Lorenzo Tañada

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Lorenzo Tañada
Lorenzo Tanada portrait.jpg
Senator of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1947 – December 30, 1971
Minority leader of the Senate of the Philippines
In office
Preceded by Carlos P. Garcia
Succeeded by Ambrosio Padilla
Solicitor General of the Philippines
In office
July 1, 1945 – December 30, 1947
President Sergio Osmeña
Manuel Roxas
Preceded by Sixto dela Costa
Succeeded by Manuel Lim
Personal details
Born Lorenzo Martinez Tañada
(1898-08-10)August 10, 1898
Gumaca, Tayabas Captaincy General of the Philippines[note 1]
Died May 28, 1992(1992-05-28) (aged 93)
Manila, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Political party Nationalist Citizens' Party (formerly Citizen's Party)
Other political
Citizen's Party
(1978-1986, Campaign Manager)
Spouse(s) Expedita Ebarle
Relations Lorenzo Tañada III (grandchild)
Vincent "Vince" M. Tañada (grandchild)
Children 9 (including Wigberto, Lorenzo Jr. and Antonio)
Association football career
Playing position Goalkeeper
National team
Years Team Apps (Gls)
c.1923–1925 Philippines

Lorenzo Martinez Tañada, Sr., PLH (August 10, 1898 – May 28, 1992) was a Filipino nationalist and former international footballer. Elected to the first Philippine Senate in 1947, he was the longest-serving senator in Philippine history. He served as a Philippine senator for 24 years.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Tañada was born in Gumaca, Quezon on August 10, 1898. The son of Vicente Tañada, who served as the last Gobernadorcillo of Gumaca town in Quezon under the Spanish colonial government and Anastacia Martinez-Tañada. His actions in life were governed by the philosophy ingrained in him by his mother. The phrase “fear of God is the start of wisdom” guided him in all his social dealings. As an elementary student in De La Salle, Manila, a school run by the Christian Brothers, Tañada joined a protest against his school’s American principal. The protest was prompted by the principal’s order for school children to stay during weekends to build a playground which prevented them from going home to their parents. As a law student at the University of the Philippines (U.P.), Tañada, completed his Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) prior to the academic Philippine educational system and obtained the rank of major, and a lead actor in plays. He was also a national football team goalkeeper[2] and was part of the Philippine national team that bagged silver medals at the 1923 and 1923 Far Eastern Championship Games.[3] It was during his years as a college student, during U.P.’s Armistice Day, when he exhorted “his fellow cadets to take their training seriously as they will soon be called upon to use their skill against the Americans if the country’s independence is not granted”.[2] In 1924 he topped the government's examination for pensionados. In 1928, he obtained his Masters in Law from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He also acquired a Doctor in Civil Law meritissimus from the University of Santo Tomas.

In 1947, together with prominent justices and lawyers, they founded the MLQ Law School and later on, in 1958 was elevated as the Manuel L. Quezon University upon signing of charter granted by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture. The Monzon Hall is currently situated in R. Hidalgo Street while the Law Building is at Arlegui Street.

Political career[edit]

Tañada is described to be a “person who metamorphosed from a graftbuster to a nationalist and... a crusader of various causes.” Apart from being characterized as an esteemed nationalist, Tañada was also regarded as the leader of the “parliament of the streets”. He had an infallible stance against graft and corruption, inequality, and tyranny. He was also the chief prosecutor against Japanese collaborators. Because of his political reputation, Tañada became a Filipino praised by all sectors of Philippine society, a person honored by both the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, and a man who was acknowledged as a man of principles even by Benigno Aquino, Sr., who Tañada himself once charged as a “collaborator”.[2] He was one of the petitioners in the landmark Supreme Court case Tañada vs. Tuvera, which declared that unpublished laws (a characteristic of the Presidential Decrees of Marcos) are without effect.

Tañada was also a longtime opponent of the U.S. role in the Philippines. He was the organizer of the Anti-Bases Coalition and other groups that rallied public opposition to the presence of American troops in Philippines. Lorenzo Tañada is often called the “grand old man of Philippine politics”, due to his reputation as one of the Philippine’s foremost nationalists. He was a familiar fixture during the Martial law era of Ferdinand Marcos, leading rallies and demonstrations being the founding chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. During Corazon Aquino’s presidency, he was a staunch anti-U.S. Bases activist and an anti-nuclear power plant advocate.[2]

On September 16, 1991, Tañada received a standing ovation from the Philippine Senate after its rejection of a new lease for the Subic Bay naval base, which was the last American military installation in the Philippines.[2]


Tañada died in 1992, on the way to a hospital, at the age of 93. Days before his death, Tañada had already been undergoing kidney dialysis. He was survived by his wife, Expedita Ebarle-Tañada, and nine children, including Philippine Senator Wigberto Tañada.[1]


  1. ^ now Gumaca, Quezon, Philippines