Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Manuel Quezón 2014

136th birth anniversary  of Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina
  1. Quezón, was born in Baler in the district of El Príncipe (which later became Baler, Tayabas, now Baler, Aurora). His Spanish parents were Lucio Quezón and María Dolores Molina. His father was a primary grade school teacher from Paco, Manila and a retired Sergeant of the Spanish colonial army, while his mother was a primary grade school teacher in their hometown.
  2. In 1899, Quezón cut short his law studies at the University of Santo Tomás in Manila to participate in the struggle for independence against the United States, led by Emilio Aguinaldo. During the Philippine-American War he was an ayuda-de-campo to Emilio Aguinaldo. He rose to the rank of Major and fought in the Bataan sector. However, after surrendering in 1900 wherein he made his first break in the American press, Quezón returned to the university and passed the bar examinations in 1903, achieving fourth place.
  3. He worked for a time as a clerk and surveyor, entering government service as an appointed fiscal for Mindoro and later Tayabas. He became a councilor and was elected governor of Tayabas in 1906 after a hard-fought election.
  4. In 1907, he was elected to the first Philippine Assembly – later became the House of Representatives – where he served as majority floor leader and chairman of the committee on appropriations. From 1909 to 1916, he served as one of the Philippines' two resident commissioners to the U.S. House of Representatives, lobbying for the passage of the Philippine Autonomy Act or Jones Law.
  5. From 1916 to 1935, Quezón returned to Manila in 1916 to be elected into the Philippine Senate and later became Senate President, serving continuously until 1935 (19 years). He headed the first Independent Mission to the U.S. Congress in 1919 and secured the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Independence Law in 1934. In 1922, Quezón became the leader of the Nacionalista Party alliance (Quezón was the first Senate president elected to the presidency).
  6. In 1934, the United States Congress passed the Philippine Independence Act, which established the Commonwealth of the Philippines and in 1935, Quezón won the Philippines' first national presidential election under the banner of the Nacionalista Party. He obtained nearly 68% of the vote against his two main rivals, Emilio Aguinaldo and Gregorio Aglipay. Quezón was inaugurated in November 1935 and became the first president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines (Quezon was the first president elected through a national election).
  7. President Quezón was given the power under the reorganization act, to appoint the first all-Filipino Supreme Court of the Philippines in 1935. From 1901 to 1935, although a Filipino was always appointed chief justice, the majority of the members of the Supreme Court were Americans. Complete Filipinization was achieved only with the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935. Claro M. Recto and José P. Laurel were among Quezón's first appointees to replace the American justices. The membership in the Supreme Court increased to 11: a chief justice and ten associate justices, who sat en banc or in two divisions of five members each.

    •     Ramón Avanceña – 1935 (Chief Justice) – 1935–1941
    •     José Abad Santos – 1935
    •     Claro M. Recto 1935–1936
    •     José P. Laurel – 1935
    •     José Abad Santos (Chief Justice) – 1941–1942
     
  8. Quezon was considered "Father of the National Language" for advocating Filipino-language amendments to the 1935 Constitution,  following a year's study, the Institute of the National Language – established on 1936 – recommended that Tagalog be adopted as the basis for the national language. The proposal was well received, considering that the Director – the first to be appointed – at the time, Jaime C. de Veyra, was an ethnic Visayan. On April 1, 1940, President Quezón officially authorized the printing and publication of the grammar and dictionary prepared by the Institute of the National Language. Likewise, the Chief Executive decreed that the national language was to be compulsorily taught in all the schools during the forthcoming academic term. For its part, the National Assembly enacted Law No. 570 raising the national language elaborated by the institute to the status of official language of the Philippines, at par with English and Spanish, effective July 4, 1946, upon the establishment of the Philippine Republic.
  9. Quezón had originally been barred by the Philippine constitution from seeking re-election. However, in 1940, constitutional amendments were ratified allowing him to seek re-election for a fresh term ending in 1943. In the 1941 presidential elections, Quezón was re-elected over former Senator Juan Sumulong with nearly 82% of the vote (the first incumbent to secure re-election for a partial second term, later extended, due to amendments to the 1935 Constitution).
  10. Quezon escaped by submarine in 1942 during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines which drove Quezon to Corregidor and from there, he headed a Philippine government in exile.
  11. Quezón suffered from tuberculosis and spent his last years in a "cure cottage" in Saranac Lake, New York, where he died on August 1, 1944. He was initially buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His body was later carried by the USS Princeton and re-interred in Manila at the Manila North Cemetery on July 17, 1946 before being moved to Quezon City within the monument at the Quezon Memorial Circle on August 19, 1979.
  12. On August 19, 1939, the occasion of his 61st birthday, President Manuel L. Quezon issued Executive Order No. 217 that prescribed a set of civic and ethical precepts—collectively known as the Code of Citizenship and Ethics—to be taught in all schools in the Philippines. The list, a product of a Committee composed of leading jurists and political luminaries organized by the President, would eventually be turned into a 71-page volume, complete with historical anecdotes and references to the virtues Filipinos have displayed throughout the years. In a letter to the President printed as a preface to the book, the Committee wrote, “The life of a nation depends upon the moral and civic virtue of its citizens. Now, more than ever, when nations, great and small, are on the verge of collapse do we realize this fundamental truth.”

References:

2010 World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia
Manuel L. Quezon
QUIZ: How well do you know Manuel Quezon?
Manuel L. Quezon, First President
Quezon’s Code of Citizenship and Ethics

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