Sentro Rizal Washington DC in cooperation with the Philippine World War II Memorial Foundation hosted a free screening of “HONOR: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos” at the Philippine Embassy Chancery Annex in the evening of 20 September 2019.


23 September 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “War causes suffering and perhaps hardships also. It also produces heroes, people who without any hesitation sacrifice everything they care about and who even lay down their lives for their beliefs. The legacy of Jose Abad Santos in Philippine history stems from his unwavering patriotism and in the belief that there is great honor in serving and dying for one’s country,” said Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez as he delivered remarks prior to the film screening of “HONOR: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos” at the Philippine Embassy Chancery Annex on 20 September 2019.

Produced by the Philippine World War II Memorial Foundation, the film tells the life and martyrdom of former Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, who was executed by the Japanese Army on May 1, 1942 for refusing to pledge allegiance to the occupying Japanese forces. The story is weaved together through interviews with descendants, World War II Philippine historians, official documents, and excerpts from articles written by Abad Santos’ son, Pepito, who was with his father through his last days.

Present at the screening are executive producers of the film, Mr. Mario Benipayo and Ms. Desiree Ann Cua Benipayo who both traveled all the way from Manila, Philippines to bring the film to Washington DC audience. Ms. Benipayo is likewise the author of the book with the same title.

“He is one of the greatest heroes of World War II, and yet Jose Abad Santos’ name remains ambiguous to many. He was the highest government official executed by the Japanese yet his death, heroic in all aspects, never received full honors,” Ms. Benipayo said in her remarks.

“In screening this film, it is our foundation’s humble desire to pay tribute to the memory of this erudite patriot by lifting his name out of obscurity, and to bring his heroism back to the national consciousness of our people where he deserves to be,” she further added.

The very inspirational movie moved and even brought some members of the audience to tears as the scene of Jose Abad Santos’ martyrdom unfolded. A very engaging discussion followed the film where Ms. Desiree Benipayo answered as many interesting questions from the audience. A simple Filipino reception concluded the program.

“HONOR: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos” is scheduled to be shown at the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco on 26 September 2019. Prior to its Washington DC screening, the film was also shown at the Bayanihan Arts and Events Center in Tampa, Florida on 15 September 2019.

The Philippine World War II Memorial Foundation is a non profit organization that aims to initiate, develop, and carry-out projects and activities that will educate and enlighten the Filipino people, especially the youth about the Philippine World War II history. ###


23 September 2019

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Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez (center) receives a copy of the book from film executive producers Desiree Ann Benipayo (left) and Mario Benipayo (right) prior to the film screening of “Honor: The Legacy of Jose Abad Santos” at the Philippine Embassy Chancery Annex on 20 September 2019. 


23 September 2019

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Ms. Desiree Ann Benipayo introduces the film to the audience prior to the screening.


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Ms. Benipayo answers questions from the audience after the film screening.


23 September 2019

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Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Patrick Chuasoto (left) shares a brief conversation with Desiree and Mario Benipayo at the reception.