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Filemon Sotto y Yap (November 22, 1872 – October 10, 1966) was a Filipino Visayan lawyer, legislator, and politician from Cebu, Philippines. He was a newspaper publisher and founded the periodicals El Imperial, Ang Kaluwasan, La Opinion, and La Revolucion. He served as member of Cebu municipal board, Congressman of Cebu's 3rd district for the Philippine Assembly (1907–1916), Senator of the Philippine Legislature (1916–1922), delegate to the 1934 Constitutional Convention, and delegate to the Institute of National Language (1937).

Filemon Sotto y Yap
Member of the Philippine Assembly
In office
Preceded by(Office created)
Succeeded byVicente Urgello
Senator of the Philippine Legislature from the 10th Senatorial District
In office
Member of the 1934 Constitutional Convention
In office
July 30, 1934 – February 8, 1935
Personal details
BornNovember 22, 1872
Cebu, Captaincy General of the Philippines
DiedOctober 10, 1966
Cebu City, Philippines
RelationsVicente Sotto
Alma mater
  • Lawyer
  • Publisher


Early lifeEdit

Filemon Sotto was born in Cebu, Philippines November 22, 1872.[1] The son of Marcelino Sotto of Binondo, Manila and Pascuala Yap of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, he was the elder brother of former Senator Vicente Sotto. He acquired a bachelor's degree from Colegio de San Carlos[2] and later attended San Juan de Letran College and the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, where he graduated with a law degree and passed the bar examinations in 1905.[3] Musically-minded, he played guitar, violin, and violoncello.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1909, Filemon had a son with Cebuana beauty queen Remedios Duterte, but the child didn't survive. They bore another child, Pascuala Sotto, who was named after his mother and born on February 9, 1913. The couple separated ways. He married Carmen Rallos, continued to look after the welfare of Pascuala, paying for her education and needs, and even extended his generosity her children.

During World War II, Filemon escaped to Carmen, Cebu with his family. When the war ended, he settled in Cebu City in a house constructed along Vicente Ranudo Street and when the property was sold, his family relocated to Lahug.[4]


In 1903, he was voted as member and became vice president of the municipal board of Cebu.[5] He was then appointed as fiscal for Negros Occidental and assistant fiscal for Cebu.[3]


Aside from politics, Filemon published and edited periodicals such as La Revolucion, which saw its first print in August 5, 1910 and went in circulation until 1941.[1] He also founded and published the newspapers El Imperial,[3] Ang Kaluwasan, which was first printed in 1902,[6] and La Opinion.[3]

Philippine AssemblyEdit

In 1907, he was elected representative to the Philippine Assembly for Cebu's 3rd district. He served in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Philippine Legislature until 1916.[7] Through the influence of the members of the Asociasion Feminista Ilonga (Feminist Association of Ilongo) that was formed by Pura Villanueva-Kalaw in 1906, he sponsored the first bill that would allow women the right of suffrage.[8] It was not until 1936 that Filipino women were granted the right to vote under the administration of President Manuel L. Quezon.[9]


From 1916 until 1922, he was elected senator for two terms, serving together with Celestino Rodriguez in the Fourth Legislature and Fifth Legislature for Cebu, which was the 10th senatorial district. At that time, the Philippines was split into 12 senatorial districts, each district voting 2 senators.[10]

Constitutional ConventionEdit

By 1934, when the United States Congress approved the Philippine Independence Act which would pave the way for the creation of the Philippine Constitution,[11] Filemon was elected as delegate to the Constitutional Convention.[10] In October 9, 1934, he was appointed[1] and became chairman of the group called Seven Wise Men that included Conrado Benitez Manuel C. Briones, Manuel Roxas, Miguel Cuaderno, Norberto Romualdez, and Vicente Singson Encarnacion,[12] who had significant contribution to the draft of the 1935 Constitution.[11] He submitted the first draft to the convention on November 6, 1934.[1]

Institute of National LanguageEdit

In January 12, 1937, he was appointed as delegate of the Institute of National Language, which was created by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 184, by then President Manuel L. Quezon.[1] The government body, the first of its kind, was tasked to develop the Philippine national language.[13]

Later yearsEdit

On November 25, 1960, Pascuala would later petition the courts to recognize her as natural child of Filemon, and the Supreme Court decided in her favor on July 15, 1968.[4] Filemon died in Cebu City on October 10, 1966.[2]

Historical commemorationEdit

  • The Filemon Street, which starts from Gorordo Avenue to Maxilom Avenue, in Cebu City was named in his honor by virtue of City Ordinance No. 1123. [10]


  1. ^ a b c d e Mojares, Resil B. "Today in the History of Cebu" (PDF). University of San Carlos. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Tinga, Pablo S. (2009). CEBU: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Cebu City: Saint Jude Book Publisher. ISBN 9789710553150.
  3. ^ a b c d "Filemon Sotto". Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "G.R. No. L-21175". Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  5. ^ Oaminal, Clarence Paul (April 27, 2018). "Don Filemon Yap Sotto and Remedios Duterte | The Freeman". Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  6. ^ Oaminal, Clarence Paul (March 9, 2018). "Don Filemon Sotto's "La Revolucion" | The Freeman". Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  7. ^ "Roster of Philippine Legislators". House of Representatives; Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  8. ^ Angeles, Leonora C. (February 22, 2012). "Philippines Suffragist Movement". Women Suffrage and Beyond. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  9. ^ Davis, Leonard. (1989). Revolutionary Struggle in the Philippines. London: Palgrave Macmillan Limited. ISBN 9781349198627. OCLC 1085192082.
  10. ^ a b c Oaminal, Clarence Paul (March 21, 2014). "Filemon Sotto Drive, Cebu City". The Freeman through Pressreader. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  11. ^ a b "Constitution Day | GOVPH". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  12. ^ "Filipinos on July 10, 1934 elected delegates to constitutional convention". The Kahimyang Project. Retrieved 2019-05-17.
  13. ^ Inquirer, Philippine Daily. "Did you know: Institute of National Language". Retrieved 2019-05-17.