About Norberto Lopez Romualdez
Norberto Lopez Romualdez was a Philippine writer, politician, jurist and statesman. More here: http://bit.ly/coIXd7
So much have been written in our history books about those people who had in one way or another contributed an important role in the development of our country, but seldom I encountered about this great man who authored our National Language. FILIPINO the language that is commonly spoken in our contemporary times, the medium of instruction in schools and the regional language and local dialect in which Filipinos are perfectly at home, is the language which we all owe to this noble man, Norberto L. Romualdez, Sr. - the prime and moving pillar in the culmination of Filipino's long and painful search for a common language that would promote and strengthen the Filipino national unity and solidarity still remains as the man of the unknown.
Yes, many of us did not know that it was Norberto Romualdez, the Visayan Academician, linguist and philologist, who authored single-handedly, The National Language Law (Commonwealth Act No. 184). This is perhaps the most far-reaching piece of legislation in the history of our country, since its effect and influence will be coterminous with the life of our country. A man who believes that the most effective instrument for national unity was a language common to all Filipinos and he did not fail with that vision, for today after more than six decades we can travel from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi and be understood by everybody, using only Filipino. So how can a Filipino forget the principal architect of their national language?
Philology, however, was just one of the many fields of interest of Romualdez. In the field of Music, we cannot forget the immortal "BAHAY KUBO". It was also Romualdez who after putting on the polishing touches of the song, transcribed and compiled it permanently. As a musician, composer, he compiled some 200 songs but only a few of them have been included in music textbooks used in our schools today.
Norberto Lopez Romualdez was born in Burauen, Leyte. He was the eldest son of Daniel Romualdez and Trinidad Lopez. There was nothing unusual in his childhood except for the fact that he grew up in a scholastic environment. Both his parents were teachers, and they lived for most of Norberto's early years in a schoolhouse. He studied at the Ateneo Municipal from primary through intermediate, high school and college. He got no lower grades than "sobresaliente" (excellent) in all subjects. Norberto, on December 6, 1897 passed the test for "Profesor de Segunda Ensenanza" licensed to teach although his title was withheld for not meeting the minimum age qualification.
On September 9, 1899, he married Mariquita Marquez but just after a week after giving birth to their daughter, she died and their child lived only for 90 days. Norberto remained a widower for seven years and he devoted all of his time to teaching. He became the founder and director of Colegio de San Jose at the age of 23 and at the age of 26 he was appointed as Clerk of Court in Leyte. Romualdez became a lawyer without going to a law school. He did it by a self-study. He took the bar examinations in September 1903 and sworn in as a new lawyer a month after before the Supreme Court. Sixteen years after his induction as a lawyer, he obtained his "licentiate in law"(equivalent to "master of law") in 1919 from the University of Santo Tomas. Two years later he received his "doctor of civil law" degree from the same institution.
Romualdez' record as a judge, 1911 to 1919, was truly spectacular. He disposed of hundreds of cases in just matter of days and not one of his decisions was reversed or modified by the Supreme Court. Two books on the practice of law resulted from his brief law practice and teaching in the law school: one was published in 1933 and the other in 1939. The first book came out the year following his resignation from the Supreme Court in 1939 and the second when he was a member of the National Assembly.
On December 27, 1907, he married Beatriz Buz Duarte. They were gifted with six children (Milagros, Carmen, Loreto, Jose, Norberto, Jr. and Francisco) after 12 years of marriage.
After 11 years as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, he won the respect and admiration of his own peers for his "concise and luminous decisions." He resigned from the highest tribunal in 1932. But in the year 1934, when he had just returned from his pilgrimage to Rome together with his wife, he was elected delegate of the 4th District of Leyte to the 1934 Constitutional Convention. Romualdez descended from the Supreme Court but the people put him back in the limelight. Two years later, he was elected to the 1st National Assembly in a special election, he would have been elected Senator in the Congress of the Philippines had death not intervened just one week "short of the summit".
Norberto L. Romualdez, Sr. died on November 4, 1941 in Palapag, Samar.