CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Senior Public Works Undersecretary Rafael Yabut and his brother –former Pampanga Board Member Ricardo Yabut led the inauguration of the newly renovated monument and marker of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos recently in Malabang, Lanao del Sur to give fitting honor to a Kapampangan who gave his life for the country.
The former Chief Justice, the acting Commonwealth president during the World War II Japanese occupation was executed for refusing to accept Japanese subjugation on May 2, 1942.
Ricardo, the elder Yabut said the face lifting of the Abad Santos monument is a fitting tribute to his contribution and legacy as Kapampangan hero.
The former board member said the finishing and completion of the project is timely as the country commemorated Abad Santos birthday anniversary sometime in February this year.
“Of course, this project will not be realized without the support and encouragement of former President and Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and continuous follow- ups of Pampanga Governor Lilia G. Pineda,” he said.
The new monument and marker of the late chief justice bearing the signature of former President Arroyo and Governor Pineda was unveiled in a simple ceremony attended by the Yabut brothers representing the two lady leaders of Pampanga.
“The Kapampangan pride has been heightened with the completion of the monument and marker,” the former board member said.
Asked how they found the monument site, Yabut said he and his brother saw it in a campaign sortie in Lanao del Sur when he was gunning as representative of a partylist in 2016.
“We discovered the monument of Jose Abad Santos, a Kapampangan and former chief justice in Malabang town where he was believed to have been executed,“ Yabut said.
With the discovery, the Yabut brothers pushed for its renovation and started to ask support from Pampanga leaders.
After which, they presented three new designs to Mrs. Arroyo and Governor Pineda who are apparently eager to renovate the monument for their approval.
Sometime in August last year, Arroyo and Pineda and some friends gave donations for the renovation and improvement of the site.
It can be noticed that the renovation project still retained the markers installed by the Freemasons in 1956, the commemorative marker put up by the local officials of the City of San Fernando headed by then Mayor Oscar Rodriguez and a new marker written by Mrs. Arroyo which included an account by her father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal.
Born on February 19, 1886, Abad Santos’ grave has not been found since the war ended in 1945.
With the completion of the renovation project, the Yabut brothers said they are thankful to the two lady officials of Pampanga for giving honor and recognition to true-blooded Kapampangan martyr Jose Abad Santos, the Pride of Pampanga.
Yabut said the are working with installation of a new monument of the former chief justice in Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental, the only town in the country that bears his name with the support of the two Cabalen lady leaders.
It was learned that Abad Santos was given 10 minutes to talk to his son, Pepito, who was with him in his journey from Corregidor to Cebu province.
The chief justice told his son. “Do not cry, Pepito. Show these people that you are brave. It is a rare opportunity for me to die for our country. Not everybody is given that chance.”
A Japanese interpreter recounted how Abad Santos “walked to the execution ground with absolute tranquility. Behind a coconut grove at a turn of the road, Abad Santos disappeared with his executioners.”