By: Paolo M. Bustamante
We were under the rule of the Japanese during his term. He was one of the most controversial politician during his time. Was he a war collaborator, a hero or a traitor? He is none other than the former President of the Philippines Jose P. Laurel. When President Manuel Quezon went to the United States during the Japanese occupation, Jose P. Laurel was elected by the National Assembly as President of the Republic.
It was a difficult time for him. While our country was struggling for independence, he tried to channel a peace treaty between the Philippines and Japan. But when the Japanese surrenered to the Philippines and the United States. General McArthur ordered Laurel to be arrested for treason (collaborating withe the Japanese) but President Roxas granted him amnesty and was pardoned.He ran during 1949 but he lost against President Quirino.
He eventually retied and had made three residential houses in the Philippines, one is in Paco Manila. The Jose P. Laurel House in Paco was built during 1864 and was bought by Jose P. Laurel during 1926. He stayed here for 29 years with his wife Panciencia Hidalgo and his kids. Sotero Hidalgo inherited the house but now this house is empty and unmaintained. There's a security guard and a caretaker who checks the house for time to time.Before the month of November (month of his death) ends, we will always remember the former President Jose P. Laurel as a president who sacrificed his life for the Filipino People.