PEDRO F. ESPIRITU (1931 – 1934)

PEDRO F. ESPIRITU, the ninth governor of Cavite, was for 14 years 1921 through 1935, the pillar of the opposition in Cavite politics. A journalist and one of the best orators produced by the province. , Espiritu started his political career by running for representative of Cavite under the banner of the opposition – the Democrata Party. Elected by a big majority, Espiritu championed the cause of Filipino women, successfully fighting the proposal in the House of Representatives requiring then to pay the cedula personal . Consequently, Espiritu became popular to the women of the Philippines when the Proposal was defeated.

In 1931 Espiritu ran for governor of Cavite and was elected. Toward the end of his term he fell ill, but his followers persuaded him to run for reelection. Despite the fact that he could not actively campaign because of poor health, Espiritu won handily over his opponent, Justiniano S. Montano.

Born in barrio Panapaan, Bacoor, Cavite, on May 5, 1887 (others say in 1891).Espiritu was the oldest son of Eulalio Espiritu and Teodora Felizardo. He obtainedhis Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ateneo de Manila, and then took up law at the University of Sto. Tomas. But before he could take the bar examinations, Espiritu got involved in Cavite politics, fighting on the side of the opposition against established leaders of the ruling Nacionalista Party.

His main assets as a politician were his vast experience in Philippines journalism and his reputation as a great orator in both Tagalog and Spanish. He edited the Spanish-language paper La Nacion (The Nation), after which he successively became editor of the Tagalog periodical Ang Bansa (The Nation), the magazine Ang Republika (The Republic), and the daily Ang Bayani (The Hero). As head of the opposition in Cavite he demonstrated his oratorical prowess, keeping his audience enthralled for hours, and swaying them to his point of view. His speeches were well applauded and attracted wide public attention.

A successful public administrator, Espiritu put an end to banditry in the province, effected substantial savings in government expenditures, and completed many public works projects, including the road linking General Trias and Amadeo, and Zapote-Tagaytay road, which were undertaken with a minimum cost to the provincial government because he obtained the service of some 450 insular prisoners. However, he saw to it that the prisoners were well-provided in terms of good and living quarters. He visited the prisoners daily.

Espiritu was just beginning his second term as governor when he fell ill and died on his 48 th birthday, May 5, 1935. A man of integrity, he was never involved in any graft and corruption case, and he died a poor man. Espiritu was the last governor of Cavite before the establishment of the Commonwealth government.

[Source: (1) Biodata furnished by Espiritu’s younger brother, Genotoso; ans (2) Talambuhay ng Magigiting na Lalaki ng Kabite (Biographies of Great Man of Cavite), prepared by a civic group called “Magdalo”. Hereafter called Jim enez Collection.]