An outstanding lawmaker and a devoted public
servant, Emmanuel Pelaez was born on November 30, 1915 in Medina,
Misamis Oriental. Pelaez studied in Cagayan de Oro Elementary School
where he got the highest honors. He then went to the Ateneo de Manila
High School and got his Associate in Arts at the Cebu UP Junior College.
He received his law degree from the University
of Manila in 1938, and in the same year topped the Bar examinations.
Thereafter, he worked as Senate clerk, reporter, court translator and
practiced law with two law firms. In 1945 Pelaez was Special Prosecutor
of the People’s Court and in 1949 was voted Congressman, representing
his home province. During his term as representative (1949-53) he was
adjudged one of the Ten Outstanding Congressmen by the Congressional
Press Club, one of the Ten Most Useful Congressmen by the Philippine
Free Press, and one of the two Most Outstanding Congressmen by the
League of Women Voters of the Philippines.
Such achievements in the Lower House of
Congress literally brought him to the Senate floor in 1953-60. He was
unanimously chosen Most Outstanding Senator by two organizations, the
League of Women Voters of the Philippines and the Senate Press Club.
Pelaez was voted Vice President in 1961,
simultaneously performing the functions of Foreign Affairs Secretary.
He resigned in 1963 as DFA Secretary, after a dispute with the
Macapagal administration. In the same year, he was chosen Man of the
Year by the Examiner and the following year was adjudged the Most
Outstanding Alumnus during the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the
University of Manila.
Pelaez was again elected as Congressman in
1965, and two years later, as Senator, a post he held until the
September 1972 proclamation of martial law. While he went back to
private life and devoted his time to his family and law practice, he
nevertheless continued to take an active interest in public affairs. In
1973, President Marcos designated him as a member of the Philippine
panel in the military bases negotiations with the United States. This
was his second time to serve the panel, the first time being in 1956
when he was the spokesman of the panel in the RP-US military bases
He involved himself actively in various civic,
professional and religious societies. He served as Chairman of the
Cadang-Cadang Research Foundation of the Philippines, Inc., the first
Filipino scientific research foundation jointly financed by the
government and the private sector for the eradication of cadang-cadang
which had threatened to wipe out the coconut industry. He also headed
the Philippine Coconut Planters Association, Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan
Association and the Philippine National Red Cross Fund Drive in
Aside from these, he was Chairman and/or
ranking member of Philippine delegations to various international
conferences. In 1978, the 63-year old lawyer and illustrious son of
Misamis Oriental was once again called to render service as Assemblyman
in the Interim Batasang Pambansa.