Salvador H. Laurel
Laurel was the fifth son of President Jose P. Laurel, president of the second Philippine Republic. He first enrolled at Centro Escolar de Señoritas (1933-35) then Paco Elementary School (1935-36) followed by Justo Lukban Elementary School (1936-1937) and he graduated elementary at Ateneo de Manila University in 1941. He graduated from high school at De La Salle University in 1946.
At La Salle he joined a group of young men who planned to go to Indonesia to join Sukarno in his struggle for independence from the Dutch, but local authorities stopped them at the pier.
Although all his older brothers were lawyers, Laurel took up medicine at the University of the Philippines, but after two years switched to law, where he got his LI.B. (Bachelor of Laws) in 1952.
Without waiting for the results of the bar exams, he left for Connecticut to study at Yale University, where he earned his Master’s degree (LL.M.) in 1953. He earned the title J.S.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science) also from Yale University in 1960.
He married Celia Diaz, a society debutante, but left his family behind to finish his studies. He got the degree of Doctor in Judicial Science in 1960, and upon his return practiced law with his father and brothers.
It was not until 1967, a decade after his father’s death, that he seriously entered politics when he ran and won a Senate seat. He became the youngest Nacionalista senator. Laurel was named the most outstanding senator from 1968 to 1971. He was the author of five “Justice for the Poor” laws, also called “Laurel Laws,” nine laws on judicial reforms, the Government Reorganization Act, and the amendment to the Land Reform Code.
He founded United Nationalists Democratic Organizations (UNIDO) that became the main voice of opposition in the 1980s. Laurel was unanimously nominated standard bearer of the opposition in 1985. Laurel decided to run for president of the Philippines against Marcos. However after long negotiations with Corazon Aquino, the widow of Laurel ally Ninoy Aquino, at the last minute he withdrew his candidacy in favor of her and decided instead to run for vice president. Aquino and Laurel became president and vice president respectively in February 1986.
Laurel became the first and only man to hold the positions of foreign minister, prime minister and vice president concurrently in 1986. The prime minister post was abolished though in March 1986, and Laurel was replaced in his foreign affairs post by Raul Manglapus in 1987.
He ran for president in 1992 as the head of the Nacionalista Party. However, he did not gain Aquino's support and lost a bid to replace her as president. He also served as the prime minister of Corazon Aquino for the first month of Aquino's presidency.
In 1996, he was appointed by President Fidel V. Ramos as the chairman of the Philippine National Centennial Commission. Through his unwavering leadership, he revived Filipino nationalism by promoting the Filipino heritage and culture using heavy advertising. The Philippines celebrated its Independence Day centennial on June 12, 1998.
He was supposed to resign after the centennial celebrations, but President Joseph Estrada extended his term. Estrada abolished the commission in 1999. A few months later, he was charged with corruption before the Sandiganbayan (Anti-graft court) for misuse of funds in constructing the controversial construction of a P1.165-billion Centennial Expo in Clarkfield, Angeles City, Pampanga.
He returned to private life and spent most of his retirement in the United States. He died from lymphoma on January 27, 2004 at Atherton, California. His remains were cremated days after and were buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Conde, Carlos H. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/29/news/obituary-salvador-laurel-of-philippines.html “OBITUARY : Salvador Laurel of Philippines”. The New York Times. July 8, 2020
https://kahimyang.com/kauswagan/articles/1992/today-in-philippine-history-november-18-1928-salvador-laurel-was-born-in-paco-manila “Today in Philippine history, November 18, 1928, Salvador Laurel was born in Paco, Manila”. The Kahimyang Project. July 8, 2020
https://www.senate.gov.ph/senators/former_senators/salvador_laurel.htm “Salvador H. Laurel”. Senate of the Philippines. July 8, 2020
https://www.manilatimes.net/2015/01/27/business/columnists-business/salvador-laurel-president-filipinos/158639/158639/ “Salvador Laurel, the president Filipinos should have had.” The Manila Times. July 8, 2020
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/28/Salvador_Laurel_portrait.jpg Wikimedia Commons/Office of the Vice President of the Philippines
Vice Presidents of the Philippines
Philippine presidential candidates
De La Salle University-Manila alumni