979),
* Stories for Groovy Kids (1979)
* Language of the Street and Other Essays (1980)
* The Ballad of the Five Battles (1981)
* The Aquinos of Tarlac: An Essay on History as Three Generations (1983)
* Almanac for Manileños
* Cave and Shadows (1983)
* The Quartet of the Tiger Moon: Scenes from the People Power Apocalypse (1986)
* Collected Verse (1987)
* Culture and History: Occasional Notes on the Process of Philippine Becoming (1988)
* Manila, My Manila: A History for the Young (1990),
* The D.M. Guevara Story (1993),
* Mr. F.E.U., the Culture Hero That Was Nicanor Reyes (1995).
* Rizal in Saga (1996)


* José García Villa's Honor Roll (1940)
* Philippines Free Press Short Story Contest (1949)
* Ten Most Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM), Awardee for Literature (1955)
* Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Literary Awards (1957–1958; 1965; 1976)
* Harper Publishing Company (New York, U.S.A.) writing fellowship
* Stonehill Award for the Novel (1960)
* Republic Cultural Heritage Award (1961)
* Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award from the City of Manila (1964)
* National Artist Award (1976).
* S.E.A. Write Award (1980)
* Ramon Magsaysay Award for Literature (1996)
* Tanglaw ng Lahi Award from the Ateneo de Manila University (1997)
* Several ESSO Journalism awards, including the highly-covetedJournalist of the Year Award.
* Several National Book Awards from the Manila Critics' Circle for The Aquinos of Tarlac: An Essay in History as Three Generations; The Quartet of the Tiger Moon: Scenes from the People Power Apocalypse; Culture and History: Occasional Notes on the Process of Philippine Becoming; The World of Damian Domingo: 19th Century Manila (co-authored with Luciano P.R. Santiago); and Jaime Ongpin: The Enigma: The Profile of a Filipino as Manager.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.

Benigno Servillano "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. (November 27, 1932 – August 21, 1983) was a Philippine Senator, Governor of Tarlac, and an opposition leader against President Ferdinand Marcos. He was assassinated at the Manila International Airport (later renamed in his honor) upon returning home from exile in the United States. His death catapulted his widow, Corazon Aquino, to the limelight and subsequently to the presidency, replacing the 20-year Marcos regime. In 2004, the anniversary of his death was proclaimed as a national holiday now known as Ninoy Aquino Day.

Early life and career

Benigno Servillano Aquino was born in Concepcion, Tarlac, to a prosperous family of hacienderos (landlords). His grandfather, Servillano Aquino, was a general in the revolutionary army of Emilio Aguinaldo while his father, Benigno Aquino, Sr. (1894-1947) was a prominent official in the World War II Japanese-organized government of José P. Laurel. His mother was Doña Aurora Aquino-Aquino (who was also his father's third cousin). His father died while Benigno Aquino was in his teens amid rumors of collaboration with the Japanese during the occupation. Aquino was educated in private schools--St. Joseph's College, Ateneo de Manila, and De La Salle College. He finished high school at San Beda College. Aquino took his tertiary education at the Ateneo de Manila to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree, but he interrupted his studies. At age 17, he was the youngest war correspondent to cover the Korean War for the newspaper The Manila Times of Joaquin "Chino" Roces. Because of his journalistic feats, he received a Philippine Legion of Honor award from President Elpidio Quirino at age 18. At 21, he became a close adviser to then defense secretary Ramon Magsaysay. Ninoy took up law at the University of the Philippines, where he became a member of the Upsilon Sigma Phi. He interrupted his studies again however to pursue a career in journalism. According to Maximo V. Soliven, Aquino "later 'explained' that he had decided to go to as many schools as possible, so that he could make as many new friends as possible." In early 1954, he was appointed by President Ramon Magsaysay to act as personal emissary to Luis Taruc, leader of the Hukbalahap rebel group. After four months of negotiations, he was credited for Taruc's unconditional surrender. He became mayor of Concepcion in 1955 at the age of 22. In the same year he married Corazon "Cory" Cojuangco, and they had five children; Maria Elena (Ballsy), Aurora Corazon (Pinky), Benigno Simeon III (Noynoy), Victoria Eliza (Viel), and actress and TV host Kristina Bernadette (Kris).

Political career

Benigno Aquino was no stranger to Philippine politics. He came from a family that had been involved with some of the country's political heavyweights. His grandfather served under President Aguinaldo while his father held office under Presidents Manuel L. Quezon and Jose P. Laurel. Benigno Aquino became the youngest municipal mayor at age 22, and the nation's youngest vice-governor at 27. He became governor of Tarlac province in 1961 at age 29, then secretary-general of the Liberal Party in 1966. In 1967 he made history by becoming the youngest elected senator in the country's history at age 34. He was the only "survivor" of the Liberal Party who made it to the senate, where he was inevitably singled out by Marcos and his allies as their greatest threat. In 1968, during his first year in the Upper House, Aquino warned that Marcos was on the road to establishing "a garrison state" by "ballooning the armed forces budget", saddling the defense establishment with "overstaying generals" and "militarizing our civilian government offices"--all these caveats were uttered barely four years before martial law.

In myriad ways Aquino bedeviled the Marcos regime, chipping away at its monolithic facade. His most celebrated speech, insolently entitled "A Pantheon for Imelda", was delivered on February 10, 1969, and assailed the first lady's first extravagant project, the P50 million Cultural Center, which he dubbed "a monument to shame". An outraged President Marcos called Aquino "a congenital liar". The First Lady's friends angrily accused Aquino of being "ungallant". These so-called "fiscalization" tactics of Aquino quickly became his trademark in the senate. During his tenure as senator, he was selected by the Philippine Free Press magazine as one of the nation's most outstanding senators. His achievements at such a young age earned him the moniker "Wonder Boy" of Philippine politics.

No chance Aquino was seen as a contender by many for the highest office in the land, the presidency. Surveys during those times showed that he was the number one choice among Filipinos, since President Marcos by law was prohibited to serve another term.

Martial law, hunger strike

It was not until the Plaza Miranda bombing however—on August 21, 1971 (12 years to the day before Ninoy Aquino's own assassination)--that the pattern of direct confrontation between Marcos and Aquino emerged. At 9:15 p.m., at the kick-off rally of the Liberal Party, the candidates had formed a line on a makeshift platform and were raising their hands as the crowd applauded. The band played, a fireworks display drew all eyes, when suddenly there were two loud explosions that obviously were not part of the show. In an instant the stage became a scene of wild carnage. The police later discovered two fragmentation grenades that had been thrown at the stage by "unknown persons". 8 people died, 120 others were wounded, many critically. Aquino was absent at the incident.

Although suspicions pointed to the Nacionalistas (the political party of Marcos), Marcos allies sought to deflect this by insinuating that, perhaps, Aquino might have had a hand in the blast in a bid to eliminate his potential rivals within the party. Later, the Marcos government presented "evidence" of the bombings as well as an alleged threat of a communist insurgency, suggesting that the bombings were the handiwork of the growing New People's Army. Marcos made this a pretext to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus, vowed that the killers would be apprehended within 48 hours, and arrested a score of known "Maoists" on general principle. Ironically, the police captured one of the bombers, who was identified as a sergeant of the firearms and explosive section of the Philippine Constabulary, a military arm of the government. According to Aquino, this man was later snatched from police custody by military personnel and the public never heard from him again.

President Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972 and he went on air to broadcast his declaration on midnight of September 23. Aquino was one of the first to be arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms and subversion. On April 4, 1975, Aquino announced that he was going on a hunger strike, a fast to the death to protest the injustices of his military trial. Ten days through his hunger strike, he instructed his lawyers to withdraw all motions he had submitted to the Supreme Court. As weeks went by, he subsisted solely on salt tablets, sodium bicarbonate, amino acids and two glasses of water a day. Even as he grew weaker, suffering from chills and cramps, soldiers forcibly dragged him to the military tribunal's session. His family and hundreds of friends and supporters heard Mass nightly at the Santuario de San Jose in Greenhills, San Juan, praying for his survival. Near the end, Aquino's weight had dropped from 180 to 120 pounds. Aquino nonetheless maintained the ability to walk throughout his ordeal. On May 13, 1975, on the 40th day, his family and several priests and friends, begged him to end his fast, pointing out that even Christ fasted only for 40 days. He acquiesced, confident that he had made a symbolic gesture. But at 10:25 p.m. on November 25, 1977, the government-controlled Military Commission No. 2 headed by Major-General Jose Syjuco found Aquino guilty of all charges and he was sentenced to death by firing squad. However, Aquino and many others believed that Marcos, ever the shrewd strategist, would not let him suffer a death that would surely make Aquino a martyr.

In 1978, from his prison cell, he was allowed to take part in the elections for Interim Batasang Pambansa (Parliament). Although his friends, former Senators Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga preferred to boycott the elections, Aquino urged his supporters to organize and run 21 candidates in Metro Manila. Thus his political party, dubbed Lakas ng Bayan (People's Power), was born. The party's acronym was "LABAN" (the word laban means "fight" in the Filipino language, Tagalog). He was allowed one television interview on Face the Nation (hosted by Ronnie Nathanielsz) and proved to a startled and impressed populace that imprisonment had neither dulled his rapier-like tongue nor dampened his fighting spirit. Foreign correspondents and diplomats asked what would happen to the LABAN ticket. People agreed with him that his party would win overwhelmingly in an honest election. Not surprisingly, all his candidates lost due to widespread election fraud.

In mid-March 1980, Aquino suffered a heart attack, possibly the result of seven years in prison, mostly in a solitary cell which must have taken a heavy toll on his gregarious personality. He was transported to the Philippine Heart Center where he suffered a second heart attack. The doctors administered ECG and other tests and found that he had a blocked artery. The surgeons were reluctant to do a coronary bypass because of their unwillingness to be involved in a controversy. Additionally, Aquino refused to submit himself to the hands of local doctors, fearing possible Marcos "duplicity", preferring to either go to the United States for the procedure or to return to his cell at Fort Bonifacio and die.

On May 8, 1980, Imelda Marcos made an unannounced visit to Aquino at his hospital room. She asked him if he would like to leave that evening for the U.S., but not before agreeing on two covenants: 1.) That if he leaves, he will return; 2.) While in America, he should not speak out against the Marcos regime. She then ordered General Fabian Ver and Mel Mathay to make necessary arrangements for passports and plane tickets for the Aquino family. Aquino was shoved in a closed van, rushed to his home on Times Street to pack, hustled to the airport and put on a plane bound for the U.S. that same day accompanied by his family.

Aquino was operated on at a hospital in Dallas, Texas. He made a quick recovery, was walking within two weeks and making plans to fly to Damascus, Syria to contact Muslim leaders, which he did five weeks later. When he reiterated that he was returning to the Philippines, he received a surreptitious message from the Marcos government saying that he was now granted an extension of his "medical furlough". Eventually, Aquino decided to renounce his two covenants with Malacañang "because of the dictates of higher national interest". After all, Aquino added, "a pact with the devil is no pact at all".

Aquino spent three years in self-exile, setting up house with Cory and their kids in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. On fellowship grants from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he worked on the manuscripts of two books and gave a series of lectures in school halls, classrooms and auditoriums. He traveled extensively in the U.S. delivering speeches critical of the Marcos government.

Marcos and his officials, aware of Aquino's growing popularity even in his absence, in turn accused Aquino of being the "Mad Bomber" and allegedly masterminding a rash of bombings that had rocked Metro Manila in 1981 and 1982. Aquino denied that he was advocating a bloody revolution, but warned that radicalized oppositionists were threatening to use violence soon. He urged Marcos to "heed the voice of conscience and moderation", and declared himself willing to lay his own life on the line.

Planning return

Throughout his years of expatriation, Aquino was always aware that his life in the U.S. was temporary. He never stopped affirming his eventual return even as he enjoyed American hospitality and a peaceful life with his family on American soil. After spending 7 years and 7 months in prison, Aquino's finances were in ruins. Making up for the lost time as the family's breadwinner, he toured America; attending symposiums, lectures, and giving speeches in freedom rallies opposing the Marcos dictatorship, with the most memorable held at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, California on February 15, 1981.

In the first quarter of 1983, Aquino was receiving news about the deteriorating political situation in his country combined with the rumored declining health (due to lupus) of President Ferdinand Marcos. He believed that it was expedient for him to speak to Marcos and present to him his rationale for the country's return to democracy, before extremists took over and make such a change impossible. Moreover, his years of absence made his allies worry that the Filipinos might have resigned themselves to Marcos' strongman rule and that without his leadership the centrist opposition would die a natural death.

Aquino decided to go back to the Philippines, fully aware of the dangers that awaited him. Warned that he would either be imprisoned or killed, Aquino answered, "if it's my fate to die by an assassin's bullet, so be it. But I cannot be petrified by inaction, or fear of assassination, and therefore stay in the corner..." His family, however, learned from a Philippine Consulate official that there were orders from Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to issue any passports for them. At that time, their visas had expired and their renewal had been denied. They therefore formulated a plan for Ninoy to fly alone—to attract less attention—and the rest of the family to follow him after two weeks. Despite the government's ban on issuing him a passport, Aquino was able to acquire one with the help of Rashid Lucman, a former congressman from Mindanao. It carried an alias, Marcial Bonifacio (Marcial for martial law and Bonifacio for Fort Bonifacio, his erstwhile prison). He eventually obtained a legitimate passport from a sympathizer working in a Philippine consulate. The Marcos government warned all international airlines that they would be denied landing rights and forced to return if they tried to fly Ninoy to the Philippines. Aquino insisted that it was his natural right as a citizen to come back to his homeland, and that no government could prevent him from doing so. He left Logan International Airport on August 13, 1983, took a circuitous route home from Boston, via Los Angeles, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taipei, before heading towards Manila. He had chosen Taipei as the final stopover when he learned the Philippines had severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan. This made him feel more secure; the Taiwan authorities could pretend they were not aware of his presence. There would also be a couple of Taiwanese friends accompanying him.

It would have been perfectly convenient for the Marcos government if Aquino had stayed out of the local political arena, however Ninoy asserted his willingness to suffer the consequences declaring, "the Filipino is worth dying for." He wished to express an earnest plea for Marcos to step down and seek a peaceful regime change and a return to democratic institutions. Anticipating the worst, during a pre-return interview held in his suite at the Taipei Grand Hotel, he revealed that he would be wearing a bullet-proof vest, but he also said that "it's only good for the body, but for the head there's nothing else we can do". Sensing his own doom, he told the journalists accompanying him on the flight that they "have to be ready with your (hand) camera because this action can become very fast... in a matter of 3 or 4 minutes it could be all over... and I may not be able to talk to you again after this...." In his last formal statement that he wasn't able to deliver, he said, "I have returned to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedom through nonviolence. I seek no confrontation."


Despite a convoy of security guards (all assigned to him by the Marcos government), a contingent of 1,200 military and police personnel on the tarmac, three armed bodyguards personally escorting him, and a bulletproof vest Aquino was wearing, Aquino was fatally shot in the head as he was escorted off the airplane. From the airplane, aviation security personnel were seen firing into the body of an unknown man dressed in blue, who was identified as Rolando Galman. Aquino's body was quickly loaded into a van and sped away.

Initially government ran radio and television reported that Benigno Aquino was killed together with an "unknown" assassin . Then the government claimed that Aquino was killed by a Communist hitman named Rolando "Rolly" Galman, who was shot dead at the scene by the aviation security. However, politicians and diplomats found evident contradictions between the claim and the photos and the videotape footage that documented the time before and after the shooting. The footage had circulated throughout the Philippines at that time.

Everyone from the Central Intelligence Agency, to the United Nations, to the Communist Party of the Philippines to First Lady Imelda Marcos was accused of conspiracy. President Marcos was reportedly gravely ill, recovering from a kidney transplant when the incident occurred. Theories arose as to who was in charge and who ordered the execution. Some hypothesized that Marcos had a long-standing order for Aquino's murder upon the latter's return.

Aquino's body lay in state in a glass coffin. No effort was made to disguise a bullet wound that had disfigured his face. Aquino's funeral procession on August 31 lasted from 9 a.m.--with a funeral mass officiated by the Catholic archbishop of Manila, Jaime Cardinal Sin, and held at Santo Domingo Church—to 9 p.m., when his body was interred at the Manila Memorial Park. Two million people lined the streets during the procession which was aired by the Church-sponsored Radio Veritas, the only station that covered the procession. The procession reached Rizal Park, where the Philippine flag was brought to half-staff.


Meanwhile, President Marcos immediately created a fact-finding commission, headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Enrique Fernando, to investigate the Aquino assassination. However, the commission lasted only two sittings due to intense public criticism. President Marcos issued on October 14, 1983, Presidential Decree No. 1886 creating an independent board of inquiry. The board was composed of former Court of Appeals Justice Ma. Corazon J. Agrava as chairman, Amando Dizon, Luciano Salazar, Dante Santos and Ernesto Herrera.

The Agrava Fact-Finding Board convened on November 3, 1983. But, before it could start its work President Marcos charged the communists for the killing of Senator Aquino: “The decision to eliminate the former Senator, Marcos claimed, was made by none other than the general-secretary of the Philippine Communist Party, Rodolfo Salas. He was referring to his earlier claim that Aquino had befriended and subsequently betrayed his communist comrades."

The Agrava Board conducted public hearings, and invited several persons who might shed light on the crimes, including AFP Chief of Staff Fabian Ver and Imelda Marcos.

In the subsequent proceedings, no one actually identified who pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Aquino, but Rebecca Quijano, another passenger, testified that she saw a man behind Aquino (running from the stairs towards Aquino and his escorts) point a gun at the back of his head, then there was the sound of a gunshot. A post-mortem analysis disclosed that Aquino was shot in the back of the head at close range with the bullet exiting at the chin at an angle which supported Quijano's testimony. More suspicions were aroused when Quijano described the assassin as wearing a military uniform.

After a year of thorough investigation – with 20,000 pages of testimony given by 193 witnesses, the Agrava Board submitted two reports to President Marcos – the Majority and Minority Reports. The Minority Report, submitted by Chairman Agrava alone, was submitted on October 23, 1984. It confirmed that the Aquino assassination was a military conspiracy but it cleared Gen. Ver. Many believed that President Marcos intimidated and pressured the members of the Board to persuade them not to indict Ver, Marcos’ first cousin and most trusted general. Excluding Chairman Agrava, the majority of the board submitted a separate report – the Majority Report – indicting several members of the Armed Forces including AFP Chief-of-Staff Gen. Fabian Ver, Gen. Luther Custodio and Gen. Prospero Olivas, head of AVSECOM.

Later, the 25 military personnel, including several generals and colonels, and one civilian were charged for the murder of Senator Aquino. President Marcos relieved Ver as AFP Chief and appointed his second-cousin, Gen. Fidel V. Ramos as acting AFP Chief. After a brief trial, the Sandiganbayan acquitted all the accused on December 2, 1985. Immediately after the decision, Marcos re-instated Ver. The Sandiganbayan ruling and the reinstatement of Ver were denounced by several sectors as a “mockery” of justice.

After Marcos was ousted in 1986, another investigation was set up by the new government. The men on the tarmac, the rank and file of the military, were found guilty and sentenced to life at National Bilibid Prison. They recently filed an appeal to have their sentences reduced after 22 years, claiming the assassination was ordered by a Marcos crony and business partner (and Corazon Aquino's estranged cousin), Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr., who was eventually cleared by the Aquino family. Through the years, some have been pardoned, others have died in detention, while yet others have had their terms commuted and then served these out. As of March 2009, the last remaining convicts have been released from prison.


Ninoy Aquino's actual bloodied safari jacket, pants (folded), belt and boots that he wore upon his return from exile are on permanent display at the Aquino Center in Tarlac.

The death of Benigno Aquino transformed the Philippine opposition from a small isolated movement to a massive unified crusade, incorporating people from all walks of life. The middle class got involved, the impoverished majority participated, and business leaders whom Marcos had irked during martial law endorsed the campaign—all with the crucial support of the military and the Catholic Church hierarchy. The assassination showed the increasing incapacity of the Marcos regime—Ferdinand was mortally ill when the crime occurred while his cronies mismanaged the country in his absence. It outraged Aquino's supporters that Marcos, if not masterminding it, allowed the assassination to happen and engineered its cover-up. The mass revolt caused by Aquino's demise attracted worldwide media attention and Marcos' American contacts, as well as the Reagan Administration, began distancing themselves. There was global media spotlight to the Philippine crisis, and exposés on Imelda's extravagant lifestyle (most infamously, her thousands of pairs of shoes) and "mining operations", as well as Ferdinand's dictatorial excesses, came into focus.

The assassination thrust Aquino's widow, Corazon "Cory" Aquino, willingly or unwillingly, into the public eye. Convinced by leaders of the opposition that she was the person to beat Marcos, Cory Aquino went on to campaign tirelessly in the 1986 snap elections which were called by Marcos to pacify rampant public discontent. In 57 days of trying to win people's votes before the February 7, 1986 election, her UNIDO party took to the streets, visiting all but a few of the Philippine provinces. On the campaign trail, Mrs. Aquino was greeted by throngs of people throwing confetti and cheering "Cory! Cory! Cory!". Despite the Marcos-controlled Commission on Election's declaration of a Marcos' victory, the majority of the Filipino people refused to accept the allegedly fraudulent outcome, prompting the People Power Revolution that drove Marcos into exile and placed Cory Aquino in the seat of power.

While no Filipino president has ever been assassinated, Benigno Aquino is one of three presidential spouses who have been murdered. Aurora Quezon was killed along with her daughter and son-in-law in a Hukbalahap ambush in 1949, while Alicia Syquia-Quirino was murdered by the Japanese along with three of her children during the Battle of Manila in 1945.


In Senator Aquino's honor, the Manila International Airport (MIA) where he was assassinated was renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and his image is printed on the 500-peso bill. The Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act (R.A.) 9256, declaring August 21, the anniversary of his death, as "Ninoy Aquino Day", an annual public holiday in the Philippines. Several monuments were built in his honor. Most renowned is the bronze memorial in Makati City near the Philippine Stock Exchange, which today is a venue of endless anti-government rallies and large demonstrations, with another one bronze statue in front of the Municipal Building of Concepcion, Tarlac.

Although Aquino was recognized as the most prominent and most dynamic opposition leader of his generation, in the years prior to martial law he was regarded by many as being a representative of the entrenched familial bureaucracy which to this day dominates Philippine politics. While atypically telegenic and uncommonly articulate, he had his share of detractors and was not known to be immune to ambitions and excesses of the ruling political class. However, during his seven years and seven months imprisoned as a political prisoner of Marcos, Aquino read a book entitled Born Again by convicted Watergate conspirator Charles Colson and it inspired him to a religious awakening.

As a result, the remainder of his personal and political life would undertake a distinct spiritual sheen. He emerged as a contemporary counterpart of the great Rizal, who was among the world's earliest proponents of the use of non-violence to combat a repressive regime. Some remained skeptical of Aquino's redirected spiritual focus, but it ultimately had an effect on his wife's political career. While some may question the prominence given Aquino in Philippine history, it was his assassination that was pivotal to the downfall of a despotic ruler and the eventual restoration of democracy in the Philippines.

As part of Republic Act No. 9256, the Monday nearest August 21 was declared (SECTION 1. Section 26, Chapter 7, Book I of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987) a nationwide special holiday (Ninoy Aquino Day) by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines and approved on July 25, 2007 by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines.

Timeline of the murder case

August 21, 1983 - Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated after disembarking a China Airlines plane at the Manila International Airport. Also killed was Rolando Galman.

August 24, 1983 – Ferdinand Marcos sent a fact-finding commission headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Enrique Fernando to investigate the Aquino murder (composed of 4 retired Supreme Court Justices who resigned, after its composition was challenged in court and thereafter, Arturo M. Tolentino declined appointment as board chairman.

August 31, 1983 - More than 2 million people lined up the streets and joined Ninoy's funeral procession, which was the biggest in Philippine history. The procession lasted for 11 hours, from the Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City to Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.

October 22, 1983 – Marcos created another fact-finding committee known as the Agrava Fact-Finding Board, headed by former Court of Appeals Justice Corazon Agrava, with lawyer Luciano E. Salazar, businessman Dante G. Santos, labor leader Ernesto F. Herrera and educator Amado C. Dizon, as members.

October 22, 1984 – Agrava Board released the reports concluding that military officers, including then Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver, conspired to kill Ninoy Aquino and the Supreme Court assigned the case to the Sandiganbayan.

December 2, 1985 – Following trial, the Sandiganbayan acquits all the accused.

September 12, 1986 – The Supreme Court, newly re-organized following the 1986 Edsa Revolution, orders a retrial of the accused. Warrants of arrests are subsequently issued by the Sandiganbayan for 25 military men, led by General Ver, and one civilian.

September 28, 1990 – The Sandiganbayan convicts 16 of the suspects and sentences them to reclusion perpetua. Convicted of the crime were the Avsecom chief, Brig. Gen. Luther Custodio, Capt. Romeo Bautista, 2nd Lt. Jesus Castro, and Sergeants Claro L. Lat, Arnulfo de Mesa, Filomeno Miranda, Rolando de Guzman, Ernesto Mateo, Rodolfo Desolong, Ruben Aquino and Arnulfo Artates, gunman Constable Rogelio Moreno, M/Sgt. Pablo Martinez, C1C Mario Lazaga, A1C Cordova Estelo and A1C Felizardo Taran. No mastermind was named.

July 23, 1991 – The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction.

November 21, 1998 – Ver died of a lung ailment in Bangkok.

March 8, 2005 – The Supreme Court denied the petition of the accused (filed on August 2004) to re-open the case.

August 21, 2007 – The 24th anniversary of Ninoy’s murder. Chief Justice Andres Narvasa appealed for the closure of the case; Juan Ponce Enrile asked for the review for clemency in favor of the 14 convicts; Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo, chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) asked pardon for the convicts; Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino III forgave the 14 soldiers but opposed their appeals for clemency or parole (which Sec. Raul Gonzales submitted to the President on 2004); Eduardo Ermita stated that the Bureau of Pardons and Parole had recommended a grant of executive clemency.

August 24, 2007 - Eduardo Ermita officially announced that due to political implications, the appeal for clemency by the 14 soldiers was archived, even if the Bureau of Pardons and Parole presently reviews the plea. The executive secretary refused to give a time frame for the review.

November 22, 2007- After more than 21 years, Pablo Martinez, one of the convicts in the Aquino-Galman double murder case in 1983 was released from the National Bilibid Prisons after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pardoned him for humanitarian reasons. Martines stated:

"Kung nakikinig man kayo Madam Cory Aquino patawarin ninyo ako sa nagawa kong pagkakasala noon."

("If you are listening Madame Cory Aquino, forgive me for the wrongdoings that I did before.")

March 14, 2008- Former Cpl. 1st Class Mario Lazaga one of the 16 convicted soldiers died of hypertension at the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City. Two other convicts had already died in detention since M/Sgt. Pablo Martinez’s pardon.

February 2009 - A1C Felizardo Taran and Sgt. Rolando de Guzman, whose sentences were commuted by former President Fidel V. Ramos and President Arroyo respectively, completed their prison terms and were released.

March 4, 2009 - The remaining 10 convicts, Rogelio Moreno, Ruben Aquino, Arnulfo Artates, Romeo Bautista, Jesus Castro, Arnulfo De Mesa, Rodolfo Desolong, Claro Lat, Ernesto Mateo and Filomeno Miranda walked out of the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City Wednesday, more than two decades after they were found guilty of the Aug. 21, 1983 killings at the former Manila International Airport.

Roque Ablan Sr.

Roque Ablan, guerrilla leader and war hero, was born to a poor couple, Victor Ablan of Salsona and Raymunda Blanco of Paoay. He studied at the Laoag Elementary Schooland graduated from the Laoag High School in 1924. He went to the University of the Philippines and there obtained a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1929 and a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1930. He took the bar examinations the same year he finished law and obtained 9th place. He managed this despite his having been a self-supporting student.

At the UP, he was a reporter for the Philippines Herald and edited the Carnival Courier during the carnival season. He taught for some time at the Chinese Elementary School and at other schools in Manila and edited also the Philippine Collegian, and the Philippinesian, the graduation yearbook. He became president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in Ilocos Norte and secretary of the Ilocos Norte Bar Association.

After graduation, he went home to Laoag where he was elected governor at the age of 32. He was the youngest provincial executive of his time. He was backed by some colleagues but his victory was also partly ascribed to the work of his wife, Manuela Ravelo, of Batac, who was a high school teacher.

Two problems faced his administration: lawlessness and unemployment. He sought to remedy these by increasing the daily wage in his province from 60 to 80 centavos. One of his outstanding achievements as governor was the establishment of a provincial hospital in Ilocos Norte, one that came to be considered as one of the best institutions in Luzon. He also stablished a branch of the Philippine Normal School in Laoag, move that enabled the poorer families to have their children their studies at minimal expense. Finally, he worked for the construction of theprovincia1 capital, the revival of rural credit and the organization of producers' cooperatives. He also espoused idea of giving more authority and power to local govemment. Where he received by his constituents, he was re-elected to a second term.

When the Japanese landed at Vigan, Ablan refused to extend his operation to them. He left the provincial capital of Laoag to avoid arrest and transferred the seat of government to a remote barrio near the boundary of Ilocos Norte and Apayao. From there he led in the organization of guerrilla units in coordination with Lt. Feliciano Madamba of the Philippine Army. By mid-January, 1942, the Ablan-Madamba Guerilla Group of Northern Luzon was organized.

On January 27 Ablan and Madamba went to Solsona where they unearthed an arms cache of numerous rifles, machine guns and several numbers of ammunition. The following day, January 28, their first encounter with the enemy took place when Madamba's unit successfully ambushed a Japanese detachment at Banna, and in the process, killed about 50 Japanese soldiers.

The efforts of Ablan and Madamba were welcomed by the people. Many soldiers who failed to join the USAFEE (United States Forces in the Far East) in Bataan joined them. The Japanese sent planes to the towns of Banna and Nueva Era, and bomb and strafe guerrillas and civilians. Ablan managed to get in contact with President Quezon in Washington D.C. by radio and reported that "despite the occupation of Laoag and San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, our government is still functioning and our people have not alienated a bit of their allegiance to your leadership and to the Philipine Government and to the United States Government. Every day the will of our people against the Japanese becomes more intense as the enemy rob our homes, destroy property, kill civilian and rape our women."

Shortly after, Ablan radioed again President Quezon requesting P100,000 with which to pay the employees and keep the machinery the underground government functioning. Because of the difficulties involved in the transmission of money, Quezon authorized Ablan to issue emergency notes as previously authorized by your provincial expenditures." Ablan notified his people of Quezon's intention and the information, having spread throughout the province, they founded other small but independent guenilla groups to affiliate them with Ablan's outfit. Ablan then began to organize all these men to a more cohesive unit.

He divided Ilocos Norte into several sectors posed of one to three towns. Each zone was headed and supervised a guerilla leader. He established an intelligence section to gathering information from as many sources as possible. A runner-relay system was also set up for the purpose of disseminating news and sending orders to different sectors, thus linking towns and scattered guerrilla camps. Ablan assigned Lt. Isabelo Monje to take charge of operations in Batac, Paoay and Currimao; Vicente Cajigal was assigned the towns of Badoc, Pinili and Nueva Era. Ablan named Juan Albano as deputy governor, designated Lieutenant Madamba as executive officer, and placed Capt. Prime Lazaro and Damaso Samonte as chiefs of the intelligence corps. Captain Pedro Alviar was placed in charge of the counter-intelligence unit.

Ablan's guerrillas had a series of bitter skirmishes with the Japanese. After Bataan and Corregidor had fallen, the Japanese under Colonel Watanabe established their headquarters in Laoag. The enemy hunted Ablan and his resistance fighters and air units dropped Leaflets urging him and his men to surrender. He refused to give up the struggle. Large forces hunted him down. A series of raids were staged on his guerrilla camp. He escaped enemy traps twice but his outfit nevertheless sustained tremendous losses. His units then adopted hit-and-run tactics.

On November 8, 1942, Ablan launched a successful attack against Japanese patrols in Pampaniki, Solsona. On December 10 that same year, he left for Cagayan to confer with Governor Marcelo Adduru. His last words to his family reportedly were: "How I hate myself for having only one life to give to my country. But don't cry. I will be back when liberty returns to our people." He never came back.

He probably perished during an encounter with the Japanese or was captured, imprisoned and subsequently executed by the enemy. His heroic deeds have earned for him an honored place in his country history.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Domingo Abella

Domingo Abella has a monument in his honor at the town plaza of Naga, Camarines Sur. At 25, he was the youngest of the fifteen martyrs of Bicolandia. He was born in Nueva Caceres (now Naga City) of an affluent family. His father, Manuel, a landowner and businessman, was executed with him at Bagumbayan.

Endowed with a handsome complexion and taller than most of the Filipinos of his day, he excelled both in mental and physical activities. Because of his stature, he was the envy of the Spanish male populace. He was versatile in fencing, sipa, amis, horseback riding and other sports. Domingo, a bright man, was a surveyor by profession.

When the Katipunan raised the call for revolution, the young Abella attended secret meetings in Nueva Caceres to discuss ways and means of supporting the movement. He was active in recruiting Negritoes from Mount Isarog.

When his political activities became known to the Spanish authorities, an order of his arrest was issued and young Abella was included among those accused of rebellion and the plan to assassinate all the Spaniards in Nueva Caceres. Despite the insufficiency of evidence, Domingo and his co-accused boarded the ship Isarog and were brought to Manila in chains in September of 1896. Taken to Fort Santiago, Domingo was locked up in a filthy cell where he was whipped, insulted and buffeted by the Spanish soldiers. In a nearby cell, another political prisoner, Jose Rizal, was awaiting trial.

On the 29th of December, a military commission tried the case against the Bikolrebels. It was alleged that Domingo aided Florencio Lerma, the disputed leader of the movement was said to have received a shipment of arms from Tomas Prieto of Cavite. The shipment, however, could not be located. The arms. it was alleged, were to be used in the planned general massacre of Spaniards. The military court promptly found all the accused guilty of rebellion, a crime punishable by death in accordance with article 230 of the Spanish Penal Code.

On January 4, 1897, the sentence was carried out. Domingo, together with his father and the other Bikol martyrs, faced the firing squad in Bagumbayan, just five days after Jose Rizal was martyred.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Magat Salamat

(1550 - 1589)

Magat Salamat, son of Rajah Matanda, the Chief of Tondo when the Spaniards arrived, endeavored to recover his heritage by participating in the Tondo Conspiracy (1587-1588), aimed to overthrow the Spanish sovereignty in the Philippines. It was, Wenceslao E. Retana relates, la primera conguracion separatista in the country.

This movement was planned by Magat Salamat in cooperation with two other Tondo principals, and his cousins, Don Agustin de Legazpi and Martin Panga, a gobernadorcillo. Affiliated with them were other chieftains in their environs who willed to give up their landed property for that purpose.

In 1587, they enlisted the help of the Japanese adventurer, Juan Gayo, through an interpreter named Dionisio Fernandez. In the house of Legazpi in Tondo, the plotters composed of Magat Salamat, Agustin Manuguit, Felipe Salalila and Geronimo Bassi agreed with Gayo that he would come again with arms and recruited soldiers from japan. They also agreed that "the chiefs of the neighborhood would help them to kill the Spaniards." The Japanese would be rewarded with half of the tributes to be collected from the natives after they had conquered the Spaniards. "They swore solemnly," according to licentiate Ayala in a letter to Philip II, "according to their custom to keep and fulfill the agreement," choosing after the sandugo, "a King, captains, and officers of war." They also agreed to make weapons secretly.

Before his departure, Gayo gave Legazpi several weapons to be distributed to his men.

Later, a secret meeting that lasted for three days was called in Tambobong, by Magat Salamat and his co-plotters. Those who attended were chiefts of Pandakan, Tondo, Candaba, Polo, Catangalan, Navotas with "other Indian timaguas, servant and allies." They were all briefed as to the sad political condition of the country and themselves. With heavy hearts, they all swore an oath to throw off the Spanish yoke.

By 1588, no word was yet received from Japanese Gayo. But when the Filipinos heard the news of capture of the galleon Santa Ana in February, they again prepared for battle, this time aiming to attack swiftly moment the guns of Manila were turned toward the sea, and fire at the English privateer, Cavandish. But he never came.

A few days later, the chiefts of Bulacan, Esteban Taes, and Martin Panga agreed to call another meeting. Taes was to call all the chiefs from Tondo to Bulacan while Panga would summon the chiefs of Cavite, Malolos and Guiguinto and rally the men of La Laguna and Komintang (Batangas). With all the people gathered at Tondo, they would attack Manila.

At the meeting held in Tondo, the conspirators agreed to send Magat Salamat to the Calamianes to invite the Bornean Sultan to send a fleet that would join the Sulus and to launch an attack against Manila from the sea in conjunction with the Filipino chiefs' assault on land.

"The plan was that when the fleet of Burney reached the port of Cavite, and the spaniards trustfully called these chiefs to their aid, they would all immediately enter the houses of the Spaniards with their men, fortify themselves in them and thus take possession of them one by one. If the Spaniards took refuge in the fortress, Indian soldiers would follow them, and, being two to one, they would surely kill Spaniards."

By November 1588, Magat Salamat was in the Calamianes in company with Don Agustin Manuguit and Juan Banal. He rallied some principals of the island of Cuyo, notably Sumaclob who pledged to help him with 2000 men.

However, Antonio Suribao. Chief of the encomienda of the Spanish Captain Pedro Sarmiento, disclosed to the latter the plot of Magat Salamat and his companions, after he was persuaded to join it. They were arrested immediately. Sarmiento informed personally the governor-general of his fantastic discovery and soon the Spanish government became busy hanging or sending to exile the conspirators.

"Magat Salamat was condemned to death. His goods were to be employed for erection of the new fortress of this city (Manila). He appealed to the royal Audiencia, but the case was remitted to the governor, in order that justice might be done- exept that the goods were to be set aside for the treasury. The sentence was executed,"

And so the first of the rebels from Tondo died, his martrydom to be duplicated several centuries later by two of his disctrictmates, Andres Bonifacio and Macario Sakay.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Prescillano Zamora

Prescillano Zamora is best known for his research in plant anatomy-morphology and pteridophyte biology, including the taxonomy of Philippine ferns and the discovery of more fern species.

He has been a supporter of the conservation of the environment in the Phillipines and a supporter of natural resources policy research.


* B.S. Agriculture from University of the Philippines, 1960
* M.S. Agronomy from University of the Philippines, 1964
* Ph.D. Holiculture from Rutgers, 1966


* Rockefeller Foundation fellow at Cornell University (1961-65)
* NSF Research grantee (1962-65)
* UP Professorial Chair holder (1977-80)

Two-Phase Wall Deposition Concept:

Prescillano Zamora's research on the xylem elements of vascular plants led to the formulation of the two-phase wall deposition concept.

Eduardo San Juan

Eduardo San Juan - Filipino Inventor:

Mechanical engineer, Eduardo San Juan (aka The Space Junkman) worked on the team that invented the Lunar Rover or Moon Buggy. Eduardo San Juan is considered the primary designer of the Lunar Rover. San Juan was also the designer for the Articulated Wheel System. Prior, to the Apollo Program, Eduardo San Juan worked on the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).

Moon Buggy:

In 1971, the Moon Buggy was first used by during the Apollo 12 landing to explore the Moon.

Eduardo San Juan - Education & Awards:

Eduardo San Juan graduated from Mapua Institute of Technology. He then studied Nuclear Engineering at the University of Washington. In 1978, San Juan received one of the Ten Outstanding Men (TOM) awards in science and technology.

Eduardo San Juan - On a Personal Note:

Elisabeth San Juan, the proud daughter of Eduardo San Juan, had the following to say about her father.

When my Father submitted the conceptual design for the Lunar Rover he submitted it via Brown Engineering, a company owned by Lady Bird Johnson.

During the final test demonstration to select one design from various submissions, his was the only one that worked. Thus, his design won the NASA Contract.

His overall concept and design of the Articulated Wheel System was considered brilliant. Each wheel appendage was mounted not underneath the vehicle, but were placed outside the body of the vehicle and each was motorized. Wheels could work independently of the others. It was designed to negotiate crater ingress and egress. The other vehicles did not make it into or out of the test crater.

Our Father, Eduardo San Juan, was a very positively charged creative who enjoyed a healthy sense of humor.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Simeon Ola

Simeon Ola (b. September 2, 1865 - d. February 14, 1952) a native of Guinobatan, Albay was a Katipunero who launched guerrilla raids on American-occupied towns in Albay until his capture on September 5, 1903. He joined the Katipunan in 1896 and was known as one Bicol's revolutionary leaders.


He joined the the local branch of the Katipunan in his hometown province of Albay and later became the leader. With the help of a parish priest he was able to acquire arms to support his men. Promoted to the rank of captain after the battle of Camalig in Albay, 1898 and again promoted to the rank of major after a daring ambush mission that led to the capture of three Americans. He was also the leader of the subsequent valiant attacks on Albay towns namely, Oas, Ligao and Jovellar. He later surrendered in condition that his men would be granted amnesty, he was put on trial and was proven guilty of sedition and was sentenced to thirty years inprisonment. In 1904, he was given a pardon and returned to his place of birth and became the municipal president. The regional police command in Legaspi City was name after Him.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lt. Gen. Edward Soriano

Army Lt. Gen. Edward Soriano (born 1946) was one of the highest-ranking Filipino Americans in the history of the American military. He was involved in some of the most difficult offensives in the Gulf War and after September 11, 2001. He joined the Army as a second lieutenant of infantry and retired as a three-star lieutenant general.

Born in Philippines to Army Father

Soriano was born on November 12, 1946, in Alcala, Pangasinan, Philippines, to natives of Ilocos Sur. Alcala is a small city some hundred miles north of Manila. Soriano was born to Federico Soriano, a military officer, and Encarnacion, a homemaker who raised Soriano and his sister Blez. He spent his youth struggling through one illness after another and even had to have an operation when he was five years old to have kidney stones removed. At one point his mother recalled that he was so sick he almost died, but somehow the young Soriano managed to fight his way out of his childhood illnesses to become a strong and healthy adult. When he was still quite young the Soriano family moved to Guam for his father's career. It was one of many moves that the children would go through over their lifetimes. Both Soriano and his sister enjoyed their youth as children of a military man because they lived in interesting locales and met many different people. Soriano told Starweek, "I thought what my father was doing was good. He was a great example for me. He was probably the reason I joined the military."

When Soriano was only seven years old, his father, a corporal in the 57th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Scouts, was captured during the Korean War when the Japanese attacked Corregidor. Along with all the other men captured in battle, Soriano's father was forced to march to a camp for prisoners of war in Tarlac. Many men, including Federico's brother, died on the march to the camp, known as a death march, but Soriano's father survived and was forced to stay at the internment camp for three years. When her husband was captured, Soriano's mother packed her family up and moved them back to the Philippines to keep them all safe. The family stayed there until Federico was released.

Moved to the United States

In the 1960s, not long after Soriano's father was reunited with his family, the Sorianos moved to Salinas, California. After they became citizens of the United States Soriano's father joined the United States Army as a corporal. When he retired he was a major. As the children were getting used to their new home, Soriano's parents took care to make certain that their children learned English quickly after their move so that they could quickly become integrated into their new world.

Soriano graduated from the Salinas High School. While he was in high school he participated in sports, and also joined a Filipino dance troupe with his sister. Dance classes taught Soriano, among other things, how to do the tinikling, which is a Filipino folk dance done with poles. Soriano's family, while wishing their children become easily integrated into their new society, also wanted to make certain that they kept a connection with their home heritage, and this was one great way to do that. Both children were raised to be independent, free-thinking individuals, but were also instilled with a dose of the Filipino view of family values and respect for elders. His upbringing would serve Soriano well in his future endeavors.
Joined Army as Second Lieutenant

After high school Soriano went on to attend San Jose State University. He graduated in 1969 with a degree in management. He went on to get a master's degree at the same school. When it was time for Soriano to choose a career, he asked his father about a career in the military, and his father responded positively. The military opened a range of opportunities for young Soriano that other careers simply could not offer him. He told the Asian Week website, "I was interested in that way of life, which can be personally and professionally rewarding."

Soriano joined the Army, and in 1970 was commissioned through the San Jose State University's ROTC program as a second lieutenant of infantry. At the time he entered the military it was already a very diverse organization, and Soriano has said that he suffered none of the racism that had afflicted minorities earlier. He told Starweek magazine, "I never really thought about [racism] much. If I did I don't remember." It was actually the diversity of the military that had encouraged Soriano to join-he has always believed that diversity gave the military much of its strength.

Gulf War and Other Assignments

Throughout his career Soriano attended several military schools. In 1989 he graduated from the Army War College. He believed that skills learned in the military could be taken successfully into any profession. Rather than racial difficulties, Soriano faced the regular challenges of progression in the military: working alongside thousands of others for an increasingly smaller number of positions as he moved up. He told Starweek, "The challenge is always seeking those opportunities that allow you to progress, that allow you to get better. And that's what I did, that's how I rose through the ranks, how I got all the right jobs, the right positions. I worked as hard as I could, tried to be the best that I could possibly be."

After his initial training, in 1973 Soriano commanded Company C, 3d Battalion, 47th Infantry of the 3d Brigade of the U.S. 9th Infantry Division. He held that position until 1975. Soriano was next given the position of assistant commander of the 1st Infantry Division of American peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. He also served in the Gulf War, becoming the chief of a liaison team to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force sent to Saudi Arabia. In 1992 he was sent to be the Army Section chief of the Secretary of Defense Gulf War Report team for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Part of Homeland Security After September 11th

Because of his good performance record, Soriano became the director for operations, readiness, and mobilization at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans. In that position he made certain that Army units were prepared to be instantly deployed on missions around the world. He was specifically in charge of troops in Haiti, Bosnia, Somalia, and other areas of tension around the world. Of all his positions Soriano told the Asian Week website, "It's a significant responsibility. You're entrusted with the lives of the soldiers and their families. It takes dedication and hard work to succeed." And these were things that Soriano was more and more proving that he had.

After September 11, 2001, when the World Tade Center buildings were destroyed by terrorists, the U.S. government set up a homeland security department under the Joint Forces Command. This department ran separately from the its civilian counterpart. Soriano was given the office of the second director of homeland security in the military in November of 2001. He held the position for ten months before he was made, in 2002, a commanding general of I Corps and Fort Lewis in Washington, a position he held for the rest of his career.

Retired and Visited Philippines

When he retired in 2004 Soriano was a three-star lieutenant general. The day he attained that position he became the highest-ranking Filipino-American in the United States armed forces, and only the second general ever to have Filipino roots. Soriano attended an event at the White House when President Arroyo of the Philippines and his wife visited the United States.

Soriano married Vivian Guillermo, whose parents were from Laoag in the Philippines. She was born in California. The two had two children, Melissa and Keith. In 2004 Soriano and his family went back to the Philippines to visit relatives. It was Soriano's first return to the country of his birth. Soriano told Starweek that it was possible to achieve success in one's chosen field "if a person establishes the goals and objectives, works very hard at what he does, and if that person doesn't give up too easily and commits himself, dedicates himself to what he wants to do."

Soriano has been given many awards over the lifetime of his careers, including the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Defense Superior Service Medal, four awards of the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, and several Army Commendation and Achievement Medals. He has also received many badges over his career, including the expert infantryman's badge and has been ranger and airborne qualified.

More info about Lt. Gen Edward Soriano can be found here