Everyday History
Laurel was elected president by the National Assembly.
Daily History Japanese Military Administration World War II in the Philippines

Laurel was elected president: Sept. 25, 1943

On this day in 1943, the 108-member National Assembly of the Second Philippine Republic convened its inaugural session, where Jose Laurel was elected president of the Japanese-sponsored republic.

During the session, the Assembly unanimously elected Benigno Aquino Sr., Director General of the Kapisanan sa Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas (KALIBAPI), as the Speaker of the Assembly.

With the assembly’s leadership designated, the Assembly moved to elect Jose P. Laurel, president of the Preparatory Committee for Philippine Independence (PCPI), as President of the Second Philippine Republic.

At the time Laurel was elected president, he was the logical choice to head the Japanese-sponsored Second Philippine Republic. As PCPI president, he led the drafting of the 1943 Constitution that created the Second Philippine Republic. Despite an assassination attempt a few months before, Laurel pushed for the drafting of the constitution, ensuring that it was crafted in a direction favorable to the country instead of being a mere document acquiescing to Japanese demands.

Laurel also had a good grasp of Japan and Japanese politics and culture. He previously served as lawyer for Japanese clients before the war. His son studied at the Tokyo Military Academy. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Tokyo.

Laurel succeeded Jorge Vargas, who, as chairman of the Philippine Executive Commission, was the de facto leader of the country since Jan. 23, 1942.


Laurel, Jose. The War Memoirs of Dr. Jose P. Laurel. Manila : Jose P. Laurel Memorial Foundation, 1962.

Who is Jose P. Laurel?” Jose P. Laurel Memorial Foundation, Inc.

Vargas, Jorge (October 14, 1943). Proclamation No. 21 — Proclaiming the election of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, as President of the Republic of the Philippines. Presidential Museum and Library.

Jose, Ricardo. “Dr. Jose P. Laurel as President of the Second Philippine Republic.” Presidential Museum and Library.

Elefante, Fil. “The Philippines’ Second Republic and a forgotten Independence Day.” BusinessMirror. June 13, 2016.

Trivia Question:

A week after their election, Aquino, Laurel and Vargas flew to Tokyo to discuss Philippine independence with which Japanese official?

Yesterday’s answer: Quintin Paredes and Felipe Buencamino

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