Claro M. Recto
Born: February 8, 1890
Died: August 24, 1960
His elementary education was obtained in Lipa, Batangas. He received a BA degree from Ateneo Municipal de Manila at 19, and at 24, a Master of Law degree from the University of Santo Tomas and was admitted to the bar. Recto served as legal advisor to the Senate in 1916 and later a Batangas representative during 1919 – 1925. He went to the US in 1924 as a member of the Independence Mission. After returning to the Philippines he founded the Democrat Party. Recto became a member of the Senate in 1931 and majority floor leader in 1934. In 1935, he served as president of the Constitutional Convention and President Roosevelt appointed him to the Supreme Court. He left the Supreme Court in 1941 to be re-elected as a senator. During the Japanese occupation, he was a member of President Laurel’s cabinet for which he was branded a collaborator after the war.
Recto was re-elected as a Nationalist in 1949 and again in 1953 as a guest candidate of the Liberal Party. Nationalism resurfaced in the early 1950s and Recto fired the first shot in 1951 with a speech. He claimed the Philippine government allowed the US to continue their dominant pre-war interests in the financial, commercial, and industrial life of the country. For his speeches on the theme of economic and political nationalism, he was branded anti-American. Recto ran for president in 1957 but was defeated by Carlos P. Garcia. He wrote books such as The Law of Belligerent Occupation, Three Years of Enemy Occupation, and several one-act plays in Spanish and also won the Nobel Prize for literature. President Garcia named him ambassador extraordinaire in 1960. He died of a heart attack in Rome, while on a cultural mission to Europe and Latin America.