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Paulino Santos
Born (1890-06-22)June 22, 1890
Died August 29, 1945(1945-08-29) (aged 55)
Place of birth Camiling, Tarlac
Place of death Kiangan, Mountain Province
Allegiance Flag of the Philippines (navy blue).svg Commonwealth of the Philippines
Service/branch Philippine Army, Philippine Constabulary
Years of service 1914-1945
Rank US-O8 insignia Major General
Commands held Armed Forces of the Philippines

General Paulino Santos (June 22, 1890 – August 29, 1945) was an exceptional military officer who became the Commanding General of the Philippine Army from May 6 to December 31, 1936. Upon his retirement, he served as a civilian administrator under President Manuel L. Quezon.

Early lifeEdit

Gen. Santos was born in Camiling, Tarlac to Remigio Santos and Rosa Torres. After his Spanish education from 1897 to 1900, he enrolled in an English school in 1901. In 1907, when he had finished the sixth grade, he was appointed as municipal teacher, a post which he held until the following year. In 1908, at age 18, he was an enlisted man in the Philippine Constabulary and he had just completed his first enlistment when he was named civil service clerk at the PC headquarters in 1912. That same year, he enrolled in the Constabulary Officers' School wherein, two years later, he graduated valedictorian. Santos was appointed as Third Lieutenant of the PC in 1914, and as such, he worked hard and continued studying to be more effective in his assignment as a field officer.

Personal lifeEdit

General Santos was married to Elisa Angeles of Bulacan, with whom he had seven children.

Army Officer and Public ServantEdit

As soldier, Santos served in the Lanao campaign in 1916, where he sustained wounds from a Moro spear, and in the Bayang Cota campaign in 1917, where he was wounded anew, but this time by bullets. As government cannons were bombarding the Muslim bulwark of Lumamba, Lieutenant Santos led his platoon in penetrating the formerly secure redoubt, through an opening made in the barricade, and immediately erected a ladder to scale the first kota. Immediately, he and his men engaged its defenders in a bloody hand-to-hand combat, killing 30 of them, and thus preserving the lives of government soldiers. For this exceptional military feat, Governor General Frank Murphy bestowed on him, the medal of valor, the highest military award, for “gallantry in action”, just before the inauguration of the Commonwealth government in 1935. He was named President Quezon’s aide for the inaugural ceremony.

He served as ex-officio Justice of the Peace at large for the Provinces of Lanao and Sulu, and then Deputy Provincial Treasurer of Lanao, before finally becoming Provincial Governor of Lanao. He was appointed Director of the Bureau of Prisons in 1930, serving thus until 1936, founding the Davao Penal Colony in 1932 and transferring the Bilibid Prisons from its old site to a new one in Muntinlupa, Rizal.

In 1936, he was recalled to military service through his appointment as Brigadier General and Assistant chief of staff of the Philippine Army by President Quezon. Before the year’s end, however, he was named Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army with the rank of Major General.

In 1937, President Quezon gave him the difficult and dangerous task of minimizing, if not eliminating the problem of Moro piracy in the south through the destruction of the pirates’ kotas, particularly Kota Dilausan, in Lanao. His term as Army chief of staff ended in December 1938. In January 1939, he was named general manager of the National Land Settlement Administration. He served in this capacity until 1941, when World War II broke out. .In 1917, Paulino Santos became the first provincial commander of Lanao and Sulu. As commandant and governor, improvements on agriculture, education and communication were achieved in the region. Serving as deputy governor up to 1924, he acted as the auxiliary justice of the peace in the municipal districts of both Lanao and Sulu at the same time.

Later, Santos was appointed as the assistant commander of Southern Luzon, and was given the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel. In October 1930, he was designated as assistant chief of the Philippine Constabulary where he served for more than 20 years. After his retirement, Pres. Manuel Quezon persuaded him to become the Director of Prisons in 1936. Santos then established the Davao Penal Colony, and sped up its transfer to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. Although the jurisdiction Bureau of Prisons was transferred by law in 1937 to the Department of Justice, Santos remained its director, as requested by Quezon, while simultaneously performing his army duties. He was also the first head of "Estado Mayor ng Hukbong Pilipino" and became the administrator of the Land Settlement Administration.

NLSA AdministratorEdit

With orders from Pres. Quezon, he led the first group of 200 migrants from Luzon and the Visayas who transformed the primeval Lagao area in Koronadal Valley into a productive and progressive colony of six communities on Feb. 27, 1939. Being the man of action that he was, Santos usually stayed with the men in the field, constantly exhorting them to give their best to the arduous task with discipline and high purpose.

Collaboration to the JapaneseEdit

During the Japanese Occupation, the Japanese occupied the upper Koronadal and Allah Valleys. GM Santos decided to cooperate to the Japanese to prevent further bloodshed. Santos and the Japanese Commander agreed to " not molest or abuse civilians in all districts of Koronadal valley but with the condition that the people will cooperate and never commit any wrong move otherwise they will feel the repressive force of Japanese displeasure.” He accepted to serve as manager of the Koronadal and Allah Valley projects under Japanese orders. In 1943, he became Commissioner for Mindanao and Sulu.

Commanding General of Constabulary under Japanese ControlEdit

In August 1944, He was called by Pres. Jose P. Laurel to go to Manila. There, he was appointed as Commanding General of the Philippine Constabulary. He was appointed to survey the Northern Luzon since the Americans started bombing the Philippines. He went to Nueva Ecija accompanied by his aide, Sgt. Juan "Johnny" Ablan. He did not only supplied the people with food, water, etc. but also helped the guerillas operating in the North. While staying there, he was taken prisoner by Gen. Kenshichi Masouka, The Japanese General In-Charge of keeping watch over Gen. Santos and his aide. He and his men commandered Santos and Ablan to the North, first to Nueva Vizcaya, and then to Sitio Tamangan in the Ifugao mountains of Kiangan, Mountain Province, where the Japanese forces had retreated.

Liberation and Battle of Cotabato and Maguindanao under the Allied ControlEdit

The Battle of Maguindanao or Cotabato and Maguindanao Campaign was one of the final battles of the Philippines Campaign of World War II, when Filipino forces of the 6th, 10th, 101st, 102nd, 104th and 106th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and 10th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was liberated the province of Cotabato and Maguindanao in January to September 1945. It pitted forces of the Philippine Commonwealth, local guerrillas of the Maguindanao Guerrilla Forces, Maguindanao Bolo Battalion and the Bukidnon-Cotabato Force, 10th Military District of the Mindanao Guerrillas, and Maguindanaoan civilian swordsmen against Imperial Japanese Army troops. The battle was fought entirely by Filipino military units, without any support from the other Allied powers. Despite an inferiority in training and in weapons, the Filipinos heavily outnumbered their opponents, and suffered far fewer casualties.


While being taken as prisoner, they encountered several rains, which made the General very ill. They also ate only little because of their rations going nil. General Masouka refused to take the sick general to an American Hospital, a few kilometers from Kiangan. Finally, on August 29, 1945, Former Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army and General Manager of the South Cotabato settlements Paulino Torres Santos Sr. died of pneumonia at the age of 55.


Paulino Santos' record as an officer was one of distinctive achievements. As a soldier, Santos served in the Lanao campaign in 1916, where he sustained wounds from a Moro spear, and in the Bayang Cotta campaign in 1917, where he sustained a near fatal wound at the back of his head after he and his men performed a suicidal mission in which they had to place ladders beside the fortified cottas. It was in the latter campaign that he demonstrated extraordinary courage and leadership. Under his term, he established six settlements in South Cotabato namely Koronadal, Banga, Tupi, Tampakan, Polomolok, and Rajah Buayan, thus, increasing Christian population in the region. as a tribute to his legacy in the area, the municipality of Buayan (formerly Dadiangas) was renamed General Santos City, which, by virtue of Republic Act No. 5412 signed on July 8, 1968, was declared a city. The grave and monument of Gen. Paulino Santos was unveiled in front of its City Hall on September 5, 1981 in General Santos City, South Cotabato.

See alsoEdit


  • [1]. (accessed on September 17, 2007).
  • [2]. (accessed on September 17, 2007).
  • [3]. (accessed on September 17, 2007).
  • [4]. (accessed on September 17, 2007).

National Historical Institute. Historical Markers: Regions V - XII. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1993. Gwekoh, Sol H. Hall of Fame. Manila Times.

Military offices
Preceded by
Jose Delos Reyes
Commanding General of the Philippine Army
May 6 – December 31, 1936
Succeeded by
Douglas MacArthur
Preceded by
Jose Delos Reyes
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
May 6 – December 31, 1936
Succeeded by
Douglas MacArthur

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