Philippine Tragedy

Philippine Tragedy
by Arsenio H. Lacson
Star Reporter
April 29, 1949

Mrs. Aurora Quezon, and two very dear friends of mine, her daughter Baby, and son-in-law Philip, are dead- foully murdered by the very men for whom the late Manuel L. Quezon had initiated his Social Justice program. The dastardly crime, perpetrated, according to reports, by a Huk ban, barely two weeks after Elpidio Quirino’s brazen boast that peace and order has been completely restored throughout the Philippines, has shocked the nation, and alienated whatever sympathy decent people had for Huks.

I know the peasants have a legitimate grievance against the government, but in Heaven’s name, what possible purpose is served in this senseless andinsane killing?

Mrs. Quezon was doing so much good. Hers was a life dedicated to the service of our people, to the improvement of the lot of the common man for whom the Huks claim that they are fighting. And Baby, so active in charity work, supporting several schools for indigent children in the noble traditions of her late great father– why did she have to die in the hands of men who claim that they are fighting for a better world?

That the Huks ambushed Mrs. Quezon and party in the mistaken notion that they were shooting at Quirino and a bunch of government officials who were scheduled to motor to Baler does not in any way mitigate from the neinousness of their black crime.

It is folly to believe that the Philippines be made a better place to live in by destroying one man. The assassination of Quirino, useless and vicious that he is, will solve nothing. For nothing is ever settled unless it is settled right, and the Huks, whatever their grievances may be, have no right to take the law into their own hands.

At the same time, the death of Mrs. Quezon and her innocent companions, casualties in the fratricidal war that is now raging in Central Luzon, should teach all of us a lesson. Man at bay is the deadliest and most dangerous game at all. When you hunt him down like an animal and shoot him, it should not surprise you that he turns into a mad dog.

The responsibility for this lies with short-sighted men in the government whose strategy of force on an oppressed peasantry, impressing on the peasants their lack of human rights, has taught them to strike violently, for violence only breeds violence.

The problem of Central Luzon must be solved once and for all, if there is to be peace and order and an end to all these senseless killing of the innocent. It must be solved wisely and decisively. But first, the mad dogs who snuffed out the life of Mrs. Quezon and her companions must be brought to justice, and dealt with swiftly and implacably. By the outrage they have perpetrated, they have forfeited the right to live.

Arsenio Lacson
Author: Arsenio Lacson

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