Iloilo town honors Communist son on National Heroes Day*

ILOILO City – Tigbauan town, 20 kilometers south of this city, celebrated on Monday the National Heroes Day by laying boquettes to the monument of Jose Rizal and unveiling the marker for its own son, Jose Aquilino Tronco Tangente, communist guerilla killed in combat exactly 30 years ago.

Mayor Suzette Alquisada, was almost in tears, as she expressed gratitude that Tangente, her uncle, is finally recognized and thanked members of the municipal council for enacting a resolution for that. “I am grateful to the municipal council for recognizing his great contributions in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship,” she said.

Tangente went underground when dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972. He was in his second year at the Loyola School of Theology, two years shy of ordination in the Archdiocese of Jaro. He was “Ka Brando” and “Ka Baran”, among his other aliases, in the countryside.

He was a member of the local negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in the peace talks with the Corazon Aquino administration after the downfall of dictator Marcos. He was killed during the peace talks, August 28, 1987 in Pandan, Antique, in a clash with the Army’s 47th Infantry Batallion.

His wife, Elma Villaron, also a Communist cadre, was killed years ahead of him. A Panay Tumandok, “Ka Randa” was buried with her four comrades in a common gave in the hinterlands of Capiz.

Vice Mayor Virgilio Teruel read the resolution recognizing Tangente’s heroism and handed the copy to Easter Grace, 37, elder of the two children of Tangente. Her younger sister, Hasmin Roja, was in Manila and could not make it to occasion.

Maria Cristina Rodriguez, representing the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, admitted she and members of the Bantayog Foundation, have to explain why it recognizes as heroes those who took up arms and waged a rebellion against the government.

“When a government such as the Marcos dictatorship becomes illegal and oppressive, it the duty of the people to oppose it,” Rodriguez explained.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani, a park in Quezon City has memorial walls where the names of the anti-Marcos opposition leaders and members of the armed resistance to the dictatorship, are enscribed. (Atty. Pistong Melliza |

* This article by Atty. Melliza first appeared in his blogspot


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