#WalangPasok – May 7 2022 declared a holiday in Pampanga
The Philippines will be commemorating the 80th death anniversary of Jose Abad Santos, former Supreme Court Chief Justice and World War II hero, this coming May 7, Saturday.
It is a special non-working day in Pampanga as well as in Angeles City by virtue of Republic Act (RA) 8815, which was enacted during the time of former President Joseph Estrada.
Born in San Fernando, Pampanga, Abad-Santos was the country’s Chief Justice from December 24, 1941 until his death – covering the first four months of the war. Prior to that, Abad-Santos served as speaker of the House of Representatives.
During the early weeks of the Japanese occupation, then-President Manuel Quezon asked Abad Santos to come with him together with other high-ranking government officials in seeking refuge in Australia but he declined it.
Quezon instead appointed Abad-Santos as the de facto leader of civil government in areas not yet occupied by Japanese forces, effectively making him acting president.
He was performing this duty when he and his son Pepito was arrested by Japanese forces in Cebu City on April 1942. He was falsely accused of ordering the destruction of essential infrastructures in the city to render them unusable for the invaders. When told that he can be a free man if he collaborates with the Japanese, he rejected the offer.
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.”
It must be noted though that several biographical accounts, including the one posted in the government’s Official Gazette, indicate that Abad Santos’ execution actually took place May 2, 1942 and not May 7, 1942. However, RA 8815 has not been amended.