(1874 - 1942)
Sumulong was the brain of the opposition during ascendancy of Manuel L. Quezon.
He was born in Antipolo, Rizal on December 27, 1874 to Policarpio Sumulong, a tenant
farmer who became Capitan Municipal Arcadia Marquez.
finishing hi s elementary education in hi s hometown, he went to Manila and enrolled at the San Juan de Letran
C0llege He walked from Tondo to
Intramuros. As he did not have enough for his board and room, he help his
landlady prepared food for breakfast peddled, after school in he mornings, her
homemade cigars. He also did his laundry. During rainy days, He wore wooden
clogs, and only upon reaching school would he his leather shoes, which he
carried, wrapped in paper. He completed his Bachelor of Arts nevertheless.
He then took up law at the University of Santo Tomas.
When the Revolution against Spain broke out, he joined the
revolutionists with headquarters in Morong Province (now Rizal). After the restoration of
peace following the Filipino-American War, he served as a private secretary to
the Filipino civil governor of Morong Province with headquarters in Antipolo. In a
meeting held at the Pasig church on June 5, 1901 to discuss the fusion of Morong and
some towns within Manila, councilor Sumulong spoke in favor
such a union. It was ultimately approved and the new province was named Rizal.
He became the journalist, joining La Patria as
a reporter and becoming its city editor after three months. He analyzed the
political situations for La Democracia of which he was the editor for a long
After passing the bar examinations in 1901, he
practiced law and at the same time taught
Constitutional Law at the Escuela De Derecho. One of the firt cases he
handled was the boundary dispute between Antipolo and the neighboring town of Cainta. He won the case for his hometown. He
and Rafael Palma also successfully defended the newspaper El Renacimiento in a
libel suit filed by some American Constabulary officials. The paper exposed the
abuses committed by the military of officers against the peaceful citizens of Cavite in the concentration camp n Bacoor. It
was the first case that the American government lost. In June 1902, this two
young lawyers secured from Governor William Howard Taft, the pardon of Isabelo
delos Reyes who was accused of “conspiracy “ in organizing a labor union which
staged the first organized strike n the Phil.. He was made Judge of the Court
of First Instance in 1906 and of the Court of Land Registration in 1908. He was
also a member of the Phil. Commission f room 1909-1913. He could have been in
the Supreme Court had he accepted the offer to him made by U.S.
In 1904, while he was in the United State as member Honorary Commissioned to the
St. Louis Exposition, he published in an American journal the independence
aspiration of the Filipinos, realizing the inadvisability of the stage hood
Sumulong was vice –president of the Partido
Nacional Progresista that was organized on
Jan.02, 1907. The new political party aimed to achieve Phil.
Independence by progressive stages. He ran as its candidate for a seat in the
first Phil. Assembly in the July 30 elections, but lost to the Nacionalista
Party candidate. Again, he ran for, and lost, the position of senator for the
fourth district in the 1916 General Elections.
Because of the overwhelming Nacionalista
victories in the 1916 election, the minority groups, Sumulong’s progresista’s
and the Partido Democrata Nacional of
Teodoro Sandiko , merge in Aug. 1917 to
form the Democrata Party. In 1919, Sumulong became the President of this party.
Sumulong was an “effective public speaker with
a high reputation for intellectual capacity and integrity “according to Claro
M. Recto. But he lost his Senatorial bid in 1923 because of an alleged defect in the party
platform. In 1925, he was elcted finally to a six year term as senator for the
fourth district, composed of Manila, Rizal, Laguna and Bataan.
As senator, he had his famous debate with Senate
President Manuel L. Quezon on the amendments to the Corporation Law. He also
voiced out his vehement opposition to the enactment of the Belo Act, giving the
Governor-General a yearly appropriation fund for military and technical
advisers known as Belo Boys. He authored the law creating the gasoline tax and
law regarding the books of accounts to keep the merchants, especially by
1930 to 1931, he was in the United States a member of Philippines Independence
Missions. When the first Philippine Independence Act, known as the Hare-Hawes
Cutting Act was enacted by he US Congress, he decided to oppose its acceptance
by the Filipino people mainly because of its provision that even after
Philippine independence, the United States will continue the exercise the
sovereignty over US Military reservation in the Philippines. Quezon, Aguinaldo,
Recto and many others opposed HHC Act and they became known as the Antis.
Osmena, Roxas, and others favoring it became known as the Pros.
Due to poor health, he
resigned from the presidency of the Democrata Party on the eve of the election
on June 2, 1931 his resignation led to dissolution of the party.
In the election of June
he ran as the candidate of the Antis, for Senator of the fourth senatorial
district. He won and the Antis became the party in power. On Aug. 18, the
Nacionalista and Democrata “Antis” fused in a new political party called
Partido Nacionlista Democrata with Quezon as the president and Sumulong as the
third vice-president. The coalition in 1935 of this party and the opposition
party of Osmena was bitterly denounced by Sumulong in his manifest called After
the Coalition, the Deluge. He believes that the political representation was
imbalance and that the coalition would lead to an oligarchy and to the
development of a revolutionary opposition. This was already evident, he warned,
in the growth of Communism and Sakdalism. The Sakdal uprising in May 1935 lent
credence Sumulong warnings.
who long before Quezon adopted of the “social justice”, broke up with the
latter and continued keeping alive an opposition.
1941, he ran against Quezon for the Presidency in spite of his failing health.
Two weeks before the elections, he fell ill and was forced to stay in bed until
his death on January 9, 1942. Several hours before his death, he
told Jorge Bocobo and Jose Fabella that he and his party would not join in his
formation of a Japanese-sponsored government.
married to a distant cousin, Maria Salome Sumulong. They had eleven children,
four of whom died, the seven surviving being Lumen, Demetria, Paz, Juan Jr.,
Belen and Francisco.