Tito Sotto’s granddad recognized
“A man of politics, letters and the arts who never bargained his principles for money or fame.”
This was how Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III described his late grandfather, former senator Vicente Yap Sotto, who marked his 135th birth anniversary on Wednesday.
The Cebu City government also recognized the Sotto family as one of 75 “families of distinction” in Cebu City in a gathering at the Sinulog Hall of the Cebu City Rizal Memorial Library and Museum.
It was also an occasion to recognize Cebuano clans surnamed Diola, Garces-Gorordo, Gonzales, Jaca, Segura and Tabal.
Every month starting February, the city government hosts a reunion and tribute for Cebu-based clans in the roster of 75 families as part of its 75th charter anniversary.
Dr. Cheryl Gonzales, who belongs to the fourth generation of the family of Bishop Juan Gorordo, said this was timely because Wednesday was also the birthday of Bishop Gorordo.
The bishop was one of the most influential men in Cebu along with Sergio Osmena Sr. Florencio Gonzales, a member of the clan, was the first Katipunero executed in 1898.
Senator Sotto thanked the city government and recalled that his grandfather championed press freedom when he sponsored Republic Act No.53, which was passed in 1946.
RA. No. 53 is known as the Sotto Law or the Press Freedom Law. It protects journalists from being compelled to name their sources.
According to the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, the law allows journalists to pursue their profession of reporting the truth without hindrance and harassment.
Senator Tito Sotto said he would file a bill to expand coverage of the law to include the new world of cyberspace and online journalism.
Vicente Yap Sotto was a senator from 1946 to 1950. Before that he was a congressman and a Cebu City councilor.
The late senator published “Ang Suga” (The Lamp) on June 6, 1901 and became known as the Father of Cebuano literature.
He wrote and published Cebuano short stories. He also wrote, directed and produced the first Cebuano play, “Elena,” which was first performed in one of the oldest theaters in Cebu – Teatro Junquera on May 18, 1902.
His daughter, Suga Sotto Yuvienco, a retired physician in her 90s who has received numerous awards for community service, attended last Wednesday’s event in a wheelchair.
Tito Sotto said his Lolo Vicente was the epitome of a public servant.
“Lolo Vicente serves as our inspiration of those days of old, with a fervent wish and prayer that, by some stroke of luck and faith, may return to this noble land,” said Tito Sotto in his speech.
He also gave tribute to families who excelled and contributed to the community as “silent heroes.” /Correspondent Tweeny M. Malinao
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