Gregorio S. Araneta
|Gregorio S. Araneta|
|Secretary of Finance and Justice|
July 1, 1908 – October 10, 1913
|Appointed by||Governor-General James Francis Smith|
|Preceded by||Henry C. Ide|
|Succeeded by||Victorino Mapa|
|Attorney General of the Philippines|
July 16, 1906 – July 1, 1908
|Preceded by||Lebbeus R. Wifley|
|Succeeded by||Ignacio Villamor|
|Solicitor-General of the Philippines|
June 15, 1901 – July 16, 1906
|Preceded by||office created|
|Succeeded by||Ignacio Villamor|
|Vice-President of the Assembly of Representatives|
September 15, 1898 – November 13, 1899
|Born||April 19, 1869
Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines
|Died||May 9, 1930
|Occupation||lawyer and businessman|
Gregorio Soriano Araneta (April 19, 1869 – May 9, 1930), also known as Don Gregorio S. Araneta, was a Filipino lawyer, businessman, nationalist and patriot, who served his country and people during the Spanish colonization and American occupation.
Early Life and Career
In 1891, he graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in law. He experienced firsthand the abuses of the Spanish authorities and later defended prominent Filipinos accused of financially supporting the Katipunan.
In May 1898, Araneta was appointed member of the 21-man Consultative Assembly, which the Spanish General Basilio Agustin formed in an attempt to rally the support of Filipinos against its war with America. This assembly, however, failed and finally Spain lost its stronghold in the Philippines and the Filipinos formed their own government.
Araneta’s prominence as a lawyer reached President Emilio Aguinaldo. He was appointed member of the commission tasked to negotiate with American soldiers to allow them entry in Manila but the latter had already occupied the city. He was chosen Secretary of the Malolos Congress and participated in the drafting of the Constitution. He resigned as Secretary and accepted his appointment as Justice of the Ministry of Justice.
On January 25, 1899, the Diplomatic Corps was organized in order to establish diplomatic relations with foreign countries. Araneta was among those appointed as member but he chose to abandon the Revolutionary Government, perhaps for being more realistic about its future from the strong hands of America. Months after the Philippine-American War broke out, America established the civil courts in the Philippines. In May 1899, General Elwell Otis appointed him as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the youngest to occupy the position, being 30 years old then. This was the start of his brilliant career under the American government. Araneta’s sympathies became clearer when he joined the Federal Party that favored America’s annexation of the Philippines.
Bureau of Justice
On June 15, 1901, he was appointed Solicitor General. When Attorney General Libbeus R. Wifley accepted a post in China, Araneta was made his successor. He took his oath of office as Attorney General on July 16, 1906. Two years after, July 1, 1908, he was named member of the Philippine Commission and at the same time Secretary of Justice and Finance. He was the first Filipino to hold a sensitive post, being a commissioner with portfolio. He resigned from government service on October 10, 1913. With Salvador Zaragoza, he established a law office, which attracted many clients.
During the first Senatorial election in 1916, he ran for a seat in the Senate but lost to Rafael Palma. That same year, he accepted a teaching post in the University of Santo Tomas and at the same attended to his private law practice. A brilliant lawyer, Araneta had convinced the Supreme Court to reverse its previous decision on two cases. Araneta also gained respect for his ethical principles. He turned down the offer of House Speaker Sergio Osmeña to seat as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in favor of Manuel Araullo, who he thought to be more deserving for the post. He was again offered the same position during the time of Senate President Manuel Luis Quezon but he also declined, this time for delicadeza, because he was then involved in a case pending before the Supreme Court.
Araneta married Carmen Zaragoza on March 7, 1896. Their marriage was blessed with 14 children: Carmen, Jose, Salvador, Consuelo, Paz, Rosa, Antonio, Teresa, Ramon, Vicente, Conchita, Margarita, Luis and Francisco.
He died on May 9, 1930 of myocardial infarction.
- "GREGORIO S. ARANETA". nhi.gov.ph.