Wenceslao Vinzons


Wenceslao Vinzons

Infobox Person
name = Wenceslao Q. Vinzons


imagesize = 120px
caption =
birth_date = Birth date|1910|9|28|mf=y
birth_place = Indan, Camarines Norte
death_date = death date and age|1942|7|15|1910|9|28|mf=y
death_place = Daet, Camarines Norte
other_names =
known_for = Filipino politician, guerrilla leader
occupation = Lawyer

Wenceslao Quinito Vinzons (September 28, 1910July 15, 1942) was a Filipino politician and a leader of the armed resistance against the Japanese occupying forces during World War II. Among the first Filipinos to organize the guerrilla resistance after the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941,cite book |last= |first= |title= Filipinos in History Vol. II|year= 1990|publisher= National Historical Institute|location= Manila, Philippines|pages= p. 267] he was executed by the Japanese Army.

Early life and education

Vinzons was born in the town of Indan, Camarines Norte to Gabino Vinzons and Engracia Quinito. He graduated valedictorian from his local high school, and proceeded to Manila to study at the University of the Philippines.cite book |last= |first= |title= Filipinos in History Vol. II|year= 1990|publisher= National Historical Institute|location= Manila, Philippines|pages= p. 266]

While at the university, Vinzons gained fame as a student leader. A member of Upsilon Sigma Phi, Vinzons would be elected president of the student council and editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian.. He was also known for delivering an oratorical address entitled "Malaysia Irredenta", where he advocated the unification of Southeast Asian nations with a common Malay origin.cite web| last = Perez| first = Jose B.| authorlink =| coauthors =| title =More on Vinzons| work =| publisher = Bicol Mail Online| date =2007-12-13| url =http://www.bicolmail.com/issue/2007/dec13/selda.html| format =| doi =| accessdate = 2008-01-06] The piece won him the Manuel L. Quezon gold medal for excellence.

Vinzons obtained his law degree from the University of the Philippines College of Law in 1932, and placed 3rd in the bar examinations of the following year.

Political career

After graduation, Vinzons, along with future Vice President Arturo Tolentino founded a political party, the Young Philippines Party, which advocated the grant of Philippine independence from American rule. After the passage in 1934 of the Tydings-McDuffie Act which laid the groundwork for independence, Vinzons successfully sought election that same year as a delegate representing Camarines Norte to the 1935 Constitutional Convention tasked with drafting a new constitution. As a member of the Convention, he was instrumental in prescribing Tagalog as an official language of the Philippines. At 24, he was the youngest delegate, and the youngest signer of the 1935 Constitution.

During the 1935 presidential elections, Vinzons actively campaigned for the presidential bid of former president Emilio Aguinaldo, the main challenger to then-Senate President Manuel Quezon. Vinzons' efforts helped Aguinaldo carry Camarines even though Quezon won the presidency. Following Aguinaldo's defeat, Vinzons put on hold his political career, opting instead to become the president of a mining corporation based in his home province.

Vinzons resumed political life in 1940, when he was elected governor of Camarines Norte. The following year, he successfully ran for election to the National Assembly, representing the lone district of Camarines Norte. His service in the legislature was interrupted by the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in December 1941.

Guerrilla activities and execution

Within days following the arrival of the Japanese forces in the Philippines, Vinzons began to organize armed resistance in the Bicol region against the invasion army, which had arrived in the region on December 12, 1941. He commandeered all the rice warehouses in Camarines Norte, and ordered the confiscation of explosives used in the province's gold mines for use against the Japanese army.cite web| last = Perez| first = Jose B.| authorlink =| coauthors =| title ="Vinzons"| work =| publisher = Bicol Mail Online| date =2007-11-29| url =http://www.bicolmail.com/issue/2007/nov29/selda.html| format =| doi =| accessdate = 2008-01-06] By December 18, 1941, he would lead a raid against a troop of Japanese soldiers in Basud, Camarines Norte. His guerrilla forces soon grew to around 2,800 strong, and in May 1942, Vinzons would lead these forces to successfully liberate the provincial capital of Daet. It is said that between December 1941 and May 1942, Vinzon's troops, armed with poisoned arrows among others, were able to kill around 3,000 Japanese soldiers. As a result, the capture of Vinzons became a prime objective of the Japanese army.

With the help of a former guerrilla-turned-informant, Vinzons was seized by the Japanese military together with his father on July 8, 1942. He refused to pledge allegiance to his captors, and was brought to a garrison in Daet. It was there, on July 15, 1942, that Vinzons was bayoneted to death after refusing one final entreaty to cooperate with the Japanese forces. Shortly thereafter, his father, wife, sister and two of his children were also executed by the Japanese.cite book |last= |first= |title= Filipinos in History Vol. II|year= 1990|publisher= National Historical Institute|location= Manila, Philippines|pages= p. 268]

Tributes

Vinzons' hometown of Indan was renamed Vinzons, in his memory, as was an elementary school in Manila. The student activity center of the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman was named Vinzons Hall in 1959. Vinzons Hall also houses the offices of the Philippine Collegian.

Several of Vinzons' relatives embarked on political careers. Fernando Vinzons Pajarillo was related to Wenceslao and had been elected congressman and governor, for many terms. Wenceslao's son was a one-time governor. His daughter Rannie Vinzons-Gaite was once member of the Provincial Council.Fact|date=February 2008

A three-act musical on Vinzon's life, entitled "Bintao", was staged at the University of the Cordilleras in January of 2008. [cite news |author=Elizabeth Lolarga |title=The short, short life of Bintao Vinzons |url=http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view/20080115-112612/The-short-short-life-of-Bintao-Vinzons | publisher=Philippine Daily Inquirer |date=2008-01-05 |accessdate=2008-03-13 ] [cite news |author=Mari-An C. Santos |title=REVIEW: "Bintao" recalls the struggles of revolutionary leader Wenceslao Vinzons |url=http://www.pep.ph/guide/1601/REVIEW:-Bintao-recalls-the-struggles-of-revolutionary-leader-Wenceslao-Vinzons |publisher=Philippine Entertainment Portal |date=2008-02-15 |accessdate=2008-03-13 ]

Notes

References

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