Aside from educating the younger generation about Honesty, Accountability, Good Governance, Integrity and Transparency (HAGIT), it is also our objective to give tribute to those who stood up and fought for the HAGIT principles. Dear readers, we would like to introduce our sixth HAGIT Hero, the late Gov. Evelio Javier.
Who is Gov. Evelio Javier?
Evelio Bellaflor Javier (October 14, 1942 – February 11, 1986) was a Filipino lawyer, civil servant, politician, and an oppositionist during the authoritarian regime of President Ferdinand Marcos. Due to these activities, he was assassinated by the regime on February 11, 1986.
Early life and marriage
Evelio Javier was born on October 14, 1942, in Barangay Lanag (now Brgy. Evelio Javier), Hamtic, Antique, to Everardo Autajay Javier (Moscoso) and Feliza Bellaflor. He finished his grade school in San Jose Elementary School in San Jose, Antique and graduated high school and college in Ateneo de Manila University. There, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Government and his Bachelor of Laws in Ateneo Law School, and passed the bar examination before he became a successful lawyer and entered into politics. Also, he is a member of the law school’s Fraternal Order of Utopia.
He married Precious Bello Lotilla of Sibalom, Antique; they had two sons, Francis Gideon Everardo and David.
His term as civil servant
He ran for governor of Antique and won in 1971 making him, at the age of 28, the Philippines’ youngest governor during that decade. He did not run again for election in 1980, instead, he ran for Assemblyman at the Batasang Pambansa, but he lost. (Was declared by the Commission on elections as the real winner, unfortunately months after his death).
At 10:00 on the morning of February 11, 1986, three or four armed and masked gunmen riding in Jeeps went to the New Capitol building in San Jose, Antique. While Evelio Javier was talking to his friends on the steps in front of the capitol building, the masked gunmen opened fire at him.
Javier fled across a park in front of the capitol building, fell into a pond, then continued into a shop on a street across from the park. Wounded, he tried to hide in a toilet stall at the rear of the shop. A gunman caught up to him and shot him several times through the door of the stall.
On the day of the funeral and burial to his final resting place at his hometown of San Jose de Buenavista, Antique, millions of mourning people in Antique followed his funeral procession to the cemetery wearing yellow shirts and tying yellow bands to their wrists. They played his favourite song, “The Impossible Dream,” during the procession to the cemetery. Thousands of Antiquenos there showed their anger and sorrow by crying “Justice for Evelio! We love you!” on the day of his death.
Javier was one of many politicians murdered during the period of martial law in the Philippines. His funeral surpassed that of Benigno Aquino, Jr., assassinated three years earlier in 1983.
It is said that the assassination of Evelio Javier on Feb. 11, 1986 fueled the fire to start the People Power/Philippine EDSA Revolution on Saturday, February 22, 1986.
Evelio’s body went in procession through Manila, passing through Ateneo de Manila University where he had thousands of friends and colleagues, days before the Feb. 22 People Power Revolution that ousted Ferdinand Marcos and made Cory Aquino the President of the Philippines.
Also every February 11, the Antique province declare it a holiday in his honor