Tomás Confesor

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Tomás Confesor (March 2, 1891[3] – June 6, 1951) was a Filipino politician who was the governor of Iloilo and later, all of Panay Island during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II.[4] Right after the war, he served as Mayor of Manila and secretary of the Philippine Department of the Interior under President Sergio Osmena.[4]

Tomás Confesor
Tomás Confesor (cropped).jpg
Governor of Iloilo
In office
Personal details
Born(1891-03-02)March 2, 1891
Cabatuan, Iloilo, Captaincy General of the Philippines[1]
DiedJune 6, 1951(1951-06-06) (aged 60)
Manila, Philippines[2]
Spouse(s)Rosalina Grecia[1]
ParentsJulian Confesor and Prospera Valenzuela[1]
EducationIloilo High School; University of California; University of Chicago[1]
AwardsPhilippine Legion of Honor, degree of commander.[1]


Confesor was born to a "farmer-schoolteacher" in Iloilo.[4] He graduated from the Iloilo High School.[1] He then went to the United States, which then ruled the Philippines, and worked while attending the University of California for three years.[4] In 1912, while at the University of California, he was a founder of a new pro-Philippine independence student newspaper called the Filipino Student.[5] He later graduated from the University of Chicago in Illinois with a major in municipal government and economics.[4] He earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the University of California and a bachelor of philosophy in economics from the University of Chicago.[1]

When he returned to the Philippines, he was briefly a teacher.[2] He served as supervisor of Jaro, Iloilo.v He was then elected to the Philippine Legislature in 1922 and served for three terms.[1] In 1933, he was appointed by the Governor-General of the Philippines Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. as the Director of Commerce, the first Filipino to hold that office.[1]

In 1934, he was elected to the Philippine Constitutional Convention that drafted the 1935 Constitution of the Philippines and was subsequently elected to the Philippine National Assembly, the body that replaced the Philippine Legislature.[1]

World War II resistance leader on PanayEdit

When Japan attacked the Philippines on December 8, 1941, Confesor was in Manila.[4] He was chief of the National Cooperatives Association while also governor of Iloilo.[4] He escaped to Panay on a small sailboat.[4] He fled to the mountains of Panay along with his wife and children to help lead the resistance to the Japanese occupation.[4] He led the civilian government first of Iloilo and then he was appointed by Philippine President Quezon as “wartime governor of Free Panay and Romblon”, which includes the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Romblon.[1] Macario Peralta, Jr. led the armed guerrillas on Panay. Confesor and Peralta frequently clashed.[citation needed]

During the war, the puppet governor of Iloilo urged Confesor to stop fighting.[4] Confesor replied in what Time Magazine called a "classic of resistance literature": "This war has placed us in the crucible to assay the metal in our being. . . . You underrate the nobility and grandeur of the character and soul of the Filipino. . . . I will not surrender as long as I stand on my feet."[4]

Immediately after the liberation of Manila from the Japanese, during which Manila was largely destroyed, he was appointed mayor of Manila.[4] The destruction of Manila was so great that in Manila's business district only two buildings were not damaged and those two were looted of their plumbing.[6] On April 8, 1945 he was also appointed Secretary of the Interior.[1] Also after the war, he served as the Chief Philippine Delegate to the Far Eastern Commission.[7]

In 1946 he was elected to the Philippine Senate.[1] He died of a heart attack on June 6, 1951.[1]

Positions on issuesEdit

In the 1946 presidential election he supported incumbent Pres. Osmena of the Nacionalista Party over challenger and ultimate winner Manuel Roxas of the Nacionalista Party (Liberal wing) (the precursor to today's Liberal Party).

He opposed "parity rights", providing rights to Philippine natural resources to American citizens and corporations equal to Philippine citizens and corporations, as required by the U.S. Bell Trade Act and campaigned against approval of the parity rights constitutional amendment in the Philippine parity rights plebiscite of 1947.[8]


President Osmena awarded him the Philippine Legion of Honor, degree of commander.[1]

He was given a state funeral in 1951.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "About Tomas Confesor". The Philippine Diary Project. Retrieved 18 March 2016. Published as To Leyte And Washington In 1944–1945 (A Diary Fragment Of Tomas Confessor) in Bulletin of the American Historical Collection Vol 10 No. 3 (40) July 1982 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Milestones, Jun. 18, 1951". Time Magazine. June 18, 1951. Retrieved 18 March 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Proclamation No. 391, s. 1957: DECLARING SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 1957, AS A SPECIAL PUBLIC HOLIDAY IN THE PROVINCE AND THE CITY OF ILOILO". Official Gazette. 1 March 1957. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "THE PHILIPPINES: The Metal in Our Being". Time Magazine. April 2, 1945. Retrieved 18 March 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Filipinos Issue New Magazine". Oakland Tribune. December 1, 1912. p. 80. Retrieved 19 March 2016 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) 
  6. ^ "War Scars". Time Magazine. April 16, 1945. Retrieved 17 March 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Letters, Mar. 18, 1946". Time Magazine. March 18, 1946. Retrieved 18 March 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Filipinos Vote Heavily for U.S. Trade Parity". Record-Chronicle (Benton, Texas). AP. March 12, 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 19 March 2016 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)  
  9. ^ "State Funeral for Guerrilla Chief". Greeley Daily Tribune. AP. June 8, 1951. p. 2. Retrieved 19 March 2016 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)  

External linksEdit