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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cecilio R. Apostol

CECILIO R. APOSTOL (1877-1938)

A patriot by sentiment, a lawyer by profession, and a man of letters by avocation, Cecilio Apostol was a colossus in Spanish-Filipino poetry. He was recognized not only in the Philippines but also throughout the Hispanic world as "the greatest Filipino epic poet writing in Spanish." According to Claro M. Recto, Apostol was "the greatest writer of both prose and poetry."

He was born in Sta. Cruz Manila on November 22, 1877, to Jose P. Apostol and Marcelina de los Reyes. He began writing poems as early as when he was in the third grade. In school programs, he used to declaim verses that he himself wrote. Aside from poetry, he loved art.

At home and in school, he used to paint landscapes, flowers, birds and people. His first published poem was El Terror de los Mares Indicos in El Comercio.

After his elementary education, he enrolled at the Ateneo Municipal where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1894. He later took up law at the University of Santo Tomas. However, he joined the Revolution in 1896 before finishing his law course.

He also joined the editorial staff of the newspaper, La Independencia, and used either Catulo or Isagani as his pen names.

When peace was restored, he continued his journalistic carrer and worked in various newspapers, such as La Fraternidad, La Democrecia, La Patria, and El Renocimiento.

Finishing his law studies after the Revolution, he passed the bar and was appointed assistant fiscal of Manila in 1908.

During his spare time, he dedicated himself to poetry, painting and linguistics. He learned several foreign languages, translated Bonifacio's Decalogue into French and the Ilocano epic Lam-ang into Spanish.

Apostol's patriotic poem, Mi Raza, won first prize in the national literary contest sponsored by the Club International in 1902. In it he demonstrated evidence of his supremacy over all Filipino poets in Spanish. His poetical masterpiece A Rizal (To Rizal), is still unsurpassed in epic sweep and patriotic fire.

The poems of Apostol have been compiled by Professor Jaime C. de Veyra and published under the title Pentelicas (Manila, 1941). Included in this collection are: Al Heroe Nacional, Mi Raza, A La Bandera, La Siesta, Sobre El Plinto (dedicated to Mabini), Paisaie Filipino, A Emilio Jacinto, Los Martires Anonimos de la Pairia, and El Solo de la Independencia.

Apostol's fame was acclaimed in practically all Spanish-speaking countries of the world. His poems, together with his biography, appeared in the World Anthology of Spanish Poetry and in the world-famous Enciplopedia EspaƱa, and in many other books. In recognition of his poetical genius, Apostol was made a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Literature. Some of his poems have been translated into German.

Upon the establishment of the Commonwealth in 1935, this great poet-lawyer was asked to become one of President Quezon's legal advisers. He refused the lucrative offer, and a few months later he retired from his position as Manila's assistant fiscal without claiming the customary retirement privileges. He joined the law office of Don Vicente Francisco and distinguished himself there as a brief writer and legal researcher.

On September 17, 1938, Apostol died of cerebral hemorrhage at his home in Caloocan at the age of 61. He was survived by his wife Margarita San Jose and six children.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Manuel G. Araullo

MANUEL G. ARAULLO (1853-1924)

Manuel Araullo y Gonzales, eminent jurist, was born in Batangas on January 1, 1853.

He was educated at the Ateneo Municipal but later on transferred to the Colegio de San Juan de Letran where he received his Bachelor of Philosophy degree. He went on to study theology but shifted to law at the University of Santo Tomas. He completed his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1876. While still a student, he won a prize for his essay Labor Omnia Vincit.

Araullo passed the bar in 1877 and proceeded to practice law. Eager to continue his studies, he left for Spain and there completed his doctorate in law in ]878. He travelled extensively through England and France, practiced law for a while in Spain but decided to return to the Philippines in April 1879

His educational attainment and his brilliant record caused him to be appointed to a number of distinguished positions. He was made a Relator de la Audiencia, an office he held for ten years. He also served, on a concurrent basis, as secretary to the government and as Abogado Fiscal de Audiencia of Manila. He was tranferred to Cebu in 1890, and there promoted to Fiscal de Audiencia Territorial. Araullo became so popular that he was literally swamped with offers of important positions. He became Promotor Fiscal of Binondo; lawyers and Fiscal of the Audiencia in Manila; Magistrado Suplente for four years and Letrado en la Intendencia General de Hacienda. Araullo resigned his government offices to accept a professorial chair at the Uhiversity of Santo Tomas from 1892 to 1898 where he taught Derecho Mercantil y Hacienda Publica.

On May 28, 1899 Araullo was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a position he held for two years. In 1931,he became the judge of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga.

On January 1, 1913, he was named Chairman of the Code Committee created with Washington L. Goldsborough, Francisco Ortigas, Rafael del Pan and Thomas A. Street as members. The Committee had been created by the Philippine Legislative and it was charged with delicate duties to revise the civil, commercial, penal and procedural codes, the mortgage and land registration acts, and to prepare new codes in accordance with modern principles of law and customs of the country. When this job was accomplished, Araullo was again reappointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1913. He served in that capacity until his appointment as Chief Justice on 1 November 1921. He succeeded Chief Justice Victorino Mapa and became the third Filipino to hold such an office. He served as Chief Justice until his death on July 16, 1924.

To perpetuate the memory of this brilliant jurist, the former Manila Evening Grammar School was renamed Araullo High School in 1947.