Ecija town unveils monument of Epifanio de los Santos
Manny Galvez (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2014 - 12:00am

SAN ISIDRO, Nueva Ecija, Philippines – A 10-foot high statue of the first Filipino governor of this province, Epifanio de los Santos, after whom Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare was named, was unveiled here yesterday morning.       

The statue, made of cement and painted bronze, was opened to the public following a morning Mass at the San Isidro ng Magsasaka parish church in front of the Plaza de los Santos and just across the town hall.

The monument was a pet project of Class 1958 of the General de Jesus Academy High School led by its president, Romeo Lorenzo.

Lorenzo, younger brother of former fourth district representatives Victorio Lorenzo and Julita Lorenzo-Villareal, said the statue was a fitting tribute to De los Santos, more popularly known as Don Panyong, considered one of the most illustrious Novo Ecijanos in history.

“This is in fact long overdue and we should be proud of him, the first democratically elected governor of Nueva Ecija,” Lorenzo said.

The event was graced by relatives and granddaughters of De los Santos among them former press undersecretary and now Manila Bulletin vice president for public relations Carmencita de los Santos-Suva, Angelita de los Santos, Julieta de los Santos and Yolanda de los Santos, Mayor Cesario Ileto Lopez Jr., Vice Mayor Gerry Cruz, Councilor Larry Jimenez and municipal administrator Napoleon Ocampo, among others.

The project was funded by the municipal government and a cash donation from Suva.

“I thank this class for recognizing my lolo (grandfather),” Suva said, recalling that the library put up by his grandfather was often visited by past presidents, including Emilio Aguinaldo and Manuel Luis Quezon.

She said they are planning to put up a museum in his honor.

Considered a genius in his time, De los Santos, whose first name Epifanio was drawn from the word “epiphany” (divine manifestation), excelled in no less than 28 professions.

He was born on April 7, 1871 in Malabon as the only child of Escolastico de los Santos and Antonina Cristobal.

De los Santos graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Bachelor of Arts at Ateneo de Manila and finished law at the University of Sto. Tomas, emerging as Bar topnotcher in 1898.

He was an academician and scholar, bibliographer, artist, biographer, civil servant, critic, essayist, ethnographer, journalist, historian, jurist, librarian, linguist and polyglot, monographer, musician, novelist, paleographer, philanthropist, philologist, philosopher, poet, researcher and revolutionary leader all rolled into one.

He was the first Filipino to have been elected Novo Ecijano governor in 1902. He was re-elected in 1904.

He was also associate editor of the revolutionary newspaper La Independencia in 1898 with the pen name Solon. As publisher, he published Tagalog literature and the “Confidential Letter of Dr. Jose Rizal,” among others. 

In 1900, he was named district attorney of this town and in 1904, was designated provincial fiscal in Bulacan and Bataan.           

He was known to have built the largest collection of books and antiquities in the country, including 2,000 book titles, many of which were extraordinary.

He died of cardiac arrest on April 28, 1928 in Manila at the age of 57.

In recognition of his contributions to arts, culture and the country’s history, the 23.8-kilometer Highway 54 passing through six cities and 17 towns in Metro Manila was named Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) by virtue of Republic Act 2140 on April 7, 1959.

EDSA is now considered the most historic highway where two people power revolutions were staged, the first in 1986 and the second in 2001 which led to the ouster from Malacañang of sitting presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada, respectively.


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