Benito Legarda

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Benito Legarda y Tuason (b. September 27, 1853 – d. August 15, 1915) was a member of President Emilio Aguinaldo's Malolos cabinet, and the Philippine Resident Commissioner in the United States. He was also known as Benito Legarda II.

Early Life

Benito Legarda was born on 27 September 1853 in Binondo, Manila to Benito Legarda y Lerma and Cirila Tuason. He obtained his formal education at the Ateneo Municipal. He pursued his law studies at the University of Santo Tomas. In 1875 at the age of 22, he married the wealthiest Filipina heiress of the day Teresa de la Paz, who was eleven years his senior and the recent widow of Don Jose Severo Tuason, fourtth lord of the Tuason Mayorazgo and estate. They were blessed with three children namely Benito "Bitong" Legarda III who married Filomena Roces y Gonzalez; Consuelo Legarda, who married to Mauro Prieto y Gorricho and Rita Legarda, who married Dr. Benito Vales y Salvador. Under Benito Legarda y Tuason's stewardship he defended his wife Doña Teresa, the administrator of the Hacieda Marikina and Diliman estates from lawsuits.

American Involvement

In 1891 he became a member of Municipal Council of Manila and was appointed teniente mayor of Quiapo. Legarda joined the Philippine Revolution in its second phase and was appointed a representative of Jolo. On 15 September 1898, Under Emilio Aguinaldo, he became the Vice-President of the Malolos Congress and the director of the Treasury Department. On November 28, he was appointed member of Felipe Agoncillo's commission which unsuccessfully sought Philippine recognition at the peace negotiations that led to the Treaty of Versailles.

After the cessation of hostilities between Filipinos and Americans, he was one of the early members of the Philippine elite to allied themselves with the Americans. They called themselves {{Pacificados]], organizing the Federalista movement, which advocated integration of the Philippines. He, together with two other Filipinos--Trinidad Pardo de Tavera and Jose Luzurriaga, was appointed by William Howard Taft to the Philippine Commission of 1901 – a position he held controversially. Legarda enjoyed the confidence of the Americans in the Philippine Commission, especially Dean Conant Worcester because he allied himself with American colonial policy. He became resident commissioner from November 22, 1907 till March 3, 1912.

Benito Legarda y Tuason also engaged in real estate and manufacturing businesses. He managed the considerable Legarda Estate centered in Sampaloc, Manila and the El Rosario Distillery, which was owned and operated by the Tuason and Legarda Ltd. In the early American years he was involved in the extraction and export of a perfume called Extract of Ylang-ylang, for which he was awarded a medal at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. As a philanthropist he donated part of huge estate to the San Juan de Dios Hospital and a parcel of land to the city of Manila, on which now stands the Legarda Elementary School.

Benito Legarda died on 15 August 1915 in Evian-les-Bains, France. His remains were brought back to be interred at North Cemetery.

See also

A succession of Benito Legardas:


  • Eminent Filipinos. Manila: National Historical Commission, 1970.
  • Quirino, Carlos. "Who's Who in Philippine History." Manila: Tahanan Books, 1995.



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