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José Paciano Laurel y García Passes Away

Today in Masonic History José Paciano Laurel y García passes away in 1959.

José Paciano Laurel y García was a Filipino President of the Second Philippine Republic.

Laurel was born Tanauan, Batangas. Laurel's father was an official of the Revolutionary Government of Emilio Aguinaldo. In his teens Laurel was indicted for attempted murder of a rival suitor of his girlfriend. While in law school, he would argue for and get an acquittal.

Laurel obtained his law degree from the University of The Philippines College of Law. He would go to get a Masters of Law from the University of Santo Tomas and then a Doctorate of law from Yale University.

In 1922 after returning from Yale, Laurel would be appointed Undersecretary of the Interior Department, then promoted as the Secretary of the Interior. In that post he would constantly clash with the American Governor-General Leonard Wood. The clashes would be bad enough that in 1923, Garcia and other members of the cabinet would resign.

In 1925 Laurel was elected to the Philippine Senate where he would serve one 6 year term. In 1934, he was elected to public office again, this time as a representative to the 1935 Constitutional Convention. He sponsor the provisions of the Bill of Rights. At the convention he was considered on of the "Seven Wise Men of the Convention".

In 1936 Laurel was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He remains one of the most important justices of the Philippine Supreme Court. He authored several leading cases which are still analyzed today regarding the powers and parameters of the branches of government.

When Japan invaded President Manuel L. Quezon was forced to flee the country. Laurel was already well acquainted with the Japanese, his son had attended the Japanese Military academy and he had received an honorary degree from Tokyo University. Because of this Laurel was the perfect choice for the occupying Japanese Imperial Army to tap to form a provisional Government. This also made him less than popular in the Philippines. In 1943 he would be shot while playing golf at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club by Philippine guerrillas. He would quickly recover from the wound.

In 1943, Laurel would become the president of the Philippines. His regime would last for two years until Japan's surrender to American forces in 1945. He would dissolve his regime from Japan where he, his family and other cabinet members had retreated to.

In 1946, Laurel would be changed with 132 counts of treason. He would never be tried though, a general amnesty order was granted by President Manuel Roxas in 1948.

Laurel would run, unsuccessfully, for President again in 1949. In 1951 he would be elected to the Philippine Senate. He would be appointed by President Ramon Magsaysay to head a mission to negotiate trade and other issues with United States Officials.

Laurel would pass away on November 6th, 1959 due to a massive heart attack and stroke.

Laurel was a member of a lodge that was renamed to Batangas Lodge No. 383.