Saturday, January 19, 2013


Born on September 19, 1829 in San Roque, Cavite, Joaquin Pardo de Tavera was the son of
Julian Pardo de Tavera, a lieutenant in the army, and Juana Maria Gomez, both Spaniards
according to Manuel Artigas. He was one of the couple’s two children who grew up to maturity.
His only other sibling was Felix, who became the father of Trinidad Hermenegildo Pardo de
In 1849, after his preparatory education at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Pardo de
Tavera entered the University of Santo Tomas for a course in canon law, which he finished in 1852.
He took up derecho patrio completing it not long after, and obtaining a lawyer’s license in 1857.
Shortly thereafter, he received his appointment as relator of the Real Audiencia, which he
turned down, however, because he was sickly. Later, he was appointed lieutenant governor of the
Batanes Islands, a position he did not hold for long.
Pardo de Tavera began practicing his profession when he joined the law firm of his old
mentor, Dr. J.M. Jugo, and, afterwards, that of Francisco Licaros, another reputable lawyer like
Jugo, carving his own niche with his set of clients by the time he established a law office of his own.
In 1861, he was appointed promotor fiscal of Manila, and was reappointed the following
year for another term. Thereafter, he served consecutively as teniente fiscal at the Real Audiencia,
and as Consejo de administración, in the latter succeeding his own brother Felix when he died.
When his former teacher Francisco de Mercaida resigned as professor in derecho patrio at
UST in 1866, Pardo de Tavera took over the position, but only after hurdling a battery of tests. In
1865, shortly after he received his doctor en jurisprudencia degree, he was promoted to the post of
catedrático de derecho patrio. It must be noted that during his studies for a doctorate, Fr. Jose
Burgos was also taking his doctorate in canon law. Thus, it is very likely that he and Burgos and
other campus figures with a similarly progressive bent, associated and engaged in discussions, thus
contributing to the rise of liberal thinking.
Outside his teaching job at UST, he served as board member of such institutions as Obras
Pías, Colegio de Santa Isabel, Real Hospicio de San José, and Sociedad Económica de Amigos del
Pardo de Tavera’s liberalism and brilliance were admired by his students with whom he
established rapport by mingling and chatting with them after class. A number of them, like
Florentino Torres, Antonio Ma. Regidor, Mamerto Natividad, Felipe Buencamino, Sr., and Hugo
Ilagan, eventually became leaders in the reformist movement.
Pardo de Tavera led the laymen’s branch, composed of lawyers and businessmen, of the
progressive Comité de Reformadores, which gained the support of Carlos de la Torre, the liberal
Spanish governor-general. Availing of the atmosphere of tolerance, the Filipino reformists began a
vigorous propaganda campaign aimed at gaining the same freedoms that Spaniards enjoyed since
their own Revolution in 1868.
The reformists suffered a setback when Rafael Izquierdo, a reactionary, succeeded De la
Torre. The situation became tense as conservative elements, who had been biding their time,
regained their dominance in Philippine society. It was rather volatile in the ecclesiastical circle,
owing to the growing movement for the secularization of parishes. Thus, when soldiers and
workers at the Cavite Arsenal raised the flag of rebellion in February 1872, church authorities used
the incident to get rid of all reform-minded Filipinos, particularly the secularists, who were
implicated, or simply suspected of involvement, in the revolt.
Pardo de Tavera and his associates in the Comité de Reformadores were among those
accused and arrested on January 21, 1872. He was ordered banished to the Marianas for six years.
Having joined him there, his wife Gertrudes Garricho provided him comfort and consolation. An
unexpected turn of events, nevertheless, by way of a royal pardon issued on November 23, 1874,
cut short his exile. He chose, however, not to return to the land of his birth, but to live the
expatriate’s life. That same year, he and his wife left for Paris, where he died on March 19, 1884.
He was buried in the Cementerio del Padre Lachaisse.
Pardo de Tavera had three children: Eloisa, married to Daniel Earnshaw; Beatrice, married
to Manuel de Yriarte; and Joaquin, who once served as director of the National Bureau of

Artigas y Cuerva, Manuel. National Glories: The Events of 1872, A Historico-Bio-
Bibliographical Account. Translation and Notes by O.D.Corpuz. Quezon City:
University of the Philippines Press, 1996.
Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography. Volume I. Quezon City:
Filipiniana Publications, 1955.
Schumacher, John N. Revolutionary Clergy, The Filipino Clergy and the Nationalist
Movement, 1850-1903. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1981.

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