Gregorio Soriano Araneta (b. April 16, 1869 - d. March 9, 1930) was the first Filipino to head an executive department, hold the portfolio of justice of two regimes, and become an associate justice in the first Supreme Court.
Gregorio Araneta was born in Molo, Iloilo City and was the sixth of the seventeen children of Felix Araneta and Paz Soriano y Dytching. His siblings were Leopoldo, Angel, Isabel, Pablo, Marciano, Anastacio, Maria, Filomena, Rosario, Lina, Jose, Concha, Candelaria, Encarnacion, Felicito and Remedios.
At age 11, he took his bachelor of arts degree from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila and finished it in 1884. Later, he enrolled at the University of Sto. Tomas where obtained the title of surveyor and became a licenciado en jurisprudencia (en derecho) in 1890. According to Justice Villamor, Gregorio was a superb student having outstanding intellect and unusual practical knowledge on metaphysics. He is an excellent debater, grabbing prizes from public and private debates. Upon finishing a course in surveying, he took the bar exam and worked as a lawyer under Don Jose Ycaza's law office.
Role in the Philippine Revolution
At the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution in 1898, Goyo, as he was fondly called by his friends and colleagues, was caught in between the needs of both Philippines and America. On May 9, 1898, he was chosen by General Basilio Agustin as one of the 21 leading Filipinos that will comprise the Philippine Consultative Assembly which was founded by the Spaniards aiming for Filipinos to go back to the service of the Spanish King. On September 26 that same year, President Emilio Aguinaldo appointed Gregorio Araneta into his cabinet as secretary of justice. At that same period, he was one of the 136 members of the Revolutionary Congress which was inaugurated in Malolos, Bulacan on September 15, 1898. Likewise, Gregorio was the senior member of the 19-man committee, headed by Felipe G. Calderon, which promulgated the first constitution of the Philippine Republic.
Araneta married Carmen Zaragoza and they had a huge family of 14 children:
- Carmen or Carmelita, died at age 3
- Jose Araneta (1900-1940), married to Mercedes Lopez
- Consuelo (1903-1945), married to Jesus Cuesta
- Pacita or Paz (1904-1984), married to Luiz Lopez Obieta
- Antonio (1905-1985), married to Margarita Rebullida
- Ramon (1907-1952), married to Rita Valdez
- Theresa (1908-1938), married to Antonio Albert
- Vicente (1908-1938) married to Paz Zaragoza
- Carmelita or Conception (1911-1934)
- Margarita (1915-1942) married to Raha Singh
- Luis Ma. Araneta (1916-1984), married to Emma Benitez
- Rev. Francisco Araneta, S.J. (1918-2006)
- Gregorio S. Araneta. (accessed on September 5, 2007).
- Gwekoh, Sol H. Hall of Fame. Manila Times.
- National Historical Institute. Historical Markers: Metropolitan Manila. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1993.