Vinzons, the Young Philippines Party and my father

While browsing the ‘Net, I came upon an article by Emmanuel Dooc for his Telltales column in the Business Mirror newspaper. It is titled: ‘Wenceslao Q. Vinzons: The Hero the Nation Forgot’  He described Vinzons as “the biggest political thorn on the side of President Manuel L. Quezon during the pre-war years?” He wrote that Vinzons actively campaigned for Emilio Aguinaldo against Manuel L. Quezon in the 1935 presidential elections. Quezon and Osmena joined forces under the auspices of Uncle Sam. The country’s first President, General Emilio Aguinaldo and Gregorio Aglipay, founder of the Philippine Independent Church challenged Quezon for the presidency.

Quezon won everywhere except in Aguinaldo’s Cavite, Aglipay’s Ilocos and Vinzon’s Camarines Norte. Vinzons was not an ordinary young man. As Dooc noted, he was the editor in chief of the Philippine Collegian and president of UP Student Council during his time, co-founded the College Editors Guild and became its first president. He was the captain of the UP Debating Team whose members included Ambrocio Padilla, Arturo Tolentino and Estanislao Fernandez who later became senators. He ranked number 3 in the Bar exams.

I was surprised that a young lawyer and distinguished student leader would campaign all-out for Aguinaldo and against Quezon. I thought the younger generation then had been totally enraptured by America and their surrogates in the Philippines- Messrs. Quezon and Osmena. I thought only the older generation then, who had experienced the Revolution and Katipunan, favored Aguinaldo.

Of course, there was massive cheating. Dooc stated that after the elections, Vinzons “strongly denounced massive election fraud in a political rally in Cavite. He was charged with sedition for which he was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment. He appealed and was acquitted by the CA (Court of Appeals).”

Even that early, cheating was already commonplace during elections. And there was obviously, not much freedom of expression.

Another thing that caught my attention was this: “He founded the Young Philippines Party, which counted as members Arturo Tolentino, Lorenzo Sumulong, Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand Marcos, Domocao Alonto, Jose Laurel Jr., Macapanton Abbas and many others who all became prominent figures in Philippine politics.” (Bold emphasis added)

Vinzons founded the party shortly after graduating from the UP College of Law in the 1930s. In 1935, he campaigned for Aguinaldo against Quezon and in 1941, the Young Philippines Party went on to contest the Nacionalista Party of Quezon and Osmena.

It doubly amazes me that Vinzons and his contemporary young lawyers  were all against Quezon and Osmena!

This is against the official narrative of modern Philippine history where Quezon and Osmena were the revered fathers of the Commonwealth and the Republic and loved by most, if not all Filipinos.

If the young lawyers at the time like Vinzons, Tolentino, Marcos, Macapagal, Laurel, and my father were against Quezon and Osmena, then, that is saying a lot of things. I am glad that my father did not like Quezon and his ilk.

I never knew of such party or of my father being a member of that party. It must have been a short-lived political party as Wencelao Q. Vinzons was murdered by the Japanese in 1942, just a year after the 1941 elections.

Wenceslao Q. Vinzons is now acknowledged as the “Father of Student Activism in the Philippines.”

(Vinzon’s Hall at the University of the Philippines was named after him. It is the home of the University Student Council and Philippine Collegian.)


Dooc, E. (2019, Sept. 27). Wenceslao Q. Vinzons: The Hero the Nation Forgot. The Business Mirror  (https://businessmirror.com.ph/2019/09/27/wenceslao-q-vinzons-the-hero-the-nation-forgot/


In an FB page Kasaysayang May Saysay, there is an entry titled MAHAHALAGANG ARAW SA KASAYSAYAN dated Jan. 5, 2015. It listed 6 dates on January in Philippine history. The last date was this:
Enero 7, 1934

Inaprubahan ng isang komite ng mga student leader ang mga alintuntunin sa pagtatag ng samahang Young Philippines. Kabilang sa mga tagapagtatag na kasapi ay sina Wenceslao Vinzons, Macapanton Abbas, at Arturo Tolentino. Ayon naman sa memoirs ng huli, noong Enero 8, 1934 naman pormal na inilunsad ang Young Philippines sa isang hotel sa Maynila; ang paglulunsad na ito ay dinaluhan nina Manuel Roxas, Jose Laurel at iba pang mga pangunahing pulitiko. Magiging partido ang Young Philippines sa bungad ng dekada 40.” (bold emphasis added) (https://www.facebook.com/394043717340442/posts/mahahalagang-araw-sa-kasaysayanenero-1-1899-ayon-kay-cesar-majul-pinanukala-ni-e/736546696423474/)

Again, in an M.A. thesis, this was mentioned about the Young Party Philippines:

“Siyempre pa, kailangan ding banggitin ang mga pangunahing nagtaguyod ng Young Philippines: Arturo Tolentino, Wenceslao Vinzons, Macapanton Abbas, at iba pa.” [ Asuncion, Ruben Jeffrey (2015) Kasaysayan ng mga Samahang Kabataan, 1934-1978 , M.A. thesis p.174]

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