Manuel A. Roxas (1 January 1892 - 15 April 1948) is the 5th President of the Philippines, 3rd President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines (28 May 1946 - 4 July 1946) and the 1st President of the 3rd Republic (4 July 1946 - 15 April 1948) who hailed from the province of Iloilo.
Born on 1 January 1892 to Gerardo Roxas Sr. and Rosario Acuna in Capiz City (renamed as Roxas City in 1949). Manuel Roxas' ancestry can be traced back to Antonio Roxas y Ureta, brother of Domingo Roxas. Antonio Roxas married Lucina Arroyo and would have a son named Juan Pablo Roxas y Arroyo, who in turn had a son named Caetano Arroyo, the father of Antonio Roxas. Antonio was the father of Gerardo Roxas.
Manuel started his elementary education at the Capiz Elementary School but continued it in Saint Joseph's College in Hong Kong. He took his secondary education in Manila High School where he graduated with the highest honors in 1909. In 1913, he achieved his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines and placed first in the Bar examinations of the same year.
Before he started in government service he was a practicing lawyer and was a professor of law at the Philippine Law School and National University.
In 1913, upon learning Manuel's excellent records, former Chief Justice Cayetano L. Arellano offered him to be his secretary of the Supreme Court of the Philippines|Supreme Court.
As a politician
Manuel began his political career in 1917, when he was appointed as municipal councilor of Capiz. From just being a councilor, he was elected as Governor of the province in 1919 and served as such until 1921. After his term as governor he was elected to represent their province to the 7th, 8th, and 9th Philippine Legislature (1922-1934) where he was the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
However, Roxas, along with Manuel Quezon and others including Jose P. Laurel, resigned in protest of American Governor-General Leonard Wood, who was rejecting bills passed by the Philippine legislature. He went with Sergio Osmeña to the US in 1933 to secure passage of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law. He was one of the delegates in the drafting of the 1935 Constitution. He also served as a member of the national Assembly from 1935 to 1938 and as Secretary of Finance under the Quezon Administration from 26 November 1938 to 28 August 1941. On 18 November 1941, he was elected as senator and later became the Senate president. During that time, he was also a reserve Major in the Philippine Army, a liaison officer and aide-to-camp to General Douglas MacArthur, then later promoted to Colonel and then Brigadier General.
During World War II, he, like Jose Laurel, was marked as collaborators even if he secretly supported the guerilla movement. After liberation, he ran for presidency where he had President Sergio Osmeña (Nacionalista Party) and Hilario Moncado (Partido Modernista) as adversaries.
He won and on 4 July 1946, Philippine's Independence was gained and Manuel became the first president of the Third Republic of the Philippines.
During his term as president, he ratified the Bell Trade Act, included the Parity Amendment in the Constitution, and signed the 1947 Military Bases Agreement. It was during his term the government was damaged by graft and corruption which caused distrust from the people. Furthermore, abuse from the military and police added to the existing problems with the left-wing Huks, the members of the HukBaLaHap (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon). Manuel Roxas attempted to crush these Huks but only created widespread anger among the peasants.
On 15 April 1948, while giving a speech at the Clark Air Force Base, Manuel Roxas had a heart attack. He died at the age of 56. He was succeeded by his vice president, Elpidio Quirino.
Cabinet and Judicial Appointments 1946-1948
The Commonwealth of the Philippines became the Republic of the Philippines on 4 July 1946. On that date, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs became the first in the order of presence among the cabinet. The roster of cabinet officials also became fixed as outlined below.
Roxas was married to Doña Trinidad de Leon Roxas who was very active in the Philippine society. They have two children: Ruby (married to Vicente Roxas) who was involved in functions commemorating the memory of her late father and Gerry Roxas who served as a Senator.
- "Malacañang Museum, Philippine Presidents." Office of the President Official Website. (Accessed 23 January 2008)
- "Manuel Roxas." Philippines-Archipelago.com (Accessed 23 January 2008)
- "The Philippine Presidency Project." Pangulo.ph (Accessed 23 January 2008)