Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Manuel Roxas

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Vice President
Preceded by
Manuel L. Quezon

Preceded by
Sergio Osmena

Succeeded by
Jose Avelino

Succeeded by
Manuel Roxas

Sergio Osmena

Manuel Roxas with a tight-lipped smile while wearing a long sleeve under a necktie and coat


Manuel Acuña Roxas (born Manuel Róxas Acuña; January 1, 1892 – April 15, 1948) was the fifth President of the Philippines who served from 1946 until his death in 1948. He briefly served as the third and last President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from May 28, 1946 to July 4, 1946, subsequently becoming the first President of the independent Third Philippine Republic after the United States ceded its sovereignty over the Philippines.


Manuel Roxas with a tight-lipped smile while wearing a trench coat and scarf

President manuel roxas

Personal life

Roxas was married to Trinidad de Leon at Our Lady of Remedies Church located at Barangay Sibul, San Miguel, Bulacan in 1921. The couple had two children, Ma. Rosario ("Ruby"), who married Vicente Roxas (no relation) and Gerardo Manuel ("Gerry"), who married Judy Araneta.

Manuel Roxas with a tight-lipped smile and looking at something while wearing a long sleeve under a necktie and coat with lapel pin and handkerchief

His son, Gerry, became a member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a leader of Liberal Party of the Philippines. Gerry's sons, Manuel II ("Mar") and Gerardo, Jr. ("Dinggoy"), served as representatives from Capiz. In 2004, Mar became a Senator and was also elected president of the Liberal Party. His daughter-in-law, Judy, continues to be a prominent and driving force of the Liberal Party.


Manuel Roxas with a serious face and wearing a white long sleeve with a necktie and a gray coat while on the bottom is his name and under it is the title, fifth president of the Philippines, last president of the Commonwealth, and first president of Third Republic of the Philippines

Roxas was a descendant of Antonio Roxas y Ureta, the brother of Domingo Roxas y Ureta (1782–1843) (who was a progenitor of the Róxas de Ayala and Zóbel de Ayala clans).

Manuel Roxas with a tight-lipped smile while wearing a trench coat and scarf

  • Antonio Roxas y Ureta – third great-grandfather
  • Juan Roxas y Arroyo – second great-grandfather
  • Caetano Roxas – great-grandfather
  • Antonio Roxas II – grandfather
  • Gerardo Roxas (d. 1891) – father
  • Manuel Roxas
  • Gerardo Manuel Roxas ("Gerry") (1924–1982) – son; Philippine senator
  • Manuel Roxas II ("Mar") (b. 1957) – grandson; Philippine senator
  • Gerardo Roxas, Jr. ("Dinggoy") (1960–1993) – grandson; Philippine congressman
  • Prominent relatives from the line of Antonio Roxas y Ureta:

  • Felix Roxas y Arroyo (1820–?), son of Antonio Roxas y Ureta and father of Felix Roxas, Jr. y Fernandez. He was the first Filipino qualified architect.
  • Felix Roxas, Jr. y Fernandez (1864–1936), son of Felix Arroyo Roxas, Sr. and grandson of Antonio Roxas y Ureta. He was mayor of Manila from 1905 to 1917.
  • Felipe Roxas y Arroyo (1840–1899), son of Antonio Roxas y Ureta. He was the painter who emigrated to Paris.
  • Francisco L. Roxas y Reyes (1851–1897), son of Juan Roxas y Arroyo and grandson of Antonio Roxas y Ureta. He was a businessman and one of the thirteen martyrs of Bagumbayan.
  • Monsignor Éric de Moulins-Beaufort (b. 1962), great-great-grandson of Francisco L. Roxas. He is the Auxiliary Bishop of Notre-Dame de Paris (Archdiocese of Paris) since 2008.
  • Maria Margarita Moran-Floirendo y Roxas (born 15 September 1953), globally known as Margie Moran, Miss Universe of 1973.
  • Prominent relatives from the line of Domingo Roxas y Ureta, brother of Antonio Roxas:

  • Margarita Roxas-de Ayala y Ubaldo (1826–1869), daughter of Domingo Roxas who married Antonio de Ayala. She was considered the first Filipino philanthropist and the greatest businessperson of her time. She was the matriarch of the Roxas-de Ayala family.
  • José Bonifacio Roxas y Ubaldo (1834–1888), younger brother of Margarita Roxas de Ayala. In 1851, he would purchase the former Jesuit estate of Hacienda de San Pedro de Macati, which would become the basis of the Zóbel de Ayala family wealth.
  • Pedro Pablo "Perico" Roxas (1847–1912), son of José Bonifacio Roxas y Ubaldo. He was a major stockholder and the first manager of the original San Miguel Brewery.
  • Political career

    Roxas occupied more important positions in the Philippine government than any other Filipino had ever held before him. Starting in 1917 he was a member of the municipal council of Capiz. He became the youngest governor of his province and served in this capacity from 1919 to 1922.

    He was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives in 1922, and for twelve consecutive years was Speaker of the House. He was member of the Constitutional Convention 1934 to 1935, Secretary of Finance, Chairman of the National Economic Council, Chairman of the National Development Company and many other government corporations and agencies, Brigadier General in the USAFFE, Recognized Guerilla leader and Military leader of the Philippine Commonwealth Army.


    After the amendments to the 1935 Philippine Constitution were approved in 1941, he was elected (1941) to the Philippine Senate, but was unable to serve until 1945 because of the outbreak of World War II.

    Having enrolled prior to World War II as an officer in the reserves, he was made liaison officer between the Commonwealth government and the United States Army Forces in the Far East headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur. He accompanied President Quezon to Corregidor where he supervised the destruction of Philippine currency to prevent its capture by the Japanese. When Quezon left Corregidor, Roxas went to Mindanao to direct the resistance there. It was prior to Quezon's departure that he was made Executive Secretary and designated as successor to the presidency in case Quezon or Vice-President Sergio Osmeña were captured or killed.

    Roxas was captured in 1942 by the Japanese invasion forces. He became chief advisor to José P. Laurel, but secretly sympathetic to the guerrilla movement, he passed information via Ramona (Mona) Snyder to Edwin Ramsey. He was returned by the military service of the Philippine Commonwealth Army joining the troops and military officers of men was beginning the liberation against the Japanese forces.

    When the Congress of the Philippines was convened in 1945, the legislators elected in 1941 chose Roxas as Senate President.

    Presidential election of 1946

    Prior to the Philippine national elections of 1946, at the height of the last Commonwealth elections, Senate President Roxas and his friends left from the Nacionalista Party and formed the Liberal Party. Roxas became their candidate for President and Elpidio Quirino for Vice-President. The Nacionalistas, on the other hand, had Osmeña for President and Senator Eulogio Rodriguez for Vice-President. Roxas had the staunch support of General MacArthur. Osmeña refused to campaign, saying that the Filipino people knew his reputation. On April 23, 1946, Roxas won 54 percent of the vote, and the Liberal Party won a majority in the legislature.

    Last President of the Commonwealth

    Roxas served as the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in a brief period, from May 28, 1946 to July 4, 1946 during which time Roxas helped prepared the groundwork for an independent Philippines.

    On May 8, 1946, prior to his inauguration, President-elect Roxas, accompanied by US High Commissioner Paul V. McNutt, left for the United States.

    On May 28, 1946, Roxas was inaugurated as the last President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. The inaugural ceremonies were held in the ruins of the Legislative Building (now part of the National Museum of the Philippines) and were witnessed by about 200,000 people. In his address, he outlined the main policies of his administration, mainly: closer ties with the United States; adherence to the newly created United Nations; national reconstruction; relief for the masses; social justice for the working class; the maintenance of peace and order; the preservation of individual rights and liberties of the citizenry; and honesty and efficiency of government.

    On June 3, 1946, Roxas appeared for the first time before a joint session of Congress to deliver his first State of the Nation Address. Among other things, he told the members of the Congress the grave problems and difficulties the Philippines face and reported on his special trip to the United States to discuss the approval for independence.

    On June 21, he reappeared in front of another joint session of the Congress and urged the acceptance of two laws passed by the Congress of the United States on April 30, 1946—the Tydings–McDuffie Act, of Philippine Rehabilitation Act, and the Bell Trade Act or Philippine Trade Act. Both recommendations were accepted by the Congress.

    First President of the Third Republic (1946–1948)

    Manuel Roxas' term as the President of the Commonwealth ended on the morning of July 4, 1946, when the Third Republic of the Philippines was inaugurated and independence from the United States proclaimed. The occasion, attended by some 300,000 people, was marked by the simultaneous lowering of the Stars and Stripes and raising of the National Flag, a 21-gun salute, and the pealing of church bells. Roxas then swore the Oath of Office as the first President of the new Republic.

    The inaugural ceremonies took place at Luneta Park in the City of Manila. On the Grandstand alone were around 3,000 dignitaries and guests, consisting of President Roxas, Vice-President Quirino, their respective parties and the Cabinet; the last High Commissioner to the Philippines and first Ambassador to the Philippines Paul McNutt; General Douglas MacArthur (coming from Tokyo); United States Postmaster General Robert E. Hannegan; a delegation from the United States Congress led by Maryland Senator Millard Tydings (author of the Tydings–McDuffie Act) and Missouri Representative C. Jasper Bell (author of the Bell Trade Act); and former Civil Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison.

    Domestic policies


    No sooner had the fanfare of the independence festivities ended that the government and the people quickly put all hands to work in the tasks of rescuing the country from its dire economic straits. Reputed to be the most bombed and destroyed country in the world, the Philippines was in a sorry mess. Only Stalingrad and Warsaw, for instance, could compare with Manila in point of destruction. All over the country more than a million people were unaccounted for. The war casualties as such could very well reach the two million mark. Conservative estimates had it that the Philippines had lost about two thirds of her material wealth.

    The country was facing near bankruptcy. There was no national economy, no export trade. Indeed, production for exports had not been restored. On the other hand, imports were to reach the amount of three million dollars. There was need of immediate aid from the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Something along this line was obtained. Again, loans from the United States, as well as some increase in the national revenues, were to help the new Republic.

    President Roxas, with bold steps, met the situation with the same confidence he exuded in his inaugural address, when he said: "The system of free but guided enterprise is our system". Among the main remedies proposed was the establishment of the Philippine Rehabilitation Finance Corporation. This entity would be responsible for the construction of twelve thousand houses and for the grant of easy-term loans in the amount of 177,000,000 pesos. Another proposal was the creation of the Central Bank of the Philippines to help stabilize the Philippine dollar reserves and coordinate and the nations banking activities gearing them to the economic progress.

    Concentrating on the sugar industry, President Roxas would exert such efforts as to succeed in increasing production from 13,000 tons at the time of the Philippine liberation to an all-high of one million tons.

    Reconstruction after the war

    The postwar Philippines had burned cities and towns, ruined farms and factories, blasted roads and bridges, shattered industries and commerce, and thousands of massacred victims. The war had paralyzed the educational system, where 80% of the school buildings, their equipment, laboratories and furniture were destroyed. Numberless books, invaluable documents and works of art, irreplaceable historical relics and family heirlooms, hundreds of churches and temples were burned. The reconstruction of the damaged school buildings alone cost more than Php 126,000,000,000.

    The new Republic began to function on an annual deficit of over Php 200,000,000 with little prospect of a balanced budget for some years to come. Manila and other cities then were infested with criminal gangs which used techniques of American gangsters in some activities–bank holdups, kidnapping and burglaries. In rural regions, especially the provinces of Central Luzon and the Southern Tagalog regions, the Hukbalahaps and brigands terrorized towns and barrios.

    Agrarian reform

    In 1946, shortly after his induction to Presidency, Manuel Roxas proclaimed the Rice Share Tenancy Act of 1933 effective throughout the country. However problems of land tenure continued. In fact these became worse in certain areas. Among the remedial measures enacted was Republic Act No. 1946 likewise known as the Tenant Act which provided for a 70–30 sharing arrangements and regulated share-tenancy contracts. It was passed to resolve the ongoing peasant unrest in Central Luzon.

    Amnesty proclamation

    President Roxas, on January 28, 1948, granted full amnesty to all so-called Philippine collaborators, many of whom were on trial or awaiting to be tried, particularly former President José P. Laurel (1943–1945). The Amnesty Proclamation did not apply to those "collaborators", who were charged with the commission of common crimes, such as murder, rape, and arson. The presidential decision did much to heal a standing wound that somehow threatened to divide the people's sentiments. It was a much-called for measure to bring about a closer unity in the trying times when such was most needed for the progress of the nation.

    Huks outlawed

    Disgusted with the crimes being committed by Hukbó ng Bayan Laban sa Hapón (Nation's Army Against the Japanese, also called "the Huks") and possessing evidence of their subversion, Roxas issued a proclamation outlawing the Huk movement on March 6, 1948. It had become an imperative in view of the resurgence of Huk depredations, following the unseating of the seven Communists, led by Huk Supremo Luis Taruc through acts of terrorism.

    Foreign policy

    Treaty of General Relations

    On August 5, 1946, the Congress of the Philippines ratified the Treaty of General Relations that had been entered into by and between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States on July 4, 1946. Aside from withdrawing her sovereignty from the Philippines and recognizing her independence, the Treaty reserved for the United States some bases for the mutual protection of both countries; consented that the United States represent the Philippines in countries where the latter had not yet established diplomatic representation; made the Philippines assume all debts and obligations of the former government in the Philippines; and provided for the settlement of property rights of the citizens of both countries.

    United States military bases

    Although Roxas was successful in getting rehabilitation funds from the United States after independence, he was forced to concede military bases (23 of which were leased for 99 years), trade restriction for the Philippine citizens, and special privileges for U.S. property owner and investor.

    Party Rights Amendment

    On March 11, 1947, Philippine voters, agreeing with Roxas, ratified in a nationwide plebiscite the "parity amendment" to the 1935 Constitution of the Philippines, granting United States citizens the right to dispose of and utilize Philippine natural resources, or parity rights.

    Turtle and Mangsee Islands

    On 19 September 1946 the Republic of the Philippines notified the United Kingdom that it wished to take over the administration of the Turtle Islands and the Mangesse Islands. Pursuant to a supplemental international agreement, the transfer of administration became effective on 16 October 1947.

    Assassination attempt

    The night before the plebiscite, Roxas narrowly escaped assassination by Julio Guillen, a disgruntled barber from Tondo, Manila, who hurled a grenade at the platform on Plaza Miranda immediately after Roxas had addressed a rally.


    His administration was marred by graft and corruption; moreover, the abuses of the provincial military police contributed to the rise of the left-wing (Huk) movement in the countryside. His heavy-handed attempts to crush the Huks led to widespread peasant disaffection.

    The good record of Roxas administration was marred by two failures: the failure to curb graft and corruption in the government, as evidenced by the Surplus War Property scandal, the Chinese immigration scandal and the School supplies scandal; and the failure to check and stop the communist Hukbalahap movement.


    Roxas did not finish his full four-year term. On the morning of April 15, 1948 Roxas delivered a speech before the United States Thirteenth Air Force. After the speech, he felt dizzy and was brought to the residence of Major General E.L. Eubank at Clark Field, Pampanga. He died later that night of a heart attack. Roxas' term as President is thus the third shortest, lasting one year, ten months, and 18 days.

    On April 17, 1948, two days after Roxas' death, Vice-President Elpidio Quirino took the oath of office as President of the Philippines.


    In his honour Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, the first to be named as such, Roxas, Capiz, President Roxas, Capiz, President Roxas, Cotabato, and Roxas, Isabela were named after him. Dewey Boulevard in the City of Manila was renamed in his memory, and he is currently depicted on the 100 Philippine peso bill.


    Manuel Roxas Wikipedia