Wednesday, September 28, 2016

5 Most Exceptional Philippine Attorneys during the Colonization Eras

Not only did these fellows help in the shaping of what constitutes the Philippine Republic but they are also brave souls who encountered the challenging times of colonization:

philippine attorney-apolinario mabini

Apolinario Mabini

Being fathered by an illiterate and mothered by a public market vendor, Mabini did not let his social standing get in the way of being one of Philippines’ eligible attorneys. Dubbed as ‘The Brains of the Revolution,’ Apolinario lived up to this moniker by being the adviser of then President Emilio Aguinaldo. Even though he was originally to be a priest (as requested by his mother), he went on a path that eventually shaped the Philippines’ future. He even ended up as one of the country’s heroes.

More than being the sublime paralytic, he was also gifted with an exceptional memory that assisted him in earning his law degree. In December 1899, during the Philippine-American War, Mabini was captured. He declined to sign the oath of allegiance to the United States so he was exiled in Guam along with other Filipino patriots. When his health started failing, Mabini finally decided to sign the oath for fear of dying in a foreign land. Upon his return, he died from a cholera epidemic.

philippine attorney-felipe agoncillo

Felipe Agoncillo

He wasn’t only a remarkable lawyer but he was also an astute emissary. Agoncillo was a persistent fellow. He would present petition after petition, pressing the recognition of Philippine Independence.

Felipe faced numerous fruitless conquests. In 1898, the news that the future of the country’s independence would be decided broke out. Agoncillo, being the great diplomat that he is, came to the country’s aid and discussed terms with the Americans. Despite his efforts, Spain ceded the country to America for 20 million dollars.

Agoncillo’s fervor for diplomatic arrangements never wavered. Even after losing all his possessions due to his quest in Europe, he still went in and protested the country’s self-rule. Still, his attempts failed.

According to Philippine Herald, Don Felipe Agoncillo was a cultured and tactful man appointed by General Emilio Aguinaldo.

He may not be known to many but his attempts at achieving Philippine Independence and diplomacy lives on. 

philippine attorney antonio villa real
Antonio Villa-Real
When Antonio left for Japan, his intention was to join the force against the Spaniards. Villa-Real tried to enlist as a part of the Imperial Japanese Army but was unsuccessful. He then ventured on enlisting in the French Foreign Legion but also failed. He finally enrolled in a university in Tokyo and returned to the Philippines in 1904.

Upon returning, he studied law and passed the bar examinations in 1909. He was chosen as the Assistant Attorney in the Attorney General’s office from 1910 to 1916.

The most notable part of his career was being appointed as the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

Antonio Villa-Real was a Philippine attorney and also one of the two Supreme Courts Justices who was brutally executed during the Japanese Occupation.

philippine attorney jose b vargas

Jorge B. Vargas 

He was also a lawyer and diplomat. Vargas served as the legislative secretary to speaker Sergio Osmeña. During the Japanese occupation, he was assigned as the secretary of the National Defense. When the troops of the Imperial Japanese arrived, he managed Greater Manila in 1941.

During the Second Philippine Republic in 1942, Vargas became the chairman. He was asked to be the president but he declined and became the regime’s ambassador instead.

Vargas garnered many awards due to his service to the government. He died in February 20, 1980 at the age of 89.
philippine attorney anacleto diaz

Anacleto Diaz

He was the other Supreme Court Justice who was executed during the Japanese occupation. Diaz was the colleague of Villa-Real. During his youth, the eminent jurist served in the forces of General Antonio Luna.

` Diaz was then captured by the Americans. He built a career as a legal scholar which led to his career’s summit. He was later appointed by U.S. President Roosevelt as the Supreme Court Justice in the Philippines.

Known as the Manila Massacre, Diaz and Villa-Real were just some of the civilians that suffered the wrath of the Japanese invasion.

These men wore many hats and being a lawyer is just one of them. They even surpassed the distress of the colonization eras. They are, indeed, among the most notable Philippine attorneys there are.