4th Secretary of National Defense
February 27 to July 11, 1945
Tomas L. Cabili was a lawyer, journalist, educator and assemblyman from Lanao. Cabili, otherwise known as Sultan Dimasangkay – ko - Ranao, was born in Iligan, Lanao on March 7, 1903 to Guillermo Cabili and Epifania H. Lluisma.
He received his education as follows: 1911-1915, Iligan Primary School; 1915-1918, Iligan Elementary School; 1919-1920, Zamboanga Provincial High School; 1920-1921, Cebu High School; 1921-1922, Siliman Institute; 1922-1923, Cebu High School; 1923-1925, junior College, U.P. Cebu Brach; 1925-1927, Visayan Institute College of Law,Cebu; and 1927-1929, Philippine Law School.
He was brilliant as a student, distinguishing himself as an orator when he won the Osmeña Medal in an oratorical contest. He also won the first prize Jocson Medal in an annual debate in the Philippine Law School.
After graduating, he was made instructor in the College of Law and Liberal Arts of the Visayan Institute, 1929-1930. Urged by the so-called “writing itch” to which he so earnestly devoted himself while serving as a reporter of the Advertiser and later member of the staff of the Freeman of Cebu (1924-1926), he again took up to the news game as a correspondent of the National News Service between1930 and 1932; and again from 1933 up to his election to the First National Assembly; and as a Lanao correspondent for the DMIM papers and the Graphic.
He was messenger, district Engineer’s Office, Lanao; Justice of the Peace of the 17th Municipal District of Lanao and Acting justice of the Peace of Dansalan, Lanao.
In 1934, he was elected delegate to the Constitutional Convention and in 1935, elected Assemblyman from Lanao. The first Lanao exposition and carnival saw him as its first Director-General. He was the president of the League for the Acceptance of the Hare - Hawes Cutting (HHC) Act in Lanao, and was elected in July 1934 to the Constitutional Convention on the PRO ticket.
Attorney Cabili was the only delegate to the Constitutional Convention who did not sign the Constitution, which was formally ratified on February 8, 1935. He thundered his refusal on even reasons:
1. That it carries no provision to promote the progress of the non-Christians as provided in Article XII, Section 5 of the proposed draft;
2. That it places too much power in the Executive Department, which might inspire the establishment of a dictatorial government;
3. That it carries no provision for municipal and provincial autonomy;
4. That it might encourage communism because of the allowance given to the government to appropriate and substitute landed estates;
5. That the safeguards provided against the acquisition of agricultural lands by the foreigners are not sufficient;
6. That there is no provision made for the nationalization of the retail trade; and
7. That there was too much intervention from outside, especially from President Quezon in the drafting of the Constitution.
Despite the strength of the “Anti” faction, Attorney Cabili won seat in the National Assembly under the “PRO” ticket in the elections of September 17, 1935.
Cabili served as Secretary of National Defense during the term of President Sergio S. Osmeña after the Second World War.
Assemblyman Cabili was married to the former miss Felicitas N. Pepito of Cebu, by whom he had five children: Vismindo, Camilo, Fe, Fulgencio and Teodoro Delano. He was Protestant, a member of the Presbyterian Church.