RAMON SAMONTE (1935 – 1940)

RAMON SAMONTE was the first governor of Cavite under the Commonwealth government. He rose to the position of chief executive of the province step by step, without any let-up or interruption. He was municipal councilor of the town of Cavite from 1920 to 1923; municipal vice-president, 1923-1927; municipal president, 1927-1934; member of the provincial board, 1934-1935; and provincial governor, 1935-1940. Appointed acting governor of Cavite upon in the death of Governor Pedro F. Espiritu in 1935, Samonte ran for governor in the national elections of November 1935 and won by an overwhelming majority.

The famous Sakdal uprising occurred on May 3, 1935, two days before the death of Governor Espiritu. Installed as acting governor, Samonte proved his mettle when he succeeded in including the Sakdal “rebels” in General Trias to surrender peacefully to the government. Consequently, Samonte gained instant popularity and became the most influential leader of the Naciolista Party in the province. He served as campaign manager of Assemblyman Justiniano S. Montano when the latter ran for reelection on November 8, 1938.

Born in the town of Cavite on August 31, 1889, Samonte was the son of Raymundo Samonte and Felipa Quijano. He was married to Luisa M. Malimban of Maragondon, Cavite. The couple had five children; namely, Ramon, Jr., Bienvenido, and Oscar, all three having enlisted in the U.S. Navy, Soliman, a businessman, and Romeo, a physician. Samonte died on October 24, 1962.

[Sources: (1) Miguel R. Cornejo, Commonwealth Directory of the Philippines . Manila, Encyclopedic Edition, 1935, and (2) Biodata furnished by Atty. Mariano B. Villanueva.]