Elpidio Rivera Quirino (November 16, 1890 – February 29, 1956) was the sixth President of the Philippines. The abrupt death of President Manuel Roxas brought Elpidio Quirino to presidency. Upon his ascent, Quirino brought with him tremendous experience as public servant, having been a cabinet member, a representative, and a senator during previous regimes. Quirino served as president from April 17, 1948 to December 30, 1953.
Born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur to Mariano Quirino and Gregoria Rivera, a Spanish-mestiza, Quirino spent his early years in Aringay, La Union. He received secondary education at Vigan High School, then went to Manila where he worked as junior computer in the Bureau of Lands and as property clerk in the Manila police department. He graduated from Manila High School in 1911 and also passed the civil service examination, first-grade.
Quirino attended the University of the Philippines in 1915, earning his law degree and practicing law until he was elected as member of the Philippine House of Representatives from 1919 to 1925, then as senator from 1925 to 1931. He then served as secretary of finance and secretary of the interior in the Commonwealth government.
In 1934, Quirino was a member of the Philippine Independence mission to Washington D.C., headed by Manuel Quezon that secured the passage in the United States Congress of the Tydings-McDuffie Act. This legislation set the date for Philippine independence by 1945. Official declaration came on July 4, 1946.
During the Japanese invasion during World War II, he became a leader of the underground rebellion and was captured and imprisoned. He suffered the execution of his wife, Alicia Syquía, and three of his five children by the Japanese conquerors.
After the war, Quirino continued public service, becoming president pro tempore of the senate. In 1946, he was elected first vice president of the independent Republic of the Philippines, serving under Manuel Roxas. He also served as secretary of state.
Quirino retired to private life in Quezon City, Manila. He died of a heart attack on February 29, 1956. His death anniversary is observed on February 28.
Date of Issue: June1, 1990