Silvino Barsana Agudo

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Attorney Silvino Barsana Agudo (also known as S.B. or Binong) was businessman, lawyer, World War II veteran, and public servant. Most notably, Silvino Agudo was the former Governor of Batanes Province (1968-1971) in the Philippines.

Origin: Agudo Family Name[edit]

The Agudo last name is traced back to “Tuvid du Materam” of Ivana, Batanes in 1751. When the Spanish missionaries observed that people had no formal name upon arrival to Batanes, the missionaries assigned names. Through the help of an interpreter, the Spanish asked, “Who is the leader of this village?” The leader of the Ivana village was “Tuvid du Materam.” In Ivatan, “Tuvid” means one who knows all things – like when it is the right time to fish, when to plant camote and other crops, and assist in giving birth. This is why “Tuvid” was leader of his village. They called him “du Materam” because he lived at the foot of the mountain called Mt. Materam. The mountain was called “Materam” because it means sharp in Ivatan and the mountain looks like the sharp edge of a bolo. It was because “Tuvid” knew everything and seemed to be sharp and because he lived at the edge of a sharp mountain the Spaniards rightfully gave the family name “Agudo”, which means sharp and bright in Spanish.

The Spaniards then told “Tuvid” the story of Jesus. “Tuvid” was pleased with the story and advised all the villagers to be hear the story as well. The village followed their leader, “Tuvid,” and found the Spaniards warm and interesting and agreed to be baptized in 1773. “Tuvid” was given the first name Eugenio, so thus his name was Eugenio Agudo. Eugenio had one son. The Spanish chose to give his son the name Jose after St. Joseph, the patron saint of Ivana, because the Spanish were so pleased with Eugenio’s assistance and compliance. This is how the Agudo name was born (the story of Tuvid provided by former Batanes Gov. Silvino B. Agudo).

Silvino's Early Years[edit]

Silvino Barsana Agudo was born on September 12, 1917, in the northern mainland provincial city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan, Philippines. Silvino was the second of six children of Pablo Agudo, a farmer turned tailor, and Consolacion Castillejos Barsana, a pre-school teacher, both natives of Ivana, Batanes.

Siblings:

1. VICENTE HOMOBONO AGUDO (born November 14, 1907; married Benjamina Pango of Ivana, they had 1 son, Vicente Jr.)

2. AURORA ELISA AGUDO (born April 22, 1915; died single and childless in 1949)

3. SILVINO ARTENIO AGUDO (born September 12,1917; married Honorata P. Arcilla, they had 7 children)

4. ROBUSTIANO FEDERICO AGUDO (born October 12, 1920; married Teodora "Dory" Villapando, they had 8 children)

5. RAMON AGUDO (born September 2, 1922; died single and childless in 1954)

6. DAZ AGUDO (born 1923 and died a the age of 5 due to the flu, trancaso)

7. SOCCORRO "CORRING" Agudo (born in 1925, married to Atty. and later Judge Deogracias Aggabao; they had three children. She passed away in 1960)

Silvino's parents moved to mainland Luzon because "farming (in Batanes) could not support the local population." Consequently, Silvino's father, Pablo, moved to Cagayan province and established a tailor shop in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, the capital of the province. His father's prospering business provided the opportunity for short vacations back to Ivana, Batanes.

Silvino Barsana Agudo's mother, Consolacion Castillejos Barsana, was born December 27, 1882 in Ivana, Batanes. Consolacion was a pre-school teacher by profession and her father, Luciano Barsana, served as Governor of Batanes.

Silvino cared for his mother who suffered for tuberculosis. However, Silvino's mother passed away on May 7, 1930, in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, when Silvino Barsana Agudo was 13.

Education[edit]

Silvino Barsana Agudo graduated from Cagayan National High School in Tuguegarao, Cagayan in March 1935. Immediately, after high school graduation Silvino's father made arrangements for him to go to Manila to pursue further studies. That was the last time Silvino saw his father; barely six months later, Silvino's father likewise passed away.

Silvino Agudo graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Commerce (which is now Business) with a major in Accounting from the University of Santo Tomas School. Silvino passed the Certified Public Accountant Exam (CPA) the following year. Silvino also graduated from University of Santo Tomas University Civil Law in 1941 and passed the Bar of the Philippines in December 2, 1941, at 27 years of age.[1]

Silvino Barsana Agudo's UST Law School Graduation photo. 1941

Entry of Japanese into the Philippines and Batanes[edit]

Early on December 8, 1941, Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo was in the municipality of Santa Cruz, Laguna for a court hearing regarding a boundary dispute. While waiting for the judge at 8:00 am for trial proceeding, Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo was informed that the judge was not coming anymore to the proceeding because the Japanese had bombarded Clark Field and Pearl Harbor. After 9:00 am, as Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo left court and was on his way back to Manila, he noticed that every corner of Santa Cruz had posts to recruit for volunteers to join the Philippine Armed Forces to stop the Japanese forces who were coming in from the northern city of Ligayen, Pangasinan and Tayabas, Quezon in the southern Luzon. However, Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo did not focus on that and proceeded to Manila, a trip that took one whole day.

When Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo arrived at his house in P. Campa Street along España Boulevard, he found his house was filled with Ivatans. This was because when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor many dormitories closed in Manila and Ivatan students remembered the Agudo family. Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo generously welcomed the Ivatans and assigned the girls to the upper floor and the boys on the lower floor and the Agudo sister, Aurora, prepared food for everyone. More Ivatans from Batangas and Cavite sought refuge at the Agudo family house. Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo suggested for the new Ivatans who sought refuge to go to the house of Congressman Vicente Agan, Representative of Batanes; however, there was likewise no space. A messenger from Congressman Agan sent a note to the Agudo household regarding a Japanese sponsored boat that would take Ivatans back to Batanes with free passage.

Military Service[edit]

During World War II, Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo was drafted into the 7th Military Police Command. Silvino Barsana Agudo recieived military police training in Cavite, Rizal, and Nueva Ecija and was told his unit was to do service in Tokyo upon the surrender of the Japanese Imperial Army. However, the trip to was rescheduled by General Douglas McAurthur because of the unconditional surrender of Japan on September 3, 1945.

In the Basco Program of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines two veterans recieived decoration for their service. Atty. Eliseo Reyes, who at the outbreak of the war in the Pacific was a constabulary soldier in Cebu, and Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo. Commador Geronimo Cabal and Capt. Teofilo Vatoner, the highest officers of the Batanes Veteran's Association pinned the three medals and three ribbons on Atty. Eliseo Reyes and Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo.

Marriage and Family Life[edit]

Newly married Mr. and Mrs. Agudo

Silvino Barsana Agudo married Honorata Arcilla civilly in May 1949 and formally through the Catholic Church on December 10, 1949.

As a Lawyer[edit]

Agudo also presided as a defense lawyer in various criminal cases that made appeals in the Supreme Court of the Philippines on behalf of defendants with limited resources prosecuted for murder[2] and rape.[3]

Silvino's law office, Agudo, Reyes, Estrella and Associates, was located in rooms 205 - 208 0f the Puzon Building in Quezon City (1974).

Nominations for Governor of Batanes[edit]

As the 1967 mid-election approached President Ferdinand Marcos moved to ensure that his Nacionalista Party would be victorius by electing most of the Senators, Governors, and Mayors of the country. President Ferdinand Marcos asked Chairman Manuel "Maning" Agudo to choose Silvino Barsana Agudo as candidate for Governor who will most likely win in Batanes. Manuel Agudo's reputation was critically important to Silvino Barsana Agudo's endorsement to run for Governor of Batanes because of his Chairmanship of the Civil Service Board of Appeals, tenure as Congressman of Batanes (1958-1961), and service as Administrative Officer in the Office of the President in Malacañang Palace during the tenure of six Presidents of the Philippines, namely: José P. Laurel, Sergio Osmeña, Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, and Carlos P. Garcia.

During this time Silvino Barsana Agudo was a successful law practitioner with many clients in the Filipino, American, Spanish, and Chinese communities. Precisely because of his success in law practice Silvino Barasana Agudo was induced to run for Governor of Batanes. Silvino Barsana Agudo agreed to participate in the Provincial Convention in Batanes and then boarded a Philippine Navy boat to Basco in the month of August 1967.

Silvino Barsana Agudo's trip was delayed by a typhoon but when he arrived in Basco, the town was as he described it a "gog." Manuel and Renee Agudo rented a house to stay and Silvino Barsana Agudo stayed in the house of his Uncle, Jose Barona, and Auntie Bilay (Severa) Barsana Barona, sister of Silvino's mother. On the night of his arrival the Batanes Veteran Association, a Chapter of the Veterans Association of the Philippines, had a program in the High School auditorium in which Silvino Barsana Agudo was recognized as a Veteran of WWII by the highest-ranking officers of the Batanes Veteran's Association.

Two days after Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo arrived in Basco, the Nacionalista Party Convention was held on top Tukon Hill. There was a band to render music while waiting for the delegates from each town: Basco, Itbayat, Mahatao, Uyugan, and Sabtang. When all the delegates arrived, nominations were made and three were nominated for Governor: Jose Aceron of Ivana, Tobias Abad of Basco, and Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo of Ivana. After the nominations, Jose Martinez, Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo's campaign manager, talked to delegates in each town without consulting Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo. After the short campaigning, voting was done by secret ballot.

At the end of the day, Mrs. Renee Agudo, Chairwoman of the Batanes Nacionalista Party announced the winning party candidates: Governor: Atty. Silvino B. Agudo; Vice Governor: Tobais Abad; Board Members (2): Emmanuel Aguasha of Mahatao and Francisco Bidayan of Basco

After the convention all the official candidates took the same Philippine Navy Boat back to Manila.

Mrs. Renee Agudo reported to President Ferdinand Marcos and Senator Gil Puyat the official candidates for the Nacionalista Party in Batanes. Within one month President Ferdinand Marcos invited all the candidates for Governor and City Mayor to Malacañang Palace for individual conversations with the President. To everyones' surprise President Marcos knew all candidates name by heart. All candidates were also brought into a room filled with 6 foot piles of legal sized brown envelopes. The President's aid gave one envelope to each candidate. However, Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo was pulled aside and given a second envelope which was to be for the six candidates for mayor in the Province. Atty. Silvino Barsana Agudo took a taxi home and examined the contents of the brown envelopes - each containing $10,000 USD in $10 USD Bills or $20,000 USD in all. In remembrance of President, Atty, Silvino Barsana Agudo bought a new refrigerator to change the old fridge. The rest of the money was distributed and spent for provisions to the Batanes campaign.

As Governor of Batanes[edit]

Governor Silvino Agudo catches up with President Marcos at the break hour after the President delivered his keynote speech. Provincial Governors & City Mayors League National Convention, February 26, Silang, Cavite
Governor Silvino Barsana Agudo (third right) welcomes Cabinet Executive Secretary Ernesto Maceda (center) to Batanes Province. Governor's Residence, Ivana June 22, 1971.

During his term (1968-1971), Governor Silvino Barsana Agudo supported the preservation and promotion of Batanes culture through various initiatives including research of archaic Itbayaten numeral writing systems.[4]

Suzuki Boys[edit]

Governor Silvino Agudo presided over Batanes during one of the province's most tumultuous times and played an instrumental role in preventing election fraud and protecting Ivatan people from armed thugs.

In less than a week after the November 11, 1969 Congressional Elections, Ivatans, the residents of Batanes, were up in arms against the takeover of their islands by gangster-rule during the elections. Reports of the terror that gripped Batanes province have filtered to Manila only several days after the elections, and there was nothing they could do to change the results. All they could do was call attention public attention to the "rape of the ballot" in their province. Their grievances were not the sour grapes of defeated politicians. They come from plain citizens talking not as NPs or LPs but, as outraged citizens who were robbed of their right to vote at gunpoint.

The takeover of the Batanes group by the thugs is a classic example of a swift coup that isolated the group from the rest of the country. It was cut off from airline flights and from telephone and telegraph communications. There were five candidates for the lone congressional seat of the province.

The important candidates were:

- Mrs. Renee Agudo (NP)

- former Congressmen Jorge Abad (father of Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad)

- Rufino Antonio Jr. (Independent-NP)

Weeks before the November 11, 1969 Elections, about 100 strange faces (non-Ivatans) landed in Basco and scattered in the six towns of the province. Crates also landed in Basco. In late October, Provincial Commander (PC), Captain Fulgencio Albano, collected licensed firearms from the residents "for verification." Provincial Command soldiers met Philippine Airline (PAL) Flights on October 26, 28 and November 2,4,and 6 to Basco to search landing passengers and their luggage for firearms.

On November 9, PAL suspended flights to Basco because of man-caused obstructions in the runway. A number of privately-owned planes, including light aircraft including a helicopter and Douglas DC-3 blocked Basco's runway. The PAL plane that carried Ivatan voters from Manila had to turn back.

On November 10, a day before the elections, telegraph communications from Basco through the Bureau of Telecommunications and Station and Radio Communications of the Philippines Incorporated (RCPI) subsequently went dead. Armed goons had allegedly destroyed all private and government wireless facilities and drove away operators of the telcom and RCPI stations; an operator of the weather bureau was reportedly tear gassed. The equipment was destroyed, however, some operators who fled to the mountains used a transmitter to report "goon activities" and request the Provincial Commander Fulgencio Albano and President Ferdinand Marcos for aid. Later during the night of November 10, the Bureau of Public Highways compound was raided and vehicles were destroyed.

Even before this, on October 24, Ivatans in Manila held a meeting at D & E Restaurant in Quezon City and decided to ask Provincial Command and Comelec to relieve Captain Fulgencio Albano of Batanes Provincial Command. On November 2, Major Benjamin Amante became the new Batanes PC Commander. On November 7, Major Amante and Representative Roque Ablan (Ilocos Norte) flew to Basco in Ablan's plane. Major Amante stayed only a few days then left Basco before elections. The PC Officer in charge was Captain Velasco.

On election day November 11, 1969, the roads leading to the six towns of Batanes were barricaded by checkpoints manned by armed thugs. Governor Agudo and his party making tours of the towns were turned back at one of the checkpoints and warned if they proceeded they might be ambushed. An American Peace Corps Volunteer, Larry Jones, was given six hours to surrender photographs of goons terrorizing voters at precincts.

Three days after the elections, Batanes was one of the few provinces from which results of the congressional elections were not heard. In the past elections, which were peaceful, results were known by the next day, there being only less than 5,000 votes to count. In Manila, Governor Silvino Agudo's wife, Honorata Agudo, asked Executive Secretary Ernesto Maceda to assign security men to her house near Quezon City because suspicious looking men were loitering near their home.

Batanes Bicentennial Commission[edit]

Gov. Silvino Barsana Agudo remained active in provincial affairs into his retired days as President of the Batanes Bicentennial Commission in 1983.[5]

In May 1983, on the initiative of the Dominican Fathers in Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City, a Bicentennial Commission was created to plan the celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Christianization of Batanes and establishment of a centralized civil government therein. (In 1773, two missionaries from the Dominican Order from Tuguegarao, Cagayan landed in Ivana, Batanes and stayed to put up their church. Ten years later in June 1783, the Civil Government was established in Basco, Batanes)

The Bicentennial Commission was composed of Ivatans from Manila environs invited by the Santo Domingo Fathers. The Fathers consulted Engineer Anastacio Agan, former Congressmen from Batanes and at that time incumbent Quezon City Engineer. Congressmen Agan was also the structural engineer who built the Santo Domingo Church on Quezon Avenue in Quezon City. He was assisted in the job of construction of the Santo Domingo Church by Engineer Ruperto Agudo.

The assembly of Ivatans who were invited to form the Commission elected the following officers: President, Ex-Governor Silvino B. Agudo; Vice President and Chairman of the Committee on Public Information, Dr. Florentino H. Hornedo; Secretary, Fr. Alfonso Loreto, O.P.; Treasurer, Rev. Fr. Rey Adadlid, O.P.; Committee of Ways and Means: Chairman-Dr. Francisco Roman; Co-Chairman Mrs. Josefina Castro-Valera. Members were Mrs. Rucela Barsana Acacio, Mrs. Ana G. Agagan; Atty. Antonio Alcanatara, Sor. Pia Alcazar, O.P., Captain Pedro Doplito, Atty. Carlos Castano, Bro. N. Comaya, O.P. Captain Pedro Doplito, Atty. Antonio Escalante; Mrs. Agapita Fagar, Fr. Ermito De Sagun, O.P., and Mrs. Eutropia Hornedo-Silvestre.

The Bicentennial Anniversary was celebrated in two places, one in the Aquinas School at Sanctuario de Sto. Cristo at Blumentritt Road, San Juan Del Monte, Metro Manila and the other was held in Basco, Batanes under the joint auspices of the Provincial Government and the Bishop of Batanes Msgr. Mario Baltazar O.P. Silvino Agudo, as President of the Commission lead both occasions.

YouTube Hit Success[edit]

Most recently, Governor Silvino Barsana Agudo's YouTube videos recorded by his grandchildren highlight him singing native Ivatan songs, "IVASAY KAMOSAWEN" on YouTube[6] and "YAHES MO DU VITUGEN" on YouTube.[7] At the age of 91, Silvino Barsana Agudo's folk renditions has gained the attention from Ivatan diaspora.

Death[edit]

Governor Silvino Barsana Agudo passed away on December 17, 2010, in Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Law List - A". Supreme Court of the Philippines. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. AQUILINO PACALA and TRANQUILINO PACALA, JR. alias CHACOY". Supreme Court of the Philippines. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. EDGARDO SANTOS Y BASA". The Supreme Court of the Philippines. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Yamada, Yukihiro. "Speech Disguise in Itbayaten Numerals" (PDF). The University of the Philippines Diliman. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "IVATANS TO COMMEMORATE BATANES BICENTENNIAL". BatanesOnline. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Agudo, Silvino. "Ivatan Song". Patrick Waterman. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Yahes Mo Du Vitugen". Patrick Waterman. Retrieved 3 November 2013.