Elpidio Quirino

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Elpidio Rivera Quirino (November 16, 1890 – February 29, 1956) was the sixth President of the Philippines. The abrupt death of President Manuel Roxas brought Elpidio Quirino to the presidency. Upon his ascent, Quirino brought with him tremendous experience as public servant, having been a cabinet member, a representative, and a senator during previous regimes. Quirino served as president from April 17, 1948 to December 30, 1953.

Early Life and Career

Born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur to Mariano Quirino and Gregoria Rivera, a Filipino mestizo, Quirino spent his early years in Aringay, La Union. He received secondary education at Vigan High School, then went to Manila where he worked as junior computer operator in 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, earning his law degree and practicing law until he was elected as member of the Philippine House of Representatives from 1919 to 1925, then as senator from 1925 to 1931. 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 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.

During the Japanese invasion during World War II, he became a leader of the underground rebellion and was captured and imprisoned. He suffered the execution of his wife, Alicia Syquía, and three of his five children by the Japanese conquerors.


After the war, Quirino continued public service, becoming president pro tempore of the senate. In 1946, he was elected first vice president of the independent Republic of the Philippines, serving under Manuel Roxas. He also served as secretary of state.


Quirino assumed the presidency on April 17, 1948, taking his oath of office two days after the death of Manuel Roxas. The next year, he was elected president on his own right for a four-year term as the candidate of the Liberal Party. Quirino's administration faced a serious threat in the form of the communist Hukbalahap (Huk) 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. His 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 allegations. The political rivalry between the Liberal and Nacionalista Parties was no help either, as it made people more distant with the government than before. Although ill, Quirino ran for reelection in 1953, but he was overwhelmingly defeated by Ramon Magsaysay. Today, several decades after the Quirino Administration, a reassessment of his administration showed that the country did gain and strengthen its economy during his term. Some now see him as one of the best presidents the country has had.


Following his failed bid for reelection, Quirino retired to private life in Manila. He died of a heart attack on February 29, 1956. His death anniversary is observed on February 28.

Notable family members

TV host and fitness expert Cory Quirino is the granddaughter of Elpidio Quirino.



  • Cortez, Rosario Mendoza (1999). Philippine Presidents - 100 Years. The Philippine Historical Association in cooperation with New Day Publishers.
  • Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984). Philippine History and Government. National Bookstore Printing Press.


Philippine Government

Philippine Politics

People in Politics

Presidents of the Philippines


Senators of the Philippines

Ilocano people