Capitol to improve Abad Santos marker in Lanao

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Provincial Government of Pampanga expressed their willingness to improve the marker of late Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos in Lanao province where he was executed.

This, after Department of Public Works and Highways Undersecretary Rafael Yabut showed to Second District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Governor Lilia Pineda photographs of the said marker which seems to be abandoned.

The photographs, which were taken during the visit of Yabut in Lanao during campaign of his brother former Board Member Ric Yabut as partylist representative, bared the condition of the grave site of the Kapampangan hero where tall trees and banana plants surrounded the marker and a canal was situated in front of it.

The memorial is located at a backyard place of a private lot in Malabang town, Lanao del Sur where Abad Santos is believed to be buried on May 7 of 1942 after Japanese forces executed him because he refused to cooperate during their occupation here.

The monument, which was erected on 1959 based on its markers, has a bronze relief of the martyred chief justice and a commemorative marker was put up by the city government of San Fernando in 2009.

Yabut, during a meeting with local officials and leaders of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. sought the help of local officials and international Architect Felino Palafox, Jr. to refurbish and improve the monument of Abad Santos.

He reportedly presented three new designs for a monument, which could cost from as low as P160,000 to as high as P7.5 million.

Pineda vowed to provide funds from the provincial government as well as seek donors to improve the grave site of the Kapampangan hero.

Abad Santos is considered the first Acting President of the country after the late President Manuel Quezon appointed him before he went in exile to Australia at the start of the Japanese invasion.

The exact grave site of the San Fernando native is still not found despite intensive search since his son Pepito, failed to identify the place after the war because he lost his point of references.

The city government here, meanwhile, continues to commemorate the life of Kapampangan hero in his monument standing at the Heroes Hall here.

Former City of San Fernando Mayor and Third District Representative Oscar Rodriguez has filed a bill moving the local holiday in his memorial from his date of execution to his birthdate on February 19, similar to other national heroes.

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