Political Kingpin of the North…
On two sides of the pedestal supporting the statue of Quintin Paredes erected in the open court of the Quintin Paredes Hall of Justice in Bangued, Abra is a brief summary of his achievements in life, to wit:
Fisrt Filipino prosecuting attorney of the City of Manila (1908 – 1913)
First Ilocano to become Speaker of the House of Representatives (1934)
First Ilocano to become Senate President (1952)
First Ilocano to become Secretary of Justice (1920)
First and only Ilocano to become Attorney-General (1918)
First man from Abra to be elected five times as member of the House of Representatives (1925-1935) and twice as assemblyman (1935-1936)
First and only man from Abra to be elected Senator, first in 1941, then in 1949, and finally in 1955.
More could have been added to the list for he was a member of the First Parliamentary Mission to the United States (1919) and was the first Resident Commissioner to the United States under the Tydings-McDuffie Law. Likewise, he was the first Ilocano to become the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines.
Paredes was born in the town of Bangued, in the inland province of Abra, on September 9, 1884. He took his primary education at the school founded and directed by his father, Juan Paredes. For his high-school course he went to the minor seminary, Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia, at Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Leaving the seminary, he came to Manila to study at the San Juan de Letran. He made his way through college by working as a stenographer and court interpreter .He was appointed deputy provincial treasurer of Abra, but resigned his position to take up law in the Escuela de Leyes which was under the direction of his brother Judge Paredes.
In 1907, Paredes was admitted to the Philippine Bar and one year later was appointed fourth prosecuting attorney. Still later, he was appointed Dean of Escuela de Leyes, the school from which he graduated. In 1917, he came to be Solicitor General; in 1918, Attorney General; and in 1920, Secretary of Justice. At about this time President Wilson nominated him to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
In 1917, Paredes joined the Philippine National Guard and was appointed Colonel. Eventually, he became the Judge Advocate General of the same body. Two years later he was a member of the First Parliamentary Mission to the USA. In the same year, he was admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court. In 1920, he was among the few lawyers who practiced in the US District for China.
Restless individual that he was, he ran for the House of Representatives in 1925 and won. He was reelected in 1928 and became Acting Speaker in 1929. In 1931, he was reelected anew and this time was unanimously elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, a position he was to hold until the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth on November 15, 1935. In 1935, he ran unopposed for the National Assembly representing Abra. Three months later, President Quezon appointed him as the first Resident Commissioner to the United States under the Tydings McDuffie Law.
Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1941, Paredes was elected Senator. He was reelected after the war in 1949 and again in 1955. During his second term as Senator his peers elected him President of the Senate.
Paredes was conferred numerous honors during his lifetime. In June 1963, the University of the Philippines conferred on him the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree and in September 1969, President Ferdinand E. Marcos awarded him the Order of Kalantiaw, the highest civil decoration given by the Philippine government at that time.
Paredes was initiated in Sinukuan Lodge No.16 on February 12, 1913, and passed as well as raised in November of the same year. He became Worshipful Master of his Lodge in 1920-21. In January 1923, he demitted from Sinukuan to become one of the founders of Abra Lodge No.86, Bangued, Abra.
Paredes was equally active in Scottish Rite Freemasonry. He was elected Venerable Master of the Lakandula Lodge of Perfection and Commander of the Council of Knights Kadosh. While he was serving as Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, he was created a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor.
Despite his busy schedule, Paredes found time to be with his Brethren and to be a member of several committees in the Grand Lodge. Being a lawyer, he made great contributions, especially on legal matters affecting the Brethren. Once he advised the Brethren regarding Masonic amenities:
…I would call attention to the attitude frequently adopted by certain Masons to criticize and find faults with others, a bad habit which some of these Brethren have carried to the extreme of speaking ill of others. They forget too easily and often that tolerance is one of the virtues that should adorn the Mason, and that frankness and sincerity towards the Brother are essential to good understanding and harmony. If a Mason cannot say anything good of his Brother, he should at least keep silent. We must whisper good counsel into the ear of our erring Brother and not slander or insult him or speak ill of him. He was elected Grand Master in 1922. In one of his addresses he stated in part:
I accepted the office convinced of my insignificance, but with a resolution to do my best, with your help. The co-operation that I have expected from you, you have cordially and.without hesitation extended to me. Yours is the credit for any success there may have been. If nothing more or better has been accomplished, this is due to my limited capacity, and not lack of willingness.
Paredes believed that Masons could help much in making justice prevail if and when we practice Masonry in and outside the Lodge. Here is a portion of one of his writings:
…An institution with the ideals, mission, and clear vision of justice, Masonry is bound to be a factor for perennial good, particularly when we always keep in mind the great objective of the Fraternity. We should therefore never lose sight of the fact that we are a Brotherhood of men under the Fatherhood of God.
On January 30, 1973, Paredes laid down his working tools. He was accorded a state funeral in recognition of his services to his country and people.