Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Philippine Presidents

Emilio Aguinaldo Y Famy
First President of the Philippines

General Emilio Aguinaldo, a leader of the Katipunan in the province of Cavite, went on to become the undisputed head of the Philippine Revolution and consequently, on January 23, 1899, was elected the first President of the Philippines by the Malolos Congress of the First Republic. After having exiled himself to Hongkong in accordance with the Pact of Blac-na-Bato that had ended the first phase of the Revolution, he had returnd to the archipelago to resume the fight against Spain with the help of the United States of America, proclaiming independence on June 12, 1898. The outbreak of the Philippine-American War eventually led, after many bloody conflicts, to Aguinaldo's capture and surrender in Palanan in the province of Isabela on March 23, 0901. He formally surrendered on April 1, made an oath of allegiance to the United States, enjoined all his forces to lay down their arms, and dissolved the Republic of the Philippines.

Manuel L. Quezon
Second President of the Philippines

Famously described as the "Paladin of the Philippine Freedom", Quezon was instrumental in the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act of the United States Congress which paved the way for transition to an ultimately independent Philippine Republic. Resident Commissioner in Washington and founding President of the Philippine Senate, Quezon was elected President of the transitory Philippine Commonwealth in 1935, and re-elected in 1941. With his government, President Quezon was forced to go into exiled in the United States during the imperial Japanese occupation of the country. The man who had over his lifetime become the dominant Philippine political personality for an entire generation then served as a member of the Pacific War Council until his death in 1944.

Jose P. Laurel
Third President of the Philippines

After serving the country in various elective and appointive posts and during the Quezon administration, including Secretary of the Interior and Justice of the Supreme Court, Laurel was instructed by Quezon to remain in the Philippines during the wartime occupation. The Japanese Military Administration created the Executive Commission of which Laurel was a member, and when the second Republic of the Philippines was proclaimed in 1943, Laurel was elected by the National Assembly, an opportunity which he used to ameliorate the plight of his people under occupation. With the liberation of the country by the Allied forces underway in August 1944, Laurel and the seat of the government were transferred to Baguio on December 21. Brought to Japan with the Japanese retreat, President Laurel proclaimed the dissolution of the Second Republic on August 17 during the period of the Japanese surrender to the Allies. After the war, Jose P. Laurel was elected Senator of the Third Republic.

Sergio Osmeňa
Fourth President of the Philippines

A lawyer and newspaper editor, Osmeňa became the Governor of Cebu in 1904. He resigned in 1906 and was elected to the new Philippine Assembly. he served as founding Speaker until his election to the Senate in 1922. He also founded the Nacionalista Party, which went on to dominate domestic politics. In 1935, he was elected Vice-President of the Philippine Commonwealth. IN exile with Quezon, he succeeded as President of the Commonwealth upon the latter's death in 1944. He famously "returned" with General Douglas MacArthur and worked towards the rehabilitation of the war-torn country.

Manuel Roxas
Fifth President of the Philippines

Roxas started his political career in 1917 as a member of the municipal council of Capiz. He then served as Governor from 1919 to 1921, after which he won election to the House of Representatives and to the post of Speaker. Roxas worked closely with Quezon and Osmeňa in leading the campaign for national independence. In 193, Roxas became a member of the Constitutional Convention that produced the 1935 Constitution, and during the Pacific War, he was forced to serve under the Japanese-sponsored government. Defeating Osmeňa in the 1946 elections, Roxas became the last Commonwealth President and, on July 4, 1946, President of the Third Republic.

Elpidio Quirino
Sixth President of the Philippines

Quirino was a practicing lawyer until he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1919, and in 1925, Senator. He collaborated with President Quezon in securing the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act in 1934. After serving in the Constitutional Convention of the same year, he became Secretary of Finance and of the Interior in the Commonwealth Government. After the war, in which most of his immediate family were massacred, he was elected Vice-President, and becoming President after Roxas' sudden death in 1948. Quirino saw his mission as restoring the people's faith in government, as well as solving problems of agrarian unrest.

Ramon Magsaysay
Seventh President of the Philippines

an automobile mechanic, Magsaysay was appointed Military Governor of the province of Zambales after his outstanding service as guerrilla leader during the Pacific War. He then served two terms as Liberal Party Congressman for Zambales before being appointed as Secretary of National Defense by President Quirino. He won the Presidency under the Nacionalista Party during the elctions of 1953, running against his former boss. As President, he was empowered to purchase large estates and distribute land to tenant farmers. Wildly popular as a leaader, Magsaysay tragically died in a plane crash on March 17, 1957 at the age of 49.

Carlos P. Garcia
Eight President of the Philippines

Garcia was instrumental in pressing the Philippine case in the United States for war damage claims arising from the Pacific War. A former school teacher and wartime guerrilla leader, he served as a Governor of the province of Bohol, as well as Senator, before being elected Vice President in 1953. He was concurrently appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Garcia succeeded Magsaysay as President after the latter's death and was elected as President in his own right later that same year. Known for his austerity program, he popularized economic nationalism through the "Filipino First Policy." President Garcia is also remembered for being a poet and a keen chess player.

Diosdado Macapagal
Ninth President of the Philippines

Known as the "poor boy from Lubao" in the province of Pampanga, Macapagal was first elected Congressman in 1949. IN the elections of 1957, he became Vice President under the liberal party ticket. Though not given a cabinet portfolio by President Garcia, who was from the rival Nacionalista Party, Macapagal worked to familiarize himself intimately with the concerns of ordinary people all over the country. In 1961, he was elected as President. During his term, he famously enacted comprehensive land reform. He was affectionately called the "Champion of the Common Man" because of his many achievements in improving the plight of the masses and the poor.

Ferdinand E. Marcos
Tenth President of the Philippines

Marcos began his political career as a technical assistant to President Manuel Roxas, after which he served as a member of the House of Representatives for three terms from 1949 to 1959. He also served as Senator and then later Senate President from 1959, before being elected as President in 1965. In 1969, he won re-election to unprecedented second full term. Noted for his focus on improving the country's infrastructure with his wife Imelda Romualdez Marcos, President Marcos later, invoking subversion and rebellion, placed the whole country under martial law on September 21, 1972 and suspended Congress. A new constitution drafted by a constitutional convention was ratified in a referendum in January 1973. The amendments to this constitution led to the establishment of the Fourth Republic of the Philippines in 1981 and a further term for Marcos. From 1972 till 1986, the country experienced virtually absolute rule, which, after the assassination of the opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983, ultimately led to the EDSA People Power Revolution and on February 25, 1986, the President was overthrown and exiled to Hawaii, where he died in 1989.

Corazon C. Aquino
Eleventh President of the Philippines

The widow of Benigno Aquino Jr. was suddenly cast into politics when Ferdinand Marcos called for Snap Elections in 1986, which "Cory" is generally believed to have won, despite massive fraud against her. She was sworn into office after the dramatic events at EDSA and forced Marcos to leave the Philippines. Despite facing six coup attempts, domestic insurgency, disagreements with the United States over military bases, and huge foreign debts, President Aquino was credited primarily for restoring democracy and human rights in the Philippines, safeguarding these freedoms and rights as well as the national interest in a new constitution promulgated on February 2, 1987, which established the Fifth Republic of the Philippines.

Fidel V. Ramos
Twelfth President of the Philippines

The President during the centennial of Philippine Independence was also like Aguinaldo. In 1986, General Ramos turned his back on repressive autocracy and embraced the democratic forces of EDSA, with the help of others, bringing a critical mass of the military along with him. Under President Aquino, he became the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces and later Secretary of National Defense. Nominated by Aquino, he narrowly won the presidency in the 1992 elections. The energetic Ramos proceeded to negotiate peace with Communist and Muslim rebels, tackle the prevailing electric power crisis, and successfully effect many social and economic reforms that liberalized key sectors, boosted growth and lifted the country's international profile.

Joseph Ejercito Estrada
Thirteenth President of the Philippines

Known universally as "Erap," the former film actor started his political career As Mayor of San Juan, a municipality within Metropolitan Manila. After the EDSA Revolution, he won a seat in the Senate before being elected as Vice President in 1992. After which, he was tasked by President Ramos to lead crime-fighting initiatives . Elected President by a large margin in 1998, Estrada pursued a hard line against Muslim rebels and sought to eradicate poverty, crime and corruption in the country.
After being accused of corruption, he was impeached by the House of Representatives and was subjected to an unfinished trial in the Senate. In January 2001, Estrada vacated the Presidency in the face of popular outcry and the loss of military support.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Fourteenth President of the Philippines

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, daughter of the ninth President Diosdado Macapagal, and Dr. Evangelina Macaraeg Macapagal, was born on April 5, 1947, After enjoying a teaching career in various schools, she joined the government in 1987 during the Administration of President Corazon Aquino, who appointed her Undersecretary of Trade and Industry two years later. She was elected as Senator during her first try in politics in 1992, and was re-elected in 1995 with nearly 16 million votes, the highest number of votes in the Philippine history. During her tenure in the Senate, she authored 55 laws on economic and social reform and was named outstanding Senator several times. In 1998, she was elected Vice President of the Philippines with almost 13 million votes, the largest mandate in the history of presidential or vice presidential elections. President Joseph Estrada appointed her concurrent of Social Welfare and Development, a post she held until her resignation from the Cabinet in October 2000 amidst the scandals that plagued the Estrada administration. The military's of withdrawal of support from President Estrada, and the overwhelming movement of the people for his resignation following an aborted impeachment trial, led to the vacating of the presidency by Estrada. Thus, according to the constitutional succession, Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was sworn in as the President of the Philippines on January 20, 2001 by Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., after which she served the remaining years of her predecessor's term. In the 2004 elections, the President won the re-election and a fresh mandate, and with the new Vice President, Noli L. De Castro, was inaugurated for a six-year term on June 30, 2004.

Benigno S. Aquino III
Fifteenth President of the Philippines

Driven by the public outpouring of grief over the death of former president Corazon C. Aquino, and heeding calls from various groups to offer himself as a candidate in the next presidential elections. Benigno S. Aquino III, decided to be the Liberal Party's standard bearer in the first automated national elections held on May 10, 2010. Running on a platform government based on transformational leadership, Aquino received more than 15 million votes in the polls. He took his oath of office before Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales on June 30, 2010.
The President comes from a long line of Aquinos who have entered public service: his great-grandfather, Servillano Aquino, was a general in the army that fought against the Spaniards and the Americans, while Benigno Aquino Sr., his grandfather, was chosen as the Speaker of the Natonal Assembly during the Second Philippine Republic, in addition to serving in other positions during the American and Commonwealth eras. His father, Benigno S. Aquino Jr., served in various executive positions in the province of Tarlac before being elected to the Senate in 1967. His imprisonment during martial law from 1972 to 1980, and his assassination upon his return from exile in 1983 triggered widespread protests which led to the deposition of Ferdinand E. Marcos from the presidency in 1986. The President has served as the representative of the second district of Tarlac to Congress from 1998 to 2007, and was elected to the Senate in 2007. Benigno Aquino III is the first bachelor President of the Philippines.

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