Today in Philippine History, June 6, 1875, Norberto Romualdez Sr. was born

Norberto Romualdez Sr   
Norberto Romualdez Sr.   
On June 6, 1875, Norberto Romualdez Sr., Leyte's favorite son and delegate to the first constitutional convention, was born in Burauen, Leyte. He was the brother of Vicente Orestes Romualdez, the father of Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

Romualdez was one of the "Seven Wise Men" who drafted the 1935 Constitution for the Philippine Commonwealth.

He finished his Bachelor of Arts with honors at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1895 and earned his title of Maestro de Segunda Ensenanza (high school teacher) at the University of Santo Tomas before the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution.

He studied law during the American Occupation and passed the Bar in 1903.

The Americans took notice of his qualifications and appointed him assistant city attorney of Manila in 1910, judge of the Court of Land Registration in 1911, judge of the Court of First Instance for the 22nd District (Capiz, Iloilo, Antique, and Negros Occidental) in 1914, and associate justice of the Supreme Court in 1921.

Notably, when he attended the Postal Convention in Barcelona, Spain, in 1920, he worked for the adoption of the Philippine peso as the postal monetary unit of the country, and also performed other significant services while in Spain.

He initiated moves for the return of the Spolarium, the famous painting of Juan Luna. He was also commissioned to bring home the remains of Marcelo H. Del Pilar, which he accomplished on December 3, 1920.

In the Commonwealth National Assembly, he was chairman of the Committee on National Language. He sponsored Act No. 184 which provided for the adoption of the National Language and the creation of the National Language Institute. Romualdez was the author of Philippine Orthography where he proposed how to systematically write in the native language.

While growing up in his native Leyte province, he first achieved status as a writer in the Waray-Waray language. He published his Bisayan Grammar which was intended to be for American soldiers stationed in Tacloban, Leyte who wanted to learn the language.

Leytenos respected him as an educator when he taught at the family's Colegio de San Jose.

Until his death, he was president of Sanghiran San Binisaya, a group which he founded and initiated projects to cultivate and enrich the Waray-waray language.

Norberto died in Palapag, Samar (present day Northern Samar) on November 4, 1941.

Reference: Philippines News Agency archives

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