Speech of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines on the occasion of the induction into office of the different Ministers, Manila, October 20, 1943.

GENTLEMEN:

Amongst my official acts since I assumed the Presidency of the Republic of the Philippines, I consider the appointment of ministers one of the most, if not the most, important for the simple reason that the President as head of the Executive Department, must, in organizing the different Ministries, select great men— patriotic and loyal Filipinos who shall assume the burdens and responsibilities of a new Government. In these crucial days, the responsibility reposed upon the President is so weighty and grave that it cannot be performed or discharged by one man; hence the imperative need of selecting men for the Executive Department who can help him in carrying out the important public function of administration.

I am certain that our people will rejoice with me in the selection that I have just made on this eventful day. I have selected men whose records of public service is beyond dispute or beyond question. They are men, whose integrity and patriotism can not be challenged. They are men, above all, whose Filipinism is perhaps, in the vulgar tongue, one hundred per cent. And they are, moreover, men who have shared with the Chief Executive not only the difficulties of administration during the hard and trying period of military administration, but also the dangers confronting that administration. I am sure that with them in the different Ministries I can proceed to do my share of the responsibility unafraid, having in view merely the supreme interest of our people, and conscious that I am not alone in that work; that these great Filipinos whom I have the honor of appointing as Ministers of the new Government will not only share with me the burden and the responsibility of the difficult task assigned to the Executive Department, but also, and above all, do perhaps more than the Chief Executive can do; that if the Chief Executive should falter in the performance of his duties, or if an occasion should arise wherein the Chief Executive may hesitate in the performance or in the execution of that which he considers his duty to do, they will stand side by side with the Executive and in all modesty, I am sure they will even stand behind the Chief Executive. I am sure that if the Chief Executive should fall because he can no longer carry the weight of the tremendous responsibilities that are at hand and that are forthcoming, my colleagues in the c Executive Department will come to the rescue of the Chief Executive and, in case the Chief Executive shall have fallen, each and everyone of them, one by one and in logical sequence, will assume the burden so heavy and so weighty that the Chief Executive shall not have been able to perform. And it is in this conviction that I am happy today to announce to our people the appointment of Minister Claro M. Recto to head the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I would simply be losing time if I made laudatory remarks about this great man His record is an open book not only as a jurist, legislator and a literary man, but as a person whose knowledge of world affairs and of the history of human civilization amply and more than qualifies him to discharge the important function of Minister of Foreign Affairs in the relationship that we shall have with Japan and with other countries of the world.

Minister Alas has been in the public service so long and his brilliant record may be said to be a saga of achievement in behalf and in the interest of our people. I consider it a great privilege to be able to retain his services as Minister of Finance.

Minister Sison is so well known. His public services in the Legislature, in the Executive Department, and in the Judiciary are so brilliant that I can do nothing but to make reference to his long and continued services in all the Departments of the Government for the benefit of our people. I could do no other thing than to retain his services so that our people might continue to receive the benefit of his wisdom and his inspiration.

I have also appointed Minister Rafael Alunan because I am convinced that his services are so essential to the Government and to our people, even to the extent that not only am I retaining him as one of the Ministers but I have imposed upon him by asking him to head the new organization, the National Planning Board, in order that we can offer the necessary relief to our suffering masses and also bring about the needy reorganization of our Government and agencies for the benefit and welfare of our people.

Minister Quintin Paredes is a man whose services are so indispensable to the Cabinet and to the Government. His record as a legislator, his record in the Executive Department, his record as a brilliant jurist and a determined Filipino when it comes to adopting policies for the benefit of our people are a matter of public knowledge, and it is, as it has always been my privilege to be and to have been associated with him, and I know that our people will join all of us in the appointment of Minister Paredes in the Ministry in which he is retained.

Gentlemen, I hope that the reorganization of the Executive Department which is being undertaken and which will be submitted to the National Assembly and studied there with me help and the advice of our esteemed Speaker and the members thereof, will not bring about any changes in the matter of personnel. On the contrary, there would probably be need of more men in the Executive Department as a result of the consequent expansion of the activities of the Republic. I look forward to a reorganization of the Executive Department, integrated by the same Gentlemen whom I have the pleasure of appointing this morning, with the expansion or extension of the activities of the different Departments. May I, therefore, on this occasion express my appreciation to you, Gentlemen, of the spirit in which you have accepted these positions. Having sacrificed so much in the past, you will, I am sure, continue to sacrifice for the present and will not hesitate to offer further sacrifices in the future. Your blood, the lineage, the nationality, the loyalty to the traditions and to the ideals of our people require that you make those sacrifices. While it is my lot to be at the head of this organization, I desire to assure you that for good or for woe, in happiness, if there is going to be any, or in sorrow, I shall be with you and even rejoice in the very sufferings and sorrows that may befall us. I shall be with you at your side, giving you encouragement and help and giving that which you need badly these days, and may God help all of us in these difficult days so that we may not err and, if we err, let us pray that we err on the side of the service of our people, and if we err in that direction, I know that God in His Infinite Wisdom will receive us in Heaven, happy that we have done our best and happy that we never turned our back to our own people.

May I greet you once more in the presence of the Speaker, in the presence of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, of the Chairman and members of the Council of State, of these gentlemen and honored guests who have come to witness this very important occasion which marks the real, practical step that the new Government has just taken, announcing to our people that the Executive Department is now completely integrated and organized, ready to assume the responsibilities, to discharge their respective functions, and ready to serve the paramount interest of our people.

I thank you.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library