Complete List of Philippine Presidents - Biography, Achievements and Contributions

Arranged from the oldest to the latest Philippine presidents who served our country and its people.

Get to know them well to understand and guide you partly about the dedicated men and women who have served to enrich the Philippine history and how politics has changed us all in the past millennium.

Below are their respective political party, accomplishments and mementos for what they were known for during their tenure of office as the Philippines most powerful government official.

See their achievements and contribution for the Filipino people and the country.

Listed in accordance from 1869, our first ever president of the Philippines to the latest in 2014 - Simeon Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. An important part of the history during the era of the official ratification of the Philippine Constitution of our country as the First Republic during the era of the declared Philippine independence. From the one who allegedly sold the Philippines to the one who continues to take for granted, the Filipino people's independence.

1. Emilio Aguinaldo - (1869–1964) - Independent Party / Katipunan
2. Manuel L. Quezon - (1878–1944) - Ncionalista
3. José P. Laurel - (1891–1959) - KALIBAPI
4. Sergio Osmeña - (1878–1961) - Nacionalista
5. Manuel Roxas - (1892–1948) - Liberal
6. Elpidio Quirino - (1890–1956) - Liberal
7. Ramon Magsaysay - (1907–1957) - Nacionalista
8. Carlos P. Garcia - (1896–1971) - Nacionalista
9. Diosdado Macapagal - (1910–1997) - Liberal
10. Ferdinand Marcos - (1917–1989) Nacionalista / KBL
11. Corazon Aquino - (1933–2009) - PDP LABAN / UNIDO
12. Fidel V. Ramos - (1928– ) - LAKAS
13. Joseph Estrada - (1937– ) - LAMP
14. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo - (1947– ) - LAKAS / KAMPI
15. Benigno Aquino III - (1960– ) - Liberal

"Ang Magiting na Heneral" Emilio Aguinaldo - 1st Philippine President

General Emilio Aguinaldo (January 23, 1899 – April 1, 1901)

Controversially dubbed by some as the Philippine president who sold the Philippines independence, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo's symbolic face can be found in the old 5-peso bill which is no longer used in the Philippines.

You can find him in the 5-peso coin where an emblem of the Philippine flag during which the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day is celebrated can also be seen. He is also known for being the first president of the Philippines under the First Republic known in Philippine history back then as the Malolos Republic.

Contributions Achievements:

  • first president of the first republic of the Philippines (R.P.)
  • youngest general of the Hukbong Sandatahan in his time and also the country’s youngest president at age 28
  • the longest living president who died at an old age of 94 years old
  • leaders of Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan
  • Pact of Biak na Bato signatory

Manuel L. Quezon

Manuel L. Quezon (November 15, 1935 – August 1, 1944)

As the “Father of National Language” (Ama ng Wikang Pambansa in Tagalog), Manuel Luis Quezon is Philippine president known to have died of a common man's disease, tuberculosis in his last few days in Saranac Lake, New York according to a wiki biography.

You can find an interesting and unique memorabilia of his life-sized wax statue inside the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City, a place named after his own and called Q.C. Rotonda. With many firsts under his biography according to wikipedia, below is a list.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • first Senate president elected as one of the Philippine Presidents in his time
  • won as the first president through a (nation-wide) national election
  • first president under the Commonwealth
  • created the National Council of Education
  • initiated women’s rights in the Philippines during the Commonwealth regime
  • made Tagalog / Filipino as the national language of the Philippines, hence he is called "Ama ng Pambansang Wika"
  • he is in the current twenty-peso bill
  • to his legacy, his name was made as the remembering name of Quezon Boulevard, Quezon Avenue, Quezon province, Quezon City, Quezon Bridge and MLQU and MLQHS respectively in Manila
  • his remains still lie at the Rotonda monument in Quezon Memorial Circle

Jose P. Laurel

Jose P. Laurel (October 14, 1943 – August 17, 1945)

The 3rd among Philippine presidents to assume office during the era of the Japanese occupation of World War II, Jose P. Laurel is the only Filipino president in his time to have been shot outside of combat.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • he organized KALIBAPI (Kapisanan sa Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas)
  • he declared Martial Law in 1944
  • his family became popular for establishing one of the pioneer universities in Manila - Lyceum of the Philippines

Sergio Osmeña

Sergio Osmeña (August 1, 1944 – May 28, 1946)

Sergio Osmeña -  the second Philippine president and of the Commonwealth regime whose face appears in the 50-peso bill.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • the oldest president to resume office, this legend is already 65 when he became president of the Philippines
  • he was the first Visayan to become president of the country (wikipedia)
  • he joined then US Gen. Douglas McArthur in Leyte on October 20, 1944 starting the freedom of the Philippines from the Japanese during World War II - "Leyte Guld landing"
  • it was during his regime, that the Philippine National Bank (PNB) has been rehabilitated and the country joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • during his time, the popular Bell Trade Act was approved by the US Congress

Manuel Roxas

Manuel Roxas (May 28, 1946 – April 15, 1948)

He was the fifth Philippine president but was considered as the third and last president under the Commonwealth era making him the next first leader of the Third Republic of the Philippines (R.P.). Shortlived as he served for some reason, he only assumed office for a very short period of 1 year, 10 months and 18 days to be exact.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • was inaugurated as the new and first president of the new Republic because the Philippines was finally free after the WW II
  • in his time, the country has started reconstruction from war damage and the Philippines started breathing without foreign rule
  • under his term, the Philippine Rehabilitation Act and Philippine Trade Act laws were accepted by the congress
  • he is in the 100 peso bill

Elpidio Quirino

Elpidio Quirino (April 17, 1948 – December 30, 1953)

Served first as the vice president of Manuel Roxas in his time and assumed to become the next leader and Philippine president when the latter died in 1948.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • under his term in the Japanese occupation, Hukbalahap movement (Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon) was active
  • he created Social Security Commission now SSS
  • he also created Integrity Board to monitor graft and corruption
  • an important historical fact is during 1948, Quezon City was still the capital of the Philippines and not Manila
  • an important figure of inflation / depletion is that in his regime, the peso and dollar exchange rate was 1 US = P2.00, a rate we can never regain from today's presidents

Ramon Magsaysay

Ramon Magsaysay (December 30, 1953 – March 17, 1957)

Born as a native of Iba, Zambales, he was a military governor, and engineer. He died on a plane crash on Dec. 1957, boarding the presidential plane named “Mt. Pinatubo".

Contributions and Achievements of Ramon Magsaysay:

  • popularized mambo Magsaysay song and dance
  • was a chairman of the Committee on Guerilla Affairs
  • Popularly known as the "president of the masses"
  • was the first president sworn into office wearing Barong Tagalog in his inauguration
  • his presidency was referred as the Philippines’ Golden Years for it was the cleanest and zero-corruption
  • the Philippines was ranked 2nd in Asia’s clean and well-governed countries
  • allowed common Filipino masses to enter the president's house
  • he established National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) among his agrarian reforms

Carlos P. Garcia

Carlos P. Garcia (March 18, 1957 – December 30, 1961)

A well renowned country lawyer in his time, Carlos P. Garcia was a critically acclaimed poet, teacher and self-proclaimed guerilla leader.

Born in the province of Bohol, like Elpidio Quirino, he was the vice president of the former Philippine president in his time, Magsaysay.

He also served as the secretary of Foreign Affairs for 4 years until he became president when Magsaysay died in 1957.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • adopted the “Filipino First Policy”
  • he established the Austerity Program focusing on Filipino trade and commerce
  • recognized and dubbed as the “Prince of Visayan Poets” and the “bard from Bohol”
  • cultural arts was strongly promoted during his term of tenure which was his nature as a leader
  • the first president whose remains were buried in the "Libingan ng mga Bayani"

Diosdado Macapagal

Diosdado Macapagal (December 30, 1961 – December 30, 1965)

Born in Lubao, Pampanga, like his latter clan, the 2nd female Philippine president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Diosdado Macapagal, was another lawyer and a professor in his time.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • established the first Land Reform Law
  • was popular with farmers in his time
  • he placed the Philippines currency – peso, on the currency exchange market
  • declared June 12 in 1898 as the Philippines’ official Independence Day
  • Minimum Wage Law signatory
  • signatory to the creation of the Philippine Veteran’s Bank

Ferdinand Edralin Marcos

Ferdinand Marcos (December 30, 1965 – February 25, 1986)

Born from Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was a lawyer, Senate President for 3 years who defended himself in his own few cases was also the longest running dictator Philippine president ever know in Philippine and world history.

He was president for 21 years and was sent out of his office after the People Power Revolution. His wife, Imelda Marcos was a popular icon in his reign for owning so much of a signature shoe collection from all over the world.

He had the most controversial terms of all Philippine presidents especially during his time when he declared and used Martial Law to remain in tenure as the highest government official in the country. He was the first ousted president due to excessive and oppressive use of power and was the first to voluntarily flee out of office because of EDSA People Power.

He was indeed one of the best military and political tactician and brightest president who ever lived to retain the longest reign using his power and knowhow in Philippine laws as a lawyer. His wealth, still unknown even to his grave. He was ousted and so are his alleged ill-gotten wealth rumored and found in numerous Swiss accounts.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • awakened the Filipino to put up the EDSA revolution during the 80's
  • the first president to win a second term
  • he declared Martial Law on Sept. 22, 1972 to which in my time I am born and called martial law baby
  • empowered and increased military population to fuel his dictatorship intents in the armed forces
  • led the Philippines in 1986 to become one of the most indebted countries in Asia thru IMF Worldbank funds
  • the only president who had a record of building more schools, roads, bridges, hospitals and infrastructures than all former presidents did, combined
  • the only president whose remains interred inside a refrigerated crypt to preserve his legacy by the family

Corazon Cojuangco Aquino

Corazon Aquino (February 25, 1986 – June 30, 1992)

The first woman president of the Philippines and Asia at the same time, Cory Aquino is the wife of Benigno Aquino Jr. (who was assassinated during the Marcos regime allegedly for fueling the desire of Filipinos to free themselves from bondage of a dictator). She was born in Paniqui, Tarlac and of wealthy decent belonging to the haciendero Cojuangco clan.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • was named Time Magazine's “Woman of the Year” in 1986 after EDSA revolution (People Power)
  • brought back the song "tie a yellow ribbon" and turned the color yellow as a symbol for freedom and democracy
  • first female president of the Philippines and Asia simultaneously
  • she’s known to bring back democracy in the country through a peaceful revolution known in world history as EDSA revolution
  • initiated the abolition of the repressive 1973 Marcos Constitution and brought about the making of the new Constitution of the Philippines for the FIlipino people
  • became popular with the term "filipino people" in her reign as Philippine president
  • signatory to Family Code of 1987 and 1191 Local Government Code
  • she always initiated charitable and social activities helping the poor and the needy
  • being compared and cited as a modern-day Joan of Arc by political critics
  • her face appears in the latest 500 peso bill together with her husband Ninoy Aquino
  • one of 100 Women of the world Who Shaped History
  • 20 Most Influential Asians of the 20th Century
  • one of 65 Great Asian Heroes
  • recipient of J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding

Gen. Fidel V. Ramos

Fidel V. Ramos (June 30, 1992 – June 30, 1998)

A military general in his time when the former first female president resumed power over EDSA revolution, the popular name for this Philippine president is FVR. He was the chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during Cory's regime before he became president. A civil engineer by college career, Ramos is a PMA bred elite. He brought back economic growth and stability in the country in spite of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. He is the first and only non-Catholic (protestant) president of the Philippines.

Contributions and Achievements of Fidel V. Ramos

  • during his reign, the country was cited as Asia’s Next Economic Tiger because he brought back economic growth
  • the Philippines celebrated Centennial Independence in 1998
  • the only Filipino who received British Knighthood from the United Kingdom, bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II (Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George)
  • led the 4th APEC Summit held in the Philippines
  • his “Philippines 2000” vision made the Philippine Stock Exchange one of the best improving and rising economies in the world during mid-90s
  • Death Penalty was reinstated in his time
  • signatory to peace talk agreement with the MNLF

Joseph Ejercito Estrada

Joseph Estrada (June 30, 1998 – January 20, 2001)

Erap para sa mahirap is his popular slogan. Joseph Ejercity Estrada is the first film actor to become president of a country next to Ronald Reagan. Because of his winning, all sorts of showbiz politicians sprouted like happy mushrooms in the arena.

His governance had been through to numerous controversies and characterized by impeachments, slow economic growth and was later on convicted guilty of plunder case. The first president who was literally impeached and the second to flee the country by virtue of forced leave of office he was later on replaced by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in aid of the People Power III in EDSA. Philippine economy was at its worst because of his proven corrupt leadership (as stated in wikipedia for convicted plunder).

Contributions and Achievements:

  • during his time, the MILF’s Camp Abubakar headquarters was reinforced by the military
  • popularized the "erap para sa mahirap" slogan which played a major role to his winning the presidency after the general (FVR) reign
  • supported against the Charter Change
  • was cited as one of the Three Outstanding Senators in 1989
  • was among the “Magnificent 12” who voted for the termination of US Military Bases Agreement and removal of US forces and all alleged armaments present in Clark Airbase and Subic Naval Base

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (January 20, 2001 – June 30, 2010)

Gloria Arroyo, a Capampangan native and daughter of ex-president Diosdado Macapagal, became the second female Philippine president. She was 14 back when she became familiar, moved and lived in the Malacanang Palace as the daughter of the president.

The Oakwood Mutiny is her most popular seige during her tenure and is one of the first serious attempts to overthrow her uprooted claim to power thru EDSA revolution. With controversies and impeachments during her term, Gloria also got involved in the popular Hello Garci scandal which was one of the biggest obvious unproven disgrace to a president.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • second female president of the country
  • first and only female vice-president of the Philippines so far (to date)
  • first president who had oath taking outside of a president's territory in Luzon
  • an ex-professor of Economics at the Ateneo de Manila University she was one of the mentors of the current Philippine president, Noynoy Aquino
  • gained higher economic growth than the past 3 presidents before her
  • Philippine economy grew at its fastest in 3 decades in 2007, GDP exceeding 7% growth as claimed by Malacanang press releases
  • US ex-president Bill Clinton cited Gloria’s “tough decisions” because of her brilliant strategy to make the country's economy back in shape amidst the 2008 global financial crisis
  • Peso became the best performing currency of the year in Asia in 2007
  • eVAT Law was implemented during her reign as Philippine president

Simeon Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III

Benigno Aquino III (June 30, 2010 – present)

Popularly known as PNoy, he is the son of the first female Philippine president and of Asia – Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. Real name is Simeon Benigno Aquino III a.k.a. NoyNoy or PNoy joined the House of Representatives and the Senate before his presidency.

He is the first bachelor Philippine president who is still unmarried to this day, May 10, 2014. He is the only Philippine president I saw who had no idiot board and "codigo" of his speech during SONA.

4 years of term led him to become popular with his mouth-stiff decisions and his SONA (state of the nation address) promises, PNoy is an idol to many but a failure to the militant group critics. His family is part owner of Hacienda Luisita which had been to the longest controversial Land Reform Law subject to this day.

Contributions and Achievements:

  • popularized the no wang-wang policy
  • responsible for getting to know the noble Jesse Robredo as the secretary of DILG in 2010.
  • he initiated the K-12 education in the Philippines during his term
  • he renamed the Office of the Press Secretary into Presidential Communications Operations Office and appointed new officers
  • he signed an EO about suspension of allowances and bonuses of GOCCs and GFIs board members
  • has paved peace in Mindanao thru the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement
  • Cyber Crime Law was born during his term
  • responsible for restructuring of many government systems to his "tuwid na daan" progressive move

Who will be the next Philippine president?

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