Leon Maria Guerrero

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Leon Ma. Guerrero (1915-1982) was a journalist, the Philippine Ambassador to Spain and one of the country's foremost nationalist. He was the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs during President Magsaysay’s administration. He was widely known for being the law practice partner of Senator Claro M. Recto, the proponent of Rizal Law 1425.


Ambassador Leon Ma. Guerrero was a staff writer of the Philippines Free Press, prosecutor in the Office of the Solicitor General, First lieutenant in the Philippine Army and Chief of Protocol in the Department of Foreign Affairs. Later became Ambassador to the Court of St. James and Special Envoy and Minister Plenipotentiary in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Federal Republic of Germany. He was appointed president of the International Sugar Council in 1959. On the occasion of Dia Español in Madrid, he effectively delivered speeches, "El Sol de la Hispanidad- El Sol Que La Vuelta al Mundo" and "Pactos de Sangre y de Palabra y Piedra." He delivered lectures here and abroad which were in his compilation of lectures, El Si y El No (Yes and No).

On 19 June 1982, he was granted the Gawad Mabini award in Philippine Foreign Service, part of renizing him as the country’s most senior diplomat. He had served as Ambassador in London, Madrid, New Delhi, Mexico City, and Belgrade.

Leon Ma. Guerrero was also entitled as Knight Grand Cross of the Knights of Rizal. Some of his notable works were the translations of Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Leon Ma. Geurrero was also well-known for his accomplishment of “The First Filipino, A Biography of Jose Rizal”

He also made several works in English which were significant to the Philippines, among these are his translations of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo; The First Filipino- his biography of Rizal; Alternatives for Asians; and We, Filipinos.

Jose Rizal biographies

“The First Filipino, A Biography of Jose Rizal” published at 1998 was treated to be the best biography of national hero according to Carlos Quirino. The First Filipino won the Centennial Award for best biography of the Philippines’ national hero on 1961. Since it has shown the most articulate description of the Philippines condition during the colonization of Spain. Rizal’s idealism was perfectly depicted in its context. Included also in the book were Rizal’s novels, essays, and letters, and other documents first written in Spanish, and thus given an original translations by him. The most controversial topic included in the book was the Retraction controversy, which causes dispute to some.


A recipient of medals for his bravery during the Pacific War, he also received the Grand Cross of the order of Knights of Rizal, the Grand Cross of Denmark, the Grand Cross of Finland, and the Grand Cross of the Knight Commander of the Legion of Honor of the Philippines. He was the 1963 Premio Zobel Awardee for his essays entitled El Si y El No.


  • Brillantes, Lourdes. 81 Years of Premio Zobel: A Legacy of Philippine Literature in Spanish. Philippines:Filipinas Heritage Library, 2006.

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