Gerardo Roxas

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Gerardo M. Roxas
Senator of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1963 – September 23, 1972[1]
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Capiz' First District
In office
December 30, 1957 – December 30, 1963
Preceded by Carmen Dinglasan Consing
Succeeded by Vacant
Post later held by Mariano H. Acuña
Personal details
Born Gerardo Manuel de Leon Roxas
(1924-08-25)August 25, 1924
Manila, Philippines
Died April 19, 1982(1982-04-19) (aged 57)
New York City, New York, USA
Resting place Manila North Cemetery
Nationality Filipino
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Judith "Judy" Araneta
Children Maria Lourdes "Ria" A. Roxas-Ojeda
Manuel "Mar" A. Roxas II
Gerardo "Dinggoy" A. Roxas, Jr.
Residence Roxas City, Capiz
Alma mater De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines
Profession Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Gerardo Manuel de Leon Roxas (August 25, 1924 – April 19, 1982), better known as Gerry Roxas or Gerardo M. Roxas, was one of two children of former Philippine President Manuel Roxas. He was the father of Gerardo "Dinggoy" A. Roxas, Jr. and current Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel "Mar" A. Roxas II.

As a representative of the First District of Capiz and, later, as a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines (1963 to 1972), Gerry Roxas sponsored legislation that benefited the masses, improved living conditions, provided employment and family income and in general, promoted equitable sharing in the wealth of the nation. He also wrote many bills of national importance and was consistently voted by the Philippines Free Press and other national publications as one of the outstanding Senators of the Philippines.

Life and political career[edit]

Born in Manila on August 25, 1924, Gerry Roxas was heir to a tradition of public service and leadership. His father, Manuel Acuña Roxas of Capiz, was the first President of the Republic. His mother, Trinidad De Leon of San Miguel, Bulacan, was the daughter of the late Senator Ceferino De Leon, who was a member of the Malolos Congress which drafted the revolutionary Constitution of 1896. He finished elementary school at the De La Salle College and high school at the Ateneo de Manila. He studied law at the University of the Philippines College of Law and graduated in 1949. The following year, he was admitted to the Philippine Bar. In 1955, Gerry Roxas married Judy, the daughter of J. Amado and Ester Araneta, with whom he had three children: Maria Lourdes or "Ria", Manuel II or "Mar", and the late Gerardo, Jr. or “Dinggoy”

In 1957, he was elected Congressman of the First District of Capiz and won with an overwhelming majority. He was re-elected in 1961. Gerry Roxas led the Liberal Party senatorial slate in 1963 and, after an exciting contest, emerged the top-notcher, obtaining the highest number of votes cast for a national candidate.[2] In 1965, he ran for Vice-President as the running mate of then President Diosdado Macapagal. In the unfinished counting of the abruptly stopped Comelec tabulation, he lost by merely 26,724 votes, the narrowest margin ever recorded in our country’s Vice-Presidential elections. He ran for re-election in the 1969 senatorial elections and emerged as the sole survivor of the entire Liberal Party senatorial slate.

As a young congressman, Gerry Roxas established scholarship grants (1958) in Capiz province and later, the nationwide Gerry Roxas Leadership Awards (1968) to motivate and develop the youth’s potentials in leadership and service to country. This nationwide program continues to this day.

Martial law years[edit]

Gerardo M. Roxas (right) during a meeting in West-Germany with secretary of state Karl Carstens (left) in 1964

Gerry Roxas served as Philippine Senator from 1963 until September 1972, when Martial Law was declared by then President Ferdinand Marcos. At that time, he was President of the Liberal Party[3] and was also co-Chairman of the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO), a multi-sector network which galvanized societal opposition to Martial Law. As a political fiscalizer, he tirelessly worked at building consensus, uniting Filipinos of different persuasions to forge a common goal: the return to democratic rule in the Philippines. He vigorously advocated for democracy and civil liberties, but did not live to see his efforts fulfilled. Roxas died on April 19, 1982 in Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City when he was the age of 58.

Gerry Roxas foundation[edit]

His legacy continues to this day through the institution that bears his name – the Gerry Roxas Foundation. The foundation implements programs towards local governance development, barangay justice and peace, health services, youth leadership and development finance. The foundation is headed by his widow, Judy A. Roxas, with his son, Senator Mar Roxas' assistance as a member of the Board of Trustees.

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