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|
|Preceded by||(Office created)|
|Succeeded by||Vicente Urgello|
|Senator of the Philippine Legislature from the 10th Senatorial District|
|Member of the 1934 Constitutional Convention|
July 30, 1934 – February 8, 1935
|Born||November 22, 1872|
Cebu, Captaincy General of the Philippines
|Died||October 10, 1966|
Cebu City, Philippines
Filemon Sotto was born in Cebu, Philippines November 22, 1872. 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 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. Musically-minded, he played guitar, violin, and violoncello.
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.
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. He also founded and published the newspapers El Imperial, Ang Kaluwasan, which was first printed in 1902, and La Opinion.
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. 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. It was not until 1936 that Filipino women were granted the right to vote under the administration of President Manuel L. Quezon.
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.
By 1934, when the United States Congress approved the Philippine Independence Act which would pave the way for the creation of the Philippine Constitution, Filemon was elected as delegate to the Constitutional Convention. In October 9, 1934, he was appointed 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, who had significant contribution to the draft of the 1935 Constitution. He submitted the first draft to the convention on November 6, 1934.
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. The government body, the first of its kind, was tasked to develop the Philippine national language.
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. Filemon died in Cebu City on October 10, 1966.
- 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. 
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