Pablo Ocampo

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Pablo de Leon Ocampo
Pablo Ocampo.jpg
1st Resident Commissioner of the Philippines to the United States Congress
In office
November 22, 1907 – November 22, 1909
Serving with Benito Legarda
Succeeded byManuel L. Quezon
2nd Vice Mayor of Manila
In office
August 8, 1912 – March 6, 1920
Preceded byRamón Fernández
Succeeded byJuan Posadas
Personal details
Pablo de Leon Ocampo

(1853-01-25)January 25, 1853
Quiapo, Manila, Captaincy General of the Philippines
DiedFebruary 5, 1925(1925-02-05) (aged 72)
Manila, Philippine Islands
Alma materUniversity of Santo Tomas

Pablo de Leon Ocampo (January 25, 1853 – February 5, 1925) was a Filipino lawyer,nationalist, a member of the Malolos Congress, one of the first Resident Commissioner from the Philippine Islands to the United States Congress and a member of the 2nd Philippine Legislature. He gave his service to his country and helped to bring about the peaceful transition of the Philippines, from being a colony of Spain for more than 300 years (1521 to 1898) to what will later become the American Commonwealth of the Philippines.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Ocampo was born in Manila, Spanish Philippines on January 25, 1853 in Quiapo, Manila. His father was Andres Ocampo, a gobernadorcillo of Santa Cruz, Manila in the Spanish period, while his mother was Macaria de Leon.

Ocampo spent his secondary school years in the Colegio de San Juan de Letran and went on to take up law at the University of Santo Tomas. He finished his degree in March 1882 and went on to practice law in Manila. He studied law at San Juan de Letran College and the University of Santo Tomas graduating in 1882.[1]

Ocampo married Juana Zamora on 5 September 1885. The couple had twelve children but only six reached adulthood: Concepcion O. Santiago, Jesus, Pedro, Mariano, Rosario O. Alejandro, and Pacita O. Campos. Concepcion married Francisco Santiago, the Father of Kundiman Art Song. The son of Jesus, Pabling Ocampo, served the Philippine Congress representing a District of Manila prior to the declaration of Martial Law by then President Ferdinand Marcos. Sandy Ocampo, the daughter of Pabling, is currently serving as the representative of the 6th District of Manila in the Philippine Congress. Rosario was instrumental in the rebuilding of the Antipolo Cathedral after it was destroyed during World War II. She became caretaker of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de la Paz y del Buen Viaje), also known as the Virgin of Antipolo (Filipino: Birhen ng Antipolo) until her death. Pacita married Federico Diaz Campos who became a colonel of the Philippine Constabulary Medical Corps.

Political life[edit]

In 1888, Ocampo was appointed court reporter of Manila. The following year he was promoted to public prosecutor in the court of first instance in Tondo, Manila. He later became defensor de oficio (public defender) and secretary of the Colegio de Abogados (Bar Association).

While he was not an active supporter of the Revolution during its first phase, Ocampo was appointed member of the Malolos Congress, or formally known as the "National Assembly" of representatives was the constituent assembly of the First Philippine Republic. He represented the Provinces of Prinsipe, Lepanto, Bontok, and Infanta. Eventually, he was elected secretary and member of the committee which drafted the constitution. He also taught civil law and political economy at the short-lived Universidad Cientifico-Literaria de Filipinas which was run by the revolutionary government.

When the Philippine-American War broke out in February 1899, Ocampo joined Gracio Gonzaga, Florentino Torres, Gregorio del Pilar, and Lorenzo Zialcita in the commission that met with Elwell S. Otis to put a stop to the hostilities. Lorenzo Zialcita would later become governor of the Province of Bataan from 1905 to 1907. On 3 July 1899, Ocampo was appointed by Emilio Aguinaldo as sole representative of the Revolutionary government in the city of Manila and also served as head of its intelligence office. The appointment was made while Aguinaldo and his troops were retreating to the north.

Ocampo became the editor of La Patria, a nationalist paper that was founded on 16 September 1899. The paper provided him a venue to share his nationalistic views which gained the ire of the American authorities. Arthur MacArthur, Jr.(father of General Douglas MacArthur), who was Governor-General of the occupied Philippines at that time, issued an order to deport him to Guam on 7 January 1901. Nine days later, Ocampo saw himself being shipped on the American vessel Rosecrans along with other revolutionaries such as Apolinario Mabini, Julian Gerona, Maximo Hizon, Pio del Pilar, Mariano Llanera, and Artemio Ricarte. He lived in exile in Guam for almost two years and was only able to return to the Philippines after President William McKinley granted him amnesty. He finally took the oath of allegiance in 1902.

It was obvious that Ocampo has softened his stand on national issues after his exile. He did not support the call for immediate independence which was the stand of other Filipino politicians. Instead of joining the Partido Independista Immediatista, he joined the Union Nacionalista. In 1907, he ran for a seat in the First Philippine Assembly (please refer to 1907 Philippine Assembly elections) to represent the southern district of Manila. He, along with Benito Valdez, Rafael del Pan, and Manuel Ravago, lost to Fernando Ma. Guerrero.

On 22 November 1907, Ocampo was elected by the Assembly as the first Resident Commissioner of the Philippines to the United States of America. He won against Rafael del Pan, Justo Lukban, Jaime C. de Veyra, and Alberto Barretto. He and Benito Legarda, who was elected to the same position by the Philippine Commission, sailed for Washington on 21 December 1907. The two became the first Filipino Resident Commissioners to be seated in the United States Congress. This time, Ocampo advocated immediate independence as it was the stand of the dominant political party in the Philippines.

As resident commissioner, Ocampo held that it was not for the United States to judge whether or not Filipinos were ready to run the government. He was convinced that independence would motivate Filipinos to strengthen the government and improve the country’s economy. Ocampo strongly opposed the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act which allowed limitless entry of American products into the Philippines, while Philippine products such as sugar and tobacco going to the U.S. fell under import restrictions.

Ocampo was a part of the American delegation sent to the 15th Inter-Parliamentary Union conference held in Berlin, Germany on 17–19 September 1908. In 1909 after two years in Washington, D.C., Ocampo ran for a seat in the 2nd Philippine Legislature and won. As a legislator, he opposed the passage of the Negotiable Instruments Law. He was a member of the committees on appropriations, metropolitan relations, and the committee for the city of Manila. On four occasions, he served as head of committee of the whole house.

After his stint as legislator, Ocampo served as the 2nd vice-mayor of Manila from 8 August 1912 to 6 March 1920. He retired from politics after serving the City of Manila as vice-mayor.


Ocampo died on 5 February 1925 at the age of 72. His remains lie at the Ocampo-Campos family mausoleum located in City of Antipolo, Province of Rizal.

A main thoroughfare in Metro Manila was renamed Pablo Ocampo Street (formerly Vito Cruz Street) in his honor. Along this road, one can find a monument for his contributions to the history of the Philippines. The monument, statue of his likeness, could be found between Rizal Memorial Coliseum and Century Plaza Hotel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
    • United States Congress. "Pablo Ocampo (id: O000020)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
office created
Resident Commissioner of the Philippines
Served alongside: Benito Legarda
Succeeded by
Manuel L. Quezon