Francisco Rodrigo was a proud son of Bulacan province, counting as relatives such heroes as the brothers Gregorio and Marcelo H. del Pilar, and masterfully composing prose and poetry in his native Tagalog language.
Widely known as Soc – the nickname, from the Greek philosopher Socrates, came from a teacher impressed by the young man’s keen mind – Rodrigo was a lawyer, an orator and champion debater.
He was a senator for 12 years, from 1955 to 1967. He was also a prominent civic leader, notably serving as president of the Catholic Action of the Philippines, Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and the Civil Liberties Union.
Unusually for someone of his generation, Rodrigo gained a wide following in all the three traditional mass media: print, radio and television. During the period of martial law, he was a mainstay of the so-called alternative press, We Forum and Malaya, where he wrote political commentaries in Filipino verse, articulating themes of nationalism, protest and reform.
He was imprisoned three times under martial law – first in Fort Bonifacio for 10 weeks, in the company of other political figures; the second time in Bicutan, 1978, eight weeks; and then in Fort Bonifacio again in 1982, one week, after which he was released under house arrest.
Rodrigo campaigned against the ratification of the 1973 martial law constitution and supported an action before the Supreme Court challenging its unconstitutional ratification through citizens’ assemblies.
In 1978, despite the overwhelming force of martial law, he joined the political opposition and ran as candidate for the Interim Batasang Pambansa under the Lakas ng Bayan (Laban) party. Then in 1981, he supported the boycott call against the presidential elections, believing that it was merely meant to legitimize the continuation of Marcos’ regime.
In 1985, Rodrigo chaired the opposition’s National Unification Committee, helping build unity during the 1986 snap presidential elections.
When Corazon Aquino became president, she appointed him to be a member of the Commission that drafted the 1986 Constitution.
Soc Rodrigo died of natural causes in 1998.
PARENTS Melecio Rodrigo and Marcela Aldana
SPOUSE / CHILDREN Remedios Enriquez / 6
Elementary: Bulacan Elementary School
Secondary: University of the Philippines High School
College: Ateneo de Manila; University of Santo Tomas; University of the Philippines