DOMINADOR GOMEZ

(1868 - 1929)

 

Physician, Propagandist, Labor Leader and Legislator

 

 

Born in Manila in 1868, Dominador Gomez studied medicine at the University of Santo Tomas but finished the course in Madrid.

 

While a medical student in Madrid, he joined the group of young and patriotic middle-class Filipinos of intelligence, courage, and prominence that had organized the Propaganda Movement to work in Spain for political and social reforms in the Philippines. The group was led by Dr.Jose Rizal and Marcelo H.del Pilar.

 

An essayist and a brilliant orator, he supported the movement with both his pen and his tongue. He wrote under the pseudonym, “Ramiro Franco”, for its organ, La Solidaridad. He helped finance the publication of this periodical from 1889 to 1895.          

 

Upon his return to the Philippines, Gomez took over from Isabelo de los Reyes the leadership of the newly reorganized Union Obrero Democratica de Filipinas, the first labor union in the Philippines, and became its president. He agitated for the observance of Labor Day in the Philippines on May 1 each year. (In 1913, the Philippine Legislature declared this date officially as Labor Day).  Although he was arrested and sentenced to hard labor for his militant union activities, he considered himself vindicated with his election as a delegate to the first Philippine Assembly in 1907.                                                                                                                                                                

Ever loyal to his racial heritage and patriotic spirit, Gomez attempted with Pedro A. Paterno and Pascual H. Poblete to organized in 1900 and again in 1901, the Nacionalista Party, Which was in favor of securing outright independence for the Philippines, rather than autonomy or annexation to the United States, the stand of the opposing party. In later years, however, he identified himself with the Federo-Tercerista group, also known as the Democratic Progresistas, in the opposition to the powerful Nacionalistas.                                                                

 

Gomez’s controversial involvement in politics started with his election to the Philippines Assembly, from which he was later ejected. He blamed his expulsion on both Speaker Osmena and Assembly Manuel L. Quezon, whom he accused of having “availed themselves of all means and opportunities against him for fear that he might take hold of the gavel and with it the speakership”.                                                                                                                                                  

He and Quezon were bitter political foes. They even had a date to fight a duel sometime in 1915, but close friend of two protagonists prevailed upon them to desist from it. Their mutual hatred stemmed from Quezon’s allegations against Gomez’s character which were aired on the floor of the US Senate, when Quezon was the resident commissioner of the Philippines to Washington, D.C..                                                                                                                                                

In 1916, Gomez became president of the municipal board of Manila, to which he had earlier been elected a member. He proved to be a crusading alderman. His first official act was to call the attention of his colleagues to their responsibilities to their constituents.                                                                                                                                                         

While the Philippines was still a colony of Spain, Gomez served as a volunteer in the Spanish army in the war in Cuba, and was decorated by Queen Maria Cristina for his bravery.                                                 

 

He died in 1929.    

 

 

 

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