02 August 2011

The Laurels


Have you ever wondered about the Laurels? [San Juan1] Seriously have you ever thought about them?[San Juan2] I know, I have, it’s been hunting me for the past few months; but unlike other politicians, the Laurels are very adapt in hiding their personal life; so pardon me if my knowledge is not enough to suffice you.

Originally the Laurels are from Tanauan, Batangas [San Juan3] and until now the Laurels are very influential around the town; and like the famous families in the Philippines the Zabels and Conjuanco’s the Laurels also came from a royal ancestry.

The Story of first Laurel in the Philippines

“Three years of genealogical research have enabled the Laurel family to trace their ancestry to a scion of the Sultanate of Brunei in the 15th century before the coming of the Spaniards to thePhilippines.

The Sultan’s eldest and heir had refused the throne because he loved to explore, travel, and seeking adventures. His name is Gat Masungit, a prince, an appellation that bespeaks a touchy temper.

And instead of accepting his father’s throne he had decamped from Brunei with his partisans and they had sailed off the islands that would later be known as the Philippines. The sultan was disappointed because Gat Masungit had all qualities to make a great leader.

First they landed in Panay where Gat Masungit founded the town of Batan. (The people of Batan today still celebrate that foundation with a ritual frolic and dance known as Ati-Atihan.)

Then he crossed over to Luzon, where they settled in the southern realm they called Batang-an, and which we know today as Batangas.

In Batangas, Gat Masungit begot his first son, Gat Leynes. Of course this clan folk were Muslimuntil the coming of the Spaniards when the eldest son of Gat Leynes was baptized with a Christianname of Miguel Dela Cruz. Miguel grew up to be a fierce foe of the Spanish invaders. People looked up to him as a leader, the champion of their rights against the greed of their oppressors. He became a notorious outlaw and an enemy of the Spaniards. Old age came upon him and a desire to retire from war and strife. But how could he retire when his people still clung to his leadership?

Miguel pondered for ways to escape his violent life. His wife suggested that he should ask the priest for help. “What?” roared the descendant of Gat Masungit. “How can a man in skirt help me?” he repeated. His wife calmly urged Miguel.

One moonless night Miguel went to seek the priest of Taal to expound his problem. Here he was willing to lay down his arms. He poured out his violent ways against injustice of the Spanishconquerors. No matter where he went people would seek Miguel to champion their cause and theSpaniards search for his disposal. The priest gently put his hand on Miguel’s shoulder and said “Why not change your name”. Miguel had a puzzling look in his face and said “Which name should I take padre?” The priest paused for a few seconds and answered “Why not take the name Laurel[San Juan4] … it means honor live the life of honor Miguel Laurel.” Henceforth the first Laurel had come to be.”

I’m sure you had fun with the story however we need to go back to business. The Laurels; The Laurels comes from the lineage of politician; but even though they come from a family of politicians they were only recognize around the country when Jose P Laurel became the president of the Philippines.

Jose P Laurel is a prominent name in the Philippine history but before he reaches his fame he first took a law degree in the University of the Philippines where he studied under Dean George A. Malcolm, whom he later succeeded on the Supreme Court and later studied at University of Sto. Tomas where he obtains his masters in Law; then he attended Yale law School where he acquired his Doctorate of Law.

But before he attains all of his Diplomas in prestigious universities, he had an unforgettable experience in love. While a teen he was indicted for attempted murder when he almost killed a rival suitor of his girlfriend[San Juan5] .

Jose P. Laurel indeed live a very colorful life on august 15, 1945; laurel was arrested for collaboration with the Japanese. In 1946 he was charged with 132 counts of treason, but was never brought to trial due to the general amnesty granted by President Manuel Roxas in 1948. And in 1949 laurel ran for presidency against Elpidio Quirino however he lost in the election, but this election was considered as the dirtiest election in Philippine Electrol history.

But in 1951 Laurel ran for senatorial and won; he considered this as a vindication of his reputation and any offer for re-election was decline by Laurel because at that time he decided to concentrate his time to his family [San Juan6]

“During his retirement, Laurel stayed in a 3-story, 7-bedroom mansion dubbed as “Villa Pacencia”, erected in 1957 at Mandaluyong and named after Laurel’s wife. The home was one of three residences constructed by the Laurel family, the other two being located in Tanauan and in Paco, Manila (called “Villa Peñafrancia). In 2008, the Laurel family sold “Villa Pacencia” to Senate President Manny Villar and his wife Cynthia.

On November 6, 1959, Laurel died at the Lourdes Hospital, in Manila, from a massive heart attackand a stroke. (www.wikipedia.com )”

However, this is not the end for the Laurels another Laurel also rise to fame in the field of politics his named is “Salvador H. Laurel” the son of Jose P. Laurel and his wife Paciencia Hidalgo. Akin to his father Doy also took the same steps as his father but broader. [San Juan7]

Doy, as he was more popularly known, distinguished himself in his legal career. He authored and edited several publications on the subject of law, among which were the seven-volumeProceedings of the Philippine Constitutional Convention, 1934-35, published in 1970. As a professor of labor law and jurisprudence at the Lyceum of the Philippines, a school founded by his family, he published several articles in the school’s Law Review on penal and labor policies.

As a lawyer committed to helping indigents who found themselves litigants in court cases, Laurel organized the Citizens Legal Aid Society of the Philippines (CLASP), which inspired the creation of similar such organizations there and elsewhere. For the creation of CLASP, he was cited as Most Outstanding Legal Aid Lawyer of the World in 1976 by the International Bar Association. He also received the Lawyer of the Year award from the Justice and Court Reporters Association of the Philippines in 1977.

Doy carried on the political tradition in the family begun by his father, who was a longtime congressman and speaker of the House of Representatives. He won a seat in the Philippine Senate in 1967 and kept his post until the declaration of martial law in 1972 when Congress was shut down by President Marcos. As a senator, he authored five “Justice for the Poor” laws intended to reduce the legal expenses of those who could not afford it. He was chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice, as well as of three other standing committees. While a senator, he added special reports to his list of publications, the foremost of which was theLaurel Report on Penal Reforms in 1969. For these accomplishments he was consistently cited as one of the outstanding senators of the Philippines.

Laurel also served the Philippine government as representative to the United Nations General Assembly from 1968 to 1970. As a lawyer-businessman, he continued as chairman of the CLASP and as president and director of various business enterprises, including Dorel Corporation and the Philippine Banking Corporation.

When President Marcos called for elections for assemblymen of the Batasang Pambansa, theunicameral legislature under martial law, Doy Laurel ran and won. While there, he delivered several speeches assailing misconduct in the Marcos government.

He subsequently founded the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO), which served as effective opposition to the president’s ruling party, the Kilusan ng Bagong Lipunan (KBL). In the Batasan election of 1984 UNIDO was able to get several candidates elected. With other opposition factions, UNIDO served as critic of the Marcos regime in the halls of the weak legislature.

Opposition to the one-man rule of President Marcos grew from 1983 upon the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino on his return to Manila from self-exile in the United States. In late 1985, Marcos acceded to strong domestic and international pressure to call for snap elections, still confident of his victory. Doy Laurel ran for president under the UNIDO banner. However, on the deadline for the filing of candidacy he forged a unity with Corazon Aquino’s LABAN Party and agreed to run as her vice-president.

The February 1986 elections were marred by violence and fraud. Marcos was declared winner by the Batasan, amidst protests from the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL). In the military, a faction led by the defense minister Juan Ponce Enril and the deputy chief of staff Fidel Ramos revolted. People flocked to the streets, surrounding the military camp to prevent reprisals from government troops. The people forestalled an armed battle. Marcos, the long-time dictator, fled to Hawaii. The UNIDO-LABAN team of Corazon Aquino and Salvador Laurel became president and vice-president of the Philippines, respectively. A new constitution was drafted and submitted to the voters for ratification February 2, 1987.

A split soon developed between Corazon Aquino and her vice-president. In February of 1989 Laurel visited Marcos, then in exile in Hawaii, and requested that the ill former president be allowed to return home. This request contradicted the policy of Aquino and the rest of the government, which demanded Marcos pay back the many millions of dollars that he was accused of stealing from the Phillipine people before he could return. In early December, a coup was attempted against President Aquino while Laurel was out of the country, but failed owing to the loyalty of most of the military to the president. Laurel was bitterly attacked by Aquino for refusing to condemn the coup leaders and allegedly saying they had a “right” to their actions. The President accused Laurel of being part of the rebellion, an accusation he denied. In 1992 Laurel ran for president on the Nacionalista Party to succeed Aquino, but finished fourth. He was appointed by the eventual winner, Fidel Ramos, as Chairman of the Philippines Centennial Commission to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Philippines in 1998.

Behind Doy’s accomplishments for our country is the sadness felt of his love ones he left behind due to the outcomes of his sacrifices

“I feel it’s quite ironic,” she says, “that ever since the first anniversary of Edsa I, Doy was never made a part of it, never mentioned or even remembered. Publications about that important part in our history have completely ignored the man who made it possible.”

“What if he did not risk his life during the martial-law years to organize an opposition that would fight the dictator and restore democracy? What if he did not bother to convince and inspire the leaders of various political parties to unite and join the Unido for the cause of democratic freedom? What if he were not courageous enough to lead marches and rallies nationwide against a powerful administration when it was dangerous to do so?”—from the wife of late Salvador Laurel (Celia Diaz-Laurel tells it like it is By Gerry Lirio: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

In Celia Diaz Laurel also mention her late husband’s sacrifice in abandoning his plan in running for presidency in order to give way to the late wife of Senator Aquino; and preventing the opposition for splitting up.

She particularly cites her husband’s sacrifice in abandoning his plan to run for president to give way to Corazon Aquino, widow of murdered Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., and prevent the opposition from splitting up, in December 1985.

“What if he did not give way to Cory during the snap elections and insisted on running as the official Unido candidate? After all, he had already been proclaimed official candidate of this powerful organization. Would there have been an Edsa I?” she wonders.

After his funeral, Laurel went through all her husband’s books, letters, speeches, notes and “wove together, like a tapestry, his odyssey, in his own words, in his own inimitable style of writing, the expression of his beliefs, his deepest thought and feelings,” all revealing, she says, what he did best for God and country.

“I don’t understand why they linked Doy at all to the Centennial controversy. Did you know that he was very particular about not getting his hands dirty with government funds? He never even entertained people wanting to see him about the projects through his relatives.”from the wife of late Salvador Laurel (Celia Diaz-Laurel tells it like it is By Gerry Lirio: Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Everything that happened must be really painful for the Laurels[San Juan8] ; that cause them to stay away from the political arena until now, and shift their attentions into business and concentrate living life peacefully.

Not until she arrives in the Philippines and took everyone by her beauty. This Laurel has an exceptional talent in acting and singing that she manages to land up in several projects in both GMA and ABS-CBN.

The people almost forgot the contribution of the Laurels along with their name, but thanks to her charm some of it was restore.

Denise Laurel is the granddaughter of former Vice-President, the late Salvador Laurel and her grandmother Celia Diaz, and the great-granddaughter of former President of the Philippines the late Jose P. Laurel; she is the youngest daughter of David Laurel the son of Doy Laurel.

Since a little girl Denise already had a dream to enter showbiz; she already landed some roles at the age of five and everybody find her charming in her commercials.

But her breakthrough in Philippine Showbiz was through her role in Singapore were she landed a part on MTV’s Asia’s “Rogue” along with Mariel Rodriguez who she also shared a house in Singapore while they were working together, after one season of Rouge in Singapore Denise decided to come back into the Philippines to concentrate more on local showbiz.

She made her first appearance in local television again in GMA’s “Click, Walang Hanghang and Leya.” She also made appearance in GMA’s telefantasya “Mulawin and Encantadia.” From this series the Filipinos recognizes her as a talented and promising young actress.

But after a while of separation Denise went back to her original home, ABS-CBN and was given several shows where she has proven her talent once more. However every time Denise was ask if she is interested to run in politics like her Grandfather and Great Grandfather who contributed a lot in shaping the Philippine government; her answers will be always “it’s not my field.” So would it be the end for the Laurels political clan and participation or a new start for a Laurel in a different arena.

On my own opinion, maybe the Laurels were infatuated already with politics, because of their undeniable long linage of political participation. But no matter what action the Laurels take, whether a new path or a resurrection of the old one, the truth is irrefutable that they are important in the Philippine government maturity and in the Philippines history itself.

Thus the name Laurel should not be forgotten.

[San Juan1]Now you do because I gave you a reason to ponder!

[San Juan2]If you have good for you! It’s nice to know someone know his/her history and for those who don’t SHAME!

[San Juan3]Hapeiii..Another credit for the batangenos

[San Juan4]I’m sure the priest made a mistake it supposed to be GARCIA…joke

[San Juan5](All fair in love and war).

[San Juan6]Sons of president Laurel ang his wife

[San Juan7]Laurel went to the best schools in the Philippines and in the United States.

è In grade school he attended Ateneo de Manila, a Jesuit-run institution;

è for high school he went to De La Salle College, another well-known Catholic school.

è He then proceeded to the University of the Philippines for pre-medicine and pre-law studies and received the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1952.

è He finished his Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science at Yale University.

[San Juan8]The Laurels Today


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