ANTERO S. SORIANO (1912 – 1919)

GOVERNOR of Cavite at the age of 26, senator at 34, and representative of Cavite’s lone district at 39 – that was the political record of Antero S. Soriano of Tanza, Cavite, whose most “bitter political rival,” General Emilio Aguinaldo, paid him a visit when he was ill in a hospital. Former Senator Emiliano Tria Tirona, with whom Soriano had clashed many times in the past, said upon the latter’s death in June 1929: “For Many years, he (Soriano) was my political enemy; but in the last few years he was my best friend.”

In almost two decades (1912-1929) Soriano was the political kingpin of Cavite. He never suffered any political defeat. Twice elected governor (1912 – 1920), he ran for senator at the end of his second gubernatorial term and for the next six years he, along with Senate President Manuel L. Quezon, represented the fifth senatorial district comprising Cavite, Tayabas (now Quezon), Batangas, Mindoro and Marinduque, Belonging to the same political party, the Nacionalista Party, Quezon and Soriano developed a warm and steadfast friendship. They were together in the Philippines Independence Mission to the United States in 1922. In America, Soriano was designated by Quezon to investigate the press Bureau in Washington, D.C.

The Quezon-Soriano tandem was unchallenged in the Senate. But Quezon believed that one leader was enough for the Upper House, and so when Representative-elect August Reyes of Cavite died before the opening of the House of Representative in 1925, he prevailed upon Soriano to run in the special election for the vacant position in Cavite. With his own political charisma, enhanced by Quezon’s active support of his candidacy, Soriano was elected representative of Cavite with an overwhelming majority.

Born on January 3, 1886, to a middle class couple of Tanza, Adriano Soriano and Aurea Sosa, Antero finished the Segunda ensenanza at the Liceo de Manila. He then took up law at the Escuela de Derecho and passed the bar on September 30, 1907. After serving for several years as lawyer of the Manila Railroad Company, he plunged into Cavite politics and immediately became the idol of the masses. Soriano was nearing the end of his term in the House of Representatives when death suddenly put a halt to his remarkable political career. “The Nacionalista Party has lost one of its strongest leaders and the country a devoted and loyal public servant, “said Quezon on his colleague’s death. Then he added, “My heart is broken; I mourn one of the best friends I ever had.”

[Sources: (1) Norma s. Vargas, “Antero S. Soriano, 1886-1929,” Prominent Caviteños in Philippines History. Manila, 1941; and 2) Biodata furnished by Governor Remulla’s Office.]