Every year, on May 7, the Philippines celebrate Jose Abad Santos Day. Jose Abad Santos, former Chief Justice of the Philippines during World War II, is honoured on this day. Santos displayed extraordinary patriotism and valour for his country. He refused to flee the country and refused to cooperate with the Japanese during his capture, resulting in his eventual execution. Santos, along with two other heroes, is depicted on the thousand peso bill for his sacrifice and resistance against the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II.
The background of Jose Abad Santos Day
On August 21, 2000, the Philippine Congress designated May 7 as a non-working holiday in the province of Pampanga in honour of Jose Abad Santos, the supreme martyr and hero. All schools, religious institutions, civic organisations, provincial and municipal communities, and private citizens must observe this day with the proper ceremonies.
The birth date of Santos is February 19, 1886. He was raised in Pampanga during the Spanish-Philippine War of Independence. He was a member of the first generation of Filipinos sent to American universities for higher education. Santos accepted positions as legal counsel for the Philippine National Bank and the Manila Railroad Company after earning his law degree. He continued to quickly ascend the ranks. Santos was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on December 24, 1941.
Santos exhibited unwavering patriotism in March 1942, when President Manuel Quezon invited him to flee with him to the United States in response to the rapidly advancing Japanese invasion. Santos, however, declined, opting to remain in the Philippines. Quezon appointed Santos as the Acting President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on March 17, 1942, just prior to his departure for the United States.
On April 11, 1942, Santos and his son were captured by the Japanese in Cebu. Abad’s refusal to collaborate with the Japanese during his capture was further evidence of his personal integrity and patriotism. Even when death was imminent, he displayed courage and self-sacrifice.
Santos was executed by Japanese forces on May 2, 1942, following two days of confinement.
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Five essential facts about JOSE ABAD SANTOS
Pepito’s testimony indicates that Santos was executed on May 2, 1942, a date previously thought to be May 7.
Santos was a member of the Central United Methodist Church and the Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity.
After the war, several unsuccessful attempts were made to locate his burial site.
Three times in succession, President Manuel Quezon appointed Santos as Secretary of Justice.
His moniker was Sengseng.