Pedro Abad Santos
Pedro Abad Santos was a Filipino
Filipino people
The Filipino people or Filipinos are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the islands of the Philippines. There are about 92 million Filipinos in the Philippines, and about 11 million living outside the Philippines ....

 doctor, lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

, Marxist and politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 who later became a leader of the first of two Philippine communist rebellions from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Early years

Abad Santos was born to a wealthy family in the town of San Fernando (now City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Pampanga is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Pampanga is bordered by the provinces of Bataan and Zambales to the west, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija to the north, and Bulacan to the southeast...

). He was the eldest of the 10 children of Vicente Abad Santos and Toribia Basco. He is a brother of Jose Abad Santos
José Abad Santos
In 1919, Abad Santos would become instrumental in laying the legal groundwork as well as drafting the by-laws and constitution of the Philippine Women's University, the country's and Asia's first private non-sectarian institution for higher learning for women...

, who would become chief justice
Chief Justice
The Chief Justice in many countries is the name for the presiding member of a Supreme Court in Commonwealth or other countries with an Anglo-Saxon justice system based on English common law, such as the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Court of Final Appeal of...

 of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Supreme Court of the Philippines
The Supreme Court of the Philippines is the Philippines' highest judicial court, as well as the court of last resort. The court consists of 14 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice...

. He was also the uncle of another Vicente Abad Santos
Vicente Abad Santos
Vicente Abad Santos was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.-Profile:He was born in San Fernando, in Pampanga province of central Luzon...

, who would become an associate justice of the Philippine Supreme Court.

Pedro, or Perico as he was known, completed his secondary education at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran
Colegio de San Juan de Letran
The Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Letran College, or simply Letran is a private Roman Catholic institution of learning located in Intramuros, Manila, in the Philippines. The college was founded in 1620. Colegio de San Juan de Letran has the distinction of being the oldest college in the...

. He later enrolled in the University of Santo Tomas
University of Santo Tomas
The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines , is a private Roman Catholic university run by the Order of Preachers in Manila. Founded on April 28, 1611 by archbishop of Manila Miguel de Benavides, it has the oldest extant university charter in the...

 where he received his Doctor of Medicine. He later took and topped the medical board examinations.

After several years, he studied law by himself and took the bar examinations (this was allowed at the time), which he topped.

Freedom fighter

There are no extant evidence of his activities during the Philippine Revolution of 1896 but he was already a major in the revolutionary forces, under Gen. Maximino Hizon, during the Philippine-American War
Philippine-American War
The Philippine–American War, also known as the Philippine War of Independence or the Philippine Insurrection , was an armed conflict between a group of Filipino revolutionaries and the United States which arose from the struggle of the First Philippine Republic to gain independence following...

. He was eventually captured by the Americans and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for his guerrilla activities. But his family, who hired the prominent American lawyer John Haussermann to defend him during his trial, was apparently able to secure a pardon.

Lawyer and politician

In 1906, Pedro was admitted to the bar and began a legal career that followed the career paths of politicians of his generation. From 1907 to 1909, he served as justice of the peace
Justice of the Peace
A justice of the peace is a puisne judicial officer elected or appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. Depending on the jurisdiction, they might dispense summary justice or merely deal with local administrative applications in common law jurisdictions...

 in his hometown. He served as councilor of his hometown from January 1910 to March 1912. From 1916 to 1922, he represented the second district of Pampanga in the Philippine Assembly for two terms. In 1922, he was also a member of the Philippine Independence Mission to the United States, headed by Sergio Osmeña.

But in 1926, when his younger brother Jose was already an undersecretary in the Department of Justice of the American colonial government, Pedro lost the election for governor of Pampanga. He would never again serve in any official capacity in the colonial or Philippine governments.

Pioneer Filipino Marxist

Instead Pedro, who was already 50 years old, joined his friends Crisanto Evangelista
Crisanto Evangelista
Crisanto Evangelista was a Filipino Communist politician of the first half of the 20th century.On May Day 1913, together with Herminigildo Cruz, he had attempted to guarantee basic workers' rights and unify the trade unions in the country.After defecting from the Nacionalista Party with its left...

, Antonio de Ora and Cirilo Bognot to study at the Lenin Institute in Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...


Pedro's protege, Luis Taruc
Luis Taruc
Luis Taruc was a Filipino political figure and communist insurgent. He was the leader of the Hukbalahap rebel group between 1942 and 1954. His involvement with the movement came after his initiation to the problems of agrarian Filipinos when he was a student in the early 1930s...

, described Pedro as a Marxist but not a Bolshevist. Marxist principles found fertile ground in Pampanga and the other provinces of the Central Luzon
Central Luzon
Central Luzon , also known as Region III , is an administrative division or region of the Republic of the Philippines, primarily serve to organize the 7 provinces of the vast central plain of the island of Luzon , for administrative convenience...

 region because of the poverty which farmers blamed on the land tenancy system prevalent at that time. Although the government repeatedly promised relief, land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

 in the Philippines would not take off until the 1960s.

On 26 October 1932, Pedro founded the Socialist Party of the Philippines. The following year Pedro established the Aguman Ding Maldang Talapagobra (Kapampangan
Kapampangan language
The Pampangan language, or Kapampangan , is one of the major languages of the Philippines. It is the language spoken in the province of Pampanga, the southern half of the province of Tarlac and the northern portion of the province of Bataan. Kapampangan is also understood in some barangays of...

 for 'Union of the Toiling Masses') which espoused land reform and mutual protection from landlord abuses.

In the 1930s, Filipino farmers frequently came to bloody encounters with their landlords that the government had to send several units of the Philippine Constabulary
Philippine Constabulary
The Philippine Constabulary ' was the oldest of four service commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was a gendarmerie type para-military police force of the Philippines established in 1901 by the United States-appointed administrative authority replacing the Guardia Civil...

 to keep the peace.

On the anniversary celebration of the Bolshevik Revolution on November 7, 1938, Filipino socialists and communists gathered at the Manila Grand Opera House
Manila Grand Opera House
The Manila Grand Opera House was a theater and opera house located in the Santa Cruz district of Manila on the intersection of Rizal Avenue and Doroteo Jose Street. Built in the mid-19th century as the H.T...

 and agreed to merge their organizations. They called the merged group Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (Tagalog for Communist Party of the Philippines). They also elected the following as their officers: Crisanto Evangelista as president, Pedro Abad Santos as vice president and Guillermo Capadocia
Guillermo Capadocia
Guillermo Capadocia was a Filipino politician and labour leader. He was a prominent leader of the Communist Party in the Philippines and different labour movements. During the last one and a half years of his life he was a regional guerrilla commander of the Hukbalahap.-Early life:Capadocia was...

 as secretary-general.

The following year, the administration of President Manuel Luis Quezon
Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines...

 formulated a reform program that was meant to address social problems in the Philippines. Quezon decided to launch it in Pampanga and Pedro's group organized a gathering of farmers and workers at San Fernando in February for the purpose.

Pedro's brother Jose, who was already justice secretary, pleaded with Pedro not to embarrass Quezon when Pedro introduced the President. Dutifully, Pedro introduced the President as a 'friend of the masses and the poor'. But before Quezon spoke, Pedro enumerated farmers' grievances and criticized the legal system that, he said, landlords used against the poor. He challenged his brother, who was sitting beside Quezon, to clean up the courts and sarcastically remarked that the 'secretary cannot help us if he just sits in his office.'

Last years

On 25 January 1942, the Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese occupation forces arrested Pedro and other Filipino leaders. He was still incarcerated at Fort Santiago
Fort Santiago
Fort Santiago is a defense fortress built for Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi. The fort is part of the structures of the walled city of Intramuros, in Manila, Philippines. José Rizal, the Philippines' national hero, was imprisoned in the fort before his execution in 1896...

 when his brother Jose, who was named Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in December of the previous year, was executed by the Japanese.

Pedro, who was then 66 years old, would stay in prison for two years, but he was released to his family because of a stomach ailment in 1944. After a few months of recuperation, he reported to President Jose Laurel
Jose Laurel
José Sotero "Pepe" Laurel III, also known as José S. Laurel III, was the ambassador of the Philippines in Japan during the World War II period.-Early life:He was born on August 27, 1914...

, who refused to return him to Japanese custody.

A bachelor, he joined his protege Luis Taruc, who had founded the guerilla force Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap
The Hukbalahap , was the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines , formed in 1942 to fight the Japanese Empire's occupation of the Philippines during World War II. It fought a second war from 1946 to 1954 against the pro-Western leaders of their newly independent country...

(Tagalog for People's Army Against the Japanese). On 15 January 1945, Pedro succumbed to complications of his stomach ailment at a guerilla base in Minalin, Pampanga 16 days before he turned 69.
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