Jose Abad Santos

Martyr and Patriot

Born: February 19, 1886

Died: May 7, 1942

Mr. William Alexander Sutherland, Superintendent of The Pensionados to the United States, had this to say of Abad Santos: If America had great patriots in the persons of Washington and Lincoln, the Philippines had equally great patriots like Rizal and Abad Santos.

Si Jose Abad Santos ay ipinanganak sa San Fernando, Pampanga, noong ika-19 ng Pebrero ng 1886. Ang kaniyang mga magulang ay sina Vicente Abad Santos at Toribia Basco.

Si Jose ay nagsimula ng pag-aaral sa kaniyang sariling bayan. Noong 1904 ay ipinadala siya sa Amerika upang mag-aral bilang isang pensiyonado ng Pilipinas. Nag-aral siya sa paaralang Sta. Clara sa California. Nagpatuloy siya sa Unibersidad ng Illinois. Dito niya natapos ang karunungan sa pagkamanananggol. Nag-aral din siya sa North Western University. Sa George Washington University naman niya nakamit ang katibayan sa pagiging Master of Laws. Nakasulit siya sa pagkamanananggol sa pamahalaan noong 1911.

Si Amanda Teopaco ang naging maybahay ni Jose Abad Santos. Sila’y nagkaroon ng limang anak; sina Jose, Osmundo, Luz, Amanda at Victoria.

Maraming mahahalagang tungkulin ang ginampanan ni Jose Abad Santos. Siya’y naging Kalihim ng Katarungan. Noong 1926 ay pinanguluhan niya ang pangkat ng Misyon ng Edukasyon na naglakbay sa Estados Unidos. Noong 1931 siya ay naging mahistrado sa Ktt. Hukuman. Bago nagkadigma ay ibinalik siya ng Pangulong Quezon sa pagka-Kalihim ng Katarungan. Nang sumiklab ang digmaan noong 1941 siya’y naging Puno ng Kataas-taasang Hukuman at isa sa mga kasangguni sa malulubhang suliranin ng bansa. Kasama siya nina Quezon, Osmeña at Roxas sa Correjidor. Mula sa Correjidor siya’y nagpunta sa Cebu at kasama ang kaniyang anak. Bagama’t nanghihina ang katawan ay patuloy rin siya sa kaniyang mga gawain.

Nang magtungo sa Estados Unidos si Quezon naiwan si Abad Santos sa Pilipinas upang gampanan ang tungkulin ng Pangulo. Sa kaniya inihabilin ni Quezon ang pamahalaan.

Noong ika-11 ng Abril ng 1942 ay nadakip si Abad Santos at ang kaniyang anak na si Junior ng mga Hapones sa Carcar, Cebu. Inatasan siyang himuking sumuko si Manuel Roxas. Hindi ko magagawa iyan pagkat hindi ko nais sumira sa aking sumpa na pagtatapat sa Amerika, ang matapang na sagot ni Abad Santos.

Dinala si Abad Santos at ang kaniyang anak sa Mindanao. Paglunsad nila sa Cotabato ay nasagupa nila ang isang pangkat ng USAFFE na siyang nagpaulan sa kanila ng mga punlo. Nagsidapa ang mga Hapones ngunit si Abad Santos ay nanatiling nakatayo. Hindi siya kinamalasan ng sindak.

Noong ika-7 ng Mayo ng 1942 ay tinawag si Abad Santos ng isang interpreteng Hapones. Nang siya’y magbalik sa piling ng kanyang anak ay mahinahong ipinagtapat sa siya’y nahatulang patayin dahil sa pagtangging tumutlong sa Hukbong Hapones. Napaiyak si Junior ngunit si Abad Santos ay nakatawa pang sinabi sa anak, Huwag mong iluha, anak ko. Alalahanin mong ito’y isang pambihirang pagkakataong ipinagkaloob sa akin upang mamatay ng dahil sa bayan. Hindi ang balana’y pinagkakalooban nito.

Pagkasabi nito’y magkasabay na lumuhod ang mag-ama at dumalangin. Sila’y nagyakap. Pagkalipas ng ilang sandali ay inilabas sa piitan si Jose Abad Santos at binaril. Nang magbalik sa kulungan si Junior ang interpreteng si Kerji Fukui ay sinabi ang ganito, Ang iyong ama ay nagkaroon ng isang maligayang kamatayan.

Sinabi ng Pangulong Quezon, Sa ganang akin si Abad Santos ay isa sa lalong marangal, malinis at may kakayahang maglingkod sa pamahalaang Pilipinas.

Si William Alexander Sutherland, naging superintendente ng mga Pilipinong pensiyonado sa Estados Unidos, ay nagbigay ng kaniyang sariling kurokuro tungkol kay Abad Santos. Ito ang kaniyang sinabi, Kung ang Amerika ay nagkaroon ng dalawang pinakadakilang bayani sa katauhan nina Washington at Lincoln, ang Pilipinas naman ay nagkaroon din ng dalawang gaya nina Rizal at Abad Santos.

Jose Abad Santos was born in San Fernando, Pampanga, on February 19, 1886. His parents were Vicente Abad Santos and Toribia Basco.

Jose began studying in his home town. In 1904 he was sent to America as a student pensionado of the Philippines. He went to school in Sta. Clara, California. He resumed his studies in the University of Illinois, where he finished law. He also studied in North Western University. In George Washington University he obtained his master of laws. He qualified in the board examination in 1911.

He was married to Amanda Teopaco in whom he had five children. They were Jose, Osmundo, Luz, Amanda, and Victoria.

Jose Abad Santos handled many responsible positions. He became the Secretary of Justice. In 1926 he headed an educational mission to the United States. In 1932 he became magistrate of the Supreme Court. Before the war Pres. Quezon put him back as Secretary of Justice. When the war broke out in 1941 he became head of the Supreme Court and one of the advisers in dangerous problems of the country. He was with Quezon, Osmeña, and Roxas in Corregidor. From Corregidor he went to Cebu with his son. Even if he was becoming weak in body, he still continued to work.

When Quezon left for the United States, Abad Santos was left to perform the duty of the resident. To him was entrusted the Philippine government.

On April 11, Abad Santos was captured with his son Jose by the Japanese in Carcar, Cebu. He was ordered to make Manuel Roxas surrender. That I cannot do, said Abad Santos. I cannot break my promise to be true to America, he said bravely.

They took Abad Santos and his son to Mindanao. When they got off to Cotabato, they met a group of USAFFE that bombarded them. The Japanese soldiers lay down but Abad Santos remained standing alone. He showed no signs of fear.

On May 7, 1942, Abad Santos was called by a Japanese interpreter. When he came back he revealed to his son that he was sentenced to die for his refusal to cooperate with the Japanese. Junior cried, but Abad Santos, the father laughingly told his son. Why son, do not shed tears for this is an unusual opportunity given to me to die for my country. Not everybody is given such an opportunity as this.

After saying this, both father and son knelt and prayed together. They embraced each other. After a few minutes the father was taken out and was shot. When the interpreter Kerji Fukui came back to Junior’s cell, he said, Your father had a pleasant death.

President Quezon said, To me, Abad Santos had a more honorable, cleaner, and more able way of serving the Filipino people.

Mr. William Alexander Sutherland who was superintendent of the pensionados to the United States gave his own version about Santos. This was what he said, If America had great patriots in the persons of Washington and Lincoln, the Philippines had equally great patriots like Rizal and Abad Santos.

Learn this Filipino word:

di-maabot-tanáw