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Manuel L. Quezon
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World Leader
    (August 19, 1878-August 1, 1944)
    Born in Baler, Philippines
    Member of the Philippine Assembly (1907-16) and Senate (1916-35)
    First President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines (1935-44)
    Headed the government-in-exile after the Japanese occupation in WWII (1942-44)
    He supported the Spanish against Filipino nationalists, then joined Emilio Aguinaldo's guerrilla war against the US.
    He was accused of murdering an American prisoner and imprisoned six months before being released due to insufficient evidence (1900).
    He responded to a newspaper article criticizing him by bursting into the editor's office and shoving the paper into his mouth (1908).
    He married his first cousin, Aurora Aragon (1918).
    While courting Aurora, he decided to test her love by telling her he had married someone else. When she burst into tears, he decided she really did love him.
    He made a secret trip to Tokyo to discuss the possibility of the Philippines remaining neutral if war broke out between Japan and the US (June, 1938).
    His father and brother were murdered in an ambush that may have been a robbery or may have been in retaliation for the family's support of Spain (1898).
    He helped secure passage in the US Congress of the Tydings-McDuffie Law (1934) in which the US pledged to establish full independence for the Philippines by 1946.
    After his election as president, he called a meeting of his financial backers, thanked them for their support, then said he assumed none of them would be asking for favors, since they were all far too honorable to engage in bribery.
    His government established an eight-hour workday and the country's first minimum wage law.
    He allowed 1,200 Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe into the Philippines and donated land he owned for their resettlement.
    He said, 'My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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