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February 27, 1945, General MacArthur restored the Philippine Commonwealth

On February 27, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur, solemnly declared that in behalf of the Government of the United States, “the full powers and responsibilities under the Constitution restored to the Commonwealth of the Philippines whose seat is here reestablished as provided by law”.

General Douglas MacArthur signs Japanese surrender instrument aboard USS Missouri on September 2, 1945 in Tokyo Bay. (

This declaration is the culmination of the restoration of the Philippine Commonwealth which begun on October 23, 1944, in Tacloban, Leyte, with Sergio Osmeña as President, shortly after MacArthur’s return to the Philippines.

MacArthur escaped to Australia from Corregidor on March 11, 1942, to avoid capture by Japanese Forces.

At the ceremonies in Malacañang, President Osmeña declared that the executive and judicial branches of the Government would be reestablished immediately. On this same day, by executive order, he not only restored all of the executive departments as they existed before the war, with some necessary modifications, but also called on “all duly elected members of our Congress who have remained steadfast in their allegiance to our Government during the period of the enemy occupation, to be in readiness to meet in Manila as soon as conditions permit of the reestablishment of the Legislative Branch”.

Speech of General MacArthur upon turning over to President Sergio Osmeña the full powers and responsibilities of the Commonwealth Government under the Constitution, February 27, 1945:

Mr. President:

More than three years have elapsed—years of bitterness, struggle and sacrifice—since I withdrew our forces and installations from this beautiful city that, open and undefended, its churches, monuments and cultural centers, might in accordance with the rules of warfare, be spared the violence of military ravage. The enemy would not have it so and much that I sought to preserve has been unnecessarily destroyed by his desperate action at bay but by these ashes he has wantonly fixed the future pattern of his doom.

Then we were but a small force struggling to stem the advance of overwhelming hordes treacherously hurled against us, behind the mask of professed friendship and international good-will. That struggle was not in vain! God has indeed blessed our arms! The girded and unleashed power of America supported by our Allies turned the tide of battle in the Pacific and resulted in an unbroken series of crushing defeats upon the enemy culminating in the redemption of your soil and the liberation of your people. My country has kept the faith!

These soldiers have come here as an army of free men dedicated, with your people, to the cause of human liberty and committed to the task of destroying those evil forces that have sought to suppress it by brutality of the sword. An army of free men that has brought your people once again under democracy’s banner, to rededicate their churches, long, desecrated, to the glory of God and public worship; to reopen their schools to liberal education; to till the soil and reap its harvest without fear of confiscation; to reestablish their industries that they may again enjoy the profit from the sweat of their own toil, and to restore the sanctity and happiness of their homes unafraid of violent intrusion.

Thus to millions of your now liberated people comes the opportunity to pledge themselves—their hearts, their minds, and their hands—to the task of building a new and stronger nation—a nation consecrated in the blood nobly shed that this day might be—a nation dedicated to making imperishable those sacred liberties for which we have fought and many have died.

On behalf of my Government I now solemnly declare, Mr. President, the full powers and responsibilities under the Constitution restored to the Commonwealth whose seat is here reestablished as provided by law.

Your country thus is again at liberty to pursue its destiny to an honored position in the family of free nations. Your capital city, cruelly punished though it be, has regained its rightful place—Citadel of Democracy in the East.


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