Pedro Pablo Roxas
Pedro Pablo Roxas y de Castro was a financier, industrialist, civic worker and the first capitalist and manager of San Miguel Corporation. He was considered, along with DonJacobo Zobel y Zangroniz and Don Gonzalo Tuason, one of the richest men of the Philippines in late 19th century. He was affectionately called Perico.
Don Pedro was born on June 28, 1847. His father was Don Jose Bonifacio Roxas and his mother was Doña Juana de Castro. His father was the pioneer businessman Domingo Roxas and his aunt was equally famous Doña Margarita Roxas de Ayala.
He studied in Intramuros, Manila. Don Perico showed unusual maturity for his age. At the age of 17, he was allowed by his father to exercise his family's interest during elections for he gobernadorcillo and local officials at Hacienda Calauang On February 7, 1870 he married his first cousin Carmen de Ayala y Roxas, the daughter of his aunt Margarita and Antonio de Ayala. They had five children:
- Jose Roxas y Ayala
- Margarita Roxas y Ayala de Soriano (mother of Andres Soriano)
- Pedro Roxas y Ayala
- Consuelo Roxas y Ayala de Zobel (first wife of Don Enrique Zobel de Ayala
- Antonio Roxas y Ayala
Don Pedro became his father's assistant in the nipa palm distillery and was made responsible for the production of rice and sugar in the family hacienda in Nasugbu, Batangas, which was bought by his father Don Jose Bonifacio in the 1830s from its previous landowner Isabela Isaac. Don Pedro managed the estate until the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution.
Business and Civic Career
During the Spanish colonial period, Don Pedro was active in many institutions. He served on the boards of Monte de Piedad, Junta Central de Agricultural, Industria y Comercio, Real Hospicio de San Jose, auditor for Hospital de San Juan de Dios. He was also appointed to prestigious posts such as director by royal appointment of Gobierno General de Filipinas and regidor of the city of Manila in 1884, and even mayor in 1885.
When his father died he inherited extensive real estate in Nasugbu, Calatagan, Calauang and Hacienda San Pedro de Macati.
In 1876 he was made a capitalist-partner in his wife's company Ayala y Compañia. Upon the death of his father, he managed Destileria Ayala. He also established his own company Pedro P. Roxas y Cia. In 1890 he became, together with Don Gonzalo Tuason, the first capitalist of what would be San Miguel Corporation. He was its first manager until July 1896, when he was forced to leave for Europe because of his suspected complicity in the Philippine Revolution.
The Charge of Treason
Ayala y Cia explained his sudden departure as follows: "During the insurrection of 1896 a number of rich and influential nationals were suspected of using their fortunes, and their political and social positions to further the separatist cause... Pedro Pablo Roxas was among these men, and suspicion against him was heightened by his departure from the islands... Although his departure was duly sanctioned on the grounds of ill health, with Spain as his destination, he abandoned the ship Ysla de Panay, on which he was traveling, together with Dr. Jose Rizal, upon reaching Singapore and later proceeded to Paris..."
He was formally charged with treason and rebellion as the secret leader of the Katipunan and all his properties were confiscated in 1897. His case was brought before the Spanish Cortes. He was cleared from all charges by then Governor-General Primo de Rivera. His accusers Deodato Arellano and Pedro Serrano Laktaw withdrew their testimonies as to his connection to La Liga Filipina. The embargo on his assets was lifted on March 16,1898.
Don Pedro never returned to the Philippines. While in Paris he worked hard to advance Philippine interests, by attending the secret negotiations prior to the Treaty of Paris. In fact the Philippine Revolutionary Committee in Hong Kong named him along with Juan Luna and Ramon Abarca as members of the Paris group which would advocate the cause of Philippine independence.
After the American government purchase of the country on December 10, 1898, Don Pedro decided to stay in Europe and pursued his hobby of horse-breeding and several of his horses won races in France. He died on February 14, 1912 in the French capital.
Upon his death his widow Doña Carmen and son Don Antonio Roxas y Ayala continued the family enterprises, which was named in his honor as Central Azucarera Don Pedro (CADP) which has become the Philippines' largest manufacturer of refined sugar. Two years after, in 1914 the Roxases divested their interests in Ayala y Compañia to Doña Trinidad Zobel de Ayala. Hacienda San Pedro de Macati was also transferred to the children of Don Enrique Zobel de Ayala.
Manuel, E.A. Dictionary of Philippine Biography, Vol 4. Quezon City: Filipiniana Publications, 1995.
- [Felix Roxas. The World of Felix Roxas. Manila: Filipiniana Book Guild, 1970, p. 3]