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Rites for hero Graciano Lopez Jaena turn into call for justice

by Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009 at 1:42 PM
epcc_la@hotmail.com 818-749-0272 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

The Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) News learned today that the annual rites commemorating the 153rd birth anniversary of Ilonggo patriot Graciano Lopez Jaena in Iloilo City, in the island of Panay echoed a call for justice for 31 journalists who were murdered in Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Graciano Lopez Jaena was known to be an orator but he was also a writer. “If he were alive today, Graciano Lopez Jaena would be part of the ‘endangered species’—journalists being killed with impunity,” said Demy Sonza, former Iloilo vice governor and head of the Dr. Graciano Lopez Jaena Foundation Inc. “But he would have fought hard, uncowed by threats,” said Sonza. Sonza said Lopez Jaena offered an inspiration for Filipino journalists “to remain vigilant, stand up for what is right and expose what is wrong” like what the patriot did in his lifetime.

Rites for hero Graci...
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EPCC NEWS AND VIEWS
December 18, 2009

Rites for hero Graciano Lopez Jaena turn into call for justice

Los Angeles- The Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) News learned today that the annual rites commemorating the 153rd birth anniversary of Ilonggo patriot Graciano Lopez Jaena in Iloilo City, in the island of Panay echoed a call for justice for 31 journalists who were murdered in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

Graciano Lopez Jaena was known to be an orator but he was also a writer.

“If he were alive today, Graciano Lopez Jaena would be part of the ‘endangered species’—journalists being killed with impunity,” said Demy Sonza, former Iloilo vice governor and head of the Dr. Graciano Lopez Jaena Foundation Inc.

“But he would have fought hard, uncowed by threats,” said Sonza.

Sonza said Lopez Jaena offered an inspiration for Filipino journalists “to remain vigilant, stand up for what is right and expose what is wrong” like what the patriot did in his lifetime.

“He exposed ills in and out of government and wrote amid risks at that time,” Sonza said.

He said, however, that Filipino journalists receive protection not just from the government but from the public.

“When the people are backing media, this would offer a protection from attacks,” he said.

Graciano Lopez Jaena- the Great Orator

Born on Dec. 18, 1856 to parents Placido Lopez and Maria Jacoba Jaena, Graciano Lopez Jaena studied at the St. Vincent Seminary in Jaro before working at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Manila.

In 1879, he went to Spain to study medicine at the University of Valencia. He was later drawn to politics and journalism. After three years, he met up with Dr. Jose Rizal in Madrid and worked with Rizal for the Propaganda Movement.

Historians have pointed out that Lopez Jaena, a distinguished orator and journalist, deserved the same recognition as Rizal and Marcelo del Pilar as part of the “great triumvirate of the Propaganda Movement,” against Spanish colonial rule.

As the founder of the La Solidaridad, the publication of the Propaganda Movement, Lopez Jaena was well known for his writings espousing freedom.

Lopez Jaena had changed his name while in Spain, upon seeing that many Spaniards were surnamed Lopez.

Instead of the Spanish style, Lopez y Jaena, he adopted the use of his third name only after he became convinced that Filipinos should become an independent people.

Lopez Jaena , died a pauper . He died of tuberculosis on Jan. 20, 1896 in a hospital run by the Sisters of Charity in Barcelona after poverty and menial jobs took a toll on his health.

He was buried in an unmarked grave in a public cemetery in Barcelona. His remains could not be located until now.

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