Sunday, April 26, 2009


Carlos Polístico García

Carlos Polístico García (November 4, 1896 – June 14, 1971) was a Filipino teacher, poet, orator, lawyer, public official, and guerrilla leader. He became the 8th President of the Philippines known for his "Filipino First" policy, which put the interests of the Filipino people above those of foreigners and of the ruling party.

Early life and career

García was born in Talibon, Bohol to Policronio García and Ambrosia Polestico (who were both natives of Bangued, Abra). He is featured as the lone star in the Bohol provincial flag as the only Philippine President produced by the province. Another star shall be added for every Boholano who shall also become president of the Philippines.

Garcia grew up with politics, with his father serving as a municipal mayor for four terms. He acquired his primary education in his native Talibon, then took his secondary education in Cebu Provincial High School. He briefly took law courses at Silliman University in Dumaguete City. He then studied in Philippine Law School (now Philippine College of Criminology) and earned his degree in 1923. He was among the top ten in the bar examination.

Rather than practice law right away, he worked as a teacher for two years at Bohol Provincial High School. He became famous for his poetry in Bohol, where he earned the nickname "Prince of Visayan Poets" and the "Bard from Bohol".

He started his political career in 1925, scoring an impressive victory running for congressman representing the third district of Bohol. He was elected for another term, but served only until 1931 when he successfully ran for governor of Bohol. He served as provincial governor for two terms. He became a member of the congress in 1946, and was elected three times to the senate for three consecutive terms from 1941 to 1953.


Garcia was the running mate of Ramon Magsaysay in the presidential election of 1953. He was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs by President Ramon Magsaysay, for four years concurrently serving as vice-president.


He assumed the presidency after Ramón Magsaysay died in a plane crash on March 17, 1957, and was elected later the same year, in the Election 1957, to a full term.

During his administration, he acted on the Bohlen–Serrano Agreement which shortened the lease of the US Bases from 99 years to 25 years and made it renewable after every five years. He also exercised the Filipino First Policy, for which he was known. This policy heavily favored Filipino businessmen over foreign investors. He was also responsible for changes in retail trade which greatly affected the Chinese businessmen in the country. He also made a program focused on thriftiness.

At the end of his second term, he ran for re–election in the Election 1961 in November 1961, but was defeated by Diosdado Macapagal, who served as Vice-President under him, but belonged to the opposing Liberal Party - in the Philippines the President and the Vice-President are elected separately.


After his failed re–election bid, Garcia then retired to private life, living as a private citizen in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. On June 1, 1971, García was elected delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. The convention delegates elected him as the President of the Convention. However, just days after his election, on June 14, 1971, Garcia suffered a fatal heart attack. He was succeeded as president of the Convention by his former Vice-President, Diosdado Macapagal.

García is currently interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, together with his wife Leonila, who died in 1994. Only Pesident Marcos of all the presidents of the Third Republic isn't buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

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