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November 15, 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was inaugurated

On November 15, 1935, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was inaugurated with Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmena Sr. as president and vice president, respectively.

Manuel L. Quezon taking oath of office in 1935 (Photo credit:

The Filipino people took the penultimate step to independence with the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Only two months prior, on September 16, a million Filipinos had trooped to the polls to elect their two highest officials—the President and Vice President. This was the first time in the history of the nation that a Filipino would finally sit as Chief Executive and hold office in Malacañan Palace.

Senate President Manuel L. Quezon and his running mate Senate President pro tempore Sergio Osmeña were elected as President and Vice President, while voters elected representatives for the new unicameral National Assembly and for local positions.

Thousands cheer as President Manuel Quezon is inaugurated before the Legislative Building on November 15, 1935 (Photo credit:

Quezon, who overwhelmingly won over his two rivals — General Emilio Aguinaldo and Bishop Gregorio Aglipay — had a sobering admonition to his people. He said:

“… we have taken one more step forward in our onward march to the realization of our national ideal … In this solemn moment, let there be no exultation of victory. Let it be the moment of consecration.”

The Commonwealth was the culmination of efforts to secure a definitive timetable for the withdrawal of American sovereignty over the Philippines.

It was envisioned under the Philippine Independence Act, popularly known as the Tydings-McDuffie Act, as a 10-year transitional government in preparation for full Philippine independence.

The United States recognized Philippine independence on July 4, 1946, as scheduled.

For the full text of the President Manuel L. Quezon’s Inaugural Address, click here Inaugural Address of President Manuel L. Quezon, November 15, 1935.


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