FELIPE G. CALDERON
Felipe Gonzales Calderon, known as the 'Father of the Malolos Constitution", was born on April 4, 1868 in Santa Cruz de Malabon inow Tanza), Cavite, to a Spanish nobleman, Don Jose Gonzales Calderon, and Doņa Manuela Roca who was of Spanish-Filipino blood.
His early education was handled in the private school of Maestro Cabriel of Santa Ana. His mother sought to prepare him for the priesthood, but his father's cousin Doņa Carolina sent him to the Ateneo Municipal. His family, being impoverished by his father's vices, could not give the boy the luxury that other students of Spanish parentage had. Young Felipe had to walk to school barefoot and to carry his slippers under his arms, to be worn only in school.
In the primary and secondary courses at the Ateneo Municipal he was granted scholarships with free board and lodging on account of his unusual earnestness and marvellous talent. He received with high honors his Bachelor of Arts degree from this institution in 1885. In order to support his college education, he took up newspaper work, and wrote for La Opinion, La Oceania Espaņola and El Resumen. However, he never stayed long in any newspaper because of his nationalistic sentiments.
In the midst of his financial difficulties, a kind and rich businessman, Don Francisco Roxas, whose sons were tutored by Felipe, generously gave him adequate funds which enabled him to travel to the Orient, visiting Hongkong, Singapore and India. Back in the Philippines, he lived in Bauan, Batangas, where he married Josefa Amurao in 1891 and by whom he was blessed with five children.
Realizing however, that his real forte was law, Calderon enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas in 1893 and there completed his Licenciado en Leyes. After graduation, he apprenticed himself as a Pasante in the law office of the eminent jurist. Don Cayetano Arellano.
An avid reader of Rizal's writings, Plaridel's polemics, and Lopez Jaena's orations he left the practice of law in 1895 and went back to the University of Santo Tomas as a student. However. he could not finish his special courses because of the outbreak of the revolution in 1896. He was one among the patriots arrested after the Cry of Pugad Lawin and imprisoned at Fort Santiago. For being associated with the leaders of the uprising in Cavite. he was prosecuted by the Spanish authorities. But owing to his convincing defense of his case, he was acquitted.
He then returned to his residence in Manila and lived quietly with his family. Inspite of his Spanish blood, he ardently espoused the revolutionary cause against Spain.
Upon the arrival of Aguinaldo at Cavite from Hongkong on May 19, 1898, Calderon, who was in Bacoor sought an interview with the head of the movement.
By September, however, with the assurance of the complete
victory against the Spanish forces outside of Manila, he willingly accepted appointment from Aguinaldo as representative of the District of Paragua in the Revolutionary Congress. In the "Memoirs of Felipe G. Calderon," Teodoro M. Kalaw quotes him: "I moved with my family, on September 10 to the Pueblo de Barasoain, and by the order of Aguinaldo installed myself in one of the rooms of the convent of the pueblo, in the church where Congress met."
The Constitution was finally proclaimed at Malolos on January 25, 1899, approved by the Revolutionary Congress. This was the most momentous period of his life, for it was he who drafted the Malolos Constitution.
When the Filipino-American War(1899-19002) broke out, Calderon was in Batangas. From there he proceeded to Manila where he appeared before the Schurmann Commission on April 27. offering suggestions for the restoration of peace. He was requested to draft rules for the government of the first municipalities under American sovereignty. which lie did successfuly. He enhanced his prestige as a britliant lawyer.
In the same year 1899, he founded the Colegio de Abogados de Manila, with himself as the first president and the Escuela de Derecho, a law school. He taught in both institutions until his death.
As an educator, he was more than just an academic teacher. He was a moulder of character and a preacher of militant Fiiipinism. He always urged students to read and reread Rizal's novel. He expressed his educational philosophy in this manner: 'I do not want to train mere defenders of lawsuits, I want to produce men." According to Dr. Jorge Bocobo, Calderon made students understand the seriousness of their responsibility by enjoining them to ge into all parts of the archipelago, to preach the gospel of a vigorous, triumphant national spirit.
In 1904 he was appointed member of a commission to draft a proposed Penal Code to which he contributed his vast knowledge of penal law and criminology.
He was one of the organizers of La Proteccion de la infancia, an institution established to protect and care for babies.
As a writer, he published a number of biographical sketches and historical essays, the most notable of which was Mis Memories Sobre La Revolucion published in 1907. He also founded the Asociacion Historica de Filipinas and the Enciclopedia de Filipinas, but these did not prosper.
As an orator he distinguished himself for his wit both in the forum and in the Malolos Congress, especially in the discussion of that part of the Constitution relative to the separation of church and state and thus revealed his forensic ability in the Philippine Assembly.
A widower in 1905, he married, the following year, Miss Concepcion Felix. a pretty 22-year old student of his at the Escuela de Derecho by whom he had two daughters, Concepcion and Cruzing.
Calderon was an indefatigable reader and a nationalistic writer. Even when he was very sick and against the physician's orders, he read in bed. He died of colicomiserere in Saint Paul's Hospital at about ten o'clock in the morning of July 6, 1908.