The Legend of Laurel

Roots

The Vice President, popularly known as “Doy”, was born to a family whose illustrious lineage spans generations of nationalists who distinguished themselves as public servants. His grandfather, Judge Sotero Remoquillo Laurel was a delegate to the Malolos Convention and Secretary of the Interior in the first Philippine Revolutionary government under President Emilio Aguinaldo

Doy’s father, Dr. Jose Paciano Laurel, finished law at the University of the Philippines and obtained a doctorate in Civil Laws at Yale Law Review. After his graduation he was admitted to the American bar.

Back in the Philippines he rose from a mere clerk to become Secretary of the Interior in 1923, at the age of 31. In 1925 he was elected Senator of the Fifth District. In 1935 he served as delegate to the Constitutional Convention where he was nominated Presiding Officer. In 1936 he was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Cour and was later sworn in as Chief Justice by Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon in 1941.

At the start of World War II, prior to his departure for Corregidor, President Manuel Quezon, instructed Jorge Vargas, Mayor of Manila, and Justice Jose P. Laurel to remain in their positions for the purpose of meeting the invading enemy force with a view to protecting the people and intercede in their behalf.

On October 14, 1943, the Second Philippine Republic was inaugurated with Dr. Jose Paciano Laurel as President. His was the hercilean task of keeping the nation intact under enemy occupation. He risked his personal safety by firmly refusing the conscription of Filipino youth thereby saving thousand of lives. After the war he was again elected Senator, a title he carried until his death of November, 1959

The sons of Dr. Jose P. Laurel distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of endeavor, Jose B. Laurel Jr., the eldest, was Speaker of the House of Representatives for three terms; Jose S. Laurel III, a graduate of the Japanese Imperial Military Academy in Tokyo, became Aide-de-Camp to President Manuel Quezon. He was Philippine Ambassador to Japan in 1966-71 and was appointed as the senior adviser on Philippines-Japan Affairs by the Cory Aquino administration in 1987; Mariano H. Laurel received his doctorate in Law in Madrid, Spain and became President of the Philippine Banking Corporation. Arsenio “Dodjie”, the youngest, also obtained a Master’s Degree in Law in Yale University but excelled in a different field – he won the Macao Grand Prix in Macao in 1962 and 1963

The Family Man

515 Shaw Boulevard Family Residence Virtual Tour

Somewhere In Time

Lyrics by Salvador H. Laurel,
sung by Iwi Laurel

Education

He began his schooling at the Centro Escolar de Señoritas when he was four years old. Because his father wanted him to experience a public school education he enrolled him in the Paco Elementary School (1935-36) and the Justo Lukban Elementary School (1936-37). In June 1937 he was admitted to the Ateneo de Manila Grade School. Four years later, on September 27, 1941, on the first year in high school, he received 2nd honors with a general average of 93.4. But on December 8, of the same year, his studies came to an abrupt halt with the sudden outbreak of World War II.

As World War II came to an end, the Japanese Supreme Council of War gave orders to have officials of the Philippine Government flown to Japan. The order was transmitted to President Jose P. Laurel through Japanese Ambassador Murata. President Laurel, however, decided to go alone and assume full responsibility so that his Cabinet members would not be separated from their families. His wife and sons volunteered to go with him. On Tuesday, March 21, 1945 the whole family began a long and dangerous journey by land to Tuguegarao where they would be flown to Japan. Along with them were Speaker Benigno Aquino, Sr., Minister of Education and Mrs. Camilo Osias and General Capinpin. The odyssey ended in Nara, Japan, where they were confined until November 10,1945

Back in Manila, Doy resumed his studies, this time at the De La Salle College where he graduated in March 1946. He was 17 years old.

In June of 1946 he enrolled at the University of the Philippines as a pre-med student where he obtained his AA (Pre-Medicine) and was admitted to Medicine proper but he decided to shift to Law. He was admitted to the Law school while working to complete his (AA Pre-Law). He Received his LLB (Bachelor of Laws), degrees in UP in March, 1952.

An active member of the campus he was College Scholar in 1946, in 1947 he became a member ofo the Upsilon Sigma Phi. That same year he was elected President of the English Club. and in 1948 President of the Ciculo Cervantino and the UP Debating and Oratorical Club (UPDOC) 1950-1951. He also won the gold medal in the Beta Sigma Inter-Fraternity-Sorority Oratorical contest in 1948 and the 1950 UP open Inter-Collegiate Oratorical contest.

He was acclaimed the University Champion Orator when, representing UP he won first prize in three consecutive inter-university oratorical contest: the Union (CLU); the Student Councils Association of the Philippines (SCAP) and the Inter-University Symposium on Japanese Peace Treaty in 1951.

After earning his Bachelor of Laws degree in UP in 1952, he went to the Yale University here he earned his Master of Laws degree (LLM) in 1953. In 1960 he received a Doctorate of Juridical Sciend, (J.S.D) in the same university.

Of his studies and scholastic endeavors at Yale University. Myres S. McDougal, a Starting Professor of Law, Emeritus of the Yale Law School, said:

“Salvador H. Laurel was a superb scholar at Yale. Like his father in an earlier day, he came to us in the vital formative years of his intellectual development, and remained to earn his master of laws degree (LLM) and Doctorate in juridical science (J.S.D) with highest standing.

“I have taught so many brilliant students from other countries at Yale Law School, Doy was one of the very best and has always been one of my favorites. His papers and comments were always informed, perceptive, wise, creative and deeply dedicated to the public and common interest. His deepest loyalty and devotion is to his own country, but he is aware of a larger, interdependent world.”

Doy’s Youth

Doy’s father wanted him to experience a public school education so he enrolled him first in the Paco Elementary School (1935-36) and then the Justo Lukban Elementary School (1936-37). In June 1937 he was admitted to the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila Grade School. Four years later, on September 27, 1941, on his first year in high school, he received 2nd honors with a general average of 93.4. Barely three months later his studies came to an abrupt halt with the outbreak of World War II on December 8, 1941.

Towards the end of World War II, the Japanese Supreme Council of War issued an order to have officials of the Philippine Government flown to Japan. President Laurel volunteered to go alone in order to spare
his Cabinet members the ordeal of being separated from their families. His wife, Paciencia and 7 of his children went with him. Among the officials who accompanied him were Speaker Benigno Aguino, Sr., Minister of Education and Mrs Camilo Osias and General Mateo Capipia. On Tuesday, March 21, 1945 began a long and perilous journey by land to Tuguegarao where a Japanese navy plane would fly the group to Japan. The odyssey ended in Nara, Japan, where they were confined until November 10, 1945.

The long confinement In Nara was providential In honing and enriching the character of Doy Laurel. It gave the romantic and Impressionable 15 year old the luxury of time to write poetry and prose and satisfy his insatiable thirst for books. Whenever he was lucky to find an English book he would read it voraciously and discuss it animatedly with his mentor, Education Minister Camilo Osias. But his most treasured moments in Nara were those spent with his father. He enjoyed their daily morning walks, in the Park. During those intimate moments his father would invariably talk to him about his news on life, the value of moral character, impressing upon him the importance of intellectual honesty and integrity.

On September 12, 1945 his father was arrested by a group of Americans headed by Col. Turner and was taken to Sugamo Prison. The family was flown to Manila two months later on November 10 1945.

Christmas 1945 was bleakest for Doy. The Laurel family was left with almost nothing. Their Peñafrancia home was looted and emptied of its furniture. Still emptier was Doy’s heart knowing that his father was suffering in solitary confinement in the cold dungeons of Sugamo Prison, in Japan. He wrote a Poem Dedicated to him to lift up his spirits and sent out as his Christmas present:

TO MY BELOVED FATHER

Trudge on, noble leader
And with thy dauntless
Courage
Swerve not in thy glorious, tho’
thankless path,
And heed not their threats
and wrath;
Forgive them who are nescient
And
With their perennial
Discontent
Thy goals impend;
Assuage thy bitter struggle
and with thy
Sapient calm, O Sage!
The glorious and the great
Have always been exalted late
And in the midst of great work condemned.

doy and jose p laurel

The proud father with his champion orator and debater son in 1950.

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