Last Salute to Captain Danilo Vizmanos


Relatives and friends paid their last salute to Retired Navy Captain Danilo Vizmanos, a man of courage and conviction. Vizmanos died last June 23 due to complications from prostate cancer and other illnesses. He was 79. Though entitled to full military honors, being a high ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the 70s, Vizmanos or Ka Dan to his colleagues, preferred to keep it simple. Instead of honor guards and medals, the man was bestowed with praises and gratitude by people he had chosen to serve.

BY RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat
Volume VIII, No. 21, June 29-July 5, 2008

Relatives and friends paid their last salute to Retired Navy Captain Danilo Vizmanos, a man of courage and conviction. Vizmanos died last June 23 due to complications from prostate cancer and other illnesses. He was 79.

He was cremated June 28 at the Loyola Memorial Chapel in Makati.

In his speech, Retired Capt. Dante Simbulan, related how he met Ka Dan. Both were arrested at about the same time in 1974. They were held incommunicado in a storage of firearms and explosives at Camp Crame.

He did not know it was Ka Dan who was detained in the next room. They bore holes in the ceilings; through these holes, they exchanged notes. It was the start of their friendship.

Simbulan said, “During our three months in isolation, walang bisita, walang babasahin. Gusto kaming mabaliw (no visitors, no reading materials. They want us to lose our sanity.)” They decided to play chess through pieces of paper. One game would take half of the day.

Ka Dan and today’s generals

He said, “Ka Dan is a much better human being than today’s generals in the Armed Forces.”

Simbulan explained, “Many generals today have not only abandoned the honor system and the ideals of courage, intergrity and loyalty but theyalso flaunted their ill-gotten wealth, living in mansions…rubbing elbows with the high and the mighty in our society. They have lied and cheated for their superiors, including their commander in chief in order to be promoted or to get coveted assignments. On the other hand, they have jailed and court-martialed those PMA (Philippine Military Academy) graduates who still follow the straight path, who still want to tell the truth no matter what the consequence. In short, these generals today have become part of the problem, part and parcel of the corrupt oligarchy.”

He continued, “In contrast, Ka Dan Vizmanos refused to follow this pattern of behavior. He did not serve the dictator Marcos or did he benefit from such service. Instead, he fought the dictatorship who trampled upon the constitutional rights of citizens. He protested against the violations of human rights by the military and police minions of Marcos.”

Like Ka Bel

Simbulan added, “But Ka Dan did not only fight but showed enormous courage in the fight against the dictator… He demonstrated the strenght of his character, the honesty and integrity to live within his means even though like the other generals, he had the opportunity to enrich himself while holding responsible positions in the Armed Forces.”

He said, “Today, like Representative Ka Bel Beltran, he lived and died in the same old house which I knew a long time ago… Ka Dan, like Ka Bel, died a poor man. What a contrast to our ruling elites of the Congress and Malacañang! What a glaring contrast to the lifestyle of generals of the present dispensation.”

Loyalty

“Most important of all, Ka Dan Vizmanos showed his loyalty not to the ruling elites and the system they represent ut he gave it wholeheartedly to the Filipino people, especially to the suffering and oppressed masses of our society,” Simbulan said.

Another retired navy captain, Benjamin Tañedo, admired Ka Dan’s “determination to correct the evils in our country.”

He attested to the competence of Ka Dan as a Navy captain. They were classmates in the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Tañedo said, “After 22 years, in 1972, Danny had the courage to fight back and retire from the Navy despite his successful stint in the Navy and Armed Forces.”

Anti-imperialist

Simbulan also said that Ka Dan criticized the long-standing dependency of the government and the military on the Americans. “He ridiculed the junk, surplus equipment that the US is giving us to modernize our Armed Forces. He caricatured the expression of gratitude of our so-called leaders to the generals of the Americans for giving us ten 40-year old helicopters,” he said.

In her speech, Marie-Hilao Enriquez, Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights ) secretary-general and also a “classmate” of Ka Dan in detention, talked of Ka Dan’s sharp analysis of issues, especially those relating to U.S. imperialism.

Dr. Carol Araullo, chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance), said she once asked Ka Dan’s opinion on today’s disgruntled rebel soldiers. “He told me that these young soldiers should understand that the enemies are not only the corrupt politicians but the U.S. imperialism,” she related.

In a message, the National Democratic Front (NDF) peace panel described Ka Dan as a ‘good man who devoted the best of his years to the struggle against imperialism and all reaction.’

Appetite for knowledge

Meanwhile, Rep. Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna (People First), also a “classmate” of Ka Dan in detention, recalled Ka Dan’s appetite for food. “Napansin ko na ang sigasig niya sa pagkain ay katulad ng sigla at sigasig niya na punan ng kaalaman ang utak at paandarin ito” (I noticed that his appetite for food is comparable to his appetite to fill his mind with knowledge and let his brain work.)

Ocampo said that this led Ka Dan to question and challenge the conventional framework of the Armed Forces and the government.

Bayan’s Araullo also praised Ka Dan’s intellectual honesty. She said that through his own learning, Ka Dan came to logical, even radical conclusions. “It was a matter of conviction and intellectual vigor,” she said.

Vision

Simbulan also talked of Ka Dan’s aspirations, “He wanted our country and our armed forces to be self-reliant. He wanted to see the Philippines obtain real independence and exercise our sovereign rights as a respected member of the world,” he said.

“Ka Dan’s vision is to see our empowered people participate in government, not just a few political dynasties who lord over us in determining our future and shaping our destiny,” he said.

For Rosario Bella Guzman of IBON Foundation, Ka Dan’s life is indeed a “matter of conviction.”

“Your life is truly inspirational, even amusing,” Guzman said.

Ka Dan’s eldest son, Danilo Jr., said, “Ako’y umaasa na kung anuman ang kanyang inaasam, mga adhikain ay magkatotoo” (Whatever it is that he hopes for, his aspirations will all come true.)

He added, “Our father is a positive thinker. He believes that somehow, there’s no other way but forward.” Bulatlat

7 Responses to “Last Salute to Captain Danilo Vizmanos”

  1. Carolyn Vizmanos Says:

    I miss you too much lolo danilo. I hope you’re happy in heaven now. I love you very very much. Belated happy anniversary!!! wish you and lola lots of happiness. Thank you to all of lolo’s friend.

    • carolyn vizmanos Says:

      the day is so fast. i never thought my dear lolo that in june 23 will be your 1st death anniversary ever. i hope and i wish that your happy in there!!..
      i still miss you lolo!!!

      love lots,
      ♥bilog!!!

  2. Paul Krinsky Says:

    My deepest sympathy to all of Danilo’s family. We were classmates and section-mates at USMMA and I admired Dan very much. I was fortunate to renew contact with him during my visits to Manila in 1991 and 1993. I knew him as a person of high integrity and great competence. I was very sorry to hear of his passing.

  3. Roselino Columna Candoy Says:

    Kuya Ding was a true patriot, a foremost son of the “Inang Bayan” and was a true-blue Caviteno of revolutionary disposition like his forebears from the great and historic town of General Trias, Cavite.

    I only learned recently that Kuya Ding had passed away. My sincerest apologies and deep condolence to his family. I can only be proud of our common Malabon (the old name of General Trias town) heritage.

  4. Trudy Valdez Vizmanos Says:

    My deepest sympathy to all of Danilo’s family. I am Trudy Vizmanos married to Gerry R, Vizmanos, cousin of Danilo. We just met once on my father-in-law’s ,Capt. Fidel T. Vizmanos, funeral. Though we never had time to get acquainted, I heard many good things about Danilo. My husband also passed away last June 29, 2007 and my two sons, Gerome and Gerico, have been longing to get to know the rest of the family.

    I am in the process of doing a family tree and we would like to get to know all of our relatives and get acquainted with them. I live both in California and the Philippines and I will make time to meet our family. Please email me at viz788@yahoo.com.

    • Roselino Columna Candoy Says:

      Hello, Tita Trudy…My late Mom, Rowena (‘Rowing’) Columna was a first cousin too of Kuya Ding and Tito Gerry – Lolo Fidel (‘Pideng’) was the elder brother of late Mom’s mother, Rafaela (‘Pelang’). Lolo ‘Terno’ (Paterno), the father of Kuya Ding was the eldest among the Vizmanos off-springs of the spouses Tomas Vizmanos y Nocon and Eulalia Trias y Nogadas. Rafaela was the youngest. Soledad (Lola ‘Choleng’) was the next eldest to Lolo ‘Terno’.

      Nice to learn from you in print. Regards to you and your family.

  5. Carolyn Vizmanos Says:

    missing you so much lolo. :((

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