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José P. Laurel
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 were 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 acquittal and won.
Laurel received 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 was instructed to remain in Manila by President Manuel Quezon, who fled to Corregidor and then to the United States to establish a government-in-exile. His prewar, close relationship with Japanese officials (a son had been sent to study at the Imperial Military Academy in Tokyo, and Laurel had received an honorary doctorate from Tokyo University), placed him in a good position to interact with the Japanese occupation forces.
Laurel was among the Commonwealth officials instructed by the Japanese Imperial Army to form a provisional government when they invaded and occupied the country. It was because of his being well known to the Japanese as well as his willingness to serve under the Japanese Military Administration in the Philippines that he held a series of high posts in 1942-1943. In 1943 he was selected by the Japanese as President. Twice that year he was shot by Philippine guerillas, but 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 by President Manuel Roxas in 1948. Laurel ran for president against Elpidio Quirino in 1949 but lost. In the subsequent presidential election, Laurel, then serving as a senator, declined to be nominated, working instead for the succesful election of Ramon Magsaysay. Magsaysay appointed Laurel head of a mission tasked with negotiating trade and other issues with United States officials, the result being known as the Laurel-Langley Agreement.
Laurel considered his election to the senate as a vindication of his reputation, and had no difficulty being reelected. He retired from public life in 1957, concentrating on the development of the Lyceum University established by his family. 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 speaker Jose B. Laurel, Jr., vice-president Salvador P. Laurel , and former senator Sotero H. Laurel.
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