Michael Charleston “Xiao” Chua
De La Salle University
The 125th birthday of President Elpidio Quirino in 2015 was an opportunity for the Nation to revisit the many legacies of his administration. Since he lost to Ramon Magsaysay in the 1953 elections, what a lot of people remembered were the issues of corruption in his administration. The Senate President during his time who came from his own party was said to declare when the president had him investigated for his involvement in the war surplus controversy, “What are we in power for?” There were allegations that his brother Antonio Quirino was using his brother’s office to get business deals, that he bought a Php 5,000.00 bed and that he personally owned a golden urinal bowl
This presentation will show the many factors that affected the image of corruption in the Quirino administration despite his competent leadership based on the literature available about his leadership. It will show a president unable to stop corruption in his administration despite his efforts to do so, and despite evidence that it was highly unlikely that he was too corrupt himself. It will also show a world so different from ours—a world when graft and influence peddling, however small, was a big thing, and how the media and the CIA tarnished Quirino’s image as he declined to sickness into the 1953 elections to usher in a populist leadership with a message for change.
The paper ends with an enumeration of some of the important things the Quirino administration left the Nation, things and concepts that matter but we always take for granted, clarifying the description that Quirino’s administration was “uneventful.” I will propose an attitude at looking at our past leaders, drawing example from American Presdiential biographers—that to really learn the lessons of history was to both draw lessons the negative and the positive aspects of a leader’s governance. Despite it all, former UP president, said that Quirino is one, if not, our best president.