Thursday, January 7, 2010

Twelve Little Things About Atty. Alex Lacson

Many of my friends are asking me--who is this Atty. Alexander ("Alex") Lacson who's now running as Senator under Senator Noynoy Aquino's party? Is he the brother of Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson? Or, is he the son or grandson of the great Mayor of Manila Arsenio Lacson?

Good thing that the name "Lacson" continues to remain untarnished. Lacson, as a surname, has great political stock, beginning with General Aniceto Lacson, the former president of the Revolutionary government in 1898 based in Iloilo.

General Aniceto Lacson, for those who don't exactly recall or even heard of his name, lived as a revolutionary martyr from 1858 to 1931. I got an excerpt of him from the National Historical Institute website.



Ilonggo Revolutionary Leader

A well-known agriculturist and businessman, Aniceto L. Lacson gained fame in Negros as a general during the Philippine Revolution.

He was born to a rich couple in Molo, Iloilo on September 6, 1858. In search of the proverbial greener pastures, his parents, Lucio Lacson and Clara Ledesma, migrated to Negros Occidental. There they acquired a vast sugar plantation.

Lacson went to schools in Molo for his elementary and secondary education. Afterwards, his parents sent him to Manila. He enrolled at the Ateneo Municipal for a commercial course.

Returning to Talisay, Negros Occidental, he immediately embarked on farming and in business. Soon, he became a prominent hacendero. His vast landholdings included tracts he inherited from his parents and those he acquired by purchase from Nicolas Loney and Company.

On the second stage of the Philippine Revolution, Lacson, together with Juan Araneta, led the Ilonggo uprising that is known today as the “Cry of Matabang” because it originated in Hacienda Matabang. It came about as a response to the call of the president of the revolutionary government in Iloilo province, Roque Lopez, for Negrenses to rise against Spanish tyranny.

The “cry” sparked the island-wide revolt in Negros. On November 5, 1898, the revolutionists hoisted the Filipino flag at the Silay public plaza and in neighboring towns. Rebels under the command of Gamboa Benedicto attacked the 170-man Spanish garrison under Lt. Maximo Correa. That night, Lacson’s men vanquished Spanish cazadores during an encounter near the Matabang River.

A Visayan historian recounts this glorious phase of the Negros revolt:

“…While Gen. Lacson was engaging the Spanish forces in Silay and Talisay, Gen. Juan Araneta also took Bago and raised the First Filipino flag at the town plaza. In the north, Don Gil Lopez, commanding hundreds of farmers and hacienda workers, conquered the town of Sagay.”

Later, Lacson and Araneta joined forces in taking Bacolod from its colonial defenders. With Araneta’s men coming from the south and those of Lacson from the north, they pounced on the Spanish garrison of 300 infantrymen. To compensate for their lack of arms, the gutsy rebels simulated the use of nipa or coconut stems as rifles. Seized from the Spaniards in the aftermath of the attack were 185 Remingtons.

Once the Spanish forces surrendered on November 6, 1898, the victorious Filipinos set up a provisional government of Negros through an act signed by 45 prominent Negrenses, headed by Lacson and Araneta. On November 26, the provisional government adopted a constitution, which established a federal form of government. Elected to the executive positions were: Lacson, president; Araneta, secretary of war; Antonio Jaime, secretary of justice; Simon Lizares, secretary of the interior; Eusebio Luzuriaga, secretary of finance; Nicolas Golez, secretary of fomento, and Agustin Amenabar, secretary of agriculture. Their election was followed by those of members of the legislative assembly on December 19, 1898. The assembly was inaugurated on the same day, with Jose Luzuriaga as the presiding officer.

Demy P. Sonza, in his book, Visayan Fighters for Freedom, narrates the fate of the Negros struggle during the Filipino-American War:

“…When the Americans came to Negros after the fall of Ilo-ilo in February 1899, General Lacson and his leaders had a conference with General Marcus P. Miller. The Negrenses decided to collaborate with the Americans for two reasons: first, they knew it was futile to fight against America, and second, the leaders being all rich and landed people, did not want their sugar estates to suffer from the ravages of war. General Otis readily accepted their offer for cooperation and on March 4, 1899, General James F. Smith came with a battalion of the California Volunteers to occupy Bacolod. Except for the sporadic harassing activities of the fanatic “Papa Isio” in the southern towns, peace came to Negros.”

The American governor-general, William Howard Taft, appointed Lacson as governor of Negros. Lacson, however, declined the appointment. He preferred to concentrate on his business and the management of his sugar plantation.

He was married to Rosario Araneta with whom he had eight children: Jesusa, Carmen, Enrique, Perfecta, Isaac, Mariano, Aniceto Jr., and Dominador.

Lacson died in Talisay on February 3, 1931, and was buried in his hometown of Molo, Iloilo.


Gwekoh, Sol H. “Hall of Fame: Negros rebel government head”, The Manila Times
February 7, 1961, unpaged, NHI copy.
Sonza, Demy P. Illustrious Ilonggos. Volume I. n.p.: Iloilo Provincial Historical
Committee, 1972.
____________. Visayan Fighters for Freedom. Iloilo City: Agustin Sonza and Sons,

Now, the question is---is General Aniceto Lacson and Alex Lacson, related by blood?

Google Alex Lacson's name and you'll find that he hails from Negros Occidental, the same place where General Aniceto Lacson was born. However, I asked Kay Abella of Meralco, a good friend of Alex Lacson's wife Pia and she told me that Alex hails from Kabangkalan, Negros Occidental, and comes from a poor family.

Another question---where did the Lacson family got their surnames? According to my research, Chinese mestizos adopted the surname "Lacson" or "Laczon" after the Claveria edict of 1849. So, Alex Lacson descended from the Chinese mestizo bloodline.

Okey, so now we know that Alex Lacson is probably a descendant of a great Filipino revolutionary and martyr based in Negros Occidental. Or, probably a far descendant.

Now, is Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson even related to Alex Lacson? Based on my research, the nationalist senator was born in Imus, Cavite, about a thousand kilometers away from Negros. Ping was born of humble beginnings. He was raised by his father, a farmer.

What is certain is this--since they both use the surnames "Lacson", they probably belong to the Chinese mestizo stock, especially Ping Lacson since Sangley Point in Cavite was once a port where Chinese merchants use to trade their wares with Filipinos. As I said, the surname "Lacson" or "Laczon" came from Chinese mestizos.

So, what are the twelve little things about Atty. ALEX LACSON that as A RESPONSIBLE VOTER, you need to know:

1. Atty. Alex Lacson, as I said, hails from Negros Occidental, the same place where General Aniceto Lacson was born and the place where the revolution of 1898 had its victories against the Spaniards.

2. Atty. Alex Lacson, however, is not as rich as General Aniceto Lacson's family who owns large tracts of land in Negros. He is not a haciendero. In fact, it is safe to say that his family works for a haciendero before.

3. However, both Alex Lacson and General Aniceto Lacson share the same desire---to create and build a society of freedom-loving Filipinos. Both are passionate about their causes and both love their Motherland.

4. Yet, since Alex uses the surname "Lacson", he is probably a great descendant of the first Chinese mestizos here in the country, the same brood which claims as their illustrious sons, Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson and Mayor Arsenio Lacson. Alex Lacson is a descendant of a great and patriotic clan.

5. Alex Lacson is famous for writing a book called "Twelve Little Things Every Filipino Can do for his country", a small orange colored book, now on its eight publication. Lacson wrote this book as a response to the call of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the height of the post-EDSA dos event. Many people were inspired while some, including my good old friend Marck Rimorin, wrote a derisive poem about it.

6. Alex Lacson graduated from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. He is a lawyer by profession. He also did post-graduate studies at Harvard University.

7. Alex Lacson has never worked for government. He is best known for taking indigent cases and fighting for the rights of farmers, fisherfolk and the poor.

8. Alex Lacson, for those who attended 1988 up to 1992 at the University of the Philippines in Diliman is a former student leader. He was elected to the University Student Council (USC) as Councilor and co-founded Independent Student Alliance (ISA), an offshoot from Samasa.

9. Alex Lacson is a classmate of Atty. Argee Guevarra at the UP College of Law. They are close friends, according to Atty. Trixie Angeles.

10. Alex Lacson likes to eat monggo, rice and tuyo when we were in college. We use to eat at the bus stop right infront of Narra dormitory inside the UP campus. For breakfast, we eat rice plus fried egg with tomatoes. For lunch, we eat rice plus some soup and tuyo. For dinner, as usual, monggo, rice and tuyo (sometimes if we have money, pork chop. Pork chops are luxury. Ask Ely Buendia of Eraserheads, fellow dorm mate).

11. Alex Lacson likes to jog around the UP quandrangle and circle, especially when he's tensed or when he wants to unload something. I once ran with him and could not keep up with him. He's an excellent jogger.

12. Alex Lacson loves to buy books, particularly discounted ones. When he sees a book that is worth his while, he buys it despite having just a few pesos in his pocket. When he was working for the Melo Commission, he asked me if he can borrow some of my books, especially Coup d'etat by Edward Luttwark. He never returned it to me. Also, if I remember, some of my Marxist books and history books. Anyway, its not that I wanted it back, I bought them cheap also, hehehe. :-). I love buying books with their prices slashed by 80%. Common haunts were: UP Main library, law library and of course, who could forget? That little bookstore in Dorotea Jose in Manila (now in Timog Avenue).

Oh, before I forget, I usually shun reading "tear-jerkers" or books like what Henry Thoreau wrote, what with that chapter called "The Pond"? But he made me read it. Until now, I still have that book, what's the title? Thoreau's "Walden".

That's why when I read his Twelve Little Things book, I suddenly remembered "Walden".

To those who want change.
To those who want new faces, with new ideas.
To those who want honest people in government.
Make that change.
Vote Alex Lacson. Tell your friends about him, tell your loved ones, your mother and urge your sons and daughters.

Time to make a change. Time to elect good and competent people.

Vote for Alternative Leaders. Vote Alex Lacson.