5th President of the Philippines
“The greatest politics now in our country, and in other times, is service to the people, gives justice in every citizen, do your share not only to strengthen and fortify our nation but also to bring joy to every individual in their respective homes and give them freedom to plow their own soil.”
Manuel A. Roxas was born on January 1, 1892 in Pan-ay, province of Capiz. His parents were Gerardo Roxas and Rosario Acuña. His father died eight months before Manuel saw the light. Rafael Lozada became his first teacher. After studying at Lozada’s school, Manuel secretly rode the ship to Manila with only eleven pesos in his pocket. Unfortunately, he was discovered by his grandfather before the ship set sail. He confessed to his understanding grandfather Eleuterio that he just wants to pursue his studies the reason why he planned to leave without asking permission.
At the age of 12, Manuel enrolled at St. Joseph’s Academy in Manila, however he returned to Capiz soon thereafter. He became homesick so he decided to just study in Capiz. When returned to Manila, he studied at Manila High School. In 1909, he finished with the highest honors. He still finished first in the College of Law of the University of the Philippines. He also passed the bar examination that year.
When his grandfather died, Manuel was forced to return home to his province. Later, he became a councilor of a municipality in Capiz. He was elected governor of Capiz in 1916 at the age of 24. He became a representative in the Congress in 1922. On December, 1931 along with Senator Osmeña, Roxas went to the United States to walk the enactment of legislation in Hare-Hawes Cutting Law. According to the law, the Philippines will be given freedom at the right time. The law was signed at the United States Congress. Unfortunately the said law was not approved by the Philippine Senate. Later it was followed by signing into law at the United States Congress the Tydings- McDuffie Law.
Roxas was again elected representative of Capiz in 1934. He is also a delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention. Roxas has a major role in making the constitution of the nation. When the Commonwealth government was established, Roxas helped wholeheartedly and cooperate with the Quezon administration. In 1939, Roxas was appointed as Finance Secretary by President Quezon. He is one of the most trusted advisers of the president.
During the war, Roxas has the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East). He became the adjutant of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. When the Commonwealth government was evacuated, Roxas refused the invitation of President Quezon. He chose to stay to boost the morale of our soldiers. Roxas was captured by the enemies in the mountains of Mindanao. When the Japanese realized that they capture Roxas, they set him free and seek his help of reaching out to the Filipinos. To keep his secret as a guerilla, Roxas accepted the position of president of the Economic Planning Board of President Laurel.
After the American landing on Lingayen Gulf in Pangasinan, Roxas and President Laurel both climbed together to Baguio City upon order of the Japanese. Roxas has been successful in evading and escaping the Japanese when he joined the troop of freedom on April 15, 1945.
On June 9, 1945, Roxas took office as Senate President. On April 23, 1946, he was elected President of the Philippine Commonwealth. He is the last Commonwealth president and the First President of the Third Republic.
Manuel Roxas other half is Trinidad de Leon, daughter of former senator Ceferino de Leon. Their only child, Gerardo, is a former senator. Grandson Mar Roxas III is a foremer senator and former Department of Trade and Industry secretary under the Arroyo administration.
President Roxas died of a heart attack while having a speech at Clark Field, Pampanga on April 15, 1948.