Claro M. Recto
Claro M. Recto, dubbed the “Great Academician” by writers of national prominence, was born on February 8, 1890 in Tiaong, Tayabas (Now Quezon) province to Don Claro Recto, Sr. of Rosario Batangas and Doña Micaela Mayo of Lipa.
His elementary education was obtained in Tiaong, and part of his high school studies in Lipa, Batangas. He enrolled later in Ateneo where he received his A.B. degree, maxima cum laude, 1909. He then learned his LL.M. degree at the University of Sto. Tomas in 1914 and was admitted to the Philippine Bar the same year.
Recto was first elected as member of the House of Representatives for the Third District of Batangas in 1919, serving as Minority Floor Leader with distinction for several years with his good grasp of parliamentary proceedings that won for him the acclaim of both his friends and political adversaries.
In 1931, Recto was elected senator for a six-year term representing the Fifth Senatorial District, comprising the provinces of Batangas, Tayabas, Cavite, Mindoro and Marinduque, where he served as Minority Floor Leader (1931-1934) and Majority Floor Leader and President Pro-Tempore (1934). It was in the Senate where Recto answered to the name of a “one-man fiscalizer”.
In 1935, he was appointed by President Roosevelt as Associate Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, and as a jurist, he stood at par with any international lawyer of fame. He was a worthy protagonist in many remarkable and famous debates, even holding his own against the Attorney General of the United States on the question of ownership of military bases in the Philippines.
When the assembly to draft the Philippine Constitution was convened (1934-1935), Recto was selected president and personally presented the Commonwealth Constitution to President Roosevelt for his approval and signature.
Recto was again elected senator in 1941, 1949 and 1955.
He also served the country as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1935-1936), Commissioner of Education, Health and Public Welfare (1942-1943), Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (1943-1944) and Cultural Envoy with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on cultural mission to Europe and Latin America (1960).
Besides being a noted institution in politics and a staunch nationalist, Recto was also a literary man and author of political works and legal treaties.
Senator Recto married Doña Aurora Reyes with whom he had five children.