About Tito Sotto
While Tito Sotto was in the makings of a musician, he gave importance to his studies as well. He believes that education is a most precious treasure.
Sotto has been loyal to the Colegio de San Juan de Letran as a student. He graduated there from grade school in 1960, from high school in 1964, and from college with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, major in English, in 1969.
In college, Tito was able to juggle his schedule well. From 1964 to 1966, he still managed to be a part of Letran’s varsity team in bowling, a sport in which he excels up to this day.
Sotto believes that education is a continuing process throughout life. And to supplement his skills as a public servant, he finished the Executive Program for Leaders in Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. He graduated from the institution in June 2000.
Since playing as part of the varsity bowling team of the Letran Knights in the NCAA (1964-1966), Tito Sotto continued to practice and show his athletic acumen in the sport. He represented the Philippines as part of the national bowling team for seven times, and he won gold medals in international competitions for several times. He represented the national team at the AMF Bowling World Cup in Bogota, Colombia (1978) and in Sydney, Australia (1984)
Besides bowling, Tito also plays golf nowadays. He is also good in the sport, as he dominated the Class A division of the 2nd Omega Cup held in 2005 at the Rancho Palos Verdes in Davao City. He continues to play the sport today not only as his way to relax but also as a bonding moment to spend with his family. At present, as an avid golfer, he carries a respectable 6-handicap.
- As Vice Mayor of Quezon City
- Garnered a landslide victory on his first entry into local politics as vice mayor
- Founded and organized the Quezon City Anti-Drug Abuse Council, which was replicated in other major cities and other local governments nationwide (served as its chair from 1988 to 1992)
- Was also chair of the City Sports Development Council from 1988 to 1992
- Founded the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines and served as its first president
- As Senator
- Has authored and sponsored 103 laws during his two terms as Senator
- Has filed a total of 377 bills and two resolutions from the Ninth (9th) to Twelfth (12th) Congresses. More than 100 of these became laws.
- Has also served as Assistant Minority Floor Leader and member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal
Sotto later appeared in a film documentary, “Drug-Free Philippines,” which was released in February 1996.
With his efforts, he also constructed the first and only Women and Children’s Crisis Center in the Philippines to help women and children who were once involved in illegal drugs. It is located at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu.
While Tito Sotto was more popular as a member of the group VST & Co., he did not actually start with this group. He was first became a part of the 60’s combo group The Tilt-Down Men. The group became one of the most popular combos of the late 1960’s. It was during their radio station tours that he first met Joey de Leon who was a DJ then in a radio station.
Tito then organized VST & Co. in the 1970s, when the group became very popular. VST is the acronym for the group’s three foremost members: Vic Sotto, Spanky Rigor and Tito himself. Despite his low voice, Tito provided the support high falsetto voice for Vic in some of VST & Co.’s songs. Spanky provided the higher falsetto voice.
But Sotto was not only hooked to singing. He is an all-around musician, as he can compose, write lyrics, produce and arrange songs as well. In the registry of Original Pilipino Music, around 80 songs were attributed to Tito Sotto, which he sung, composed, wrote the lyrics or arranged.
Some of the songs he composed include “Dakilang Lahi” (which became one of the official songs of the 1998 Philippine Centennial Independence Celebrations) and “Magkaisa,” which is better known as the official anthem of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. Sotto discovered the singer behind “Magkaisa,” Virna Lisa Loberiza, when he spotted her singing in an event in Adamson University in Manila. Virna Lisa was only given a few hours to rehearse the song before recording it. Sotto eventually won a Catholic Mass Media Award for composing the nationalist song.
His experience in music was not only limited on the songs themselves. He was later exposed to the promotion of songs and singers as well. He had a recording studio, Tasha Recording Studio (where he served as president), and was also the vice president for production of Vicor Music Corporation, one of the country’s premier recording labels. Under his stint, he was able to successfully promote the careers of some well-known artists like Pops Fernandez, VST & Co. (of which he is also a member), Rico J. Puno, Sharon Cuneta and Freddie Aguilar. He also promotes today the singing career of his youngest child, Ciara Sotto.
It seemed that writing prowess runs in the veins of the Sottos. Just like his grandfather, journalist and later Senator Vicente Sotto, Tito wrote two books inspired by his nationalist sense and anti-drugs campaign: “A Vision for a Drug-Free Philippines” (published in January 1994) and “The Filipino: Values and Visions” (published in January 1997).
Tito Sotto has four children. His second daughter, Diorella Sotto-de Leon, is currently councilor in Quezon City’s third district. This 2010, his only son, Gian Sotto, will vie for a seat in the said district in an attempt to succeed his elder sister.
He is also wed to actress-beauty queen Helen Gamboa-Sotto. Of his wife, he said: “She doesn’t exactly like politics. She prays a lot. She handles it well because since she tries to find out what I am doing and the things about it, but she doesn’t meddle at all. I think that’s the best…that’s probably the reason she’s not that worried.”
- Tito Sotto has an interest in amateur radio for civic purposes. He even served as President of Ham Radio Philippines.
- Sotto is also active in the Boy Scouts movement. He in fact became board member of the Metro Manila North Council of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.
- Sotto has the rank of major in the reserve command of the Philippine Constabulary (now part of the Philippine National Police). He was inducted to the rank by then National Defense Secretary (later President) Fidel V. Ramos in October 1990.
- Tito Sotto is active in the following organizations:
- International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association (member)
- International Association of Chiefs of Police (member)
- Citizens’ Drug Watch Foundation (vice chair)
- The comebacking senatorial candidate was also a member of the board of directors of Arellano University in Nueva Ecija.
- Outstanding Professional Alumnus Award for Entertainment and Public Service, 1993 (awarded by the Letran Alumni Association, Inc.)
- International Award of Honor (twice awarded, later Hall of Fame awardee) in 1991 and 1996, given by the International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association
- Gawad Sagisag Quezon (02 August 2009) for composing nationalist songs like “Magkaisa” and “Dakilang Lahi,” and for using the Filipino language as much as possible in his orders/memoranda as DDB chair (awarded by the Manuel L. Quezon University during the 2009 celebration of Buwan ng Wika)