The Imperials in Bicol History (Part II)

[It’s been a while since my last post. Year-ends and holidays are usually busy periods and leisures are nothing but wishes. Belated happy holidays to all and may you have a prosperous and blessed New Year!

For the visitors who have been awaiting the succeeding parts of the piece on the Imperials, here is the continuation…]

2G: The Generation during the Golden years

It can be said that the golden years of the Imperials started with the generation succeeding the Paciano brothers. This generation started reaping feathers for the clan’s cap during the American Period up to the years preceding the implementation of the Martial Law.

The glory of the Imperials, however, did not fall like manna from heaven nor came out of sheer luck. Unlike most of their contemporaries, Paciano and his brothers invested heavily in social networking as well as in the education of their children — a virtue later inherited by the suceeding generations . The Imperials studied in the best schools in Manila and even outside the country and mingled with high society figures including politicians. There are even stories that the Imperials hosted in their mansions personalities like the Governor-General of the Philippines, as well as US and Filipino Congressmen. This is also being corroborated by the alleged diary of Gov. Gen. Francis Burton Harrison as published in  The Philippine Diary Project.

The more famous in the post-Spanish generation of the Imperials is Carlos, the son of Paciano and the name-sake of Papay known to be the longest-serving Congressman of the Second District of Albay. When the Americans opened the political field to the Filipinos, Carlos was among the first Albayanos who filed a certificate of candidacy for District Representative. He served as a Congressman of Albay from 1907-1909 but lost in his re-election bid. For this reason, he concentrated on his lawyering until he became a judge of the Court of First Intance of Iloilo, Cebu, Bataan, Zambales and Tayabas (now Province of Quezon).

Later, in 1920, Carlos became the CFI Judge in Manila which became instrumental to his appointment as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1931. His appointment is worthy of historical recognition in a sense that this gave the Filipino representation in the Supreme Court a five to four majority for the first time since 1914.” Second, he also has the distinction of

… being the only member of the High Court who has received three appointments. The first appointment came when the governor-general had to fill a temporary vacancy caused by the illness of Justice Charles A. Johns. The second appointment came when former President Herbert Hoover appointed him with five others including three Americans pursuant to the law increasing the membership of the Court to 15. The American Senate failed to confirm all the appointments due to serious objection to the unusual size of the Court as reorganized. For a time it appeared that he would not be permanently appointed as the new appointments were limited to two. Death of one and resignation of two other members of the Court paved the way for the appointment of three more new members. This is now fate-shaped circumstances that led to his appointment as associate member of the High Court. (See source here.)

Another son of Paciano is Leoncio who tried to continue the political path of the clan in 1913 when he ran and won as the Provincial Governor of Albay. Leoncio’s stint as provincial governor, however, was short lived as he resigned from his post to ran for senator in 1917.  It should be noted that in November 1916, an ala Garci election cheating scandal broke out leading to the questionable declaration of Jose Fuentebella and Tomas Arejola as senators-elect for the Bicol Region (senators at that time were elected by regions). For this, Gov-General Harrison declared null and void the results of the election for Bicol and ordered for the holding of a new election in early 1917. Leoncio took the opportunity to become the region’s first senator with Mario Guariña of Sorsogon.

Leoncio was re-elected senator in 1919 while Guariña was replaced by Vicente de Vera. After finishing his term, Leoncio then returned to the Province of Albay to serve as Governor in 1922 until 1924.

(To be continued…)


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