MANILA – Did you know that of the 13 former Filipino vice presidents from 1935 to 2016, six had been more fortunate enough to also assume the top elective seat at Malacañang either through constitutional succession or direct vote by the people?
Yes, they were: Philippine Commonwealth Vice President Sergio S. Osmena Sr. (Nov. 15, 1935-Aug. 1, 1944); Elpidio R. Quirino (May 28, 1846-April 17, 1948); Carlos P. Garcia (Dec. 30, 1953-March 17, 1957); Diosdado P. Macapagal (Dec. 30, 1957-Dec. 30, 1961); Joseph E. Estrada (June 30, 1992-June 30, 1998); and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (June 30, 1998-Jan. 20, 2001).
According to the book “Philippine History and Government” (fifth edition of August 2002) by the father-and- daughter team Dr. Gregorio F. Zaide and Dr. Sonia M. Zaide, Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon and Vice President Osmena were elected in the presidential polls held on Sept. 17, 1935, the first under the 1935 Constitution.
Osmena assumed the presidency after the death of Quezon on Aug. 1, 1944 while the Commonwealth Government chief was still in exile in the United States. Osmena ran for the presidency in the April 23, 1946 polls but lost to President Manuel A. Roxas.
Quirino was elevated to the presidency after Roxas died of a heart attack while delivering a speech at the former Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga on April 15, 1948. He became the second former vice president to stay at Malacañang to finish the remaining term of Roxas.
After completing Roxas’ four-year term, Quirino ran in the 1949 elections and won in his own right as president until Dec. 30, 1953. His vice president was Fernando H. Lopez of Iloilo.
In the 1953 national polls, former Defense Secretary Ramon F. Magsaysay defeated the reelectionist Quirino. Magsaysay’s vice president was Carlos P. Garcia of Bohol.
On March 17, 1957, Magsaysay died when the presidential plane Mt. Pinatubo crashed on a mountain in Cebu while on a return flight to Manila. Garcia thus became the third vice president to occupy Malacañang by constitutional succession after Osmena and Quirino.
Garcia finished the term of Magsaysay and ran for the same post and won in the 1957 elections, with Macapagal as vice president. They were both in office from Dec. 30, 1957 to Dec. 30, 1961.
Garcia lost to Macapagal in the 1961 national polls. The latter’s vice president then was Emmanuel N. Pelaez.
In the succeeding general elections of 1965, Macapagal lost his reelection bid to former Senate President Ferdinand E. Marcos, whose vice president was Fernando H. Lopez. Marcos became the first president to be reelected in the November 1969 polls, again with Lopez as vice president.
In the election in May 1998, the country’s ninth vice president, Joseph E. Estrada (1992-1998), won as president, succeeding President Fidel V. Ramos.
Estrada was the fifth former vice president to sit at Malacañang. For being the seating chief executive at the end of the previous millennium in 2000, he could very well be considered as the country’s first millennial president.
However, on Jan. 20, 2001, he was replaced by the country’s first woman vice president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, daughter of former President Macapagal, as a result of the so-called “People Power II” similar to the event that ousted the 20-year Marcos administration from Malacañang in February 1986.
Aside from being the sixth vice president to sit at the Palace, President Macapagal-Arroyo also became the second woman chief executive of the Philippines after President Corazon C. Aquino (1986-1992).
In the coming May 9, 2022 polls, outgoing Vice President Leonor G. Robredo is running for president. However, she has to prevail over nine other aspirants for the same post to be able to claim the title for the Malacanang seat.
The other presidential candidates are former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Senator Manny Pacquiao, former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, Leody de Guzman of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Faisal Mangondato of the Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi, and Jose Montemayor of Democratic Party of the Philippines. (PNA)