Jose P. Laurel, Second Republic

The Tagalog words for ‘president’ are pangulo and presidente.

Jose P. Laurel (1891 – 1939)

President of the Second Republic from 1943 to 1945. He had been secretary of the interior (1923), senator (1925 – 1931), delegate to the Constitutional Convention (1934), and chief justice during the commonwealth. When World War II broke out, he was instructed by Manuel Quezon to stay in Manila and deal with the Japanese to soften the blow of enemy occupation. During the Japanese occupation, he served in various capacities and helped draft the 1943 constitution. As president he defended Filipino interests and resisted Japanese efforts to draft Filipinos into the Japanese military service. Upon return of the American forces, Laurel was imprisoned in Japan when Douglas Macarthur occupied that country He was returned to the Philippines to face charges of treason, but these were dropped when President Roxas issued an amnesty proclamation. In the Third Republic, he was elected senator and negotiated the Laurel-Langley Agreement.

Sergio Osmeña, Sr. (1878 – 1961)
The first Filipino national leader under the American regime as speaker of the Philippine assembly and the second president of the Philippines (1944-1946).

Manuel Roxas (1892 – 1948)
The last president of the Philippine Commonwealth and the first president of the republic (1946 – 1948).

Elpidio Quirino (1890—1956)
President of the Philippines from 1948 to 1953. As vice president during Manuel Roxas’s term, he was also secretary of foreign affairs. He became president when Roxas died in 1948. He was elected president in his own right in 1949.

Ramon Magsaysay (1907 – 1957)
President of the Philippines from 1953 to 1957. He had been President Quirino’s secretary of defense who was instrumental is suppressing the HUK rebellion. As president, he persuaded Congress to pass the Agricultural Tenancy Act (1954). It was during his term that the Retail Trade Nationalization Act was passed. He secured revisions in the Bell Trade Act and was the first president to revise the US Military Bases agreement to bring it more in line with Philippine interests. He died in an airplane crash in Mach 1957 before his term as president ended.