The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Filipino Politicians of all time. This list of famous Filipino Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Filipino Politicians.
With an HPI of 83.25, Rodrigo Duterte is the most famous Filipino Politician. His biography has been translated into 82 different languages on wikipedia.
Rodrigo Roa Duterte (; Tagalog: [roˈdɾigo ɾowa dʊˈtɛɾtɛ] (listen); born March 28, 1945), also known as Digong, Rody and by the initials PRRD, is a Filipino lawyer and politician who is the 16th and outgoing incumbent president of the Philippines. He is the chairperson of PDP–Laban, the ruling political party in the Philippines. Duterte is the first president of the Philippines to be from Mindanao, and is the oldest, beginning his term at age 71; the record was previously held by Sergio Osmeña at the age of 65.Born in Maasin, Leyte (now in Southern Leyte), Duterte moved to Davao as a child where his father, Vicente Duterte, served as provincial governor. He studied political science at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, graduating in 1968, before obtaining a law degree from San Beda College of Law in 1972. He then worked as a lawyer and was a prosecutor for Davao City, before becoming vice mayor and, subsequently, mayor of the city in the wake of the 1986 People Power Revolution. Duterte won seven terms and served as mayor of Davao for over 22 years. Duterte's 2016 presidential campaign led to his election victory. During his presidency, his domestic policy focused on combating the illegal drug trade by initiating the controversial war on drugs, fighting crime and corruption, and intensified efforts against terrorism and communist insurgency. He launched a massive infrastructure plan, initiated liberal economic reforms, streamlined government processes, and proposed a shift to a federal system of government which was ultimately unsuccessful. He also oversaw the controversial burial of Ferdinand Marcos, the 2017 Battle of Marawi and the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He declared the intention to pursue an "independent foreign policy", and strengthened relations with China and Russia. He initially announced his candidacy for vice president in the 2022 election, but in October 2021, he announced that he was retiring from politics. On November 15, 2021, he filed his candidacy for Senator but withdrew it in December 14.His political positions have been described as populist and nationalist. Duterte's political success has been aided by his vocal support for the extrajudicial killing of drug users and other criminals. His career has sparked numerous protests and attracted controversy, particularly over human rights issues and his controversial comments. Duterte has repeatedly confirmed to have personally killed criminal suspects during his term as mayor of Davao. Extrajudicial killings that were allegedly committed by the Davao Death Squad between 1998 and 2016 during Duterte's mayoralty have also been scrutinized by human rights groups and the Office of the Ombudsman; the victims were mainly alleged drug users, alleged petty criminals, and street children. The International Criminal Court opened a preliminary investigation into Duterte's drug war in 2018, prompting Duterte to withdraw the Philippines from the body in response. He is the only president in the history of the Philippines not to declare his assets and liabilities.
With an HPI of 73.77, Corazon Aquino is the 2nd most famous Filipino Politician. Her biography has been translated into 94 different languages.
Maria Corazon "Cory" Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino (Tagalog: [koɾaˈson koˈhwaŋko aˈkino], 25 January 1933 – 1 August 2009) was a Filipina politician who served as the 11th president of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992. She was the most prominent figure of the 1986 People Power Revolution, which ended the two-decade rule of President Ferdinand Marcos and led to the establishment of the current democratic Fifth Philippine Republic. Corazon Aquino was married to Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., who was one of the most prominent critics of President Marcos. After the assassination of her husband on 21 August 1983, she emerged as leader of the opposition against the president. In late 1985, Marcos called for a snap election, and Aquino ran for president with former Senator Salvador Laurel as her running mate for vice president. After the election held on 7 February 1986, the Batasang Pambansa proclaimed Marcos and his running mate Arturo Tolentino as the winners, which prompted allegations of electoral fraud and Aquino's call for massive civil disobedience actions. Subsequently, the People Power Revolution, a non-violent mass demonstration movement, took place from 22 February to 25 February. The People Power Revolution, along with defections from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and support from the Philippine Catholic Church, successfully ousted Marcos and secured Aquino's accession to the presidency on 25 February 1986. Prior to her election as president, Aquino had not held any elected office. She was the first female president of the Philippines. As president, Aquino oversaw the drafting of the 1987 Constitution, which limited the powers of the presidency and re-established the bicameral Congress, successfully removing the previous dictatorial government structure. Her economic policies focused on forging good economic standing amongst the international community as well as disestablishing Marcos-era crony capitalist monopolies, emphasizing the free market and responsible economy. Her administration pursued peace talks to resolve the Moro conflict, and the result of these talks was creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Aquino was also criticized for the Mendiola Massacre, which resulted in the shooting deaths of at least 12 peaceful protesters by Philippine state security forces. The Philippines faced various natural calamities in the latter part of Aquino's administration, such as the 1990 Luzon earthquake and Tropical Storm Thelma. Several coup attempts were made against her government. She was succeeded as president by Fidel V. Ramos and returned to civilian life. Aquino was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2008 and died on 1 August 2009. Her son Benigno Aquino III served as president of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016. After her passing, monuments were built and public landmarks were named in honor of Corazon Aquino all around the Philippines. She is continually highly regarded by her native country, where she is called the Mother of Democracy.
With an HPI of 73.58, Ferdinand Marcos is the 3rd most famous Filipino Politician. His biography has been translated into 121 different languages.
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr. ( MAR-kaws; September 11, 1917 – September 28, 1989) was a Filipino politician, lawyer, dictator, and kleptocrat who was the 10th president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He ruled under martial law from 1972 until 1981 and kept most of his martial law powers until he was deposed in 1986, branding his rule as "constitutional authoritarianism": 414 under his Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (New Society Movement). One of the most controversial leaders of the 20th century, Marcos' rule was infamous for its corruption, extravagance, and brutality.Marcos gained political success by claiming to have been the "most decorated war hero in the Philippines", but many of his claims have been found to be false, with United States Army documents describing his wartime claims as "fraudulent" and "absurd". After World War II, he became a lawyer then served in the Philippine House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the Philippine Senate from 1959 to 1965. He was elected the President of the Philippines in 1965 and presided over an economy that grew during the beginning of his 20-year rule but would end in the loss of livelihood, extreme poverty, and a crushing debt crisis. He pursued an aggressive program of infrastructure development funded by foreign debt, making him popular during his first term, although it would also trigger an inflationary crisis which would lead to social unrest in his second term. Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law on September 23, 1972, shortly before the end of his second term. Martial law was ratified in 1973 through a fraudulent referendum. The Constitution was revised, media outlets were silenced, and violence and oppression were used against the political opposition, Muslims, suspected communists, and ordinary citizens.After being elected for a third term in the 1981 Philippine presidential election, Marcos's popularity suffered greatly, due to the economic collapse that began in early 1983 and the public outrage over the assassination of opposition leader Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. later that year. This discontent, the resulting resurgence of the opposition in the 1984 Philippine parliamentary election, and the discovery of documents exposing his financial accounts and false war records led Marcos to call the snap election of 1986. Allegations of mass cheating, political turmoil, and human rights abuses led to the People Power Revolution of February 1986, which removed him from power. To avoid what could have been a military confrontation in Manila between pro- and anti-Marcos troops, Marcos was advised by US President Ronald Reagan through Senator Paul Laxalt to "cut and cut cleanly." Marcos then fled with his family to Hawaii. He was succeeded as president by Aquino's widow, Corazon "Cory" Aquino.According to source documents provided by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the Marcos family stole US$5 billion–$10 billion from the Central Bank of the Philippines. The PCGG also maintained that the Marcos family enjoyed a decadent lifestyle, taking away billions of dollars from the Philippines between 1965 and 1986. His wife, Imelda Marcos, made infamous in her own right by the excesses that characterized her and her husband's conjugal dictatorship, is the source of the term "Imeldific". Two of their children, Imee Marcos and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., are still active in Philippine politics, with Bongbong having been elected president in the 2022 election. Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos held the Guinness World Record for the largest-ever theft from a government for decades, although Guinness took the record down from their website while it underwent periodic review a few weeks before the 2022 Philippine presidential election.
With an HPI of 70.49, Lapu-Lapu is the 4th most famous Filipino Politician. His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.
Lapulapu or Lapu-Lapu (1491-1542), whose name was first recorded as Çilapulapu, was a datu (chief) of Mactan in the Visayas in the Philippines. He is best known for the Battle of Mactan that happened at dawn on April 27, 1521, where he and his warriors defeated the Spanish forces led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his native allies Rajah Humabon and Datu Zula. Magellan's death ended his voyage of circumnavigation and delayed the Spanish occupation of the islands by over forty years until the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi in 1564. Legazpi continued the expeditions of Magellan, leading to the colonization of the Philippines for 333 years. Modern Philippine society regards him as the first Filipino hero because of his resistance to imperial Spanish colonization. Monuments of Lapulapu have been built all over the Philippines to honor Lapulapu's bravery against the Spaniards. The Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection use his image as part of their official seals. Besides being a rival of Rajah Humabon of neighboring Cebu, very little is reliably known about the life of Lapulapu. The only existing primary source mentioning him by name is the account of Antonio Pigafetta, and according to historian Resil B. Mojares, no European who left a primary record of Magellan's voyage/vessel "knew what he looked like, heard him speak (his recorded words of defiance and pride are all indirect), or mentioned that he was present in the battle of Mactan that made him famous." His name, origins, religion, and fate are still a matter of controversy.
With an HPI of 69.70, Emilio Aguinaldo is the 5th most famous Filipino Politician. His biography has been translated into 61 different languages.
Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy (Spanish: [eˈmi.ljo a.ɣiˈnal.do i fa.mi]: March 22, 1869 – February 6, 1964) was a Filipino revolutionary, statesman, and military leader who is officially recognized as the first and the youngest president of the Philippines (1899–1901) and the first president of a constitutional republic in Asia. He led Philippine forces first against Spain in the Philippine Revolution (1896–1898), then in the Spanish–American War (1898), and finally against the United States during the Philippine–American War (1899–1901). Aguinaldo remains a controversial figure in Filipino history. Though he has been recommended as a national hero of the Philippines, many have criticized him for the deaths of the revolutionary leader Andrés Bonifacio and general Antonio Luna, as well as his sympathies for the Japanese Empire during their occupation of the Philippines in World War II.
With an HPI of 68.96, Benigno Aquino Jr. is the 6th most famous Filipino Politician. His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.
Benigno "Ninoy" Simeon Aquino Jr., , (November 27, 1932 – August 21, 1983) was a Filipino politician who served as a senator of the Philippines (1967–1972) and governor of the province of Tarlac. He was the husband of Corazon Aquino—who, after his death, eventually became the president of the Philippines—and father of a later president, Benigno Aquino III. Aquino, together with Gerardo Roxas and Jovito Salonga, helped form the leadership of the opposition towards then President Ferdinand Marcos. He was the aggressive leader who together with the intellectual leader Sen. Jose W. Diokno led the overall opposition. Shortly after the imposition of martial law, Aquino was arrested in 1972 along with others associated with the New People's Army's armed insurgency and incarcerated for seven years. He has been described as Marcos' "most famous political prisoner". He founded his own party, Lakas ng Bayan and ran in the 1978 Philippine parliamentary election, but all the party's candidates lost in the election. In 1980, he was permitted by Marcos to travel to the United States for medical treatment following a heart attack. During the early 1980s he became one of the most notable critics of the Marcos regime, and enjoyed popularity across the US due to the numerous rallies he attended at the time. As the situation in the Philippines worsened, Aquino decided to return to face Marcos and restore democracy in the country, despite numerous threats against it. He was assassinated at the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983, upon returning from his self-imposed exile. His death revitalised opposition to Marcos; it also catapulted his widow, Corazon, into the political limelight and prompted her to successfully run for a six-year term as president as a member of the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO) party in the 1986 snap election. Among other public structures, Manila International Airport has since been renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport in his honor, and the anniversary of his death is a national holiday.
With an HPI of 66.67, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the 7th most famous Filipino Politician. Her biography has been translated into 76 different languages.
Maria Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal Arroyo (Tagalog: [ˈɡloɾja makapaˈɡal ɐˈɾɔjɔ], born April 5, 1947), often referred to by her initials GMA, is a Filipina academic and politician who served as the 14th president of the Philippines from 2001 until 2010. She is the longest serving president of the Philippines since Ferdinand Marcos. Before her accession to the presidency, she served as the 10th vice president of the Philippines from 1998 to 2001, making her the country's first female vice president under President Joseph Estrada, despite having run on an opposing ticket. She was also a senator from 1992 to 1998. After her presidency, she was elected as the representative of Pampanga's 2nd district in 2010 and later became the speaker of the House of Representatives from 2018 until her retirement in 2019. She is the only person to hold three of the four highest offices in the country: vice president, president, and house speaker.The daughter of former president Diosdado Macapagal, she studied economics at Georgetown University in the United States, where she began a lasting friendly relationship with her classmate and future U.S. president Bill Clinton. She then became a professor of economics at Ateneo de Manila University, where her eventual successor, President Benigno Aquino III, was one of her students. She entered government in 1987, serving as the assistant secretary and undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry upon the invitation of President Corazon Aquino, Benigno's mother. After Estrada was accused of corruption, Arroyo resigned her cabinet position as secretary of Department of Social Welfare and Development and joined the growing opposition against the president, who faced impeachment. Estrada was soon forced out from office by the Second EDSA Revolution in 2001, and Arroyo was sworn into the presidency by Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. on January 20 that year. In 2003, the Oakwood mutiny occurred after signs of a martial law declaration were seen under her rule. She was elected to a full six-year term in the controversial 2004 presidential election, and was sworn in on June 30, 2004. Following her presidency, she was elected to the House of Representatives through her home district, making her the second Philippine president—after José P. Laurel—to pursue a lower office after their presidency. On November 18, 2011, Arroyo was arrested and held at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City under charges of electoral sabotage but released on bail in July 2012. These charges were later dropped for lack of evidence. She was rearrested in October 2012, on charges of misuse of $8.8 million in state lottery funds. She was given a hospital arrest, allegedly due to "life-threatening health conditions" certified by her doctors. During the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, the Supreme Court acquitted her by a vote of 11–4. Also, the Supreme Court declared the Department of Justice's 'hold departure orders' unconstitutional. Arroyo's lawyers stated afterward that she no longer needed her medical paraphernalia, releasing her from the hospital.Arroyo is a member of the Philippine Academy of the Spanish Language and supported the teaching of Spanish in the country's education system during her presidency.On July 23, 2018, Arroyo was elected speaker of the House of Representatives under the Duterte administration, controversially replacing Pantaleon Alvarez. She spearheaded various controversial bills, including a bill that sought to lower the age of criminal liability to 12 years old.
With an HPI of 66.49, Fidel Ramos is the 8th most famous Filipino Politician. His biography has been translated into 56 different languages.
Fidel Valdez Ramos (Spanish: [fiˈðel βalˈdes ra.mos]; born March 18, 1928), popularly known as FVR and Eddie Ramos, is a retired Filipino general and politician who served as the 12th president of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998. He is the only career military officer who reached the rank of five-star general/admiral de jure who rose from second lieutenant up to commander-in-chief of the armed forces. During his six years in office, Ramos was widely credited and admired by many for revitalizing and renewing international confidence in the Philippine economy. At age 94, he is currently the oldest living former Philippine president. He rose the ranks in the Philippine military early in his career and became Chief of the Philippine Constabulary and Vice Chief-of-Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the term of President Ferdinand Marcos. During the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, Ramos was hailed as a hero by many Filipinos for his decision to break away from the administration of President Marcos and pledge allegiance and loyalty to the newly established government of President Corazon Aquino. Prior to his election as president, Ramos served in the cabinet of President Corazon Aquino, first as chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and later as Secretary of National Defense from 1986 to 1991. He was credited for the creation of the Philippine Army's Special Forces and the Philippine National Police Special Action Force. Since his retirement, he has remained active in politics, serving as adviser to his successors.
With an HPI of 64.93, Joseph Estrada is the 9th most famous Filipino Politician. His biography has been translated into 53 different languages.
Joseph Ejercito Estrada, (Tagalog: [ɛhɛɹˈsɪtɔ ɛsˈtɾada], born Jose Marcelo Ejercito; April 19, 1937), also known by the nickname Erap, is a Filipino politician and former actor. He served as the 13th president of the Philippines from 1998 to 2001, the 9th vice president of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998, and the 21st mayor of the City of Manila, the country's capital, from 2013 to 2019. In 2001, he became the first chief executive in Asia to be formally impeached and resigned from power. Estrada gained popularity as a film actor, playing the lead role in over a hundred films in an acting career spanning some three decades. He also worked as a model, beginning as a fashion and ramp model at the age of 13. He used his popularity as an actor to make gains in politics, serving as mayor of San Juan from 1969 to 1986, as senator from 1987 to 1992, then as vice president under President Fidel V. Ramos from 1992 to 1998. Estrada was elected president in 1998 with a wide margin of votes separating him from the other challengers, and was sworn into the presidency on June 30, 1998. In 2000 he declared an "all-out-war" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and captured its headquarters and other camps. Allegations of corruption spawned an impeachment trial in the Senate, and in 2001 Estrada was ousted by "People Power 2" after the prosecution walked out of the impeachment court when the senator-judges voted not to open an envelope that allegedly contained incriminating evidence against him. In 2007, Estrada was sentenced by a special division of the Sandiganbayan to reclusión perpetua under a charge of "plunder" for the embezzlement of $80 million from the government, but was later granted pardon by president and his former deputy, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He ran for president again in the 2010 presidential election, but was defeated by Senator Benigno Aquino III by a wide margin. He later served as mayor of Manila for two terms, from 2013 to 2019.
With an HPI of 64.74, Jose P. Laurel is the 10th most famous Filipino Politician. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
José Paciano Laurel y García (Spanish: [xoˈse lauˈɾel]; March 9, 1891 – November 6, 1959) was a Filipino politician and judge, who served as the president of the Japanese-occupied Second Philippine Republic, a puppet state during World War II, from 1943 to 1945. Since the administration of President Diosdado Macapagal (1961–1965), Laurel has been officially recognized by later administrations as a former president of the Philippines.
Pantheon has 35 people classified as politicians born between 1491 and 1965. Of these 35, 11 (31.43%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Rodrigo Duterte, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Fidel Ramos. The most famous deceased politicians include Corazon Aquino, Ferdinand Marcos, and Lapu-Lapu. As of October 2020, 4 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Mariano Trías, Fernando Lopez, and Salvador Laurel.
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 22 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.