Anti-Chinese League of the Philippines
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - October 17, 2016 - 12:00am

Decades ago, a movement that started in Cebu existed. It was called the Anti-Chinese League of the Philippines. The sentiments of some Filipinos then were that the Chinese monopolized the businesses of the country. They saw that the retail stores up to the warehouses were already owned by the Chinese and that the Filipinos felt that the former already controlled the economy of almost all the parts of the country, from the metros up to provinces.

The sentiments and distrust against the Chinese by the Filipinos did not remain just an emotional position, the Americans instituted it. This was how it happened: During the presidency of Rutherfurd B. Hayes of the United States of America the American Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. The law suspended the immigration of Chinese to the United States. The Chinese then became the number one labor force of the United States and the Americans saw that they were outnumbered and outwitted by the Chinese labor force who did not complain of how much little or below the standard wages at that time.

When the Americans came to the Philippines in 1899 after the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898 they extended the enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 in Philippine soil and integrated it in our Immigration Laws. The result then was that our Immigration and Customs officials became strict in the entry of Chinese in our ports. Many were deported, majority of which were relatives of the old Chinese who came to the Philippines before the Americans arrived.

The Americans however repealed the law in 1943. In the Philippines our Congress enacted a law that was seen to be Anti-Chinese and that was the Anti-Dummy Law under Commonwealth Act 108 enacted on October 30, 1936. It was strengthened by President Ferdinand E. Marcos under Presidential Decree 715 signed by him on May 28, 1975.

The Anti Chinese League of the Philippines reached Manila. It then questioned the granting of the naturalization of a Chinese. The applicant was Teodoro Lim while the counsel for the Anti-Chinese League of the Philippines was the Cebuano lawyer and Senator, Don Vicente Yap Sotto. The Supreme Court however denied the opposition of the league on the ground that though it was a civic organization or association representing a group of Filipino citizens, but it did not constitute a juridical person or entity, and since only natural or juridical persons may be parties, either in civil actions or special proceedings.

The majority decision of the Supreme Court was dissented by Associate Justice Perfecto who wrote his dissenting opinion in Filipino and voiced that it was wrong for the Supreme Court in denying the opposition of the Anti-Chinese League.

In Cebu, the Anti Chinese League in one case was successful in denying the application of a young Chinese. The Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, the Honorable Higino B. Macadaeg (admitted to the Bar on November 6, 1922) denied the application of Jose Go (alias Joseph Gotianuy). Jose Go was the son of Don Manuel Gotianuy, the latter was the son of the patriarch of today's tycoons and Filipino-Chinese billionaires, Pedro Lee Gotiaco, the owner of Cebu's first airconditioned and elevator-provided building.

Joseph Gotianuy was born on December 5, 1914. He studied in the Cebu Chinese School (now called the Cebu Eastern College, which celebrated its 100th Founding Anniversary last 2015) later enrolled in the De La Salle College in Manila. Sometime in 1929, Joseph went to Hong Kong, then to the United States to study at the Armstrong College in California. Joseph Gotianuy married Gin F. Lock, an American-born citizen of Chinese parents.

The ground for the denial of his application for naturalization was based on the proofs submitted by Don Vicente Sotto and Mr. Felipe Fernandez. The Supreme Court however reversed the ruling of the lower court and granted the application of Joseph Gotianuy on August 30, 1949

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