Anakbayan-USA mourns the passing away of the great people’s lawyer, Attorney Romeo T. Capulong. As Filipino youth overseas, we are inspired by his lifelong dedication to valiantly defending the rights of the oppressed and exploited in the Philippines. His courageous fighting spirit, selflessness, humility, work ethic, discipline, and thorough attention to detail are the marks of a genuine revolutionary committed to serving the people to the best of his ability.
In the arena of the reactionary legal system, he was time and again able to effectively prove the justness of our people’s struggle. However, he was unwavering in asserting that the political struggle through collective action was more decisive in fighting against injustice and realizing genuine social change. He firmly believed in the strength and militant unity of the people as the primary means to achieve victory. He urged aspiring people’s lawyers to not only provide services to the poor who cannot afford legal aid, but to unite with the people’s struggle for a just and humane society that can only be achieved through a complete change of the social system.
Ka Romy also demonstrated a great example of how Filipinos overseas are an integral part of the people’s movement in the Philippines. He played an important role in the fight against the Martial Law dictatorship and was forced to flee to the US in 1979, where he was granted political asylum from 1980 to 1986. As an overseas Filipino in New York, he continued to practice public interest law and defend the rights of Filipino immigrants while building international solidarity links between Philippine and US human rights organizations. At the same time, he continued to directly contribute to the struggle in the Philippines by founding the Filipino Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and documenting human rights violations committed by the Marcos dictatorship until its fall. He demonstrated the impact that Filipinos can make in the belly of the beast, and the importance of always connecting our struggles here to the primary struggle back home in our motherland.
We will ensure that future generations of Filipinos in the US continue to learn about and draw inspiration from the revolutionary life Ka Romy lived. We will do our best to honor him by further arousing, organizing and mobilizing our compatriots to complete our people’s unfinished struggle for national liberation and genuine democracy.