Today in Philippine History, February 8, 1890, Claro M. Recto was born in Tiaong, Tayabas

Tuesday February 07, 2012 ()
Claro M. Recto
(Senator Claro M. Recto)

On February 8, 1890, Claro M. Recto, a noted lawyer, Congressman, Senator, nationalist statesman and regarded as the Father of the 1935 Constitution, was born in Tiaong, Tayabas (now Quezon province) to Don Claro Recto, Sr. of Rosario Batangas and Doña Micaela Mayo of Lipa.

Recto presided over the 1934 Constitutional Convention that produced the 1935 Constitution, which was in accordance with the Tydings-McDuffie Law. The new Constitution provided for three separate and co-equal branches of the government, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Recto as president of the convention personally presented the Commonwealth Constitution to President Roosevelt for his approval and signature.

Recto sponsored the Rizal Bill, providing for a compulsory reading in high school and colleges of Dr. Jose Rizal's novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which was lobbied against by the Catholic hierarchy. The measure was passed by Congress and approved by Malacanang on June 12, 1956 as Republic Act No. 1425, known as the Rizal Law.

Recto was considered among the "finest minds of his generations" through his speeches and writings.

Notedly, during his younger days, Recto wrote poetry and plays in Spanish that stressed the need for liberty and independence.

His initial fame as a poet came while he was a student at the University of Santo Tomás (while studying Masters of Law degree) when he published a book, "Bajos Los Cocoteros" (Under the Coconut Trees, 1911), a collection of his poems in Spanish.

Among the plays that he authored were "La Ruta de Damasco" (The Route to Damascus, 1918), and "Solo entre las Sombras" (Alone among the Shadows, 1917), which were lauded not only in the Philippines, but also in Spain and Latin America. Both plays were produced and staged in Manila to critical acclaim in the mid-1950s.

Senator Recto also served the country as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1935-1936), Commissioner of Education, Health and Public Welfare (1942-1943), Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (1943-1944) and Cultural Envoy with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on cultural mission to Europe and Latin America (1960).

On October 2, 1960, he died in Rome, Italy, while on a cultural mission and en route to Spain, where he was to fulfill a series of speaking engagements.

Senator Recto married Doña Aurora Reyes with whom he had five children.

References:
Philippine News Agency
Senators Profile, Philippine Senate
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons


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