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Claro M. Recto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

He was born in Tiong, Tayabas (now known asQuezon province), Philippines, Spain (The Philippines was not yet independent) of educated, upper middle-class parents, namely Claro Recto, Sr. of Rosario, Batangas, and Micaela Mayo of Lipa, Batangas. He studied Latin at the Instituto de Rizal in Lipa, Batangasfrom 1900 to 1901. Further schooling was at the Colegio del Sagrado Corazn of Don Sebastin Virrey. He moved to Manila to study at theAteneo de Manila where he consistently obtained outstanding scholastic grades, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degreemaxima cum laude. He received a Masters of Laws degree from the University of Santo Toms.

Politician

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Claro M. Recto, Jr. launched his political career as a legal adviser to the first Philippine Senatein 1916. In 1919, he was elected representative from the second district of Batangas. He served as minority floor leader for several years until 1925. His grasp of parliamentary procedures won him the accolades of friends and adversaries alike. Recto traveled to the United States as a member of the Independence Mission, and was admitted to the American Bar in 1924. Upon his return he founded the Partido Democrata. In 1928, he temporarily retired from active politics and dedicated himself to the practice and teaching of law. Recto found the world of academia restrictive and soporific. Although he still engaged in the practice of law, he resigned from his teaching job in 1931 and reentered politics when he ran and won a senate seat and was subsequently elected its majority floor leader in 1934. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1935 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As a jurist he held his own in famous debates even against the U.S. Attorney General with whom he waged a war of words on the question of ownership of military bases in the Philippines. Recto presided over the assembly that drafted the Philippine Constitution in 1934-35, which was in accordance with the provisions of theTydingsMcDuffie Act and a preliminary step to independence and self-governance after a 10-year transitional period. The TydingsMcDuffie Act was created in response to the HareHawesCutting Act which, through the urging of Quezon, was rejected by the Philippine Senate. The original bill would have allowed the indefinite retention of U.S. military and naval bases in the Philippines and the American imposition of high tariff and quotas on Philippine exports such as sugar and coconut oil. A few minor changes were made and the Tydings McDuffie bill was passed and signed into law by President Roosevelt. Together with then-Senate President Manuel L. Quezon (who eventually was elected first president of the commonwealth), Recto personally presented the Commonwealth Constitution to U.S. President Roosevelt. The consensus among many political scholars of today judges the 1935 Constitution as the best-written Philippine charter ever. Its author was mainly Claro M. Recto. In the 1953 and 1955 elections, Recto denounced the influence and coercion of the Church on voters' decisionsthe Philippines having a 90% Catholic majority at the time. In a 1958 article in "The Lawyer's Journal" he suggested that a constitutional amendment be passed to make the article on Separation of Church and State clearer and more definitive. He also rallied against the teaching of religion in public schools. Recto served as Commissioner of Education (194243), Minister of Foreign Affairs (194344), and Cultural Envoy with the rank of Ambassador on a cultural mission to Europe and Latin America (1960). In 1941, Recto ran and reaped the highest number of votes among the 24 elected senators. He was re-elected in 1949 as a Nacionalista Party candidate and again in 1955 as a guest candidate of the Liberal Party. Claro M. Recto, Jr. is considered light-years ahead of his time. The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (August
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Claro M. Recto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2012)

He foresaw the demands of a fast-moving global economy which his nation is incapable to meet even to this day. In a memorable speech on the eve of the 1957 presidential electionwhere he ran against then President Carlos Garcia, he petitioned all sectors of society, and like Rizal, implored the youth:[3]

The first task to participate seriously in the economic development of our country by pursuing those professions for which there is a great need during an era of rapid industrialization. Only a nationalistic administration can inspire a new idealism in our youth, and with its valid economic program mak e our youth respond to the challenging jobs and task s demanding full use of their talents and energies.

Recto was defeated and never became president. Since his time, subsequent administrations practiced with fidelity and enthusiasm what he called "subservience and colonial mentality", most of them with greed and rapacious intents. To the judgment of Recto and many political gurus, colonial mentality towards America by the sycophant Philippine government, and its evil twinservility to the almighty dollar, are among the major contributories to graft and corruption, which in turn have paralyzed the nation's economy. During the presidency of Corazon Aquino, however, where Aquino initially fought for the R.P.-U.S Bases Treaty but ultimately acquiesced to the will of the people, the Philippine Senate rejected its renewal. In September 1991, by a slim majority led by Senator Jovito Salonga, the lawmaking body rescinded the agreement, effectively ending U.S. military presence in the Philippines.

Recto the jurist

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In the years before English became the principal tongue of the Filipino elite, Recto was known as an abogado milagroso (lawyer of miracles), a tribute to his many victories in the judicial court. He wrote a two-volume book on civil procedures which in the days before World War II was standard textbook for law students. His prominence as a lawyer parallels his fame as a writer: he was known for his flawless logic and lucidity of mind in both undertakings. He served the wartime cabinet of PresidentJos P. Laurel during the Japanese occupation. Together with Laurel, Camilo Osas, andQuintn Paredes, he was taken into custody by the American colonial government and tried for treason. In his defense, he wrote a treatise entitled "Three Years of Enemy Occupation" (1946) wherein he convincingly presented the case of patriotic conduct of Filipinos during World War II. He fought his legal battles and was acquitted.

Poet, playwright, essayist

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He was was reared and schooled in the Spanish language, his mother tongue alongsideTagalog, and he was also adept in English. His initial fame was as a poet while a student at the University of Santo Toms when he published a book Bajos los cocoteros (Under the Coconut Trees, 1911), a collection of his poems in Spanish. A staff writer of El Ideal, and later La Vanguardia, he wrote a daily column, Primeras Cuartillas (First Sheets), under the nom de plume Aristeo Hilario. They were prose and numerous poems of satirical pieces. Some of his work still grace the classic poetry anthologies of the Hispanic world. 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 were produced and staged in Manila to critical acclaim in the mid 1950s. In 1929, his article Monroismo asitico (Asiatic Monroism) was published, validating his repute as a political satirist. In what was claimed as a commendable study in polemics, he proferred his arguments and defenses in a debate with Dean Mximo Klaw of the University of the Philippines where Klaw championed a version of the Monroe
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Claro M. Recto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Doctrine with its application to the Asian continent, while Recto took the opposing side. The original Monroe doctrine (1823) was U.S. President Monroe's foreign policy of keeping the Americas off-limits to the influence of the Old World, and states that the United States, Mexico, and countries in South and Central America were no longer open to European colonization. Recto was passionately against its implementation in Asia, wary of Japan's preeminence and its aggressive stance towards its neighbors. In his deliberation he wrote about foreseeing the danger Japan posed to the Philippines and other Asian countries. His words proved prophetic when Japan invaded and colonized the region, including the Philippines from 1942-45. His eloquence and facility with the Spanish language were recognized throughout the Hispanic world. The Enciclopedia Universal says of him: Recto, more than a politician and lawyer, is a Spanish writer, and that among those of his race (he is pure Tagalog on both sides), there is not and there has been no one who has surpassed him in the mastery of the language of his country's former sovereign.[4]

The 'finest mind of his generation'

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Claro M. Recto, Jr. is considered the "finest mind of his generation".[5] Through his speeches and writings, he was able to mold the mind of his Filipino contemporaries and succeeding generations, a skill "only excelled by Rizal's".[5] He left a mark on the patriotic climate of his time and a lasting legacy to those who succeeded him. Such icons of nationalism as Lorenzo Taada, Jos Diokno, Renato Constantino, Jovito Salonga, refer to him as a mentor and forerunner. Teodoro M. Locsn of the Philippines Free Press, defines Recto's genius, thus:[5] "Recto is not a good speak er, no. He will arouse no mob. But heaven help the one whose pretensions he chooses to demolish. His sentences march lik e ordered battalions against the inmost citadel of the man's arguments, and reduce them to rubble; meanwhile his reservations stand lik e armed sentries against the most silent approach and every attempt at encirclement by the adversary. The reduction to absurdity of Nacionalista senator Zulueta's conception of sound foreign policy was a shattering experience, the sk ill that goes into the cutting of a diamond went into the work of demolition. There was no slip of the hand, no flaw in the tool. All was delicately, perfectly done... Recto cannot defend the indefensible, but what can be defended, he will see to it that it will not be tak en."

Criticism

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His critics claim that Recto's brilliance is overshadowed by his inability to capture nationwide acceptance. He could have been an exceptional leader, perhaps a great president, but his appeal was limited to the intellectual elite and the nationalist minority of his time. In the same article, political editorialist, Manuel L. Quezon III, laments this fact: "Recto's leadership was the curious k ind that only finds fulfillment from being at the periphery of power, and not from being its fulcrum. It was the best occupation suited to the satirist that he was. His success at the polls would be limited, his ability to mold the minds of his contemporaries was only excelled by Rizal's...But he was admired for his intellect and his dogged determination to never let the opposition be bereft of a champion, still his opposition was flawed. For it was one that never bothered to transform itself into an opposition capable of tak ing power."[5]
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claro_M._Recto

Gravesite of Claro M. Recto at the Manila North Cemetery.

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Claro M. Recto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

However, one possible explanation as to why Recto was never able to capture full national acceptance was because he dared to strongly oppose the national security interests of the United States in the Philippines, as when he campaigned against the US military bases in his country. During the 1957 presidential campaign, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) conducted black propaganda operations to ensure his defeat, including the distribution of condoms with holes in them and marked with `Courtesy of Claro M. Recto' on the labels.[6][7]

Death

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Claro M. Recto died of a heart attack in Rome, Italy, on October 2, 1960, while on a cultural mission, and en route to Spain, where he was to fulfill a series of speaking engagements. The US Central Intelligence Agency is suspected of involvement in his death. Recto, who had no known heart disease, met with two mysterious "Caucasians" wearing business suits before he died. United States government documents later showed that a plan to murder Recto with a vial of poison was discussed by CIA Chief of Station Ralph Lovett and the US Ambassador to the Philippines Admiral Raymond Spruance years earlier.[8][9] Recto was married to Aurora Reyes, with whom he had two sons. He had four children in his first marriage with Angeles Silos.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claro_M._Recto

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