Jose Abad Santos live and died for our country.
“It is a rare opportunity for me to die for our country. Not everybody is given that chance.”
When the Japanese occupied the Philippines, Jose Abad Santos chose to remain in the country and fulfill his role as Chief Justice rather than join the government in exile of Manuel L. Quezon in Washington D.C. And when he was arrested by the Japanese, he chose to die rather than swear allegiance to them.
Noong nasakop ng mga hapon ang Pilipinas, mas pinili nya na manatili sa bansa at gampanan ang kanyang tungkulin bilang Punong Mahistrado kaysa sumama sa government in exile ni Manuel L. Quezon sa Washington D.C. At nang madakip siya ng mga dayuhan, pinili niya na mamatay kaysa manumpa ng katapatan sa mga ito.
José Abad Santos y Basco was the fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He was born in San Fernando Pampanga.
Jose Abad Santos Day
May 7 is José Abad Santos Day in Pampanga, commemorating the execution of Kapampángan martyr and 5th Chief Justice of the Philippines José Abad Santos (February 19, 1886 – May 1, 1942, after refusing to cooperate with the Japanese during World War II.
Together with Josefa Llanes-Escoda and Vicente Lim, he is memorialized on the 1,000-peso banknote depicting Filipinos who fought and died resisting the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II.
Born in San Fernando, Pampanga, Abad Santos became Chief Justice on December 24, 1941, shortly after the outbreak of World War II.
When President Quezon left for the United States via Australia, he was given the choice to leave with the President but he preferred to stay in the Philippines to catty on his work and stay with his family.
Abad Santos was appointed as Acting President by President Quezon with full authority on behalf of the President in areas unoccupied by the Japanese.
He and his son Pepito were captured by the Japanese soldiers in Cebu. When they were made to swear allegiance to the Japanese flag, he said to his captors, “I would rather die than be a traitor. I would prefer to die rather than live in shame.”
Due to his constant refusal to cooperate with the Japanese, he was sentenced to death in Malabang, Lanao where he was shot to death on May 1, 1942. Before he was shot, his last words to his son were:
“Do not cry, Pepito, show to these people that you are brave. It is an honor to die for one’s country. Not everybody has that chance.”
Jose Abad Santos Day is observed in the province of Pampanga and Angeles City every May 7, commemorating Chief Justice Abad Santos execution. The date of his execution is widely known and often reported as May 7 or May 2, but the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) ascertains May 1, 1942, to be the date of his execution using Japanese war crime records found in the National Archives of the Philippines.