The Politicians

The post war period was an economic boom for Bauan and the barrios. Most of the men from the barrios were employed with the help of Nicanor and his sons. Their popularity and clout became obvious to the politicians. There were several instances when opportunistic businessmen and politicians would approach them with very lucrative propositions only to leave embarrassed and rejected. The father ‘s and sons’ strong moral values protected them from temptation. They religiously followed the principles they learned while young. Their mission and obligation were always for the welfare of the people of the barrios and never for their own personal benefits. It was instilled in their minds to never blemish their clean name and reputation.  They were taught to have courage to stand up and fight for truth and justice and to protect the poor and the oppressed. Although there were many opportunities to enrich themselves during the years they were entrusted with the millions of dollars of American supplies, they never succumbed to that temptation. That was why they remained financially poor but remained well respected and supported by the people. They had become a strong political force in Batangas.

After the war, during the presidential election of Roxas versus Osmenia, Nicanor’s friend Pedro Munoz ran for congress against Maynardo Farol who was also a friend and old classmate of Nicanor. The Marasigan family decided to support Munoz because he was a good honest man and belonged to the same political party. When the ballots were counted, Munoz lost in the many municipalities of Batangas but he won by a landslide in Inicbulan, Rizal and Durungao – the barrios that Nicanor and sons carried. Their votes overtook the losses from other municipalities that in the end Munoz won by just enough votes. In gratitude, congressman Pedro Munoz offered Eliodoro the position of Fiscal of Batangas – a very prestigious government position but on one condition; that to accept this position he had to sacrifice the P10, 000 (equivalent to P100,000 today) pork barrel appropriation for the Inicbulan school which will then be given to another barrio. Without hesitation, Eliodoro declined the position and opted for the P10, 000 or (P100,000 today) for the school. The money was used to build two new classrooms.

In 1947, Feliciano Leviste, a friend of the family, ran for governor of Batangas and was challenged by an influential person Modesto Castillo, who was close to the Mayor of Bauan and to Manuel Roxas, the President of the country at the time. It was no secret that the Marasigans were supporting Leviste but the mayor of Bauan Gregorio Arreglado, who was a close friend of Eliodoro, was supporting Castillo. Somehow, Eliodoro was lured by mayor Arreglado to come to Manila to meet with the secretary of Justice Ramon Ozaeta. In his office, Ozaeta told Eliodoro that President Roxas would name him an Assistant Fiscal of Manila if he would support Castillo instead of Leviste.

Mayor Arreglado surmised that Eliodoro would not turn down a request from a high ranking judicial official who happened to be a “Batangueno” as well – especially with an attractive personal incentive. He was wrong. With due respect, Eliodoro declined the offer because he already promised Leviste his support and to break his word and change allegiance was never an option to him. With the support of the three barrios of Inicbulan, Rizal and Durungao, Leviste won the election.

Once in 1965, when Eliodoro was already an assistant fiscal of Manila (by his own merit), he showed that he had never forgotten the teachings of his father. He showed courage in face of threats to his life by refusing security from the Manila Police department and continued his pursuit of justice against the most feared people in the government. And when he was a CFI judge, appointed by his friend and classmate Marcos, he did not hesitate to resign from office when under Marcos’ martial law, the people were oppressed and were suppressed of their constitutional rights.

That was against his principles and against the teachings of his father.

One of the recognitions Eliodoro received while serving as Assistant Fiscal of Manila.
One of the recognitions Eliodoro received while serving as Assistant Fiscal of Manila.

In spite of their financial shortcomings, Nicanor and Eliodoro were both charitable and compassionate. In 1922, when Nicanor moved his family to Manila, he just gave his horse and carriage to his brother-in-law Basilio for him to make a living. And Eliodoro, when he was a columnist in American newspaper, he donated all of his earnings to the teachers of Inicbulan high school who at the time were not being fairly paid by the government.