Wednesday, February 07, 2007

5. My Grandfather The Hero

My grandfather was from an illustrious family in Cavite. Back then I was old enough to appreciate lineage and social rankings from visible trappings that could be considered as coming from the affluent gentry.

According to my grandmother, Lolo Siso, in his youth had good looks and cut a dashing figure. He impressed the local lasses as he pedaled about town on the first and only bicycle in the town of Rosario then. He was a gregarious sort and had a roguish casualness in his demeanor that made the ladies vulnerable to his flirtations. He had an eager interest on the goings on in town and was quick to speak up to anyone who cared to listen to his political views and opinion of things generally.

(for correction...he was town mayor of Rosario after the war and some years before the war) At the time of the war he was the town mayor but because it was a military occupation he did not have much to do with the real running of the affairs of the town. Much of the administrative responsibilities were with the Japanese military officials. He was very much a figurehead and was used by the Japanese officers as a mouthpiece to convey their messages and orders to the barrio residents.

After the war we heard stories of our grandfather’s heroic acts that everybody thought was not believable because he had not shown any spunk in all the years that the Japanese were around. He kowtowed to the Japanese just like everybody else in town. As the stories went he helped the resistance by ushering and assisting them in their nighttime passage through town as they went about their raids in the bigger towns north of Rosario that led to the capital of the province. He played the role of a meek and obedient local leader to stay tyrannical abuse and to keep the peace in the town. This also made him less suspect of involvement in resistance activities.

Apart from being a small town politician my grandfather was an optician. Finding Manila too crowded, he tried to establish an optical business in Davao that prospered for a while but closed down when he became too old for the practice. He went back to Manila with a son, Boy, whom we could not call “Tio” because he was younger than most of his nephews and nieces. While it miffed my mom for some time my grandmother was more forgiving and was quick to accept him in the family.

Boy “Davao”, as we called him to differentiate him from our cousin Boy “Pikong”, joined the Armed Forces and was pursuing a successful military career, which ended with the ouster of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Boy “Davao” was in training at Fort Benning in the US when the EDSA revolution happened. Being identified with the Marcos regime he was not assured of a pleasant welcome in the Philippines. He sought political asylum and was able to stay in the US where he raised his then young family.


Macedonian said...

Hi Ed! Here are some accurate information on your lolo Siso (Narciso Jimenez Ner) and some additional information about the family history as well as a correction on one perception.

1. He was a Doctor of Optometry (an Optometrist being licensed to examine the eyes and prescribed glasses) and also an Optician (dispenses reading glasses and operates an optical clinic and store). Graduating in the 30's, Dr. Ner was one of the first Optometrists in the Philippines.

2. From the Official list of Chief Executives of Rosario, Cavite (1845-1995), Narciso J. Ner appears under Municipal President and Municipal Mayor. He was a Municipal President (1931-1933)
Municipal Mayor (March 1945 to August 1845) which was during Liberation from the Japanese occupation where he was appointed Military Mayor by then Cavite Military Governor, Gen. Mariano Castaneda under the auspices of Philippine Civil Affairs Unit (PCAU) in recognition of his involvement in the resistance (guerilla) movement.

3. Additional information on family history: Your Lolo Siso's father Don Andres Quijano Ner was also a Municipal President (1901-1905) and his grandfather on his fatherside Don Lino Mariano Ner was a gobernadorcillo in 1855-56, 1863-64,1867-68,1875-77 and on his motherside Don Jacinto Jimenez
1845, 1848, 1852.

4. Additonal information on family history: On Oct. 23, 1845 Governor General Don Narciso Claveria promulgated a decree creating the town and parish of Salinas (now Rosario), Cavite and the brother of Don Lino Ner, Presbyter Don Mamerto Ner was appointed Justice of the Peace and Parish priest thru the recommendation of the Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Manila Don Joaquin Arlegui. As history tells us, a Cura Paroco(?) or parish priest was the most influential and powerful person in a municipality.

4. Correction on Boy Davao: He was not closely identified with then Pres. Marcos although his unit was, Military Security Command where he was head of Region 10 based in Cagayan de Oro City. He was also one if not the closest to the unit Commander who was also the Commanding general of the Philippine Army, Josephus Q. Ramas. Inspite of this, he could have kept his position since many ranking military officers appointed by Cory after Edsa were relatives or close friends like Army commander Rodolfo Canieso a relative in his motherside, Gen. Cesar Nazareno whom he calls kuya,
Presidential Security Chief and Deputy Voltaire Gazmin and Alexander Noble both brother Masons with the wife of the former being a relative from Cavite and has a godson for the latter. The Southern Command commander Gen. Manuel Dizon became a Mason and a Rotarian with Boy as the sponsor.
Staying in US and not reporting back was a matter of principle since as a Commissioned Officer, he took an oath to defend the Constitution and cannot serve under a Commander-in-Chief who has violated the Constitution.

Macedonian said...

Hi Ed!
Here are some additional information about the Ner family history including some corrections
on the data as well as on one perception.

1. Your Lolo Siso (Narciso Jimenez Ner) was not only an Optician (dispenses eyeglasses including accessories) but also a Doctor of Optometry(examines eyes and tests vision) and one of the first Filipino Optometrists in the 30's.

2. Besides being the Mayor during the Japanese occupation and subsequently appointed as Military Mayor after Liberation under the auspices of Philippine Civil Affairs Unit in recognition of his resistance/guerilla involvement, he was also elected as Municipal President in 1931.

3. His father, Don Andres Quijano Ner was the Municipal President in 1901-1905 and his maternal grandfather Don Jacinto Jimenez was the first recorded gobernadorcillo (1845) who also served in 1848 and 1852 while his paternal grandfather, Don Lino Mariano Ner served in 1855-56, 1863-64, 1867-68 and 1875-77.

4. On Oct. 22, 1845, Spanish Gov. Gen. Don Narciso Claveria created
the town and parish of Salinas (now
Rosario) Cavite appointing as the first Justice of Peace and Parish Priest Don Mamerto Mariano Ner, sibling of Lolo Siso's grandfather Lino.
History tells us that the Cura paroco(?) was the most influential and powerful person in a town but our Lolo pare never abused his power. Not a single piece of land was titled to the family during that period and where even the house of Don Lino Ner was offered for sale to be used as a convent.

5. The junior of Siso or Boy Davao was never per se identified with the Marcos regime although his immediate superior who was also the Commanding General of the Army was. Being one if not the most trusted officer of Gen. JQ Ramas
did not get over his head and was
well-liked by those who were given
positions after Edsa like Army Commander Rodolfo Canieso, Southern
Command chief Manuel Dizon, Chief
Presisential Security Voltaire Gazmin and his deputy Alex Noble, PC Chief Cesar Nazareno to name a few. It was also a blood and personal relationship with them. Not returning was a matter of principle. As a Commissioned Officer he took an oath to defend the Constitution and the means employed in the ouster of Marcos was unconstitutional.

wayfarer said...

Hi Macedonian,
I still have the notes you passed on re these changes but haven't had time to do corrections. You would note that the posting of this particular chapter was sometime ago. Will incorporate the additional factoids once I edit my work.

Unknown said...

ERRATUM: Dr. Narciso Jimenez Ner started his practice in 1919.