Economist Alejandro Lichauco dies at 87

Posted on May 25, 2015

NATIONALIST ECONOMIST Alejandro Lichauco, a delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, died over the weekend due to multiple organ failure linked to pneumonia, according to reports.

Mr. Lichauco died at 3:17 a.m. on Friday at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City, reported. He was 87.

In a press statement released on Saturday, think tank IBON Foundation called Mr. Lichauco, who was the group’s longtime board member, a “staunch anti-imperialist and progressive thinker, not just during the heady anti-colonialism of the 1950s and 1960s but throughout the so-called era of globalization since the 1980s until today.”

The Philippines’ continued underdevelopment is an affirmation of Mr. Lichauco’s “support for the idea that national development is impossible under conditions of foreign economic and political domination,” said IBON.

Mr. Lichauco represented the first district of Rizal in the 1971 Constitutional Convention that drafted the 1973 Constitution but eventually refused to sign the final version of what would be called the Martial Law charter. He was arrested while leaving the convention floor, along with 11 other delegates who also refused to sign the document.

According to a report from, Mr. Lichauco “was a constant presence in nationalist forums and protest actions” after he was released and even throughout the martial law years. Mr. Lichauco “occasionally wrote articles critical of the regime’s policies in, among others, Malaya and WE Forum, forerunners of the Mosquito Press that were published by the late Jose Burgos, Jr.”

The same report said that Mr. Lichauco finished his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard College and Bachelor of Laws from Harvard Law School.

“Among other stints, Lichauco was a policy director of the Philippine Chamber of Industries, director of the Institute of Economic Studies of Araneta University, senior consultant to the Congressional Economic Planning Office, and head of the policy research department of the National Economic Council (now [National Economic and Development Authority] NEDA),” the report said.

Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison paid tribute to Mr. Lichauco in a message posted in, saying that he had known and worked closely with Mr. Lichauco “since the early 1960s.”

Mr. Sison said that Mr. Lichauco “encouraged the founding of Kabataang Makabayan in 1964” and also “actively promoted the Omnibus Rally in January 1965.” The rally focused on the “US-RP Mutual Defense Pact, the Military Bases Agreement, the Military Assistance Agreement, the Laurel-Langley Agreement and the Quirino-Foster Agreement.” Mr. Sison called them “unequal treaties with the US.”

Both IBON Foundation and Mr. Sison recognized Mr. Lichauco as one of the founders of the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN) which included Mr. Sison, Lorenzo M. Tañada, Jose Lansang, Renato Constantino and Francisco Nemenzo, Jr. in the 1960s.

Mr. Sison said that Mr. Lichauco’s arrest at the 1971 convention floor was due to “his patriotic and progressive activities in MAN” and his “acclaimed critique of US imperialism.”

Mr. Sison said that Mr. Lichauco “manifested and proved by word and deed his conviction, wisdom and competence as a patriotic and progressive Filipino, ever concerned with the rights and welfare of the Filipino people.”

According to, Mr. Lichauco’s wake is “at the Mt. Carmel Shrine in New Manila, Quezon City” while his remains will be cremated after an 8 a.m. mass on May 25. -- E. E. Escaño