Then MAJ REBECCA M AROMIN NC acted as the built-in, technical adviser to husband, then MAJ SAULITO R AROMIN (INF) PA on Reformed the Armed Forces Movement(RAM) activities during those times. During those days, Lito’s nearest assignment was Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal so that problems beyond her means were being consulted through LTC JAKE MALAJACAN or COL GREGORIO HONASAN who were assigned at Camp Aguinaldo. A lot of times, Becky would receive messages from Lito like…” Go and see Sir Jake..Tell your problem. He’ll help you…” This camaraderie and personal closeness (Lito and Jake worked hand -in- hand at ISAFP and 2ID, PA) made it easier for Becky to serve as “pasabilis”/courier of Lito to LTC Jake. It made her a covert supporter of RAM. Being his confidant and sounding board, Lito appeared consistent with his answers when asked /prodded several times about his tasking by the group- that he’ll enter Malacanang Palace through the JP Laurel gate, with back up troops of Col Honasan and LTC Malajacan, get then Pres Marcos for presentation to the Filipino people. And by that, he’ll be forced to step down as President of the Republic of the Philippines. Killing Marcos and his family was not part of the scenario.
A week before the target date, Lito invited me to fine dining. He said…”I want you to have a dinner with me at a very cozy place—candle- lighted, soft music and good food…” My answer was”…Parang last supper na ah…” And we laughed. We ended up in one of the famous steak houses in town.
A squad plus of Lito’s men was housed with us at our San Mateo residence. Marketing and their meals became my responsibility. It was also a personal opportunity and joy with Lito-- painting with black, blue, violet and green the bullet-proof, white life vest he was to wear during the mission. During the process, I asked him,”..Your chest and probably your trunk will be protected. What if they shoot you on the head? Are you going to use your helmet? I know you don’t like it because it’s heavy, but please wear it…” It was fun and joy with Lito, because we were like children scribbling the art effects we wanted. Oh yes, that light moment of regressed-like- behaviors and shared laughters. How can I ever forget that. That was real fun!
There were reports of increased troops and military equipment inside and surrounding areas of Malacanang Palace. I told him,..”With those, are you going to survive with only a few scout rangers tagging along and the equipment you have? He never uttered a word. From my heart and coming from his heart, we know, we’re unsure of his fate. But one thing he knew well…I was certain to lose him for country’s sake.
Early the following morning, I found myself walk-kneeling to the altar of Quiapo church, praying to our Lord of Black Nazarene for Lito’s safety. Next thing I did was heard mass at Sta. Cruz church, had confession and focused more to the Lord for Lito’s sake. At home, fervently praying the rosary with Lito and the children was not forgotten. We entrusted everything to the Blessed Mother and to Him.
I was taking Masters of Hospital Administration at UP-Manila, when our class president called for the stand of the class, because the faculty members were already boycotting their classes in response to Cory’s concerns. I told them…” In the AFP, we are never taught how to boycott, rally or demonstrate. I am also for some of Cory’s concerns, however, I intend to absent myself from class, not because I join the boycott, but because I have an impending problem…” When they heard the news over the radio and television, they very well understood about the impending problem I said in class.
Having poor sleep for several nights, I had to sedate Lito on the night of Feb 21. He was so thankful because he was rested the whole night and will be able to attend to the expected tasks.
At 2 pm of Feb22, Lito left for Metro Brigade after receiving a phone call. After 3 hrs, he called saying, “Di na matutuloy, but leave the house with the children as planned…”I was so happy the whole night. I had a good sleep, felt contented and really happy knowing we will not lose him. I woke up in high spirits. It was our eldest child, Sherlock, who informed me during our breakfast of Feb 23..”Marcos is looking for Dad…” I just took it with a smile and told her..”Why will he look for Dad? He’s nobody..” I forgot his aborted mission, perhaps overwhelmed by the idea that he’s out of danger and will stay with us. At 7am, we’re ready to move to my brother’s house. Before that, I handed an envelope with money to a neighbor as thanksgiving offering during mass that morning. She told me about Lito’s arrest . Still composed and determined, I proceeded to Fort Bonifacio bringing along his personal stuffs. I met him only after his presentation by Marcos to the members of International Press Corps in Malacanang. He narrated to me what transpired the whole night—interrogations and the like. And that sensing he’ll be dead, he took the courage of saying what he wanted to tell Marcos during that time like…”You don’t know what is happening in the country side,Sir, but field commanders like me are aware of all these…He added, …”You should have seen Bongbong and the men with him!..” My answer was…”It was a normal reaction on his part. You should understand that…”
When Cardinal Sin was asking people to flock to EDSA, I phoned Lito with the permission of a security officer. I asked Lito for his consent, for me to go to EDSA. He said,…”We have our participation ahead of them, I’m still here, just stay home and be with the children. It will soon be over..”
Our young children (ages 6, 5, 2, 1) were innocently shouting and jumping for joy every time they see their father on TV screens on Feb 23 and 24.
At 1am of Feb 25, my husband asked a soldier to fetch me, to Metro Brigade inside Fort Bonifacio . I brought a box of pandesals for Lito’s troops who were also detained there. I overheard someone saying..”Sa EDSA ang daming pagkain, salamat…may pandesal tayo…” Again, I was not able to see him as desired. Immediately, Lito was reunited with RAM group, attended a meeting with them inside Camp Aguinaldo and was tasked to do some clearing operations at once.
COL BOBBY SANTIAGO PA ( the security officer for the detained officers) and Lito were co-workers at ISAFP and 2ID,PA before the February Revolution. Before Lito was brought to Malacanang, he gave these words to Col Santiago,..” Sir, huwag mong pababayaan ang pamilya ko..”. When Marcos and his family left Malacanang, it was Col Santiago who uttered same statement to Maj Aromin and quoted..” Lito, huwag mong pababayaan ang family ko..”
After his assigned tasks, he arrived home at 6 pm of Feb 25. A joyous meeting with me and the children took place. He showered us with kisses and embraces and mused…”I share with you and our children the moments, happiness and fruits of this February Revolution…”
Lito was back to his battalion in Guinayangan, Quezon after 2 days….
What A Wonderful World
By Louis Armstrong
January 27, 2007. A text message to Mommy Becky...
Remembering Lito Aromin on his birthday. A good husband, father and friend, an officer and a gentleman ~ from Atty Bamby Pelaez, a loyal & trustworthy friend
Dear Colleagues, Relatives and Friends,
The BGEN SAULITO R AROMIN MEMORIAL LECTURE is a non-profit activity. It is a product of love, kind hearts and intense desires to help others. My children and I are so lucky to have some good lecturers like Professors Ida Tionko, Zeny Famorca, Mila Llanes, Rowena Villarama and Rowena-Chua. Thanks so much for the support. It is almost six (6) months since its launching, and I know, we have reached at least 600 people already with our lectures. We have conducted them the following:
- AFP Medical Center, Quezon City
- Venue: Nursing Service Training Center Auditorium
- Topics: Competencies in Nursing Practice Critical Thinking & Evidence-based Nursing
- Philippine Army Nursing Service,
- Venue: Luna Hall, GSC Compound, HPA
- Topics: The Joys of Community Organizing & Primary Health care Appreciation
- Philippine Navy Nursing Service
- Venue: Manila Naval Station Hospital Multipurpose Center
- Topics: Bioethics in Nursing Practice
- Philippine Air Force Nursing Service
- Venue: PAF General Hospital Conference Hall
- Topic: Rekindling hte Spirit of Nursing
- AFP Officers Ladies Club, PA Chapter
- Venue: PA Officers Clubhouse
- Topic: The Joy of Parenting
- 3ID, Philippine Army
- Venue: Covered Court, 3ID, PA, Jamindan, Capiz
- Topic: Personal Stress Management / The Joy of Parenting
Here are some of the tentative topics and speakers:
- Talks of Today: Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease -c/o Dr. Ramon Marasigan, president of Dementia Society of the Philippines
- Aging Beautifully - c/o Dr. R Marasigan
- Business Communication - Professor Clarita Nunez/De La Salle University
- Transcultural Diversity - Asst. Prof. Gie Ignacio, RN, MAN, UST College of Nursing
- Healthy Living: Personal and Professional Needs - COL ESTELITA GALUTIRA NC (Ret), member, Philippine Board of Nursing
Any voluntary help like facilitating in lectures, seminars and workshops will be greatly appreciated.
I can be reached through these numbers: 09228432783 mobile / (632) 8432783 landline.
Becky M. Aromin
BGEN SAULITO R AROMIN MEMORIAL LECTURE
* Opening remarks of COL REBECCA M AROMIN NC (Ret), Founder of the BGEN AROMIN MEMORIAL LECTURE during conduct of “The Joys of Community Organizing and Primary Health Care Appreciation” at Luna Hall, GSC Compound, Philippine Army (PA) which was attended by PA nurses along with some nurses from PN, PAF, AFPMC and PNP.
Today is another memorable moment for me and all my children, being the memorial lecture in honor of my late husband, then, BGEN SAULITO R AROMIN. These lectures, I believe, is the first of its kind in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Let me tell you the history of this humble endeavor. The invitation says, it has to be brief. Yes, I thought of it. It can’t be so, because my talk is only to inform, but to convince everybody of this lecture. Let me start with his name, SAULITO is a biblical name after king Saul – a leader and a ruler. Saulito is a unique name, it’s none in the world, it’s just here in the Philippines (according to him). The only person who got that name was my husband. “Saul” for the immediate Ilocano relatives, “Sol” for some friends, “Lito” to most friends and “Aro” to the former co-Scout Rangers.
I met Lito as a result of his accident while undergoing training in skydiving with fellow Scout Rangers. During that time, he was on full dedication as lecturer/ trainer of the would-be-Scout Rangers at SRTU, TRACOM in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. His value for the schoolings and trainings was so great that whenever he goes for it – he saw to it that he makes it with flying colors. He graduated salutatorian and valedictorian in elementary and high school, made it to Regimental Staff of Cadet Corps, AFP along with now CG, PA, Major General Hermogenes Esperon, Major General Boy Miranda (Commandant, Philippine Marines) and graduated with honors when he took up Masters in National Security Administration at the National Defense College of the Philippines. I remember those days while being a battalion commander at Guinayangan, Quezon when he would coach our children on their home work especially on the areas of mathematics, Algebra and Geometry via a two-way radio. It was kind of awe listening to him and I quote “… ang sabi ko nga, di ba, if L1 is equal to L2, dapat ang answer mo ay ganito … OVER”…. “O, naiintindihan mo ba?...over…”
One of Lito’s great desires while being assigned in far-flung areas was helping poor, deserving high school students to continue with their studies. My children and I continued his pursuit through the BGEN SAUILITO R AROMIN SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM to some high school students in his hometown which is Bauang, La Union. It is in the form of school starter kits. We started it a year after he died. For the information of everybody, Lito was a high school scholar by a medical doctor from their place. And probably the reason, why he had a soft spot for students like him.
He took training as an important priority to excel in whatever endeavor. Lito was a good sports trainer to children. He coached them how to swim, how to pay tennis and golf, how to ride a bike and hike, how to drive a car and how to shoot. He coached them how to divide time for studies and being a varsity player (badminton, basketball, volleyball) in their respective schools. He just loved coaching and playing basketball, boxing and wrestling with his two boys.
Lito's passion for excellence was shown through his motto, "Be ambitious". To him, one should have his goal, he should know where he is going and how he will get that goal. Sherlock, our oldest child, intitially took up nursing. By the end oth her first year, Lito decided to pull her out from nursing saying, "Sherlock can't be a nurse..." I saw how he encouraged and inspired her to move on and graduated with BSC major in economics. It was he who encouraged her for further studies. He wanted her to go the best management school, but she was too young at 22 to be accepted there. Despite Dad's death, Sherlock finished her MBA at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business at the age of 24.
How his bridage overrun the Abu Sayyaf lair at Puno Mohadji, in Basilan in a suicidal attack May 2000, was result of personal conviction that the men were well-trianed, they, being Scout Rangers. He shared this to me and I quote "...I would never let my men do something I would not do or had not done before!!! He had mastered the art of warfare through trainings and experiences, so that he knew well how to pull his men to accomplish his mission(quoting MGEN NARCISO ABAYA, then 1st ID CG during his eulogy last May 2001.)
While assigned in Basilan, he prodded me "to offer and conduct lectures for free to FBGH personnel as expression of gratitude and appreciation for the health services they give us" (exact words of him), and insinuating that I be more involved in community service. I was silent about the proposal due to hectic work schedule. Then I found myself coordinating with two professors from the UST College of Nursing as panel reactors during Case Presentations of the military and civilian nurses of the Fort Bonifacio General Hospital, followed then by a lecture by USTCON visiting nurse education consultant from Melbourne Australia. For a while, it was halted since my priority was a Psychosocial Processing (PSP) of soldiers' dependents, as part of Livelihood Project, a prime activity by USEC Susan Abaya and former AFP Officers Ladies Club (AFPOLC) president, Marilou Crucero.
Then last year, a lecture discussion/ workshop on Conflict Management was conducted per invitation of Col Nelia Buenaflor NC, and I told them that the activity comes part of the family's community service.
Lately, the kids and I thought of putting in place a lecture forum commemorating their Dad. hence, this memorial lecture. It can be in the areas of Management, Education and Training, Patient Care, Value Formation and Health Service Administration. The lectuerrs / perceptors and minor expenses willbe covered by the family o f the late BGEN AROMIN. It is the family's intention to sustain this memorial lecture through the years with support, efforts and commitment of our children, grandchildren and generations to come. With me today is Shirley, a registered nurse and my third child, and one of the co-founders.
Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all and I hope the BGEN AROMIN MEMORIAL LECTURE would be able to attain the objectives of keeping you abreast with the trends towards service efficiency and excellence.
Let's be ambitious and let's do things we know we can do. Thank you for allowing us to share a portion of your hearts.
|In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Edsa Revolution|
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 23 February 2006, Thursday, A17
by PDI Research
February 23, 1986 at 1 a.m.
Marcos presents on government Channel 4 alleged assasin Maj. Saulito Aromin.
An Account of February Revolution was written by the undersigned. It was a recall of what i know,what happened,what i heard and what i have done,as Lito's wife and colleague in work. I served as built-in,technical adviser to Lito during those times. We did understand well the possible consequences of the activity-the possibility of losing him,the father of my children. And that was for the country,for the filipino people. He is known as the alleged assassin of then Pres Marcos because he was to enter the JP Laurel gate (main gate of Malacanang Palace together with his troops). As his confidant,he trusted me with an answer of merely getting Marcos for presentation to the people so he'll step down as president of the Philippines. Killing him or any member of his family was not part of the plan.
- Mrs. Becky M. Aromin
Stories, images, and news of events at this Manila bar and restaurant, founded in the mid-seventies by a retired U.S. Navy pilot by the name of Charles 'Chuck' Monroe, in the city's bohemian district of Malate. Visiting this establishment's virtual site is good, but BEING at the ACTUAL PLACE is BETTER, at 1803 Mabini St., Malate, Manila.
Bluffing the Marcos General
This firsthand account is posted here in its entirety on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the EDSA People Power nonviolent revolt which ousted former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in February of 1986.
Bluffing the Marcos General
by Colonel Romeo Y. Lim
Philippine Army (Ret.)
ON 21 February 1986, I took the first flight of Philippine Airlines bound for Cebu to represent my then commander, Brigadier General Felix Brawner II (Philippine Military Academy Class of 1957) at the burial of one of our officers -- the late Captain Jess Ygot who was killed in an ambush in Davao a few days back.On the evening of that Sunday, Colonel Irwin Ver (PMA Class of 70), son of Gen. Fabian Ver, presented the coup plotters to the Philippine Army troops at the Philippine Army Gym at Fort Bonifacio. Three of them were my friends and kumpadres: then Col. Jake Malajacan (PMA Class of 71), Major Ric Brillantes, and Captain Saulito Aromin (PMA Class of 74).