Francisco Soc Rodrigo

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Francisco "Soc" Rodrigo
Francisco Soc Rodrigo.jpg
Senator of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1955 – December 30, 1967
Personal details
Born Francisco Aldana Rodrigo
January 29, 1914
Bulacan, Bulacan, Philippine Islands
Died January 4, 1998(1998-01-04) (aged 83)
Quezon City, Philippines
Political party Liberal Party
Occupation Politician

Francisco "Soc" Aldana Rodrigo (January 29, 1914 – January 4, 1998) was a Filipino playwright, lawyer, broadcaster, and a Senator of the Third Congress (1955–1957), Fourth Congress (1958–1961), Fifth Congress (1962–1965), and Sixth Congress (1966–1969) of the Republic of the Philippines.

Early life[edit]

Soc Rodrigo was born on 29 January 1914 in Bulacan, Bulacan, to food vendor Marcela Aldana and horse-carriage driver Melecio Rodrigo. He was a relative to the Filipino heroes Marcelo del Pilar and Gregorio del Pilar.[1]

Rodrigo finished elementary at Bulacan Elementary School and secondary school at the University of the Philippines High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Education degrees from Ateneo de Manila and University of Santo Tomas, graduating magna cum laude and valedictorian. He was captain of the debate team at university.

In 1937, Rodrigo married his childhood sweetheart Remedios Enriquez. Prior to this, he took Law at the University of the Philippines, which he finished in 1938.[2]


Rodrigo was a playwright in English and Tagalog, with works described as those that distilled within the Filipino soul. His most celebrated play was Sa Pula, Sa Puti while his most popular Kuro – Kuro sa likod ng mga Balita had also won legions of admirers throughout the country. Some other famous works include Tagalog translations of works of Martyr of Golgotha and Cyrano de Bergerac.[2] Rodrigo was also known for his tanaga.

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II, Rodrigo distributed anti-Japanese propaganda materials together with Raul Manglapus and Manuel Fruto. In his book "Mga Bakas ng Kahapon", Rodrigo reflected on the fate he and his family of four may have suffered had he been implicated by Manglapus and Fruto during their capture. In 1945, he moved his family to the underground basement of the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, where they survived the building’s destruction.

After the war, Rodrigo resumed his law practice by joining the law firm of Francisco Delgado and Lorenzo Tañada. Then, he opened the Rodrigo Law Office in 1946. Rodrigo authored Philippine Modern Legal Forms and Handbook on the Rules of Court.

In 1951, Rodrigo became the president of the Ateneo Parent-Teacher Association, then became the president of the Ateneo Alumni Association in 1953. In 1953, Rodrigo and Bob Stewart ran an unprecedented 48-hour coverage of the entire proceedings of the 1953 Presidential Elections.[2] Rodrigo was awarded by president Ramon Magsaysay a Legion of Honor due to this marathon broadcast.


In 1955, Rodrigo won a seat in the Philippine Senate under the Nacionalista Party of President Magsaysay. One of Rodrigo’s speeches, "Catholics in Politics," delivered on 7 September 1957, is included in the Anvil Press book "20 Speeches That Moved a Nation.[3]" Awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Senators of his time, he was a much invited guest of foreign governments such as the United States, Britain and West Germany, among others. Rodrigo was also awarded a U.S. Government grant under the terms of Public Law 402 (Smith - Mundt) for observation and travel under the auspices of the Governmental Affairs Institute (Nov. 20, 1959 - Jan. 20, 1960).[4]

For the 1959 midterm elections, Rodrigo ran an unsuccessful campaign for the “Grand Alliance” counting as candidates Emmanuel Pelaez, Raul Manglapus and Jorge Vargas, among others. Then in 1961, Rodrigo got the third-most votes to win a second senatorial term as a Liberal Party candidate with Diosdado Macapagal.[5] He sought a third term in 1967 but lost. From 1970-1972, Rodrigo hosted the ABS-CBN program "Mga Kuro-kuro ni Soc Rodrigo."

For his dissent against President Ferdinand Marcos, Rodrigo, along with Ninoy Aquino and many others, was incarcerated during upon the declaration of Martial Law in 1972. During this time in jail, Rodrigo kept the faith of fellow detainees alive as he led nightly prayers of the rosary. Aquino would treasure of the crucifixes that Rodrigo gave him during this time.[6] Rodrigo was released after three months but was detained two more times. In 1978, for writing Tagalog poems attacking the Marcos dictatorship, and in 1982, for his anti-Marcos poems in the We Forum and Philippine Star.

In 1983, Rodrigo was one of the first people allowed to look at the newly assassinated Ninoy Aquino’s body. Rodrigo felt distraught over this incident since he was one of those who advised Aquino to return to the Philippines from exile in the United States.[7]

After the People Power revolution that sent Marcos to exile, Rodrigo was chosen by President Cory Aquino to be a Commissioner of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. Many of Rodrigo’s children were against his being a member, preferring instead to see him in the Senate one more time. Instead, he joined the commission as he turned his back on politics forever. The new Constitution was ratified by the people in February 1987.[8]


Francisco Soc Rodrigo marker, National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Thereafter, Rodrigo retired from public life, preferring to spend time with his family. He wrote columns for the newspapers Malaya (1980–1989) and Philippine Star (1992–1997).[9]

On 4 January 1998, Rodrigo died at the age of 83 due to complications of cancer. In November of that year, his name was inscribed in the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Memorial Hall in Quezon City to honor his role in the struggle against Ferdinand Marcos.[6]

The Gawad Soc Rodrigo is an award named after him given by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).