Politics of the Philippines


Politics of the Philippines

The political system in the Philippines takes place in an organized framework of a presidential, representative, and democratic republic whereby the president is both the head of state and the head of government within a pluriform multi-party system. This system revolves around three separate and sovereign yet interdependent branches: the legislative branch (the law-making body), the executive branch (the law-enforcing body), and the judicial branch (the law-interpreting body). Executive power is exercised by the government under the leadership of the president. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two-chamber congress -- the Senate (the upper chamber) and the House of Representatives (the lower chamber). Judicial power is vested in the courts with the Supreme Court of the Philippines as the highest judicial body.

National Government of the Philippines

Executive branch

The executive branch is headed by the President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (party affiliation: Kampi/Lakas-CMD) 20 January 2001, who functions as both the head of state and the head of government. The president is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The president is elected by popular vote to a term of 6 years. The president, then, appoints (and may fire) his/her cabinet members whom he/she presides over. The executive seat of government is administered officially from Malacañang Palace - also the official residence of the president - in the capital City of Manila. The President may no longer run for re-election, unless he/she becomes president through constitutional succession and has served for no more than 4 years as president.

The second highest official, Vice-President Noli de Castro (party affiliation: Lakas-CMD/Independent) 30 June 2004(President of the Republic of the Philippines, 2010-2016), is also elected by popular vote. The vice-president is first in line to succession should the president resign, be impeached or die in office. The vice-president usually, though not always, may be a member of the president's cabinet. If there is a vacancy in the position of Vice President, the President will appoint any member of Congress (usually a party member) as new Vice President. The appointment will be validated by a three-fourths vote of Congress voting separately.

Legislative branch

The bicameral Philippine legislature, the Congress, consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives; members of both are elected by popular vote. The Senate is elected at large. There are currently 24 senators. Of a possible 250 members of the House of Representatives, 206 are elected from the single-member districts. The remainder of the House seats are designated for sectoral representatives elected at large through a complex "party list" system, hinging on the party receiving at least 2% to 6% of the national vote total. The upper house is located in Pasay City, while the lower house is located in Quezon City. The district and sectoral representatives are elected with a term of three years. They can be reelected but they are no longer eligible to run for a fourth consecutive term. The senators are elected to a term of six years. They can be reelected but they are no longer eligible to run for a third consecutive term. The House of Representatives may opt to pass a resolution for a vacancy of a legislative seat that will pave way for a special election. The winner of the special election will serve the unfinished term of the previous district representative; this will be considered as one elective term. The same rule applies in the Senate however it only applies if the seat is vacated before a regular legislative election. This case applies when Senator Teofisto Guingona was appointed Vice President before the May 2001 election. Senator Gregorio Honasan was in the 13th position in the Senatorial election and he served the unfinished term of Guingona. Honasan is no longer eligible to run for the 2004 elections. The case did not apply in 1998 when Gloria Arroyo was elected as Vice President and in 2004 when Noli de Castro was elected as Vice President.

When Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the Presidency, her Lakas-CMD party also regained its dominant position in Congress. The party leads the 187 member Sunshine Coalition, composed of several major and minor parties such as her party, Lakas-CMD, the Liberal Party, the Nacionalista Party, the Nationalist People's Coalition, PDP-Laban, Aksyon Demokratiko, REPORMA-LM, PROMDI, and others. In addition, Arroyo established her own party KAMPI. In the Senate, the pro-administration coalition lost its majority in the May 2007 elections.

Members of the Philippine Congress tend to have weak party loyalties and change party affiliation easily. In October 2003, the Sunshine Coalition dissolved over Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's decision to seek election for the presidency, which she assumed when as vice-president, she succeeded Joseph Estrada following the EDSA 2 Revolution of 2001.

Senate President: Manuel Villar

Speaker of the House of Representatives: Prospero C. Nograles

"Presidents of the Senate"
*1916-1935 Manuel Luis Quezon (Philippine Legislature)
*1935 Jose Avelino
*1935-1941 "Dissolved, Unicameral Legislature"
*1941-1945 "Dissolved, World War II"
*1945-1946 Manuel A. Roxas (Commonwealth of the Philippines)
*1946-1949 Jose Avelino
*1949-1951 Mariano Jesus Cuenco
*1952-1952 Quintin Paredes
*1952-1952 Camilo Osias
*1952-1953 Eulogio Rodriguez
*1953-1953 Jose Zulueta
*1953-1963 Eulogio Rodriguez
*1963-1965 Ferdinand E. Marcos
*1966-1967 Arturo M. Tolentino
*1967-1972 Gil J. Puyat
*1972-1978 "Dissolved, Martial Law"
*1978-1986 "Dissolved, Interim Batasang Pambansa and Regular Batasang Pambansa"
*1986-1987 "Dissolved, 1986 Constitutional Commission"
*1987-1992 Jovito R. Salonga
*1992-1993 Neptali A. Gonzales
*1993-1995 Edgardo J. Angara
*1995-1996 Neptali A. Gonzales
*1996-1998 Ernesto M. Maceda
*1998-1998 Neptali A. Gonzales
*1998-1999 Marcelo B. Fernan
*1999-2000 Blas F. Ople
*2000-2000 Franklin M. Drilon
*2000-2001 Aquilino Pimentel
*2001-2006 Franklin M. Drilon
*2006-pres Manuel B. Villar, Jr.

"Speakers of the House of Representatives"

*1907-1922 Sergio Osmeña (Philippine Assembly)
*1922-1933 Manuel A. Roxas (House of Representatives)
*1933-1935 Quintin Paredes (House of Representatives)
*1935-1938 Gil Montilla (National Assembly)
*1938-1941 Jose Yulo (National Assembly)
*1943-1944 Benigno Aquino Sr. (National Assembly, 2nd Republic)
*1945-1946 Jose Zulueta (House of Representatives)
*1946-1953 Eugenio Perez (House of Representatives)
*1954-1957 Jose B. Laurel, Jr. (House of Representatives)
*1957-1962 Daniel Romualdez (House of Representatives)
*1962-1967 Cornelio Villareal (House of Representatives)
*1967-1971 Jose B. Laurel, Jr. (House of Representatives)
*1971-1972 Cornelio Villareal (House of Representatives)
*1978-1984 Querube C. Makalintal (Interim Batasang Pambansa)
*1984-1986 Nicanor E. Yniguez (Regular Batasang Pambansa)
*1986-1987 "Dissolved, 1986 Constitutional Commission"
*1987-1992 Ramon V. Mitra (House of Representatives)
*1992-1998 Jose C. De Venecia, Jr.(House of Representatives)
*1998-2000 Manuel Villar Jr. (House of Representatives)
*2000-2001 Arnulfo Fuentebella (House of Representatives)
*2001 Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. (House of Representatives)
*2001-2008 Jose C. De Venecia, Jr. (House of Representatives)
*2008-Present Prospero Nograles (House of Representatives)

Judicial branch

The judiciary branch of the government is headed by the Supreme Court, which has a Chief Justice as its head and 14 Associate Justices, all appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council.

Supreme Court Chief Justice: Reynato Puno

"Chief Justices of the Supreme Court"
*1901-1920 Cayetano L. Arellano
*1920-1921 Victorino Mapa
*1921-1924 Manuel Araullo
*1925-1941 Ramon Avanceña
*1941-1942 Jose Abad Santos
*1942-1944 Jose Yulo
*1945-1951 Manuel Moran
*1951-1961 Ricardo Paras
*1961-1966 Cesar Bengzon
*1966-1973 Roberto Concepcion
*1973-1975 Querube C. Makalintal
*1976-1979 Fred Ruiz Castro
*1979-1985 Enrique Fernando
*1985-1985 Felix Makasiar
*1985-1986 Ramon Aquino
*1986-1988 Claudio Teehankee, Sr.
*1988-1988 Pedro Yap
*1988-1991 Marcelo B. Fernan
*1991-1998 Andres Narvasa
*1998-2005 Hilario Davide, Jr.
*2005-2006 Artemio Panganiban
*2006-Present Reynato Puno

Offices of the Ombudsman

The government and all three of its branches are independently monitored by the Offices of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is given the mandate to investigate and prosecute any government official allegedly guilty of crimes, especially Graft and Corruption. The Ombudsman leads a team composed of a sheriff and 6 deputies who lead their respective divisions and/or bureaus.

Political parties and elections

During the American occupation, the Nacionalista Party (more like the Republicans) was the dominant party of the time. However, during the Japanese occupation in World War II, a new party, the Kapisanan ng Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas (KALIBAPI), was formed. It was the only party allowed to operate during the occupation.

After the war, KALIBAPI was abolished and the Nacionalistas returned to power. A new party, the Liberal Party (similar to the Democrats), was formed after some Nacionalistas led by Jose P. Laurel split from KALIBAPI. This de facto two-party system remained until 1972.

However, when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, he formed his own party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL, New Society Movement), and the traditional parties were sidelined. A majority of KBL members came from the Nacionalistas, the Liberals, as well as some other parties. Most of Marcos' political opponents were jailed, tortured or killed. In 1978, Marcos called an election to the interim Batasang Pambansa. An opposition party was formed known as LABAN. Among the candidates then were Benigno Aquino, Ernesto Maceda, and Alex Bongcayao. During that election, only Maceda was elected.

In 1984, other opposition parties sprang up. Among them were PDP-LABAN (different from the original LABAN party) of Aquilino Pimentel, the UNIDO, or the United Nationalist Democratic Organization of Salvador Laurel, the Liberal Party-Kalaw Wing and Lakas ng Bansa. The UNIDO would later be an umbrella coalition of opposition against Ferdinand Marcos.

The Liberal Party-Salonga Wing, National Union Of Christian Democrats and BANDILA joined the leftist forces.

After Marcos was overthrown in the People Power Revolution, other parties appeared, such as Partido Nacionalista ng Pilipinas, the National Union of Christian Democrats, the Philippine Democratic Socialist Party and BANDILA.In 1987 the opposition parties formed a Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD). The parties taking part in the GAD were the Nacionalista Party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, the Partido Nacionalista ng Pilipinas, the Liberal Party-Kalaw Wing, the Mindanao Alliance, the Muslim Federal Party, as well as others.

In 1988 the Lakas ng Bansa headed by Ramon Mitra and PDP-LABAN (Cojuangco Wing) joined forces to form the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino or LDP, causing a split in the ruling coalition and the unification of the Nacionalista Party.

In 1989, anti-Aquino elements reunited at PICC for the Unification of the Nacionalista Party this leaders of NP are: Blas Ople, Isidro Rodriguez, Rafael Palmares, Rafael Recto, Francisco Tatad, Jose Rono, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose Zubiri, Zossimo Jesus Paredes II, Romeo Jalosjos, Mamintal A.J. Tamano, Salvador Laurel, Sotero Laurel, Frisco San Juan, Alfonso Roy Jr., Ernesto Maceda, Arturo Tolentino, Roilo Golez, Eva Estrada Kalaw, Edith Rabat, Vicente Puyat, Jose B. Laurel Jr. and Others. In 1992 elections, the LDP was split in half. Fidel V. Ramos formed his own party, the Partido Lakas ng Tao, which coalesced with the National Union of Christian Democrats. Their union was later known as the Lakas-NUCD, now known as Lakas-Christian and Muslim Democrats. The LDP was headed by Ramon Mitra. During these elections, the Nacionalista Party also split into two. The Nacionalistas were led by Salvador Laurel while the splinter group, led by Danding Cojuangco, was known as the Nationalist People's Coalition or NPC.

In the 1998 elections, three new political parties were formed: the Partido ng Masang Pilipino of Joseph Estrada, the Aksyon Demokratiko (Democratic Action) of Raul Roco, and the Kabalikat ng Mamamayang Pilipino (KAMPI) of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

There were other regional parties, including Panaghiusa (precursor of the Osmeñas' BO-PK), and the Mindanao Alliance in Mindanao. However, many of them are now defunct.

It is believed that Philippine political parties share one common platform. However, it is also perceived that Philippine political parties are also not based on political platform, but rather on personality. Switching party affiliation is so widespread that there were moves from lawmakers in the past to make this illegal. The issue has fuelled s belief that many Philippine politicians are opportunists interested in using political power for personal gain.

Local government/administrative subdivisions

The Philippines is divided into a hierarchy of local government units (LGUs) with the province as the primary unit. As of 2007, there are 81 provinces in the country. Provinces are further subdivided into cities and municipalities, which are in turn, composed of barangays. The barangay is the smallest local government unit.A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. a City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.

The term of office for all local elected officials is three (3) years, starting from noon of June 30 of an election year. No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official concerned was elected. Barangay and SK officials are elected to a term of five (5) years starting from noon of the date as prescribed by law. The current barangay organic law sets the date of November 12, 2007 as the effectivite date. Current barangay and SK officials started terms August 15, 2002. The next barangay and SK election will be on October 29, 2007.

All provinces are grouped into 17 regions for administrative convenience. Most government offices establish regional offices to serve the constituent provinces. The regions themselves do not possess a separate local government, with the exception of the Muslim Mindanao region, which is autonomous. The Cordillera Administrative Region will become an autonomous region and will receive the setup granted to Muslim Mindanao if voters would approve an organic law that would create a Cordillera "Autonomous" Region.

International organization participation

The Philippines is a founding and active member of the United Nations since its inception on October 24 1945 and is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Philippines is also a member of the East Asia Summit (EAS), an active player in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Latin Union and a member of the Group of 24. The country is a major non-NATO ally of the U.S., but also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.Memberships: APEC (1989), AsDB (1966), ASEAN, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, ITUC, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMIL, UNMISET, UNOCI, UNU, UPU, ITUC, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO,

ee also

*Regions of the Philippines
*Provinces of the Philippines
*Cities of the Philippines
*Philippine municipality
*Barangay


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