Manuel Roxas (1892-1948) The first president of the Republic of the Philippines (note, some would say the Third Republic)

Manuel Roxas was a career politician who began his career as a municipal councilor, and subsequently rose to become the Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives. He was also a part of the constitutional convention that drew up the 1935 constitution.

During World War II, he participated in the pro-Japanese "puppet government" by procuring rice for the Japanese army. Although, he was accused of being a Japanese collaborator, he was pardoned by his friend, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Roxas regained his political popularity after the war, largely because of the support of MacArthur.

This enabled him to win the presidency against Sergio Osmeña in 1946, thus making Roxas the fifth president of the Philippines, and the first president of the Republic of the Philippines. Believing that the way to progress was having a close friendship with the US government, Roxas agreed to have US military bases in Philippine soil, and to trade agreements that greatly benefitted the Americans.

Roxas's presidency was marred with accusations of corruption, and the rise of a peasant revolt, the Hukbalahap Movement. Manuel Roxas died of a heart attack in 1948, while delivering a speech in Clark Air Base, an American military base in Pampanga. Because his term had not yet finished, his presidency was succeeded by his vice president, Elpidio Quirino.


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