Ramon Mitra, Jr.

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Ramon V. Mitra, Jr.
Speaker Ramon Mitra.jpg
16th Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives
In office
July 27, 1987 – June 30, 1992
President Corazon Aquino
Preceded by Abolished
(Last held by Nicanor Yñiguez)
Succeeded by Jose de Venecia, Jr.
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Palawan's Second District
In office
June 30, 1987 – June 30, 1992
Preceded by Post created
Succeeded by Alfredo Amor Abueg, Jr.
Philippine Minister and Secretary of Agriculture
In office
March 25, 1986 – June 30, 1987
President Corazon Aquino
Preceded by Salvador Escudero
Succeeded by Carlos Dominguez
Mambabatas Pambansa (Assemblyman) from Palawan
In office
June 30, 1984 – March 25, 1986
Member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines from Palawan's Lone District
In office
December 30, 1965 – December 30, 1971
Preceded by Gaudencio Abordo
Succeeded by Vacant
Post later held by himself
Senator of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1971 – September 23, 1972[1]
Personal details
Born Ramon Villarosa Mitra
(1928-02-04)February 4, 1928
Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Died March 20, 2000(2000-03-20) (aged 72)
Makati City
Nationality Filipino
Political party Liberal Party
Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (1987–2000)
Spouse(s) Cecilia Aldeguer Blanco
Children Ramon Mitra III
Bernardo Mitra
Abraham Kahlil Mitra
Raul Mitra
and 2 others
Alma mater San Beda College
Profession Politician
Religion Roman Catholicism

Ramon "Monching" Villarosa Mitra, Jr. (February 4, 1928 — March 20, 2000), was a Filipino statesman, diplomat, and a pro-democracy activist.

Early life and career[edit]

Mitra was born inside the Iwahig Penal Colony in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan to Ramon P. Mitra y Mariño and Purification Villarosa. He attended public school for elementary education and took his secondary education in San Beda College, Manila. He finished his Liberal Arts degree in Baguio City and obtained his Bachelor of Laws in San Beda.

Mitra was appointed as a Philippine Foreign Service Officer in Washington, D.C. and at the United Nations from 1954 to 1961; in 1961 he was appointed as special assistant to the Office of President Quirino. He then became a senior technical assistant to the Office of the Mayor Villegas of Manila from 1962 up to 1965.

Political life[edit]

Representative (1965-1971)[edit]

Mitra was elected congressman representing Palawan for two terms from 1965 and was minority leader within five years.

Senator of the Philippines (1971-1972)[edit]

He resigned during his second term to run for the senate and was elected senator in 1971. During the campaign, he was nearly killed in Plaza Miranda by hand grenades at the anti-Marcos political rally of the Liberal Party. In September 1972, his term was cut short by Martial Law. Mitra was one of the first arrested and jailed when Marcos declared martial law. "I am a Martial Law Victim," he would say.

Assemblyman (1984-1986)[edit]

In 1978, Monching ran for the Interim Batasang Pambansa together with Sen. Ninoy Aquino. In 1984 he was elected as an Assemblyman to the Regular Batasang Pambansa. After the People Power Revolution in 1986, Mitra joined the Aquino administration and was appointed as Agriculture Minister.

Speaker of the House (1987-1992)[edit]

After the restoration of the House of Representatives, he ran as Congressman representing the second district of Palawan. He was eventually elected as Speaker of the House at its inaugural session. During his sterling leadership of the House, major bills were passed into laws of the country and instituted policies aimed at enhancing the functions of the House as a legislative institution.

1992 Presidential Campaign[edit]

In 1991, Mitra, who was also the party president of the LDP Party, was selected in a party convention as the candidate for the presidency ahead of Defense secretary Fidel Ramos. Ramos bolted the party and formed his own party- the Lakas ng Tao Party. Mitra's bid was difficult because he was branded as a traditional politician and suffered many controversies including the alleged use of the congressional printing press for his election materials. Taken these all into account Mitra, Jr. was finally unsuccessful in the 1992 presidential election.

Post-Speakership[edit]

In 1995, he agreed to create a coalition with Fidel V. Ramos and formed the Lakas-Laban Coalition. In the 1995 elections, he ran for senator but lost. In the 1998 elections, he returned to the political spotlight as a key supporter of Joseph Estrada's successful presidential campaign. Estrada rewarded Mitra by naming him President of the state-owned Philippine National Oil Corporation.

Personal life[edit]

"Monching," as he was popularly known, was married to Cecilia Aldeguer Blanco in April 1959; they had six children, all of which are boys. Mitra's sons are politically active; his third son, Ramon "Mon-Mon" Mitra, who graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1988 served in the Philippine Marine Corps, has ran for a senatorial slate for May 2010 elections of the Nacionalista Party but lost. Bernardo Mitra, his fourth son, has been working for government in various capacities since 1989 and his youngest, Abraham Kahlil Mitra, is currently the Governor of Palawan.

During a night rally of farmers and fishermen in the midst of the 1992 presidential elections, he told his story about his poor life:

With that, Mitra, Jr. confessed he was a "love child" born out of wedlock, reared barefoot and hungry, who caught crocodiles as a youth and was shunned by his affluent father. From those humble roots, Monching rose to be a lawyer, diplomat, senator and martial law prisoner, millionaire rancher and eventually, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Ramon V. Mitra was one of the nation's most powerful politicians.[3]

He had a lifelong involvement with cattle. He was Chairman of the Farm Management Enterprises Corporation which owned and operated farm cattle ranches and was a breeder of gamecocks, thoroughbred horses, and cattle. When Monching conceded defeat in the 1992 presidential race, he found solace within the fences of his ranch and after which, continued to live his life as a farmer.

Mitra, at the age of 72, died at the Makati Medical Center from liver cancer. One of his last requests was to be buried beside a lighthouse in Palawan, with simple funeral rites unlike his predecessors in the House. In one of his last interviews, he said "the lighthouse overlooks the ocean where all boats entering and leaving Puerto Princesa Bay pass by. By making that my final resting place, I can continuously guide and protect my people."

A building was named after him serving as the West Wing in the Batasan Complex in Quezon City.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Original Term until December 30, 1977 cut short pursuant to the Declaration of Martial Law on September 23, 1972.
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times Newspaper Archive Latimes.com
  3. ^ Los Angeles Times Newspaper Archive Latimes.com

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Salvador H. Escudero III
Minister of the Department of Agriculture
1986–1987
Succeeded by
Carlos G. Dominguez
Preceded by
Abolished
(Previously held by Nicanor Yñiguez)
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines
1987–1992
Succeeded by
Jose C. de Venecia, Jr.