“Let me die; admirers, be polite: For once I’m loyal, nude and moral.”
(From his poem, Portrait Of The Artist As Filipino And A Young Man)
Here in Asuncion, Davao del Norte,
this man’s story ends with a bullet.
Eman Lacaba’s love for writing began at a young age. Growing up, he won many awards for his poems and other works. Yet his words only gained true purpose after his political awakening at the Ateneo and his time as a professor at UP.
In the years to follow, Lacaba immersed himself in the masses and joined the people’s movement. He wielded both pen and sword to draw out the stench of Martial Law through poems, stories and films, and as a member of the New People’s Army.
The life he started soon became his ending.
One morning, as Lacaba and his companions were having breakfast in Asuncion, Davao del Norte, individuals from the PC-CHDF civilian militia barged into their house and began unloading their guns. Two people were killed first, before he and a pregnant woman, Estrieta, were captured.
En route to Tagum, their captors decided that no one was to be left alive. They shot Estrieta before shoving a gun into Eman Lacaba’s mouth.
“Go ahead, finish me off”
were his last words before the bullet went clean through the skull.
Eman Lacaba the Poet-Warrior’s memory lives on in all his creative works.
Until this day, he inspires countless creatives to resist through art and writing.