(Written by Ace Alegre, originally posted at Nordis)
An Ibaloi scion who joined the New Peoples Army in the eighties and martyred six years later is among 14 new heroes enshrined November 30, National Heroes Day at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.
Wright M. Molintas Jr., who used the nom de guerre “Ka Chadli”, a scion of two prominent Ibaloi clans was immortalized on the Wall of Remembrance this year in the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation’s Annual Celebration of Martyrs and Heroes in the Bantayog grounds in Quezon City.
Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation processes nominations under an earlier set of standards of who have given their lives in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship, and honors them with their surviving family annually.
To date, Molintas Jr. is the second Benguet Ibaloi honored in the Bantayog after young Baguio activist Jennifer Cariño who was earlier enshrined on the Wall of Remembrance along with Kalinga chieftain Macliing Dulag and Pedro Dungoc, both from Tinglayan, Kalinga; and human rights defender Atty. Arthur Galace.
Among the more prominent honorees at the Bantayog are Sen. Benigno Aquino II and former Pres. Corazon Aquino, Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, film director Catalino Brocka, journalist Jose Burgoz Jr., Gov. Cesar Climaco, historian Renato Constantino, nun Mariani Dimaranan; Sen. Jose Diokno, Italian priest Tullio Favali, legislator Bonifacio Gillego, Gov. Evelio Javier, Edgar Jopson, Dean Armando Malay and his wife Paula Carolina, Sen. Raul Manglapus, Justice Jose B Reyes, Dr. Nemesio Prudente, Sen. Lorenzo Tanada and Justice Claudio Teehankee.
“It is really an honor for us (the family) to have Chadli in there,” said Chadli’s older brother, former Baguio City councilor and lawyer Jose Mencio Molintas, a former UN expert on Indigenous Peoples Mechanisms and a known social activist too.
His example of selfless service and “offering his life so that others may live” is worthy of emulation even in everyday life under the social realities of today, added Atty. Molintas. “The youth should learn from his and the other heroes’ example of love of country and devotion to democracy.”
Leaving a supposedly promising career after graduating from his Geodetic Engineering scholarship at UP Diliman, Chadli joined the NPA in Kalinga province in 1981.
He was in the underground movement in Northern Luzon until he was slain in a supposed encounter with government troopers in La Union on July 9, 1987.
The NDF-allied Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front also enshrined Ka Chadli as “a Hero of the Cordillera Peoples” and named the New Peoples Army’s Regional Operational Command (ROC) after him – the Chadli Molintas Command (CMC).
Chadli, a soft-spoken but jolly and witty charmer, was a by-word everywhere he went while with the NPA, said a former comrade.
North To South Heroes
Listed this year with Molintas Jr. are Davao activist Edwin Laguerder, Norberto Acebedo Jr.; Amada Alvarez; Marsman Alvarez; Monico Atienza; Silme Domingo; Rolando Federes; Ceferino Flores Jr.; Ruben Lunas; Joji Paduano; Rosalina Galang Reyes; Dr. Arturo Taca; and Gene Viernes.
Edwin Laguerder, an adviser of a farmer’s organization in Davao who was murdered in December 1987. He was also a prominent student leader and a member of the Pi Sigma Fraternity that was founded in 1972 to mould frat brods into the social realities and facing them.
So was Prof. Monico Atienza who was a faculty adviser of the Pi Sigma in UP Diliman.
Ruben Felipe, their brod and former student leader said, “Pi Sigma salutes the brods who have offered time, their thoughts, and even lives for freedom, justice and democracy.”