May 2nd, 2012 Headsman
On this date in 1942, Jose Abad Santos was shot by the Japanese forces occupying the Philippines.
Brother of a famous socialist agitator who fought the Japanese from the bush, Jose Santos had an impeccably mainline elite career: university degrees in America, corporate lawyering gigs, followed by a stint in the Ministry of Justice and elevation to the high court.
In December 1941, Santos administered the oath of office to re-elected president Manuel Quezon even as the archipelago was being invaded by the Japanese. Quezon would evacuate, forming a government-in-exile.
Santos preferred to stay, and would spend his last remaining weeks as the Philippines’ Acting President.
“It is an honor to die for one’s country,” he would say to his son, after their capture. (The son survived.) “Not everybody has that chance.”
Santos (who’s also been on stamps) is pictured in the back left on the 1000-peso bill. (The woman at bottom front is another executed patriot, Josefa Llanes Escoda.)
Also on this date
- 1883: Heinrich "Henry" Furhmann, oldest hanged in Montana
- 2000: An adulteress, by stoning
- 1960: Caryl Chessman
- 1450: William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk
- Unspecified Year: Faust's Gretchen