SANCHEZ, Augusto S.

Sanchez Augusto SantosAugusto Sanchez, popularly called Bobbit, started to practice law in the early 1960s in the law office of Senator Jovito Salonga. He later established his own law office.

At the same time he published and edited a weekly newspaper which circulated in his hometown of Pasig. The weekly Post became such an irritant with Pasig politicos they were soon calling the paper the Weekly Pest.

Bobbit first came to public notice when he was elected delegate to the 1971 constitutional Commission. However, his hopes for constitutional reform, shared by thousands of his countrymen, were dashed to bits when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972.

Bobbit went into hiding for a while but eventually resumed his law practice. However, abuses under martial law could not keep him quiet and so eventually he and other human rights lawyers put up Mabini, which took an openly critical stance against martial law while defending victims of its abuses. Bobbit was Mabini’s first chair, becoming the “epoxy”, in the words of fellow human rights lawyer Rene Saguisag, that glued together lawyers with conscience as well as monumental egos.

As Mabini chair, Bobbit became active in other causes spawned by martial law abuses, and he was later seen heading marches and protest rallies against the Marcos dictatorship.

In 1984, a year after Senator Benigno Aquino’s assassination, Bobbit ran for the Batasang Pambansa, the puppet Congress under the martial law government. He surprised himself and everyone else by winning. He served up to 1986. He would later say that he decided to run as a way of biding for time and as a counter-offensive against plans to arrest and silence him.

When he won his seat, Bobbit realized then the public’s increasingly open disenchantment with martial law. EDSA 1 was bound to happen.

After the dictatorship was dismantled and Corazon Aquino became president in 1986, Bobbit became the new president’s labor secretary, but only for a few months. Cory Aquino relieved him of the post, sacrificing him to appease persistent military pressures, who suspected Bobbit of being a communist, and to please her business supporters, who thought that Bobbit as labor secretary leaned too much on the side of the labor.

Bobbit also received warnings that elements of the military were hatching plans to kill him. When friend and colleague Orlando Olalia, also a lawyer, was assassinated, Bobbit knew he might be next in the hit list. He left the country for a few days returning only when the military plot to kill progressives in government, called the “God Save the Queen”, was busted. Bobbit took his relief as labor secretary as one battle lost but maybe one life, or several lives, saved.

The following year, Bobbit ran for the Senate, but he lost, many believe, due to cheating, black propaganda and the real politic hounding the Aquino transition government.

After that, Bobbit took no more public positions, reverting to lawyering, and to the legal defense of cases of victims of government abuse, away from the limelight but where his gifts as bar topnotcher and brilliant lawyer best applied.

Bobbit died of natural causes on 15 February 2003. He was 71.

Born 6 August 1932 in Pasig, Rizal
Died 15 February 2003 in Metro Manila
Parents : Fernando K. Sanchez and Josefa D. Santos
Spouse : Lolita Panton
Children : Chito, Irene, Josephine, Anthony and Victor
Education : Elementary – Pasig Elementary School
High School – Rizal High School
College – Bachelor of Laws, College of Law, San Beda College