The Roxas Statue was part of the original Philippine triumvirate bronze statues sculpted by National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino for the Legislative Building (now the National Museum of the Philippines), all of which were cast in a foundry in Italy. The three statues of Presidents Manuel Roxas, Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña commemorate their legacy in the Philippine Legislature in securing Philippine independence from the United States, which came to fruition on July 4, 1946.

Among the triumvirate, while Quezon was the first President of the Senate (1916-1935) to become Chief Executive, and Osmeña, the first Speaker of the Lower House to become Chief Executive (Philippine Assembly 1907-1916; House of Representatives 1916-1922), Manuel Roxas, was the first Chief Executive (1946-1948) who became both Speaker of the House (1922-1933) and President of the Senate (1945-1946) before his presidency.

National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino, with the casted mold head figure of Manuel Roxas, circa 1968. (Photo courtesy of the President Manuel A. Roxas Foundation)
National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino, with the casted mold head figure of Manuel Roxas, circa 1968. (Photo courtesy of the President Manuel A. Roxas Foundation)

The roles Roxas played masterfully in the political field laid the foundation for a vibrant Philippine politics. Roxas played a large role in the Legislative Building itself. The building played host to the Constitutional Convention of 1934, creating the 1935 Constitution. Roxas was one of the prominent delegates of the convention and the leading member of the Committee on Style, also known as the “Seven Wise Men.” The committee had a significant impact on the final draft of the Charter.

The completed cast statue of President Manuel Roxas.
The completed cast statue of President Manuel Roxas. (Photo courtesy of the President Manuel A, Roxas Foundation)

After the Second World War, the reconstructed Legislative Building, with less embellishments from the original building design, was completed in 1949. But it was only in 1968, in light of these achievements, that the triumvirate statues were sculpted by Tolentino, with the Roxas Statue being commissioned by Senator “Gerry” Roxas.

The Quezon and Osmeña statues were then subsequently installed on the left and the right side of the building’s entrance respectively, to commemorate their achievements as the first leaders of both chambers of Congress. However, this left the Roxas statue out of place. There was a move to install it in another spot in the Legislative Building, but upon the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, the move never pushed through. As such, the statue was temporarily kept in storage for safekeeping, until it was installed along Roxas Boulevard, near the GSIS, where the Philippine Senate moved in 1997.

Director Jeremy Barns (2nd right) inspects the base of the larger than life bronze statue of President Manuel Roxas (1892-1948) in the lobby of the Old Legislative Building while National Museum exhibition fabricator Mr. Marcelo Cercado, in a maroon shirt with his back turned to the camera, supervises his installation team. (Photo courtesy of the National Museum of the Philippines)
Director Jeremy Barns (2nd right) inspects the base of the larger than life bronze statue of President Manuel Roxas (1892-1948) in the lobby of the Old Legislative Building while National Museum exhibition fabricator Mr. Marcelo Cercado, in a maroon shirt with his back turned to the camera, supervises his installation team. (Photo courtesy of the National Museum of the Philippines)

In commemoration of the 68th death anniversary of President Manuel Roxas, the President Manuel A. Roxas Foundation donated the Roxas Statue to the National Museum in a solemn turnover ceremony that was held today, on April 15, 2016 at the Old Legislative Building. The statue was installed in the entrance hall of the edifice, subsequently renamed as the Roxas Hall.

The covered President Manuel Roxas bronze statue, made by National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino, before the unveiling ceremony of the Roxas statue at the National Art Gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Cheng Bigay, PCDSPO)
The covered President Manuel Roxas bronze statue, made by National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino, before the unveiling ceremony of the Roxas statue at the National Art Gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Cheng Bigay, PCDSPO)
The President Manuel Roxas bronze statue at the National Art Gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Cheng Bigay, PCDSPO)
The President Manuel Roxas bronze statue at the National Art Gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Cheng Bigay, PCDSPO)