Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina (b. August 19, 1878 in Baler, Aurora, Philippines - d. August 1, 1944 in Saranac Lake, New York, United States) was the first Filipino president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines under U.S. occupation rule in the early period of the 20th century. He is also considered by most Filipinos, as the second President, after Emilio Aguinaldo (whose administration did not receive international recognition at the time and is not considered the first Philippine president by the United States). He has the distinction of being the first Senate President elected to the presidency, the first president elected through a national election, and was also the first incumbent to secure re-election (for a partial second term, later extended, due to amendments to the 1935 Constitution). He is known as the "Father of the National Language".
He received his primary education from his mother (a Spanish mestiza, and school teacher in their home town) and tutors (his father, a Chinese mestizo from Paco, Manila, was a Sergeant in the Spanish Army), and later boarded at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran where he completed secondary school. After the war, he completed Law at the University of Santo Tomas and passed the bar examinations in 1903, placing fourth. He worked for a time as a clerk and surveyor, entering government service as an appointed fiscal for Mindoro and later Tayabas. He became a councilor and was elected governor of Tayabas in 1906 as an independent. In 1907, he was elected to the first Philippine Assembly, where he served as majority floor leader and chairman of the committee on appropriations. From 1909-1916, he served as one of the Philippines' two resident commissioners to the U.S. House of Representatives, lobbying for the passage of the Philippine Autonomy Act or Jones Law.
While in the United States, he personally met Napoleon Hill and was inspired to continue seeking the Independence of the Philippines.
Quezon had originally been barred by the Philippine constitution from seeking re-election. However, in 1940, constitutional amendments were ratified allowing him to seek re-election for a fresh term ending in 1943. In the 1941 presidential elections, Quezon was re-elected over former Senator Juan Sumulong with nearly 82% of the vote.
In a notable humanitarian act, Quezon, in cooperation with United States High Commissioner Paul V. McNutt, facilitated the entry into the Philippines of Jewish refugees fleeing fascist regimes in Europe. Quezon was also instrumental in promoting a project to resettle the refugees in Mindanao.
President Quezon was given the power under the reorganization act, to appoint the first all-Filipino Supreme Court of the Philippines in 1935. From 1901 to 1935, although a Filipino was always appointed chief justice, the majority of the members of the Supreme Court were Americans. Complete Filipinization was achieved only with the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935. Claro M. Recto and Jose P. Laurel were among Quezon's first appointees to replace the American justices. The membership in the Supreme Court increased to 11: a chief justice and ten associate justices, who sat en banc or in two divisions of five members each.
|President||Manuel L. Quezon||1935–1941|
|Vice President||Sergio Osmeña||1935–1941|
|Secretary of Public Instruction||Sergio Osmeña||1935–1940|
|Secretary of Public Works and Communications||Mariano Jesús Cuenco|
|Secretary of Justice||Jose Yulo||1935–1938|
|Jose Abad Santos||1938–1941|
|Secretary of National Defense||Teofilo Sison||1939–1941|
|Basilio Valdes||December 23, 1941|
|Secretary of Finance||Elpidio Quirino||1935–1936|
|Antonio de las Alas||1936–1938|
|Secretary of the Interior||Elpidio Quirino||1935–1938|
|Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce||Benigno Aquino||1935–1940|
|Secretary of Labor||Jose Avelino||1935–1938|
|Secretary to the President||Jorge B. Vargas||1935–1941|
|Commissioner of the Budget||Serafin Marabut||1935–1941|
|Commissioner of Civil Service||Jose Gil||1935–1941|
|Resident Commissioner||Quintin Paredes||1935–1938|
After the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II he evacuated to Corregidor, then the Visayas and Mindanao, and upon the invitation of the US government, was further evacuated to Australia and then to the United States, where he established the Commonwealth government in exile with headquarters in Washington, D.C.. There, he served as a member of the Pacific War Council, signed the declaration of the United Nations against the Axis Powers, and wrote his autobiography (Good Fight, 1946).
Quezon suffered from tuberculosis and died in Saranac Lake, New York on August 1, 1944. He was initially buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His body was later carried by the USS Princeton (CV-37) and re-interred in Manila, at the Manila North Cemetery and then moved to Quezon City within the monument at the Quezon Memorial Circle.
Quezon was married to his first cousin, Aurora Aragón Quezon, and had four children: María Aurora "Baby" Quezon (1919-1949), María Zeneida "Nini" Quezon-Avancena (1921-), Luisa Corazón Paz "Nenita" Quezon (1923-1923) and Manuel L. "Nonong" Quezon, Jr. (1926-1998). His grandson, Manuel L. "Manolo" Quezon III (1970-), a prominent writer and political pundit, was named after him.
In their column on the pronunciation of names, The Literary Digest wrote "The President and his wife pronounce the name keh'-zon. The pronunciation keh-son', although widely heard in the Philippine Islands, is incorrect." (Charles Earle Funk, What's the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936.)
|President||Manuel L. Quezon||1941–1944 (extended, 1943)|
|Vice President||Sergio Osmeña||1941–1944 (extended, 1943)|
|Secretary of Justice and Finance||Jose Abad Santos||December 24, 1941– March 26, 1942|
|Secretary of Justice||Jose Abad Santos||March 26, 1941– May, 1942|
|Secretary of Finance, Agriculture, and Commerce||Andres Soriano||March 26, 1942– July 31, 1944|
|Secretary of National Defense, Public Works, Communications and Labor||Basilio Valdes||December 24, 1941–August 1, 1944|
|Secretary of Public Instruction, Health, and Public Welfare||Sergio Osmeña||December 24, 1941– August 1, 1944|
|Secretary to the President||Manuel Roxas||December 24, 1941– May, 1942|
|Arturo Rotor||May, 1942– August 1, 1944|
|Secretary to the Cabinet||Manuel Nieto||1May 19, 1944|
|Secretary without Portfolio||Andres Soriano||March 2-26, 1942|
|Treasurer of the Philippines||Andres Soriano||February 19, 1942–March 26, 1942|
|Manuel Roxas||March 26, 1942– May 8, 1942|
|Auditor-General||Jaime Hernandez (Filipino)||December 30, 1941– August 1, 1944|
|Resident Commissioner||Joaquin Elizalde||December 30, 1941– August 1, 1944 (given cabinet rank, May, 1942)|
|Secretary of Information and Public Relations||Carlos P. Romulo||1943–1944|
The Sixth Annual Report of the United States High Commission to the Philippine Island to the President and Congress of the United States, Covering the Fiscal Year July 1, 1941 to June 30, 1942 Washington D.C. October 20, 1942
Executive Orders of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Manila, Bureau of Printing 1945
"My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins."
"Social Justice is far more beneficial when applied as a matter of sentiment, and not of law."
“I prefer a country run like hell by Filipinos to a country run like heaven by Americans.”