He is also considered by most Filipinos, as the second President, after Emilio Aguinaldo (whose administration did not receive international recognition at the time and is not considered the first Philippine president by the United States). He has the distinction of being the first Senate President elected to the presidency, the first president elected through a national election, and was also the first incumbent to secure re-election.
Complete Filipinization was achieved only with the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935. Claro M. Recto and Jose P. Laurel were among Quezon's first appointees to replace the American justices.
In 1933 a bill providing for the future independence of the Philippines, the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Bill, was passed by the U.S. Senate. Quezon opposed the new law because "America would still hold military and naval bases in the Philippines even after the latter's independence, and, moreover, export duties regulated in the law would destroy both industry and trade." He was referring to what has since become the most troublesome cause of conflict between the Philippines and the United States: the right of jurisdiction over military bases and the special trade concessions given to landlords, compradors, and bureaucrat-capitalists with interests in export industries.
The real cause of Quezon's opposition to the law, apart from his objection to specific provisions, was the fact that it was identified with the Osmeña faction. Quezon led a mission to the United States to work for a bill generally similar to the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Law, the Tydings-McDuffie Law, known also as the Philippine Independence Act. This law provided for Philippine independence in 1946 and tax-free importation of Philippine products such as sugar, coconut oil, and cordage into the United States and the diplomatic negotiation of the military bases issue.
Although Quezon lived through the most turbulent times in Philippine history, when the peasantry--who composed 75 percent of the people--was rebelling against social injustice and age-old exploitation, he failed to institute long-lasting reforms in land tenancy, wages, income distribution, and other areas of crisis. Essentially a politician who was both tactful and bullheaded, supple and compulsive, Quezon served mainly the interest of the Filipino elite, or ruling oligarchy (about 200 families), who owned and controlled the estates and businesses.
Quezon became a popular hero when he attacked the racist policies of Governor Leonard Wood with his declaration that he preferred "a government run like hell by Filipinos to one run like heaven by Americans." Senator Claro M. Recto, a contemporary, pronounced the most balanced and acute judgment when he described Quezon as "a successful politician ... because he was a master of political intrigue. He knew how to build strong and loyal friendships even among political opponents, but he knew also how to excite envy, distrust, ambition, jealousy, even among his own loyal followers."