PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES
Jose P. Laurel
José Paciano Laurel y García (March 9, 1891 - November 6, 1959) was the president of the Japanese-sponsored Republic of the Philippines from 1943 to 1945.
Laurel was not recognized as a Philippine president formally until the administration of Diosdado Macapagal.
Jose P. Laurel was born on March 9, 1891 in the town of Tanauan, Batangas. His parents are Sotero Laurel and Jacoba Garcia.
As a teen, Laurel was indicted for killing a rival suitor of his girlfriend. After studying and finishing law school, he asked for an aquittal and won.
Laurel recieved law degrees from the University of the Philippines in 1915, from Escuela de Derecho in 1919, and from Yale University in 1920. He became a member of the Cabinet in 1922 but resigned along with others in 1923 in protest of American Governor-General Leonard Wood. In 1925 he was elected to the Philippine senate. When the Commonwealth of the Philippines was established, he was appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II, Laurel opted to remain in Manila rather than follow the lead of President Manuel Quezon, who fled to Bataan and then to the United States. He was one of the few high ranking government officials remaining in the Philippines.
Laurel offered his services to the Japanese Imperial Army when they invaded and occupied the country. It was because of his staunch criticism of U.S. rule in the Philippines that he held a series of high posts in 1942-1943. In 1943 he was selected as President. Twice that year he was shot by Philippine guerillas, but he recovered.
On August 15, 1945, the Japanese forces surrendered to the United States. General MacArthur ordered Laurel arrested for collaborating with the Japanese. In 1946 he was charged with 132 counts of treason, but was never brought to trial due to the general amnesty granted in 1948.
He retired from public life in 1957. On November 5, 1959, he died of a heart attack in his hometown of Tanauan.
Laurel was married to Pacencia Hidalgo, and had nine children. Many of them grew to be active in politics, such as former vice-president Salvador P. Laurel.
- The Philippine Presidency Project (http://www.pangulo.ph)