August 4, 1928
Opening Guns Fired in Political Battle
Democrata and Coalition Leaders, Addressed Meetings of Followers on Monday Night—Montinola, Quezon, Osmeña, Roxas
THE opening guns of the political fight for senator in the fourth district, comprising Manila, Laguna, Rizal and Bataan, were fired at meetings of the coalition and of the democratas in Manila on Monday evening. The coalitionists met at the opera house and the democratas after a parade gathered in front of Judge Sumulong’s residence.
Governor Montinola delivered the main address at the democrata meeting. He spoke in part as follows:
“When fighting in the United States for our liberty, these people, the colectivistas and nacionalistas, say that the people here are united in asking for our freedom, which is quite true, but when election comes they are the first to denounce the democrats and say that we, democratas, are against the people.
“This Conley case which seems to have started this whole trouble is not the first one. Governor Wood is not the first one to do as he has done. Governor Harrison sent a letter direct to former attorney general Feria, and dismissed him instead of allowing the secretary of justice to do it as the law provides. Governor Yeater dismissed justices of the peace and judges without consulting the secretary of the interior as he should.
“Why then did not the party in power claim those instances as ground for complaint and make an issue out of them? After the commission of independence had passed the resolution claiming that the present cabinet crisis is a national question they should have taken the matter to the United States and not make it an issue with which to get votes.
“You will remember, my friends, that Senator Guevara resigned his post in February last. The governor general issued a proclamation announcing the special election last April. The election did not take place because the governor was informed that the senator had withdrawn his resignation which is not a fact as Senator Tirona here can testify. Why was not the election held then?
“A Political Trick”
“The answer is simple. They had no reason to present to the public as an “issue” what is really a political trick to garner votes.
“If the party in power had told the democrata party of the real trouble we would have sided with them as one man in asking for reform in the Jones Law to give more power to the secretaries.
“The acceptance of the position of mayor of this city by Mr. Eulogio Rodriguez angered the coalition party. They said that by this acceptance the democrata party chose to side with the governor general and turned traitor to their country.
“They urged Mr. Ocampo to turn down the offer of the governor general and announced a program of non-cooperation. And yet they allowed the undersecretaries to remain in their places and these are now cooperating with the governor general.
Tried to Discredit Present Municipal Board
“But, gentlemen, that is not the main reason. They wanted a mayor of their choice to discredit the present municipal board which is composed of democratas. With a mayor like the last one the board was helpless. It could not do much for the people of Manila however great was its desire. Mayor Fernandez blocked their plans.
“Quezon during his visit to Silay, Occidental Negros, told the people to unite again and not to let the democratas in power. Then he made reference to the poor work that those ‘kids’ (the councilors) have been doing.
“Yes, gentlemen, they want to discredit the municipal board, for with this object achieved they can point to the people the failure of the democrata councilors.
“Let us all work hard this time and make our victory certain. With the democrata party winning in this special election our triumph in 1925 will even be greater than in 1922 and our party will be in power.
Senator Quezon denied that they precipitated the break with Governor General Wood in order to create an issue favorable to them in the elections but declared that the party would prefer to lose in 1925, when the people could oust it from power completely if they chose, to defeat in the special election because later purely local issues would be in the balance whereas now “this is a fight for the preservation of the liberties of the people against encroachments by the representative of the sovereign power.”
Quezon Says Senate Won’t Confirm Mayor Rodriguez
He asserted that if Mayor Rodriguez continues in office when the legislature meets in October, the senate would not approve his appointment. He will make the present controversy with the governor general an issue in the election, if Rodriguez resigns from the mayorship and the board of directors of the Democrata party forces Judge Sumulong what they had said against the part taken by Filipino leaders in the government in connection with the controversy. “After the present crisis has passed,” he said, the coalition would sanction the appointment of Rodriguez, even if he is a democrata.
Roxas Asks Moderation
Speaker Roxas spoke of the necessity of fighting for the Filipino cause with moderation so that “even our enemies may respect us.” He said he had complete faith in the justice of the American people so that when the time of reckoning comes, the Filipinos will be given full justice. He stated that if during the conflict with the governor general there had been another road to take than that which the Filipino leaders had taken, they would have taken it.