Elpidio Quirino

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To read this article in Filipino, see Elpidio Quirino.

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

Early Life and Career

Born on 16 November 1890 in Vigan, Ilocos Sur to Mariano Quirino and Gregoria Rivera, a Filipino mestizo, Elpidio 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 a junior computer operator in the Bureau of Lands and as a 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 member of the Philippine House of Representatives from 1919 to 1925, then 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 Manuel L. Quezon-led Philippine Independence mission to Washington D.C., which secured the passage in the United States Congress of the Tydings-McDuffie Act. This legislation set the date for Philippine independence for 1945. The official declaration came on 4 July 1946.

During the Japanese invasion in World War II, Quirino became a leader of the underground rebellion and was captured and imprisoned. He lost his wife Alicia and three of his children at the Battle of Manila, where the Japanese soldiers fought the returning American soldiers.


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 17 April 1948, taking his oath of office two days after the death of Manuel Roxas. The next year, he was elected president in 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. 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 allegations. The political rivalry between the Liberal and Nacionalista Parties was no help either, as it made people more distant from the government than before. Although ill, Quirino ran for reelection in 1953, but he was overwhelmingly defeated by his defense secretary, Ramon Magsaysay.


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. His brother Antonio Quirino, a judge, was the owner of Alto Broadcasting System (ABS), which in 1957 merged with Chronicle Broadcasting Network (CBN), owned by Eugenio Lopez Sr. and then Philippine vice president Fernando Lopez, after ABS's sale to the Lopezes. The resulting company began to be formally called ABS-CBN in 1967, after it was initially called Bolinao Electronics Corporation (BEC), the original name of ABS when it was founded by American electronics engineer James Lindenberg in 1946. Antonio Quirino purchased the company from Lindenberg in 1952.



  • 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.



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