His principal achievement lies in two areas: law, politics, and government; and culture and letters.
He finished his secondary education at the University of San Carlos (formerly Colegio de San Carlos), Cebu City. He obtained the degree of Bachelor of Laws and Judicial Science and passed the bar examinations in 1907.
In 1922, he was elected representative of the second district of Cebu until 1925. On November 1946, he ran for senator and won and served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance until 1950.
When he died at the age of 73, his colleagues in the Senate remembered him as "recalcitrant, principled Sotto."
In 1899 (then just 22 years old), he put up La Justicia, the first newspaper in Cebu published by a Philippine citizen, in which he defended the issue of Philippine independence. It was suspended on orders by the American military governor.
In the week following, the undaunted Sotto begun publishing El Nacional. This was also ordered closed and Sotto was imprisoned at Fort San Pedro for two months and six days. After this experience, he begun using the pen name Taga Kotta (of the fort, or resident of the fort).
He was found guilty of treason as a member of a committee of rebels along with those in Manila and Hong Kong. When he was freed in 1900, he published Ang Suga (The Light), which was first issued on June 16, 1901.
He organized in Hongkong in 1911 the English-Spanish fortnightly The Philippine Republic. Its publication was stopped a year later and its editor was arrested. Sotto's extradition was requested three times by the American government but every time it was denied by the British courts. The Philippine Republic resumed publication after a month of suspension.
In 1915, Sotto returned to Manila and begun work on a weekly journal he named The Independent. He issued a special edition of this journal in Paris in 1929. The news item prompted an American senator to introduce a resolution in the United States Senate to grant immediate independence to the Philippines.
Sotto's play "Paghigugma sa Yutang Natawhan" (Love of Native Land), dramatized the Cebuano people's heroic struggle against Spanish feudal rule in the modern realist mode. He also wrote the first published Cebuano short story ("Maming", in the maiden issue of Ang Suga).
He wrote, directed, and produced the first Cebuano play, Elena, a play in three acts. It was first performed at the Teatro Junquera on May 18, 1902. The play established Sotto's reputation as a playwright.
The dedication of the play by the playwright reads, "To My Motherland, that you may have remembrance of the glorious Revolution that redeemed you from enslavement. I dedicate this humble play to you."
Southern Islands Hospital, the primary public medical care facility in southern Philippines, was renamed on May 21, 1992 to Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital, in honor of the late senator.
The University of San Carlos has established the Don Vicente Sotto Cebuano Studies grant as a contribution to the formation of a scholarly awareness of the various aspects of history, social life, language, and the arts of Cebu.