DON JOAQUIN PARDO DE TAVERA
By Aquilino de los Triños
(Philippine Journal of Philately, Jan-Feb 1949)
A man of public affairs who carries the
grimmest responsibility of the state, that of dealing with crimes,
Don Joaquin Pardo de Tavera could keep that grand serenity of mind
or level-headedness, which makes him most fit to carry on his
present position, Director of the National Bureau of Investigation.
Although his office forces upon him the darker side of man, this
verile, grand man of 65 is able to shed on man's wretchedness the
light of his luminous soul.
Understanding because he knows the
depths of human frailty; resolute because of his own integrity, Don
Joaquin renders his delicate position unassailable.
Born on August 14, 1884 in Lausanne,
Switzerland, he was the son of Joaquin Pardo de Tavera who was
arrested during the Cavite uprising in 1872, together with Fathers
Burgos, Gomez and Zamora. His father was imprisoned in Fort Santiago
for 3-hard years, then deported to Guam
du Diable during the Spanish regime)
where he remained until pardoned after four years, and subsequently
deported to Europe.
Young Joaquin was educated at St. Ignace de
Loyola, the Jesuit School in Paris. Later he obtained his degree of
Bachelor of Arts and Philosophy in the University of Sorbonne,
For the first time be came to the Philippines
in 1905. Arriving at Manila, he enrolled in the famous Law School "Escuela
de Derecho". He passed the Bar examination in 1910 and was later
appointed as Assistant Attorney, Bureau of Justice, where he served
under Attorneys-General Araneta, Villamor, Avancena and Paredes. He
resigned in 1920 to devote his time to the practice of law.
On April 1, 1939, upon the insistence
of the late President M. L. Quezon and of the late Secretary of
Justice Jose Abad Santos, he accepted the appointment of Chief of
the Division of Investigation of the Department of Justice.
Then World War II and Japanese Occupation came. As leading Filipinos
were the targets of the Kempei Tai, on March 2, 1942, Don Joaquin
and other leaders were soon rounded up and imprisoned by the
Japanese in Fort Santiago. After liberation, he was recalled by
President Sergio Osmeña
to reorganize the Division; then under the presidency of the late
Manuel A. Roxas, the Division of Investigation was converted into
the actual National Bureau of Investigation (N.B.I.) and he became
its director, a position he is holding to the present time.
Don Joaquin is an artist by temperament, but
one of his strongest and oldest hobbies is philately. He purchased
his first album from Arthur Maury who, at that time, was the Scott
of France. It was an international album. He must have been then
about 12 or 13 years of age. He started collecting until he had, at
the age, of 20, when he came to the Philippine Islands, a very large
and rather valuable collection.
His collection of Switzerland,
including all the old values, was complete, but this collection was
stolen while coming to the Philippines. He became disheartened and
stopped collecting stamps.
But the "philatelic bug" was so much for him
and he started all over again but limiting himself to P.I. stamps
only in which he specialized to the extent of collecting anything in
connection with stamps or post office work. He even has a collection
of letters stamped in the Philippines since 1842 until the issuance
of the first P.I. stamps in 1854.
He was a member of the Associacion
Filatelica de Filipinas and became its president in 1926.
He still remembers those happy and boisterous
philatelic reunions when members tried to help one another in
completing their collections. Money was not then an important
factor, it was rather exchange and, in many instances, free gifts of
stamps. It was not rare to see a member split a block four ways
to keep one stamp and distribute the others.
Some of his companions were Messrs.
Ubago, Castaner, Mencarini, Fernandez, Reyes, Delgado, Ferraz, Ortiz, Blum, Banks, Garcia and many
The Tavera family is connected in some way with
some of the stamps of the Philippine Islands.
Don Joaquin and his father were imprisoned in
Fort Santiago (10c pink).
In the Blood Compact, (30¢ orange) he has 3
relatives and one very dear friend. The painting was made by Luna,
the famous painter, his cousin by marriage to Paz Pardo de Tavera;
Legaspi was posed by T.H. Pardo de Tavera, brother of Paz,
brother-in-law of Luna, and first cousin of Don Joaquin; the
standing warrior in helmet was posed by Felix P. de Tavera, famous
surgeon and sculptor, brother of Trinidad, hence Don Joaquin's first
cousin also; Sikatuna was posed by Jose Rizal, his very close
One of the next issues will figure T. H. Pardo
de Tavera, his cousin, Teodoro M. Kalaw, one of his professors, and
E. de los Santos Cristobal, one of his best friends.
(Semi-postal issue 40 plus 2¢).
When he has had a heavy day in his office, and
which is nearly every day, he takes out his stamps and soon forgets
all his worries, except the worry of looking at many empty spaces in
his albums which he hopes he might, if they do not cost so much, to
be able to fill up before dying.
Don Joaquin says that in the absence of life
insurance or real estate, which he owns neither, the best insurance
he can leave to his wife will be his collection of Philippine stamps
with the hope that she will be able to use their value at a good
advantage. He recommends philately - the real philately - to all
young or old.