Elpidio Quirino

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This article is about the Philippine president. For the province, see Quirino. For the train station, see Quirino LRT Station. For the grandstand, see Quirino Grandstand. For the municipality, see Quirino, Ilocos Sur.
Elpidio Quirino
Elpidio R Quirino.jpg
6th President of the Philippines
2nd President of the Third Republic
In office
April 17, 1948 – December 30, 1953
Vice President None (1948–1949)
Fernando López (1949–1953)
Preceded by Manuel Roxas
Succeeded by Ramon Magsaysay
3rd Vice President of the Philippines
In office
May 28, 1946 – April 17, 1948
President Manuel Roxas
Preceded by Sergio Osmeña
Succeeded by Fernando López
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
In office
September 16, 1946 – April 17, 1948
President Manuel Roxas
Preceded by Post established
Succeeded by Vacant
Post later held by Joaquín Miguel Elizalde
Secretary of Finance
In office
May 28, 1946 – November 24, 1946
President Manuel Roxas
Preceded by Jaime Hernandez
Succeeded by Miguel Cuaderno
In office
July 25, 1934 – February 18, 1936
President Manuel L. Quezon
Preceded by Vicente Encarnacion
Succeeded by Antonio de Las Alas
Secretary of Interior
In office
1935–1938
President Manuel L. Quezon
Preceded by Severino de las Alas
Succeeded by Rafael Alunan
4th President pro tempore of the Senate of the Philippines
In office
July 9, 1945 – May 28, 1946
President Sergio Osmeña
Preceded by José Avelino (acting)
Succeeded by Melecio Arranz
Senator of the Philippines
In office
July 9, 1945 – May 28, 1946
Senator of the Philippines from the First Senatorial District
In office
1925 – November 15, 1935
Served with:
Isabelo de los Reyes (1925–1928)
Melecio Arranz (1928–1935)
Preceded by Santiago Fonacier
Succeeded by Position abolished
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Ilocos Sur's 1st District
In office
1919–1925
Preceded by Alberto Reyes
Succeeded by Vicente Singson Pablo
Personal details
Born Elpidio Rivera Quirino
(1890-11-16)November 16, 1890
Vigan, Spanish East Indies (now Philippines)
Died February 29, 1956(1956-02-29) (aged 65)
Quezon City, Philippines
Resting place Manila South Cemetery, Makati City, Philippines
Political party Liberal Party
Nacionalista Party
Spouse(s) Alicia Syquia (widowed)
Children Tomas Quirino
Armando Quirino
Victoria Quirino-Delgado
Fe Angela Quirino
Louie Quirino
Alma mater University of the Philippines
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature

Elpidio Rivera Quirino (November 16, 1890 – February 29, 1956) was a Filipino politician, and the sixth President of the Philippines.

A lawyer by profession, Quirino entered politics when he became a representative of Ilocos Sur from 1919 to 1925. He was then elected as senator from 1925–1931. In 1934, he became a member of the Philippine independence commission that was sent to Washington, D.C., which secured the passage of Tydings–McDuffie Act to American Congress. In 1935, he was also elected to become member of the convention that will write the draft of then 1935 constitution for the newly established Commonwealth. At the new government, he served as secretary of the interior and finance under Quezon's cabinet.

After the war, Quirino was elected vice-president in 1946 election, consequently the second and last for the Commonwealth and first for the third republic. After the death of the incumbent president Manuel Roxas in 1948, he succeeded the presidency. In what was claimed to be a dishonest and fraudulent[1] 1949 presidential election, he won the president's office under Liberal Party ticket, defeating Nacionalista vie and former president José P. Laurel as well as fellow Liberalista and former Senate President José Avelino.

The Quirino administration was generally challenged by the Hukbalahaps, who ransacked towns and barrios.[1] Quirino ran for president again in the 1953 presidential election, but was defeated by Nacionalista Ramon Magsaysay.

After his term, he retired to his new country home in Novaliches, Quezon City, where he died of a heart attack on February 29, 1956.

Early life and career[edit]

Elpidio Quirino was a native of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur although born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur to Don Mariano Quirino of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur and Doña Gregoria Mendoza Rivera of Agoo, La Union. Quirino spent his early years in Aringay, La Union. He studied and graduated his elementary education to his native Caoayan, where he became a barrio teacher. He received secondary education at Vigan High School, then went to Manila where he worked as junior computer technician at the Bureau of Lands and as property clerk in the Manila police department. He graduated from Manila High School in 1911 and also passed the civil service examination, first-grade.

Quirino attended the University of the Philippines. In 1915, he earned his law degree from the university's College of Law, and was admitted to the bar later that year. He was engaged in the private practice of law.

Personal life[edit]

Quirino was married to Alicia Syquia, on January 16, 1921 the couple had 5 children namely Tomas Quirino (1923-1986), Armando Quirino (1924-1945), Norma Quirino (1927-1945), Victoria Quirino-Gonzalez (1931–2006), and Fe Quirino (1942-1945).

Several of Quirino's relatives became public figures in their own rights:

Congressional career[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

He was engaged in the private practice of law until he was elected as member of the Philippine House of Representatives from 1919 to 1925 succeeding Alberto Reyes. In 1925 he was succeed as Congressman by Vicente Singson Pablo.

Senate[edit]

He was later elected as Senator from 1925 to 1931 representing the First Senatorial District. He then served as Secretary of Finance and Secretary of the Interior in the Commonwealth government.

In 1934, Quirino was a member of the Philippine Independence mission to Washington, D.C., headed by Manuel L. Quezon that secured the passage in the United States Congress of the Tydings–McDuffie Act. This legislation set the date for Philippine independence by 1945. Official declaration came on July 4, 1946.

Before the Second World War, Quirino was re-elected to the Senate but was not able to serve until 1945. During the Battle of Manila in World War II, his wife, Alicia Syquia, and three of his five children were killed as they were fleeing their home.

After the war, the Philippine Commonwealth Government was restored. The Congress was likewise re-organized and in the Senate Quirino was installed was Senate President pro tempore.

Vice-Presidency[edit]

President Elpidio Quirino weeps beside the coffin of his predecessor, Manuel Roxas during the latter's wake in 1948

Soon after the reconstitution of the Commonwealth Government in 1945 Senators Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino and their allies called for the holding on an early national election to choose the president and vice president of the Philippines and members of the Congress. In December, 1945 the House Insular Affairs of the United States Congress approved the joint resolution setting the election date at not later than April 30, 1946.

Prompted by this congressional action, President Sergio Osmeña called the Philippine Congress to a three-day special session. Congress enacted Commonwealth Act No. 725, setting the election on April 23, 1946, and was approved by President Osmeña on January 5, 1946.

Senate President pro tempore Elpidio Quirino was nominated as the running mate by newly formed Liberal Party of presidential candidate and then-Senate President Manuel Roxas. The tandem won the election. Vice-President Quirino was later appointed as Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

Presidency[edit]

Presidential styles of
Elpidio R. Quirino
Reference style His Excellency
Spoken style Your Excellency
Alternative style Mr. President

Elpidio Quirino's six years as president were marked by notable postwar reconstruction, general economic gains, and increased economic aid from the United States. Basic social problems, however, particularly in the rural areas, remained unsolved, and his administration was tainted by widespread graft and corruption.

Administration and Cabinet[edit]

First term (1948–1949)[edit]

Accession[edit]

Vice-President Elpidio Quirino was inaugurated as the 6th President of the Philippines on April 17, 1948 at the Council of State Room, Executive Building, Malacañan Palace.

Quirino assumed the presidency on April 17, 1948, taking his oath of office two days after the death of Manuel Roxas. His first official act as the President was the proclamation of a state mourning throughout the country for Roxas' death. Since Quirino was a widower, his surviving daughter Vicky would serve as the official hostess and perform the functions traditionally ascribed to the First Lady.

New capital city[edit]

On July 17, 1948, the Congress approved Republic Act No. 333, amending Commonwealth Act No. 502, declaring Quezon City the capital of the Philippines in place of Manila.[2] Nevertheless, pending the official transfer of the government offices to the new capital site, Manila remained to be such for all effective purposes.[2]

HukBaLaHap[edit]

With the expiration of the Amnesty deadline on August 15, 1948, the government found out that the Huks had not lived up to the terms of the Quirino-Taruc agreement. Indeed, after having been seated in Congress and collecting his back pay allowance.[2] Luis Taruc surreptitiously fled away from Manila, even as a measly number of his followers had either submitted themselves to the conditions of the Amnesty proclamation or surrendered their arms. In the face of counter charges from the Huk from to the effect that the government had not satisfied the conditions agreed upon, President Quirino ordered a stepped-up campaign against dissidents, restoring once more to the mailed-fist policy in view of the failure of the friendly attitude previously adopted.[2]

Fireside chats[edit]

Moreover, to bring the government closer to the people, he revived President Quezon's "fireside chats", in which he enlightened the people on the activities of the Republic by the periodic radio broadcasts from the Malacañan Palace.

Impeachment attempt[edit]

Riding on the crest of the growing wave of resentment against the Liberal Party, a move was next hatched to indict President Quirino himself.[2] Led by Representative Agripino Escareal a committee, composed of seven members of the House of Representatives, prepared a five-count accusation ranging from nepotism to gross expenditures. Speaker Eugenio Pérez appointed a committee of seven, headed by Representative Lorenzo Sumulong to look into the charges preparatory to their filing with the Senate, acting as an impeachment body. Solicitor General Felix Angelo Bautista entered his appearance as defense counsel for the chief executive.[2] Following several hearings, on April 19, 1949, after a rather turbulent session that lasted all night, the congressional committee reached a verdict completely exonerating the President. Realizing the heavy undertone of politicking behind the move, the exoneration decision was received favorably by the nation at large.[2]

Romulo becomes UN President[edit]

Great honor[2] was paid the Philippines when, in September 1949, the Fourth General Assembly of the United Nations elected delegate Carlos P. Romulo as President. The first[2] Oriental to hold the position, Romulo was strongly supported[2] by the Anglo-Saxon bloc, as well as by the group of Spanish-speaking nations,[2] thus underscoring the hybrid nature of the Filipino people's culture and upringing.[2]

1949 Presidential election[edit]

Incumbent President Elpidio Quirino won a full term as President of the Philippines after the untimely death of President Manuel Roxas in 1948. His running mate, Senator Fernando López won as Vice President. Despite factions created in the administration party, Quirino won a satisfactory vote from the public. It was the only time in Philippine history where the duly elected president, vice president and senators all came from the same party, the Liberal Party.

Second term (1949–1953)[edit]

President Elpidio Quirino was inaugurated for his first full term as President of the Philippines on December 30, 1949 at the Independence Grandstand (now Quirino Grandstand), Manila.

Baguio Conference[edit]

In May 1950, upon the invitation of President Qurino, through the insistent suggestion of United Nations President Carlos P. Romulo, official representatives of India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia met in the city of Baguio for a regional conference sponsored by the Philippines.[2] China and Korea did not attend the conference because the latter did not contemplate the formation of a military union of the Southeast Asian nations. On the other hand, Japan, Indonesia, China, and others were not invited because, at the time, they were not free and independent states. Due to the request of India and Indonesia, no political questions were taken up the conference.[2] Instead, the delegates discussed economic and, most of all, cultural, problems confronting their respective countries. Strangely enough however, the Baguio Conference ended with an official communiqué in which the nations attending the same expressed their united agreement in supporting the right to self-determination of all peoples the world over. This initial regional meet held much promise of a future alliance of these neighboring nations for common protection and aid.[2]

HukBaLaHap continued re-insurgence[edit]

Quirino's administration faced a serious threat in the form of the communist HukBaLaHap movement. Though the Huks originally had been an anti-Japanese guerrilla army in Luzon, communists steadily gained control over the leadership, and when Quirino's negotiation with Huk commander Luis Taruc broke down in 1948, Taruc openly declared himself a Communist and called for the overthrow of the government.

Peace campaign[edit]

With the Communist organization estimated to still have more than 40,000 duly registered members by March 1951, the government went on with its sustained campaign to cope with the worsening peace and order problem.[2] The 1951 budget included the use of a residue fund for the land resettlement program in favor of the surrendered HUKS. The money helped maintain the Economic Development Corps (EDCOR), with its settlements of 6,500 hectares in Kapatagan (Lanao) and 25,000 hectares in Buldon (Cotabato). In each group taken to these places there was a nucleus of former Army personnel and their families, who became a stabilizing factor and ensured the success of the program. Indeed, less than ten percent of the Huks who settled down gave up this new lease in life offered them by the government.[2]

To promote the smooth restructuring of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the military were made to undergo a reorganization.[2] Battalion combat teams of 1,000 men each were established. Each operated independently of the High Command, except for overall coordination in operational plans. A total of 26 Battalion Combat Teams were put up. New army units were also established, such was the first Airborne Unit, the Scout Rangers, the Canine Unit, and the Cavalry Unit. These units all showed considerable ability.[2]

1951 midterm election[edit]

After a sweep by the Liberals in 1949, many Filipinos doubted the election result. This brought a sweep by the Nacionalistas in the 1951 elections. There was a special election for the vacated senate seat of Fernando Lopez, who won as Vice President in 1949. The Liberals won no seats in the senate.

1953 Presidential election[edit]

Quirino ran for re-election to the presidency with José Yulo as vice president in 1953 despite his ill health. His defense secretary Ramon Magsaysay, resigned his office and joined the Nacionalista Party. Other prominent Liberalists, like Vice President Fernando López, Ambassador Carlos P. Romulo, Senators Tomás Cabili and Juan Sumulong, also bolted Quirino's party.

On August 22, 1953, Nacionalista and Democratic Parties formed a coalition to ensure Quirino's full defeat. On the election day, Quirino was defeated by Ramon Magsaysay with a majority vote of 1.5 million.

Domestic policies[edit]

Economy of the Philippines under
President Elpidio Quirino
1948–1953
Population
1948 \approx 19.23 million
Gross Domestic Product
1948 Increase Php 99,628 million
1953 IncreasePhp 146,070 million
Growth rate, 1948–53 9.43 %
Per capita income
1948 Increase Php 5,180
1953 Increase Php 7,596
Total exports
1948 Increase Php 35,921 million
1953 Decrease Php 34, 432 million
Exchange rates
1 US US$ = Php 2.00
1 Php = US US$ 0.50
Sources: Philippine Presidency Project
Malaya, Jonathan; Eduardo Malaya. So Help Us God... The Inaugurals of the Presidents of the Philippines. Anvil Publishing, Inc. 

Economy[edit]

Upon assuming the reins of government, Quirino announced two main objectives of his administration: first, the economic reconstruction of the nation and second, the restoration of the faith and confidence of the people in the government. In connection to the first agenda, he created the President's Action Committee on Social Amelioration or PACSA to mitigate the sufferings of indigent families, the Labor Management Advisory Board to advise him on labor matters, the Agricultural Credit Cooperatives Financing Administration or ACCFA to help the farmers market their crops and save them from loan sharks, and the Rural Banks of the Philippines to facilitate credit utilities in rural areas.

Social program[edit]

Enhancing President Manuel Roxas' policy of social justice to alleviate the lot of the common mass, President Quirino, almost immediately after assuming office, started a series of steps calculated to effectively ameliorate the economic condition of the people.[2] After periodic surprise visits to the slums of Manila and other backward regions of the country, President Quirino officially made public a seven-point program for social security, to wit:[2]

  1. Unemployment insurance
  2. Old-age insurance
  3. Accident and permanent disability insurance
  4. Health insurance
  5. Maternity insurance
  6. State relief
  7. Labor opportunity

President Quirino also created the Social Security Commission, making Social Welfare Commissioner Asuncion Perez chairman of the same.[2] This was followed by the creation of the President's Action Committee on Social Amelioration, charges with extending aid, loans, and relief to the less fortunate citizens. Both the policy and its implementation were hailed by the people as harbingers of great benefits.[2]

Agrarian reform[edit]

As part of his Agrarian Reform agenda, President Quirino issued on October 23, 1950 Executive Order No. 355 which replaced the National Land Settlement Administration with Land Settlement Development Corporation (LASEDECO) which takes over the responsibilities of the Agricultural Machinery Equipment Corporation and the Rice and Corn Production Administration.[3]

Integrity Board[edit]

To cope with the insistent clamor for government improvement, President Quirino created the Integrity Board to probe into reports of graft and corruption in high government places. Vice-President Fernando Lopez was most instrumental, through his courageous exposes, in securing such a decision from President Quirino.[2]

Foreign policies[edit]

Photograph of President Truman in the Oval Office, evidently receiving a cane as a gift from the President of the Philippines, Elpidio Quirino, as another man (most likely ambassador Joaquín Elizalde) looks on.

Quirino's administration excelled in diplomacy, impressing foreign heads of states and world statesmen by his intelligence and culture. In his official travels to the United States, European countries, and Southeast Asia, he represented the Philippines with flying colors. During his six years of administration, he with his Foreign Secretary Helen Cutaran Bennett was able to negotiate treaties and agreements with other nations of the Free World. Two Asian heads of state visited Philippines–President Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China in July 1949 and President Achmed Sukarno of Indonesia in January 1951.

In 1950, at the onset of the Korean War, Quirino authorized the deployment of over 7,450 Filipino soldiers to Korea, under the designation of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea or PEFTOK.

Korean War[edit]

On June 25, 1950, the world was astonished to hear the North Korean aggression against the independent South Korea. The United Nations immediately took up this challenge to the security of this part of the world. Carlos P. Romulo soon stood out as the most effective spokesman for the South Korean cause.[2] On behalf of our government, Romulo offered to send a Philippine military contingent to be under the overall command of General Douglas MacArthur, who had been named United Nations Supreme Commander for the punitive expedition. The Philippines, thus, became the first country to join the United States in the offer of military assistance to beleaguered South Korea.[2]

President Quirino took the necessary steps to make the Philippine offer. On a purely voluntary basis, the first contingent – the Tenth Battalion Combat Team – was formed under Col. Azurin, and dispatched to Korea, where its members quickly won much renown for their military skill and bravery. The name of Captain Jose Artiaga, Jr., heroically killed in action, stands out as a symbol of our country's contribution to the cause of freedom outside native shores. Other Philippine Combat Teams successively replaced the first contingent sent, and they all built a name for discipline, tenacity, and courage, until the truce that brought the conflict to a halt.[2]

Quirino-Foster Agreement[edit]

By the time of the creation of the integrity board, moreover, the Bell Mission, led by Daniel W. Bell, an American banker, and composed of five members, with a staff of twenty workers, following their period of stay in the Philippines, beginning in July 1950, finally submitted its report on October of the same year.[2] The Report made several proposals, most noteworthy, of which were that the United States should give the Philippines 250,000,000 dollars over a period of five years, but the Philippines, in return, ought to reform its tax structure, enact a minimum wage law for agricultural and industrial labor, initiate social and land reforms, as well as a sound planning for economic development, For all the strong language of the Report, which, in some quarters merited bitter opposition, President Quirino gamely and patriotically,[2] took in the recommendations and sought to implement them. Thus in November 1950, President Quirino and William Chapman Foster, representing the United States Government, signed an agreement by virtue of which the former pledged to obtain the necessary Philippine legislation, in keeping with the Bell Mission Report, while envoy Foster promised the necessary by the same Report.[2]

However, much as he tried to become a good president, Quirino failed to win the people's affection. Several factors caused the unpopularity of his administration, namely:[4]

  • Unabated rampage of graft and corruption in his government, as revealed in the Tambobong-Buenavista scandal, the Import Control anomalies, the "Caledonia Pile Mess" and the "Textbook Racket";
  • Wasteful spending of the people's money in extravagant junkets abroad ;
  • Failure of government to check the Huk menace which made travel in the provinces unsafe, as evidenced by the killing of former First Lady Aurora Quezon and her companions on April 28, 1949 by the Huks on the Bongabong-Baler road, Baler, Tayabas (now part of Aurora province);
  • Economic distress of the times, aggravated by rising unemployment rate, soaring prices of commodities, and unfavorable balance of trade. Quirino's vaunted "Total Economic Mobilization Policy" failed to give economic relief to the suffering nation.
  • Frauds and terrorism committed by the Liberal Party moguls in the 1947, 1949 and 1951 elections.

Post-presidency and death[edit]

Tomb of Elpidio Quirino at the Manila South Cemetery

Following his failed bid for re-election, Quirino retired from politics to private life in 1953. He offered his dedication to serve the Filipino people, becoming the "Father of Foreign Service" in the Republic of the Philippines.

Qurino died of a heart attack during the leap year day of February 29, 1956. He was buried at Manila South Cemetery in Makati.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Elpidio Quirino". Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Molina, Antonio. The Philippines: Through the centuries. Manila: University of Sto. Tomas Cooperative, 1961. Print.
  3. ^ Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) – Organizational Chart
  4. ^ Quoted from Zaide, Gregorio (1956). "25". Philippine Political and Cultural History: the Philippines since British Invasion 2 (1957 Revised ed.). Manila, Philippines: McCullough Printing Company. p. 25. 

References[edit]

  • Zaide, Gregorio (1956). Philippine Political and Cultural History: the Philippines since British Invasion (1957 Revised ed.). Manila, Philippines: McCullough Printing Company. 
  • Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984). Philippine History and Government. National Bookstore Printing Press. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Sergio Osmeña
Vice President of the Philippines
May 28, 1946 – April 17, 1948
Vacant
Title next held by
Fernando López
Preceded by
Manuel Roxas
President of the Philippines
April 17, 1948 – December 30, 1953
Succeeded by
Ramon Magsaysay