The Sotto Clan and the Senate 100 years after
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - June 19, 2019 - 12:00am

The Philippine Senate was a creation of an American legislation. It was Congressman William Atkinson Jones of the State of Virginia who authored the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916. It envisioned a Philippine Congress similar that of the United States bicameral congress, composed of the House of Representatives (in the Philippines it was created in 1907 with Don Sergio Osmeña as its first Speaker) and the Senate.

The country was divided into 12 senatorial districts, the first six representing the provinces in Luzon while the next six were composed of the provinces of Visayas and Mindanao. Every District elected two senators. The election was held on October 3, 1916 and it was formally organized on October 16, 1916.

These were the senators. For the 1st District: Juan Villamor, Vicente Singson Encarnacion; 2nd District: Aquilino Calvo, Pedro Maria Sison; 3rd District: Isauro Gabaldon, Francisco Liongson; 4th District: Pedro Guevara, Rafael Palma; 5th District: Vicente Lustre, Manuel Quezon; 6th District: Mario Guarina, Leoncio Imperial.

The 7th Senatorial District (composed of the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo): Jose Altavas, Francisco Villanueva; 8th District (Antique, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Palawan): Manuel Lopez, Espiridion Guanco; 9th District (Leyte and Samar): Esteban Singson, Jose Ma. Veloso, 10th District (Cebu): Celestino Rodriguez, Filemon Sotto; 11th District (Bohol, Misamis, Surigao): Nicolas Capistrano, Jose A. Clarin; and 12th District (Mountain Province, Department of Mindanao and Sulu): Joaquin Luna, Hadji Butu.

Of the 24 Senators elected in 1916 only one descendant became a member of the Philippine Senate a century later and that is the Sotto Clan. Filemon Yap Sotto of Cebu in 1916 and Vicente Castelo Sotto III in 2016. Vicente Sotto III is the grandnephew of Don Filemon the elder brother of Don Vicente, who was the father of Marcelino Ojeda Sotto, who was the father of Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

Under the 1935 Constitution the Senate was abolished but restored in 1938 and in 1941 an election was held, and this time our senators were elected at large. It was in 1946 that Don Vicente Sotto, the grandfather of Senator Tito Sotto, was elected senator, placing second of the 16 contested seats. Sotto was the only candidate who carried the party, the Popular Front, while the rest were under the dominant parties, the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party.

attypauloaminal@yahoo.com

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PHILIPPINE CONGRESS WILLIAM ATKINSON JONES
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