Elpidio Quirino Biography

(Former President of the Philippines)

Birthday: November 16, 1890 (Scorpio)

Born In: Vigan City, Philippines

Elpidio Quirino was a Filipino political leader and the sixth president of the Philippines (1948–1953). Elpidio was a lawyer when he decided to jump into politics. He started as a representative of Ilocos Sur, a province in the Philippines, in 1919. He then moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as a member of the Philippine independence commission. About 10 years later, he was elected to contribute to the drafting of the ‘Commonwealth of the Philippines,’ an administrative body that was responsible for governing the country from 1936 to 1946. Later, he was elected as the secretary of the interior and finance under the leadership of President Manuel Quezon. In 1946, Elpidio made an extraordinary jump in his career, when he earned the opportunity to become the last vice-president of the ‘Commonwealth’ and the first for the ‘Third Republic.’ He also served as the secretary of foreign affairs during this time. Two years later, he became the president of the country. He succeeded Manuel Roxas after his death. He remained the president for 5 years. He ran again but was defeated by Ramon Magsaysay.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Elpidio Rivera Quirino

Died At Age: 65


Spouse/Ex-: Alicia Syquia (m. 1921-1945)

father: Don Mariano Quirino of Caoayan

mother: Doña Gregoria Mendoza Rivera

siblings: Antonio Quirino, Rosa Quirino

children: Victoria Quirino-Delgado

Born Country: Philippines

Presidents Political Leaders

Died on: March 1, 1956

place of death: Quezon City, Philippines

More Facts

education: University of the Philippines Manila, Manila High School, University of the Philippines, UP College of Law

awards: Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic‎

Early Life & Childhood
Elpidio Quirino was born on November 16, 1890, in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, to Don Mariano Quebral Quirino (of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur) and Doña Gregoria Mendoza Rivera (of Agoo, La Union).
He was a native of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur. He spent his early years in Aringay, La Union.
Elpidio attended the ‘Vigan High School’ before moving to Manila, where he worked as a junior computer technician. He graduated from the ‘Manila High School’ in 1911.
Following this, he passed the civil service examination. He then attended the ‘University of the Philippines’ and earned a degree in law in 1915.
Within a year, he was part of the bar. He then started his practice.
Continue Reading Below
Early Career
He continued his private practice as a lawyer until he joined the ‘Philippine House of Representatives’ in 1919. He remained there until 1925. He was succeeded by Vicente Singson Pablo, a congressman.
In 1925, he became a senator and represented the first ‘Senatorial District.’ He was appointed as the chairman of the ‘Committee on Accounts and Claims,’ the ‘Committee on Public Instruction,’ and other related committees.
He was a senator until 1931, after which the controversy related to the ‘Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law’ of 1933 cropped up. He sided with the then-president, Manuel Quezon.
In 1934, he was elected as the secretary of finance. His next big job was under the ‘Philippine Independence’ mission, headed by Manuel L. Quezon.
This mission contributed in protecting the passage of the ‘Tydings–McDuffie Act’ in the ‘United States Congress.’
After the passing of the ‘Tydings-McDuffle Act,’ the date of the country’s independence was set to be July 4, 1946. He was a contributing member in the drafting of the new Philippine ‘Commonwealth,’ the Constitution for which was approved on May 15, 1935.
He became the secretary of finance in 1946. He then became the secretary of interior in 1935 and continued serving until 1938.
In 1941, Quirino ran for the senate again and won. However, he could not continue beyond 1945 due to the Second World War.
When the war broke out, he refused to join the government of Jose Laurel, as he considered it to be a “puppet” government. Instead, he joined a Filipino resistance movement and became its underground leader.
Continue Reading Below
Quirino was arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese police, and his family was murdered. In 1945, he became the leader of the majority in the ‘Philippine Congress.’
Later, he became the secretary of state and the vice-president of the country under then cabinet of Manuel Roxas, the first president of independent Philippines. On April 15, 1948, Manuel Roxas died, leaving the chair of the president empty.
The following year, Quirino was elected as the new president of the country. He contested from the ‘Liberal Party’ and defeated the ‘Nacionalista Party’ to remain on the seat for 5 long years.
During his presidency, Quirino was accused of being extremely pro-American and subservient to alien economic interests. He tried to maintain peace and thus granted amnesty to the ‘Huk’ guerrillas on June 21, 1948.
He faced serious threat from the communist-led ‘HukBaLaHap,’ also known as the ‘Huk Movement.’ The ‘Huks’ had originally been part of the anti-Japanese guerrilla army in Luzon, but they were slowly taken over by communist leaders.
In 1948, ‘Huk’ commander Luis Taruc threatened to overthrow Quirino’s government. By 1950, they had gained control over Luzon, and that prompted Quirino to hire Ramon Magsaysay as the secretary of national defense to suppress the movement.
There was also an attempt to impeach him. Led by representative Agripino Escareal, a seven-member committee of the ‘House of Representatives’ was composed to look into the matter.
Quirino faced a five-count accusation, including charges of nepotism and gross expenditures. However, after several hearings, on April 19, 1949, he was completely exonerated from all charges.
This attempt of spreading peace backfired and affected the country’s economy. It also intensified the deep-rooted social injustice and exploitation in the country. To save the economy, Quirino asked for support from the U.S.A. in the form of loans.
Continue Reading Below
He planned to establish more industries and conserve natural resources, but his attempts failed badly. Terrorism rose to an extreme level, and the electoral process was violated.
He ran for the next presidential election but was defeated by Ramon Magsaysay in 1953. It is believed that he lost the election for tolerating corruption in his party and neglecting the welfare of the common people.
Demoralization, political turmoil, and terrorism were rampant across the country during his time. There was also a lot of immorality in the armed forces, which, according to many sources, was allowed by Quirino.
However, the post-war period also witnessed the reconstruction of infrastructure, increased economic help from the U.S., financial gains, and a boost to the economy. Sadly, corruption was rampant in his cabinet.
It was contended that the 1949 elections, which he had won, had been marred by dishonesty and corruption. He retired from politics in 1953 and lived a private life thereafter.
Awards & Achievements
There are a lot of memorials dedicated to him. The ‘Quirino Avenue’ in Manila and the ‘LRT Station’ are named in his honor. The Novaliches-Ipo Road is now known as the ‘Quirino Highway.’
The ‘Quirino Grandstand’ in Manila is also named after him. The ‘Hibiya Park’ in Tokyo, Japan, also has a memorial in his honor.
He is remembered as the “Father of Foreign Service” in the Philippines.
Family, Personal Life & Legacy
Quirino married Alicia Syquia in 1921. They remained married until her death in 1945.
The couple had five children together: Tomas, Armando, Norma, Victoria, and Fe Angela. His family was murdered by the Japanese police at the time of his arrest during World War II.
Quirino died of a heart attack on February 29, 1956. He breathed his last in his retirement house in Quezon City.
His remains were buried at the ‘Manila South Cemetery,’ Makati. However, in 2016, his remains were re-located to a special tomb in the ‘Heroes’ Cemetery’ in Taguig.

See the events in life of Elpidio Quirino in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Elpidio Quirino Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com

People Also Viewed

Rodrigo Duterte Biography
Rodrigo Duterte
Imelda Marcos Biography
Imelda Marcos
Manuel Roxas Biography
Manuel Roxas
Corazon Aquino Biography
Corazon Aquino
Manuel L. Quezon Biography
Manuel L. Quezon
Emilio Aguinaldo Biography
Emilio Aguinaldo