CHAPTER V: Historical Background of Philippine Democratic Politics


Learning Outcomes:

The students should be able to:

     - relate the evolution of Philippine Politics and Governance;

     - describe its different stages;

     - analyze its evolution;

     - assess the effects of colonization on politics and governance; and

     - evaluate the influence of history on contemporary Philippine Politics


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Philippine Politics travelled the long road of evolution from the barangays of pre-Hispanic Times to the present form of Government under the 1987 Constitution. Indeed, the filipinos already had a government and civilization before being colonized by the Spaniards. The Spaniards, to their credit, introduced a central government which ironically awakened in Filipinos a sense of nationhood. The abuses of the colonizers prompted initially calls for reform, which later morphed into cries for a revolution uniting many Filipinos throughout the archipelago. The American colonizers introduced the Filipinos to the democratic practices of the west. Left on their own, the Filipinos had a bumpy road to democratic politics beginning with the Third Republic in 1946.



The student must be able to compare the systems of government under 1973 and 1987 Constitution using the following criteria: 

(a) Branches of Government

(b) Legislative Setup

(c) Terms of Office

(d) Powers of The President

To test the skills of the students they are required to create a diagram showing the administrative organization of the government (from top to bottom) during Spanish Period



I. The ancient Filipinos and their Government

Historians assert that the Philippines and other islands in Southeast Asia may have been sites of human evolution between 200,00 and 300,000 years ago (Agoncillo and Mangahas, 2010). Long before its subjugation by colonizers, the country had already a civilization and its own system of government.

1. The Government

There was no central government before the Spaniards came. Instead, governance came from the barangays scattered throughout the islands of the Philippines. The word barangay is derived from the Austronesian balangay, a boat used by the Austronesian immigrants in sailing to the Philippines. The datu (chieftain) ruled each barangay, which was independent of the other barangays. As the ruler, the datu exclusively wielded executive, legislative, and judicial powers. He took on the role of supreme commander during wartime. As a lawmaker, he was assisted by a council of elders, called “maginoos,”which advised him in the administration of justice.

2.  The Datu as Legislator

The datu issued the laws as the chief legislative authority. When the datu wanted to enact a law, he would consult with the council of elders. If the council approved the proposal, the datu would order the barangay crier or announcer, called the umalobokan, to announce to the people the approval of the new law. This system was simpler, as compared with the law-making process of today.

3. The Datu as Judge

Disputes during the ancient times were, as much as possible, decided peacefully. The court of justice was composed of the datu as the judge and the maginoos as the members of the jury. In this respect, the ancient Filipinos pioneered the jury system which presaged that of the Americans by many centuries. Ancient Filipinos used trial by ordeal in determining who among contending parties was lying and who was telling the truth. The test consisted of several activities to test the physical ability of a person. In most cases, the one who came out with lesser injuries or was relatively unharmed was pronounced the victor. This was because the pre-Hispanic Filipinos believed that God protected the innocent and punished the guilty (Garcia and Agdon, 2009). While this system of decision-making did not rely on logic and legal reasoning, it showed that the ancient Filipinos believed in God and in divine intervention. The local chieftains therefore used religion in governing their subjects.

II. The Philippines Under Colonial Rule

1. The Magellan Expedition

Ferdinand Magellan,a Portuguese who was ignored by his king when he broached his plan to sail to Malacca and Africa, offered his services instead to the Spanish monarch, King Charles I. The Spanish King was receptive. In 1519, King Charles provided Magellan with a fleet of five ships: Trinidad, Victoria, Concepcion, Santiago, and San Antonio. Magellan and his crew saw the mountains of what is now Samar on March 17,1521 after several months of a difficult voyage. They landed in Homonhon on the following day to allow the sick men to recuperate. When the fleet sailed again, it reached the islet of Limasawa which was then ruled by Rajah Kulambu, after befriending Rajah Kulambu, Magellan ordered a mass to be celebrated and a giant cross planted on the top of a hill overlooking the sea. Afterward, Magellan took possession of the islands in the name of King Charles and called them the Archipelago of Saint Lazarus because he discovered the islands on St. Lazarus day.

The Spanish fleet next sailed toward the island of Cebu on April 8, 1521.The chieftain of Cebu, Rajah Humabon, welcomed the Spaniards. Rajah Humabon, his wife, and many natives became Christians after the Spaniards celebrated a mass and erected a cross on the island.

2. The Battle of Mactan

Rajah Sula, one of the chieftains of the island of Mactan, sowed intrigue by complaining to Magellan that Rajah Si Lapulapu, Sula's rival, refused to pay tribute to the King of Spain. Sula asked for Magellan's assistance in defeating Rajah Si Lapu-lapu. Magellan obliged and volunteered to fight Lapulapu. During the battle that ensued, one of the natives wounded Magellan in the leg. When Magellan fell down, Lapulapu's men rushed at him and killed him with their spears (Agoncillo and Mangahas, 2010).

3. The Villalobos and Legazpi Expeditions

More than 20 years after the ill-fated Magellan Expedition, King Charles I of Spain, through the Viceroy of Mexico, sent in 1542 an expedition commanded by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos. Villalobos and his men were able to reach Mindanao in February 1543. The natives, however, refused to welcome them. Villalobos sent one of his men to Tandaya (Samar) to look for food. The chieftain of Tandaya, Datu Makandala, helped Villabos's men get enough food. Delighted, Villalobos named the islands of Samar and Leyte, Felipinas, in honor of Prince Philip of Spain, who later on became King Philip II (Id.).

In 1564, upon the suggestion of the Viceroy of Mexico, King Philip II who succeeded his father King Charles I sent an expedition to the East led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. The expedition reached Cebu in February 1565. Legazpi sailed to Cibabao (Leyte) and later, to Samar. He also travelled to Camiguin Island, then to Butuan in Mindanao, and then to Bohol.

When Legazpi and his men reached Cebu, Cebu chieftain Tupas and the Cebuanos were hostile to them. After Tupas was defeated in the skirmishes that followed between the Spaniards and the Cebuanos, he fled to the mountains.

In order to secure the friendship of the Cebuanos, Legazpi adopted the policy of attraction whereby he invited the Cebuanos to come down from the mountains and promised not to harm them. Because of the policy, Tupas and his men returned to the lowland and entered into an agreement with Legazpi to maintain peace in Cebu. Legaspi and his men established the first Spanish settlement in Cebu and called it “City of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.”

For the purpose of spreading Spanish rule in the archipelago, Legazpi founded the second Spanish settlement in Panay. He sent several small expeditions to other islands of the country.

Juan de Salcedo, one of Legazpi's grandsons, sailed to Talim Island and Mindoro. After reaching the outer rim of Manila Bay, Salcedo returned to Panay to Legazpi that Manila was a prosperous Muslim kingdom. Legazpi then decided to and reported send two expeditions to Manila, one headed by Martin de Goiti and another headed by Salcedo.

At that time, Manila or Maynila was a Muslim kingdom ruled by Rajah Sulayman or Soliman who refused to pay tribute to de Goiti. After defeating Sulayman, de Goiti returned to Panay to report to Legazpi.

Legazpi was appointed by the King of Spain as the captain-general of the islands, which was equivalent to the position of governor-general.

On June 24,1571, Legazpi made Manila the capital of the Philippines. At the same time, he organized a city government or ayuntamiento. Legazpi appointed two alcaldes or magistrates, an alguacil mayor or chief constable, twelve regidores or legislative council members,and one escribano or court clerk.

4. The Philippines Under Spanish Rule

As a colony of Spain, the Philippines was administered by the Council of the Indies. The King of Spain issued royal decrees and orders appointing the Spanish officials in the Philippines. In 1863, the Philippines was placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Colonies or Overseas Ministry (Ministerio de Ultramar).The ministry was advised by the Council of the Indies.

5. The National Government, its Head and its Branches

The Spaniards established a highly centralized form of government in the Philippines. This meant that the central or national government was so powerful that it controlled almost every aspect of governance. It was headed by a governor-general who was appointed by the King of Spain as his official representative in the colony. The governor- general could appoint minor officials in the government, including the parish priests. He was the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. There were only two branches of the government, the executive and the judiciary. But there was no legislature because the laws for the Philippines were crafted by the Spaniards in Spain. The King of Spain issued royal decrees or orders. The governor- general, however, had the power to issue orders with the force of law which were called “superior decrees.” He also had the power of cumplase or the right of the governor to refuse to implement a royal decree or order of the King of Spain if in his judgment the implementation of the order or decree would not be beneficial to the administration of the country. The judicial powers of the government were vested in the royal audiencia and the lower courts. The audiencia was the highest court in the country and had the power to audit the finances of the government.

6. The Local Government

Although the government was highly centralized, the Spaniards realized that they could not govern without local officials who would implement the royal decrees or orders, as well as the superior decrees. There were local governments in the provinces, municipalities, and barangays.

  1. The Provincial Government. This was headed by a governor or alcalde mayor who was appointed by the Governor General.
  2.  The Municipal Government. The Municipality was headed by a gobernadorcillo or capitan municipal who was chosen by thirteen electors. The selection of the gobernadorcillo had to be approved by the Spanish friar curate. If the latter gives his assent, the provincial governor had to submit the name of the gobernadorcillo to the office of the Governor General in Manila for final approval.
  3.  Barrio or Barangay. It was the smallest unit of the government and was beaded by a cabeza who was tasked to maintain peace and orders, and collect tares in the barangay Notwithstanding this political ser-up, the city or ayuntamiento served as the center of social, commercial, religious, and cultural life.

7. The Early Revolts Against Spanish Rule

The Spaniards implemented oppressive policies in governing the Philippines. As a result, there were local revolts in many parts of the country. These revolts were not because of a sense of nationalism on the part of the Filipinos. Instead, they wanted to regain their lost freedom. The also did not relish the institutions imposed by the Spaniards, including the Catholic religion. There was a natural desire to bring the old native religion back. Of course, there was also agrarian unrest. The revolts, however, failed.

It is not difficult to understand the reasons why the regional uprisings against the Spanish rule did not succeed. The Spaniards used advanced weapons and employed native volunteers and mercenaries against the rebels. There was division among the people. The Spaniards also skillfully employed the Catholic religion to subjugate the Filipinos. Lastly, the Spaniards gave the local chieftains and their families positions in the government and granted them privileges. It was this divide and conquer policy that allowed the colonizers to rule the country for several centuries.

8. The Reform Movement and the Katipunan

On account of the abuses of the Spanish government and the lack of participation of the Filipinos in the administration of the government, educated and the well-to-do Filipinos began the peaceful campaign for reforms in 1872. The campaign for reforms, also called the Propaganda Movement, sought the assimilation of the Philippines as a province of Spain, representation in the Spanish lawmaking body called the Cortes, and equality of the Filipinos and the Spaniards before the law. The most famous of these reformists were Jose P. Rizal, Graciano Lopez Jaena, and Marcelo H. Del Pilar.

Spain was not receptive to these reformists. There were several reasons why their movement failed. It was not for lack of trying. First, Spain was busy with her own problems to consider the problems ventilated by the propagandist movement. Second, the Filipinos lacked the financial means to support their cause. Third, the reformists were not united. Fourth, the friars had influential friends and supporters in Spain who opposed the introduction of reforms in the Philippines. After the failure of the Propaganda Movement, Andres Bonifacio founded the “Kataastaasan,Kagalanggalangan Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan”(KKK).The Katipunan was founded on a radical platform to secure the independence and freedom of the country from Spain by force of arms.

9. The 1896 Revolution

The discovery of the Katipunan by the Spanish authorities on August 19,1896 marked the outbreak of the 1896 Revolution. Many Filipinos suspected to be members of Katipunan were captured, tortured, and persecuted. Bonifacio and his men fought the Spanish forces which were vastly superior in numbers and weapons. The revolution spread to provinces in Luzon. In response, the governor general placed under martial law the first eight provinces which revolted-Cavite, Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija.

The reign of terror continued with the colonial government's policy of repression. Suspected members of Katipunan were punished without trial. In other places, the Spaniards massacred innocent people. In the morning of December 10,1896, Rizal was executed for his alleged connection with the Katipunan's attempt to topple the government. This event angered the Filipinos and further emboldened them to fight for the country and its independence.

10. The Tejeros Convention and the Naic Military Agreement

Under the leadership of Emilio Aguinaldo,the Filipino rebels won every battle against the Spaniards in Cavite. At that time, the Katipuneros in Cavite were divided into two factions: the Magdalo group headed by Aguinaldo's cousin and the Magdiwang group headed by Bonifacio's uncle. Owing to the successes of Aguinaldo in the battlefield, the Magdalo group regarded him as Heneral Miong and demanded that he led the Katipunan. The Magdiwang group did not accept this because they had accepted Bonifacio as their Supreme Leader, although he was not regarded as a skillful general.

The rift worsened when in a meeting held on March 22, 1897 the Katipuneros decided to form a new government. Aguinaldo was elected as the President, while Bonifacio was elected as the Director of the Interior. However, Daniel Tirona questioned Bonifacio's educational qualifications. This prompted Bonifacio to declare the results of the election as void. On the next day, Bonifacio and his men signed the Acta de Tejeros which contained a resolution nullfying the results of the Tejeros convention. Bonifacio and his men also signed a document known as the Naic Military Agreement stating that a new form of government will be established.

This conflict first brought into the open deep divisions in the emergent Filipino nation. The upper classes and the educated were unwilling to accept Bonifacio as part of the newly created government. He was intelligent, but not formally educated. While a fervent nationalist and true patriot, he was poor. They looked down on him and his kind. The Filipino elite had now seized the revolution Bonifacio started.

11. The Execution of Bonifacio

Upon the orders of Aguinaldo, a group of Katipuneros were sent to persuade Bonifacio to recognize the results of the Tejeros Convention. Bonifacio was captured and was tried for treason. He was sentenced to be shot to death, but Aguinaldo commuted the death penalty to banishment. Upon the advice of other generals who did not want the sentence commuted and hated Bonifacio, Aguinaldo withdrew his commutation order.

On May 10,1897, Bonifacio and his brother Procopio were executed. Even then, politics had already seeped into the Filipino psyche. The Aguinaldo clique saw Bonifacio and his brother as a threat to their cause. They had to be eliminated.

12. The Biak-na-Bato Republic and the Truce of Biak-na-Bato

Aguinaldo first established a republican government called Biak-na-Bato Republic, but later entered into an agreement with the Spaniards whereby he and his men would go into exile in Hongkong in exchange for P800,000.00.The truce, however, fell through because one of the Filipino military leaders, General Francisco Makabulos of Tarlac, established a central executive committee which was an independent government. Armed clashes between the revolutionaries and the Spaniards followed.

13. The Spanish-American War

On February 15,1898, the American battleship USS Maine stationed at Havana Harbor in Cuba was allegedly blown up by the Spaniards. More than 200 American sailors and officers died in the mishap. Thus, on April 25,1898, the US Congress formally declared war on Spain. Soon after, the American feet proceeded to Manila Bay on May 1, 1898 to attack the Spanish Her. The Spaniards were easily defeated by the better-armed American ships, This was a turning point in the history of the Philippines. Spanish might was on the wane. The US, a new world power, was eager to spread its wings to Asia.

14. The Return of Aguinaldo and The Mock Battle of Manila

Convinced by the Americans that the US was not interested in colonizing the Philippines, Aguinaldo agreed to return to the Philippines and continue the struggle against the Spaniards. By June of 1898, the entire Luzon was in the hands of the Filipino rebels. On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo signed the Proclamation of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite. In the wake of the battlefield successes of the Filipinos against the Spaniards, the Americans and the Spaniards entered into a secret agreement and staged a battle to make the Filipino rebels believe that it was the Spaniards who surrendered to the Americans. This was called the “Mock Battle of Manila.”

15. The Dictatorial Government and Revolutionary Government

On May 24,1898, Aguinaldo established a dictatorial government wherein the chief of state was called the Dictator. Upon the advice of Apolinario Mabini, on June 23, 1898, Aguinaldo changed the form of government from dictatorial to revolutionary. The chief of state was now called the President. Initially, the revolutionary government had four departments: the ‘Department of Foreign Affairs, Navy, and Commerce; the Department of War and Public Works; the Department of Police and Internal Order, Justice, Education, and Hygiene; and the Department of Finance, Agriculture, and Manufacturing Industry. Later, Aguinaldo increased the departments to six: foreign affairs, war, interior, welfare, justice, and treasury. Aguinaldo also appointed most of the delegates to the Congress that met at the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan. The Congress elected its officers and ratified the proclamation of independence in Kawit on June 12,1898.

16. The First Philippine Republic

The Malolos Constitution established a government intended to be “popular, representative, and responsible.” Unlike the one under the Spanish rule, the government was now divided into three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary.

The President was elected by a unicameral assembly which took the place of Congress. The 'department secretaries were responsible to the assembly. The first Philippine Republic was inaugurated on January 23,1899 with Aguinaldo as its President.

17. The Treaty of Paris

On December 10,1898, the Spanish and American peace commissioners signed the Treaty of Paris wherein Spain turned over the Philippines to the US for the sum of $20,000,000 as payment for the improvements made by Spain in the Philippines. The US granted Spain the right to export commodities to the Philippines for ten years on the same terms as those of the US. The Treaty of Paris was not immediately ratified because a majority in the US believed that it was unfair to Filipinos. When the Filipino-American War broke out, the imperialist propaganda machine convinced the majority in the US Senate to ratify the treaty by blaming the start of the hostilities on the Filipinos.

18. The Filipino-American War

The suspicion of the Filipinos of the true motive of the Americans in coming to the Philippines was aroused by several events. The Mock Battle of Manila showed that the Americans did not want the Spaniards to surrender to the Filipinos, but to them. The signing of the Treaty of Paris at the time when Spain no longer had effective control of the Philippines also exposed the interest of the Americans to colonize the Philippines. More importantly, the United States expressed its decision to keep the Philippines as its colony through the Benevolent Assimilation Proclamation. These events outraged the Filipinos and fueled the war against the US. The well-armed Americans defeated the brave, but poorly-equipped army of the first Philippine Republic after three years of hostilities.

19.  American Colonial Rule

After the defeat of the Filipinos, the Philippines was administered by the President of the US through the military.

20. The Military Governor

As the representative of the US President to the Philippines, the military governor had vast authority which included executive, legislative, and judicial powers. One of his duties was to pacify the provinces which refused to recognize the authority of the US.

21. The Schurman Commission and the Taft Commission

The US sent commissions to the Philippines to investigate conditions in the country and submit recommendations to the US Government. In March 1899, the Schurman Commission arrived in Manila. After its investigation, it recommended that the US enforce its sovereignty over the entire country.

In March 1900, the US sent a second commission to the Philippines. It was known as the Taft Commission and was tasked to establish a civil government in the Philippines and train the Filipinos in self-governance.

22. The Civil Government

In March 1902, the US Congress passed the Army Appropriations Act. It contained an amendment which authorized the US President to establish a civil government in the Philippines. Thus, on July 4,1901, the civil government was inaugurated.

23. The Philippine Bill of 1902

On July 1,1902, the Philippine Bill of 1902 was enacted by the US Congress. It provided for a Bill of Rights for the Filipinos, the appointment of two Filipino non-voting commissioners to the US Congress, and the establishment of a Philippine Assembly to be elected by the Filipinos two years after the publication of a census and complete restoration of peace.

24. The First Philippine Assembly

After the conditions under the Philippine Bill of 1902 were achieved, elections were set for the first Philippine Assembly on July 30, 1907. Out of 80 seats in the assembly, 59 seats were won by the Partido Nacionalista, while 16 seats were won by the Partido Progresista. The remaining seats were won by independent candidates. As a law-making body composed of Filipinos, the Philippine Assembly became the lower house of the Philippine Legislature. On the other hand, the Philippine Commission was the upper house. Through the Philippine Assembly, Filipinos were able to participate in the making of laws for the country.

25. The Jones Law

The approval of the Jones Law of 1916 signaled that the Americans would fulfil their promise to help the Philippines attain independence as soon as a stable government was in place. Under this law, the government had three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. The executive branch was headed by the governor-general who was appointed by the President of the US with the approval of the American Senate. The judicial power was exercised by the Supreme Court and the lower courts.

The law abolished the Philippine Commission and established the Philippine Senate which became the upper house of the legislative branch. The Philippine Assembly became the House of Representatives or the lower house of the legislature.

The law also provided for a Bill of Rights for the Filipinos which included freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom from illegal search, freedom to assemble for the redress of grievances, and other rights exercised by people in a democratic country.

26. The Independence Mission

To campaign for the independence of the Philippines, the Legislature created the Independence Commission. The first and second independence missions were sent to the US to convince the American Congress that the conditions for independence under the Jones Law had been fulfilled. However, these missions failed.

The third independent mission headed by Sergio Osmeña and Manuel Roxas,the so-called “Os-Rox Mission,” was sent to the US in 1931.It was able to persuade several groups in the American Congress to grant Philippine independence. As a result, the US Congress enacted the Hare-Hawes Cutting Act which provided that at the end of a ten-year Commonwealth period, independence would be granted to the Philippines.

Manuel L. Quezon thought that the Hare-Hawes Cutting Act was not a good law, so he worked for its rejection by the Philippine Legislature. Because of his failure to come up with a better law, however, he agreed that the Hare-Hawes Act be re-enacted as the Tydings-McDuffie Act with few modifications. The Tydings-McDuffie Law provided for the framing of a Constitution for the Commonwealth Government.

The Constitution was approved by the Filipino people in a plebiscite on May 14, 1935.This Constitution, however, was amended to give the Americans rights equal to the Filipinos in the exploitation of the country's natural resources.

27. Commonwealth Era and the World War II

The Commonwealth Government was inaugurated on November 15,1935 with Quezon as the President and Osmeña as the Vice President. It served as a transitional government preparatory to the resumption of Philippine independence.

The preparations for independence were stalled when the war in the Pacific broke out in 1941. This was prompted by the bombing of the American Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Japanese. In 1942, the Japanese occupied most parts of Luzon. Shortly after, the Japanese reorganized the Philippine government and renamed it Central Administrative Organization.

The Japanese invaders, like the Americans before them, were looking for new territories. Their reasons for conquest were eerily similar: the Japanese wanted new territories to govern to accommodate its increasing population and serve as a market for its exports, explaining its drive for a “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.”

Although Japan was able to conquer the Philippines, forcing the American colonizers to flee, many Filipinos waged a guerilla war against the new invaders. Other Filipinos collaborated with the Japanese to somehow lessen the impact of the invasion on the country.

28. The Second Republic 

The Japanese created a commission for the purpose of framing a constitution approved by a convention. On September 25, 1943, the National Assembly elected Jose P. Laurel as the President of the Second Republic.

In the meantime, Quezon reorganized the Commonwealth government while he and his comrades were in the US. After the death of Quezon, the Americans, through the leadership of General Arthur MacArthur, began its offensive against Japan. When the Japanese were finally defeated in the Philippines, MacArthur re-established the Commonwealth on October 23, 1944 with himself as the Military Administrator. On February 27, 1945, he turned over the reins of government to Osmeña.

III. The Republican Years

1. The Third Republic

To address the needs of the people and the country after the war, Osmeña reorganized the government in March 1945.

In October 1945, the American Congress passed the Bell Trade Relations Act which granted parity rights to the Americans. This meant that the Americans would be given the right to use and exploit the natural resources of the Philippines on equal footing with Filipinos. Although this provision was objected to by the Filipinos, the 1935 Constitution was amended to affect this provision.

In the election of April 23, 1946, Manuel A. Roxas was elected as President. On July 4, 1946, Philippine independence was proclaimed.

2. The 1971 Constitutional Convention, Declaration of Martial Law, and The 1973 Constitution

Several groups called for the replacement of the 1935 Constitution which they criticized as a product of US dictation. In June 1971, the Constitutional Convention started framing a new constitution.

On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1081 declaring martial law in the Philippines, with this, Marcos as the President assumed the executive, legislative, and judicial powers of the government. Military courts took the place of regular courts.

Marcos orchestrated the adoption of the 1973 Constitution which changed the system of government to a modified parliamentary system. He exercised both executive and legislative powers, and introduced several amendments to the 1973 Constitution, such as the extension of term of office of the President until Martial Law shall have been lifted and the grant of emergency legislative powers to the President whenever there exists a grave emergency or threat or imminence thereof, or whenever the Interim Batasang Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails to act.

Because of these amendments, the country was then ruled by Marcos as dictator. Major political parties disappeared from the political scene leaving the administration party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, to dominate politics. The basic freedoms of the people were curtailed. Press freedom, academic freedom, respect for human rights, and accountability of public officials and the military to the people disappeared. Marcos lifted martial law on January 17, 1981.

The assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino on August 21,1983 intensified the clamor of the people for the restoration of democracy. Rallies and mass action challenging Marcos to step down were held by people across socioeconomic classes.

3. The 1986 Snap Elections and the People Power or The EDSA Revolution

Toward the end of Marcos's third term as President, protest rallies called the "parliament of the streets" erupted in Manila and other major Philippine cities. This prompted the US to pressure Marcos for an early election date. Thus, on February 7,1986, Marcos announced a "snap" presidential election. He was declared the President-elect on February 20,1986. However, Corazon Aquino, widow of Ninoy Aquino and the opposition's candidate for president, claimed victory and accused Marcos of massive electoral fraud. She called for civil disobedience after the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) declared her as the winner in the snap election.

These events led to the People Power Revolution along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) on February 25, 1986 which brought an end to Marcos' dictatorship and prompted his exile in the US.

4. The 1987 Constitution

When Corazon Aquino ascended to the presidency after the EDSA Revolution, she refused to abide by the 1973 Constitution, which was denigrated as the “Marcos" constitution. She promptly proclaimed a provisional constitution called the “Freedom Constitution" on March 25, 1986.It required her to create a Constitutional Commission (ConCom), which she did.

Aquino convened the ConCom which drafted the Philippine Constitution. On February 2, 1987, the people ratified the Constitution in a plebiscite.

The 1987 Constitution which is the present Constitution of the Philippines restored the presidential form of government and the bicameral Congress. It provided for the independence of the Constitutional Commissions and the judiciary from the other branches of the government. To further institute a system of check and balance in the government, the present charter contains the following provisions:

a. a single fixed term of six years for the President

b. confirmation of some Presidential appointments by the Commission on Appointments

c. approval of Congress when the President declares martial law

d. appointments to the judiciary by the President based on a short list of nominees recommended by the Judicial and Bar Council

e. ratification by Senate of international treaties entered into by the executive branch of the government

f. removal from office by impeachment and conviction of the President, Vice President, members of the Supreme Court, and members of the Constitutional Commissions

g. recall by the voters of local chief executives

Critics of the 1987 Constitution have observed that it is very long. They point out that a Constitution, being the fundamental or basic law of the land, should be brief. Although there have been persistent calls for Charter change, they have not been made for the reason that the Constitution is long. It can be reasoned out, however, that the length of the Constitution can be attributed to the desire of the ConCom to prevent misuse of Presidential power, like what happened during the era of dictatorship under Marcos.




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Even before the arrival and colonization of Spaniards, the Philippines already had a civilization and its own system of government (barangay). From 1565 to the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, the Philippines was ruled by the King of Spain and administered by the council of the Indies. Centuries of Spanish abuses led Filipinos to pursue reforms initially, through the Propaganda Movement, and eventually, independence, through the Katipunan. The Malolos Constitution established a Government intended to be popular, representative and responsible. The First Philippine Republic was inaugurated on January 23, 1899 with Emilio Aguinaldo as president. The Americans took over control of the Philippines after the Filipino-American War and the president of the US administered the country initially through the military, which was eventually replaced by a civilian government. The campaign for Philippine independence form the US culminated in the establishment and inauguration of the commonwealth government on November 15, 1935 with Manuel Luis Quezon as president and sergio Osmena as vice president. The Commonwealth government served as a transitional government preparatory to the resumption of Philippine independence. The Japanese occupation of the Philippines during the Second World War resulted in the establishment of the National Assembly, which elected Jose P. Laurel as president of the Second Republic. The republican years after the war were chracterized by the adoption of the 1973 Constitution to replace the 1935 Constitution, declaration of Martial Law, the Peopel Power Revolution, the adoption of the 1987 Constitution.


BOOK: Ramos, Renan E.; Vival Group. Philippine Politics and Governance

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Hello, my name is Thailyn Jane Gines Cuaresma and I'd like to introduce myself. I grew up in the Aurora province, barangay North Poblacion, in the town of Dipaculao. I was raised in the Ilocano culture as an Ilocana.

I wanted to be an engineer as a child, but as I grew older, I realized that teaching was my true calling. Mount Carmel College Baler, Aurora accepted me as a Secondary Education student. I chose to be an educator because I enjoy studying and working in a classroom setting. Teaching is more than a job; it is a responsibility with a purpose. And, as a future educator, I will do everything in my power to make that mission a reality. Because I believe that God created magnificent creatures who are "Teachers" in this planet.

“Success is the epitome of a dedicated and diligent individual. I understand that we all want to attain life success, which is described as reaching the pinnacle of your ambitions and objectives. This is the concept that we all aspire to, and it somehow denotes a person's identity when they see it. But, before we attain "success," there are a number of aspects to consider, such as the factors that will assist us in achieving it, such as our studies, our perseverance, and our optimism that we will succeed in the end. Furthermore, those variables were only a portion of what we refer to as the voyage, and on that journey, we must constantly give it our all. We must gain whatever we can in order to improve ourselves on a daily basis. We must arm ourselves with knowledge and wisdom, as they will serve as our sword and shield on the road to becoming the person you've always wanted to be. Furthermore, if you have already realized your goals and achieved success in life, remember to reflect on your experiences along the way since the genuine essence of success is mirrored in your journey.”

– CUARESMA, 2021