9th President of the Philippines
“If a president solely rely his leadership on the desire to be reelected, he is just a common politician who desires nothing but self progress that may lead the nation to damnation.”
Diosdado P. Macapagal was born in a nipa hut in the village of San Nicolas in the town of Lubao in Pampanga on September 28, 1910. His parents were Urbano Macapagal and Romana Pangan. It was said that the Macapagal clan were one of the poorest and deprived families in the province of Pampanga. “I remember when I was a child,” Diosdado once reminisced, “I have no playmates. I am alone playing in the rugged street of our village. My clothes were torn and worn out. I never dare to come near the high fence of the big houses.
Dado, as he is fondly called, went to school in Lubao Elementary School barefooted. He finished with the highest honor in that school in 1925. He almost missed their graduation. He has no shoes or dress to wear. Thanks to a generous and philanthropic neighbor, Don Valentin Arrastia, Dado was able to buy new white dress and pants. He also bought a pair of shoes. He continued his studies at San Fernando, Pampang, 40 kilometers away from Lubao. His mother worked as a cashier to add income to the family. Dado, on the other hand, helped in feeding the pigs that were raised by her mother. In 1929, Dado finished fourth in their class.
Dado worked as an employee in the Bureau of Lands in 1930. He studied at night at the University of the Philippines. In 1933, it was found out in the university clinic that Dado has a weak body. He was advised to go home and rest first. While at rest recuperating, Dado wrote and created plays and operetta that were popular at the time. He wrote it in Tagalog language and Kapampangan. His small savings in writing were spent for his return to pursue his studies in Manila. He enrolled at the Philippine Law School. For the second time, Dado was forced to stop his studies for reason that they don’t have money to spend for his schooling. He was fortunate again when a wealthy Kapampangan, Don Honorio Ventura offered help. He spent money for the schooling of Dado at the University of Santo Tomas. He obtained the highest grade at the bar examination of 1936. He became a brilliant lawyer in 1947.
While excelling at law, Dado served as associate lawyer in the law firm of Ross, Lawrence and Selph in Manila. During the Japanese occupation, Dado did not suffer little difficulties. However when peace returns, he created his own law firm together with Punsalan and Yabut. In 1948, he started making connection with President Elpidio Quirino. He was appointed by President Quirino to help manage the government claim over Turtle Islands.
He started working in the government in 1949 when he was elected as congressman and was reelected in 1953. He was elected as Vice President of the Philippines in 1957. After four years, Macapagal became the president of our country.
Becoming a president, Macapagal has a strong belief that “one of the more undesirable in the present democracy in the Philippines is the excessive desire of a sitting President to do everything to ensure reelection. No one among them who served who doesn’t possess such desire. No one ever think about the future of the nation only. The usual and only desire is his selfish place in history.” Because of this opinion, Macapagal made promise and explicitly declare his refusal to seek reelection. In a speech in the airwaves he said the following: “It was strengthened by our experience, that a President, after being elected and took office, is even more thinking of how he can be reelected than how he can improve his service to the nation. It is mandated by the people’s welfare that an individual voted to the highest position bestowed by the voting citizen should spend all his time in uplifting the condition of the nation. However, if it was forced that a President can only be elected once, he has no other wants but to leave a legacy to his country with an incomparable service to its countrymen by the ability bestowed upon him by God.”
However through the years, President Macapagal might have thought that four years isn’t enough to finish all his plans for the country most especially his Five Year Socio-Economic Program. Supposedly, due to his worry that he cannot fulfill his promise to the country, he changed his mind. He again runs for presidency. Maybe because due to his failure of keeping his promise, instead of being reelected in 1965, he was easily defeated by his toughest opponent, Ferdinand E. Marcos.
President Macapagal first wife is Purita de la Rosa. When his first wife died, he married again. His companions when he stepped on the Malacañan Palace is his second wife, Evangelina Macaraeg and their four children named Arturo, Maria, Cielo, Gloria and Diosdado. Gloria went on to follow her father footsteps and became the 14th President of the Philippines becoming the first father – daughter tandem to be elected to the highest position of the land. President Diosdado Macapagal died on April 21, 1997.