Judge Esperanza Fiel Garcia, the Joan of Arc of the cooperative movement

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal - The Freeman

Esperanza, true to her name, became the hope of thousands of Filipinos who benefited of her advocacy of helping government workers and individuals through the Cebu CFI Community Cooperative of making them financially empowered.

It all started when Esperanza, who became a lawyer on March 8, 1957, when she was appointed to be the Clerk of Court of the Court of First Instance of Cebu seeing the sad plight of court workers under the mercy of loan sharks.

This prompted Esperanza to organize the Cebu CFI Cooperative, undaunted by the opposition of closed-minded workers and officials, she ushered the birth in 1969 of one of the country's most successful community cooperative.

Esperanza after being admitted to the Bar then became Attorney of the Department of Labor, then later after being a Clerk of Court appointed as City Judge of Mandaue City then as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 23, Cebu City until her retirement in 1993.

Esperanza Fiel was born in Palompon, Leyte though her family comes from Ormoc City, Leyte. Esperanza was the daughter of Dr. Eutiquiano Fiel and Consuelo Tan on August 14, 1933. She was married on June 21, 1954 to a fellow lawyer, bar topnotch, constitutionalist and deputy speaker, Pablo Paras Garcia (elected as Board Member of the Province of Cebu, Governor and Congressman).

The siblings of Judge Esperanza were: Antero, Remedios, Heliodoro, Manuel, Veneranda and Prudencio. She finished high school at the St. Peters College in Ormoc City and her Associate in Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the University of San Carlos.   The Garcia couple raised the following children: Gwen (elected as Governor of Cebu in 2004, then as Congresswoman of the 3rd District of Cebu in 2013, a daughter and namesake of Judge

Esperanza by the name of Ma. Esperanza Christina Garcia Codilla  also became a lawyer in 2007 married Mayor Duke Frasco of Liloan, Cebu), Deirdra, Winston (who became a lawyer on May 2, 1983, elected as Board of the Province of Cebu in 1987 under Governor Emilio "Lito" Osmeña and became the co-builder and co-architect of the Cebu Boom), Nelson (mayor of Dumanjug), Byron (the famous man behind the world renowned CPDRC Dancing Inmates), Marlon (became Vice Mayor of Barili), Farla and Pablo John Jr. (bar topnotch, became a lawyer on  March 15, 1994, elected as congressman of the 3rd District of Cebu and now an aspirant of the newly created 7th Congressional District of Cebu).

The children of Judge Esperanza (Gwen and Winston, who became chairman of the Government Service Insurance System) may soon carve Cebu's history as the second siblings who served as Governors of Cebu, the first were the brothers Sotero Barte Cabahug and Fructuoso Barte Cabahug. Gwen and her father, Pablo (a staunch defender of the Filipino Family in the House of Representatives by consistently opposing the Reproductive Health Law and other legislation that destroys the sanctity of the family) became the third father and child who became Governors of Cebu, the first was Don Sergio Suico Osmeña and son, Sergio "Serging" Chiong Veloso Osmeña and Don Mariano Jesus Cuenco and son, Dr. Manuel Alesna Cuenco.

The husband of Judge Esperanza, Pablo is also a family of lawyers, an elder brother by the name of Jesus P. Garcia Sr. became a lawyer on November 4, 1946 and elected as Delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. A son and namesake of Jesus, Jesus Biano Garcia Jr. became a lawyer on March 13, 1969 and served as Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication under President Fidel V. Ramos. Another son of Jesus Sr. by the name of Alvin Biano Garcia became a lawyer on March 10, 1971 and elected as Vice Mayor of Cebu City in 1987 then as Mayor of Cebu City.


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