The name Jose P. Laurel may bring up mixed feelings, and some may even be horrified by the name. But the man is a true legend, and he deserves more recognition than he currently enjoys. While living in the Philippines during the Japanese Occupation, Laurel worked hard to keep the country’s peace, and faced many challenges. He was accused of collaboration by guerilla forces, but eventually recovered from a bullet wound and went on to become President of the Philippine Republic.
Jose Paciano Laurel y Garcia was a Filipino politician, judge, and former president of the Second Republic of the Philippines. He served in the post-war government after the Philippines was captured by the Japanese during World War II. He was born in Tanauan, Batangas.
Jose Paciano Laurel was born on March 9, 1891, in Tanauan, Batangas. His parents were Don Sotero Laurel and Dona Jacoba Garcia. His father was a revolutionary who served as Secretary of the Interior in General Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary cabinet. He also signed the Malolos Constitution, but died in a concentration camp a few years later.
Laurel earned a law degree from the University of the Philippines College of Law in 1915. He later went to Yale Law School and earned his Master of Laws degree. He was also awarded the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun and the Medal of Honor by King Frederic IX of Denmark.
After completing his education, Laurel became a lawyer, opened a law office in Manila, and taught law at several law schools. He also authored 50 books and contributed to Philippine politics. In 1934, he was elected to public office. He served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was recognized as one of the seven “wise men” of the Convencion and sponsored several provisions that included the Bill of Rights. During his judicial career, Laurel was named Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Laurel also served as president of the Philippines in World War II. During that time, he refused the Japanese demand to formally declare war against the United States. However, he later declared war on the United States and Great Britain. However, he did not attend the Japanese Law School.
During his tenure as president of Japan, Laurel’s administration helped increase production and consumer prices. His most famous product was the rapacite japonaise. However, the regime was not without its challenges. The government had to deal with guerilla les activities and retortion measures, making peace and order difficult. The situation was tense, perilous, and exasperating.
Laurel was also a popular political figure in the Philippines. The Filipino people endorsed him in three national elections. His noble acts and courageous decisions allowed him to steer the nation through difficult years. In the following years, Laurel devoted his time to the Lyceum of the Philippines and the Philippine Banking Corporation.
As a student, Laurel was active in public service. While studying, he worked as a messenger in the Bureau of Forestry and a clerk for the Comite du Code, which codified Philippine laws. In this capacity, he met Thomas A. Street, a future Supreme Court justice.
Laurel had a nationalist agenda. He wanted the new republique of Saint-Siege to be recognized as a nation, despite the fact that Japan did not recognize new states during the war. He also sought to restore the Philippins to the hierarchy of the Church.
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