Born and raised in Daet, Rogelio Guevarra, 45, worked at several jobs in Manila during his bachelor days. He was sales clerk at an appliance store and then tailor at a shop in Sampaloc, Manila, where his father also worked. During visits to the province, he met Juana Abad, wooed and married her, and the two settled in Matnog, to farm on Juana’s father’s land. The couple had five children.
Benjamen Suyat, 47, was born in Tabaco, Albay but he and his siblings grew up in Matnog. Seeking sanctuary from the Japanese during its occupation of the Philippines in the 1940s, the Suyat couple relocated to mountainous Camarines Norte. Benjamen became a tenant farmer, and his wife Margarita sold farm produce in the local market. The couple had ten children.
Jose Alcantara was a few days shy of his 40th birthday when he was killed. The son of tenant farmers, he worked hard in doing odd jobs as a young boy in Payo, Catanduanes, where he was born. In search for greener pastures, the Alcantaras moved to Naga where Jose found work in a bakery, married a coworker, and moved to Daet.
Elmer Lagarteja was born in Basud, Camarines Norte. His father was a farmer renting a piece of land from a landowner, and his mother a dressmaker and hairstylist. Elmer earned a few units at a local college in Daet. He left the college when his parents separated, and found work at a clothes factory in Angono, Rizal, to help his mother rear his four younger siblings.
The four killed at the rally were all ordinary people, leading mostly uneventful lives. But they heard the call of citizenship at a time when it was most needed. In doing so, they gave their lives so that justice and democracy may be enjoyed again in this country. Because they were ordinary folk and lived in faraway villages, their names would not be remembered if the country that owes them their freedom would not put their names on the record.