The cool weather and idyllic setting of a rural life proved to be very beneficial in rearing, nurturing and raising heroes, icons and nation-builders. Such was the case of the Philippines’ foremost national hero Dr. José P. Rizal who came from a very laid-back town of Calamba, Laguna. And such is the case of Quintin Paredes.
To some Manileños, Quintin Paredes is just a major thoroughfare in the busy Binondo District. But during his time, he distinguished himself as one of the most prominent national leaders. Born on September 9, 1884 in the mountainous town of Bangued, Abra, he ascended the national political scene in a deliberate fashion. His long and colorful government and public service career started a decade after being admitted to the bar in 1907 when he was appointed by Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison as the fifth Attorney-General of the Philippines from 1917 to 1920. In July 1920, he succeeded Victorino Mapa as the Secretary of Justice.
His political career started off when he was elected as the representative of the Lone District of Abra in 1925 to the Philippine Legislature under the banner of the Nacionalista Party. Although he was reelected in 1928, 1931, and 1934, Paredes did not finish his fourth term. He resigned to serve as the first Resident Commissioner of the Philippines to the US House of Representatives under the Commonwealth Period, from February 14, 1936 – September 29, 1938. Incidentally, he was elected as Speaker of the House of the Tenth Philippine Legislature. During the Second National Assembly, he reclaimed his old congressional post in 1938. When the Philippines gained its independence from the Americans, he represented Abra for the sixth and final time to the First Congress from 1946 to 1949.
He was the topnotcher of the 1949 senatorial elections when he ran under the Liberal Party. During the Second Congress (1949-1955), he briefly served as Senate President Pro Tempore and Senate President. Running again under the NP ticket, he was elected for another six years in 1955.
With 54 years in public office interrupted only by the Second World War, he retired from politics. And with the ripe age of 88 years, having witnessed three colonial powers ruling in the Philippine archipelago, lived under the administrations of ten presidents of the republic, the quintessential lawyer, legislator and statesman died in Manila on January 30, 1973. He left behind a legacy distinguished and admired by his contemporaries, his townsfolk, and students of history.