CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Wednesday, May 7 is a special non-working day in Pampanga and Angeles City.

The holiday will give way to the commemoration of the 72nd death anniversary of Kapampangan martyr Jose Abad Santos, a former Supreme Court Chief Justice and World War II hero.

May 7 of each year has been declared a special non-working day in Pampanga as well as Angeles City by virtue of Republic Act 8815 came into effect during the time of former President Joseph Estrada.

Abad-Santos, who was born in San Fernando, Pampanga on February 19, 1886, was the country’s fifth top magistrate and served as speaker of the House of Representatives and an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

President Manuel Quezon later gave Abad Santos the task of supervising the civil government in areas not yet occupied by Japanese forces, effectively making him the acting president during that time after he refused to come with the former to Australia.

It was during that time when he and his son Pepito were arrested in Cebu City. He was falsely accused of ordering the destruction of essential infrastructures in the city to render them useless for the Japanese. He also steadfastly refused to collaborate with the invaders.

Shortly before his execution in Malabang, Lanao, Abad Santos 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." (JTD)