October 21, 1916
The First Filipino Senate
IN THE historic event of last Monday the legislative act approved by congress and ratified by the president of the United States took living form and substance, the declared will of two peoples found visible and material expression, and palpable manifestation was given to the struggle of years and the record of a signal triumph won. It was, in a manner, another linking of East and West, the firmer transplanting of the principles of constitutional government under an oriental sky.
In the convention of last Monday one may see no more than the assemblage of some twenty men chosen to represent their country in making its laws. It was, if you wish, a very ordinary, possibly a very tiresome procedure. But, as a grain of sand holds the solar system, a drop of water the universe, so in that parliament of last Monday one may see epitomized the unceasing struggle of mankind through the centuries.
It seems that the roots of the tree of human liberty must be watered with human blood. And the Philippines have proved no exception. They have paid the price. But now from the crimsoned soil of ’96 and ’98 there rises in fullness the fruition of their sacrifice. The years have brought benison and reward. And even out there on the Luneta the bronze and granite pile which bespeaks the martyrdom of Rizal is no such true monument as that senate which today sits in the full freedom of the Filipino people.
Another obligation which they owe is to the United States. Whatever may be thought, the American people have kept the faith.
Yet another obligation the members of the new senate owe, is to the millions of the Far East who still figuratively live in darkness—who have not yet seen the full light of the shining day that here has reached its noon. In a manner they are the custodians of the fate of those millions.
By a direct vote of the people were the members of the First Filipino senate chosen; but by more than the direct vote of the people will they be judged.