Huwebes, Hulyo 28, 2011

Elpidio Quirino's Legacy

 Elpidio Quirino

Life of Elpidio Quirino

Personal Life

  • Elpidio Quirino was a native of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur although born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur to Don Mariano Quirino of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur and Doña Gregoria Mendoza Rivera of Agoo, La Union. Quirino spent his early years in Aringay, La Union.
  •  Raised by a provincial jail warden (Mariano) and a barrio school teacher (Gregoria).
  • Decided to transfer in La Union
  • While attending the spanish class in La union, he also attended his primary class in Aringay Elementary School.
  • Elpidio started his secondary education at Ilocos Sur High School.
  • Served as barrio school master in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur while enrolled in ISHS.
  •   Had an exceptional talent in drawing and sketching. 
  • His artistic skills proved its usefulness when it became an instrument for his survival in the big city (Manila).
  • Continued his secondary education in Manila High School.
  • Performed clerical works in Manila Police Department.
  • He managed to be one of the top debaters in Manila High School (along with Jose P. Laurel). 
  • (1911) – finished his secondary education at the age of twenty. 
  • Decided to take up his tertiary education at the University of the Philippines (College of Law). 
    •    While in UP,  he won the second prize for his oration entitled “The Advent of an Island Nation”.
  • Finally finished his degree in Law on March 15, 1915 where he took and passed the bar exams on the same year.


  • He studied and graduated his elementary education to his native Caoayan, where he became a barrio teacher. He received secondary education at Vigan High School, then went to Manila where he worked as junior computer in the Bureau of Lands and as property clerk in the Manila police department.
  • He graduated from Manila High School in 1911 and also passed the civil service examination, first-grade.
  • Quirino attended the University of the Philippines. In 1915, he earned his law degree from the university's College of Law, and was admitted to the bar later that year. He was engaged in the private practice of law.


  • He was married by the housewife Alicia Syquia/Alma Syquia with 4 children.


Several of Quirino's descendants became prominent political figures in their own right:
  • Antonio Quirino, brother of former President and partnered of ABS-CBN.
  • Poncy Quirino, grandson of former President and dance instructor.
  • Cory Quirino, granddaughter of former President and tri-media health and fitness guru.

Political Career

  •  Applied for a position as a legal clerk in the Philippine Commission until 1916.
  • The transition from Philippine Commission to Philippine Bicameral Legislature gave him the opportunity to work with Senate President Manuel L. Quezon. 
    •    He eventually became the private secretary of Quezon.
  •  He decided to run for a congressional position in 1919.
  •  Quezon appointed him to represent the Philippines in the International Bar Conference in Beijing, China (1921).
  • His first attempt to run for a senatorial position failed when a certain Isabelo Delos Reyes prevailed over him. 
  • Elected as one of the delegates of Constitutional Convention in 1934, representing his constituents in the district of Ilocos Sur.
  •  Appointed again by Quezon as a finance secretary of Commonwealth then to department of interior.
  • Ran and won for a vice-presidential post through Liberal Party.


 *Economic Programs
  • Formed the Agricultural Cooperatives Financing Administration
  • Created Farmers Cooperative Marketing Association
  • Set a new tax policy which increased the tariff rates in order to protect the local economic industry against unfair foreign competition
  • Established the Central Bank of the Philippines to stabilize the Philippine currency

Social Programs
  • Established the Presidential Action Committee on Social Amelioration
  • Attempted to negotiate with the Huks, particularly with Ka Luis Taruc
Programs Implemented
  • PACSA (President’s Action Committee on Social Amelioration) - was beneficial for financially challenged families;
  • ACCFA (Agricultural Credit Cooperatives Financing Administration) - aided farmers in selling what they harvested;
  • Labor Management Advisory Board - guided him on matters regarding labor;
  • Rural Banks of the Philippines - helped countrymen in the rural areas manage their finances;

Issues and Contoversies
Quirino’s administration was bombarded with controversies.The major controversy surrounding his governance was his bid for a second term in office in 1949. Next to the elections in 1969 (wherein Ferdinand Marcos won as president), the elections wherein Quirino won was believed to be the most corrupt. He was also the first president to undergo an impeachment trial because he allegedly purchased a very expensive Golden Orinola using government money. Along with these controversies, Quirino was also critiqued for permitting immorality in the armed forces, neglecting the problems of the masses, and involving himself to the American government which made him compliant to international economies. Because of these flaws, Ramon Magsaysay reigned in the next national elections.

 Greatest Achievements

  • Industrial ventures heightened
  • irrigation improved
  • the road system developed
  • He also set up the Central Bank and Rural banking.


Following his failed bid for re-election, Quirino retired to private life in Quezon City, Metro Manila. He died of a heart attack on February 29, 1956.
However, much as he tried to become a good president, Quirino failed to win the people's affection. Several factors caused the unpopularity of his administration: 

  • Unabated rampage of graft and corruption in his government, as revealed in the Tambobong-Buenavista scandal, the Import Control Anomalies, the Caledonia Pile Mess and the Textbook Racket;
  • Wasteful spending of the people's money in extravagant junkets abroad;
  • Failure of government to check the Huk menace which made travel in the provinces unsafe, as evidenced by the killing of former First Lady Aurora Quezon and her companions on April 21, 1949 by the Huks on the Bongabong-Baler road, Baler, Tayabas (now part of Aurora province).
  • Economic distress of the times, aggravated by rising unemployment rate, soaring prices of commodities, and unfavorable balance of trade. Quirino's vaunted "Total Economic Mobilization Policy" failed to give economic relief to the suffering nation.
  • Frauds and terrorism committed by the Liberal Party moguls in the 1947, 1949 and 1951 elections.