Philippines Report

Politics of the Philippines

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The Politics of the Philippines take place in an systematized framework of a presidential, representative, and democratic republic whereby the president is together the head of state and the head of government within a multiform-party system.

This system rotates around three separate and sovereign yet interdependent branches: the legislative branch, the executive branch, as well as the judicial branch. Executive power is exercised by the governmentunder the leadership of the president. Legislative power is vested in in cooperation the government and the two-chamberCongress: the Senate (the upper chamber) and House of Representatives (the lower chamber). Jurisdictive power is vested in the courts with the Supreme Court of the Philippines as the uppermost judicial body.
Elections are administered by an independent Commission on Elections every three years early 1992. Held every second Monday of May, the winners in the elections take office on the following June 30.
Local government is made by local government units from the provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays. While the utmost regions do not have political power, and exist merely for administration purposes, autonomous regions have extended powers more than the other local government units. While local government units enjoy autonomy, much of their budget is derived from divisions from the national government, putting their true autonomy in doubt.


Congress is a bicameral administration. The upper house, the Senate, is composed of 24 senators elected via the plurality-at-large voting by the country as one at-large “district.” The senators elect amongst themselves a Senate President. The lower house is theHouse of Representatives, currently composed of 292 representatives, with no more than 20% elected through party-list system, with the rest elected from legislative districts. The House of Representatives is ruled by the Speaker.

Politics of the Philippines

Each bill needs the consent of both houses in order to be submitted to the president for his sign. If the president vetoes the bill, Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds supermajority. If each house voted down on a bill or fails to act on it after anadjournment sine die, the bill is lost and would have to be suggested to the following congress, with the process starting all over again. Congress' decisions are mostly through majority vote, excepting for voting on constitutional amendments and other matters. Each house has its own inherent power, with the Senate given the authority to vote on treaties, while the House of Representatives can only introduce money bills. The constitution offers Congress with impeachment powers, with the House of Representatives having the power to impeach, and the Senate taking the power to try the impeached official.


The Liberal Party, Nationalist People's Coalition, the National Unity Party (Philippines), Nacionalista Party, Lakas-CMD and the United Nationalist Allianceare the parties with biggest membership in Congress. The party of the sitting president controls the House of Representatives, while the Senate has remained more independent. From 1907 to 1941, the Nacionalistas operated under a dominant-party system, with factions contained by that party becoming the primary political discouse. During World War II, the Japanese-sponsored Second Philippine Republic forced all the remaining parties to merge into the KALIBAPI that controlled the party as a one-party state. From 1945 to 1972, the Philippines remained under a two-party system, with the Nacionalistas and their offshoots Liberals alternating power, in anticipation of President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. Political address was kept into a minimum, until Marcos then merged the parties into theKilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), which dominated elections until 1986 when Marcos was defeated as a result of the People Power Revolution. The political weather ushered in a multi-party system which persists into this day.


Executive power is bestowed to the President; in run through however, the president delegates his power to a cabinet. The president, who is together the head of state and head of government, is directly elected to a single six-year term through first past the post. In case of death, resignation or incapacitation, the Vice President acts as the president up to the expiration of the term. The Vice President is elected separately from the president, and may be of different political parties. While the vice president has not any constitutional powers aside from acting as president when the latter is not capable to do so, the president may give the former a cabinet office. The cabinet is mostly collected of the heads of the executive departments, which offer services to the people, and other cabinet-level officials.

The president is as well the commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, thereby ensuring civilian supremacy over the military. The president is similarly given several military powers, although once exercised, Congress is able to prolong or end it. The president as well proposes a national budget, in which Congress may adopt in full, with amendments, or a complete revision altogether. The president uses considerable political power and may be able to influence other branches via the so-called Padrino System.


The judiciary is calm of the Supreme Court and other lower courts. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort, and selects on constitutionality of laws via judicial review. The president selects justices and judges from nominees known by the Judicial and Bar Council. The Court of Appeals is the second highest appellate court, the Court of Tax Appeals instructions on tax matters, and the Sandiganbayan (People's Advocate) is a special court for alleged government irregularities. The Regional Trial Courts (RTC) remain the main trial courts. The Regional Trial Courts are based on judicial regions, which nearly correspond to the administrative regions. Each RTC has at least one branch in each province and handles greatest of the criminal and civil cases; several branches of an RTC may be designated as family courts and environmental courts. Metropolitan Trial Courts attempt lesser offenses.
The Ombudsman investigates and prosecutes government officials on crimes while in providing powers given by the government. The Office of the Solicitor General represents the government in legal cases.


Elections are managed by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). The elected officials are the president, vice president, regional governors, members of Congress, and assemblymen, provincial governors, vice governors and board members, city and municipal mayors, vice mayors and councilors, andbarangay (village) chairmen and councilors. Elections are for fixed terms. All elected officials take three-year terms, except for the president, vice president and senators, which are six years. All terms start and end on June 30 of the election year.
Elections above the barangay level are held every three years since 1992 on the second Monday of May, very positions are disputed except for president and vice president; presidential and vice presidential elections are detained every six years since 1992. Single-winner elections are complete via the plurality voting system: the candidate with the utmost number of votes is elected. Multiple-winner elections, excepting for representatives elected the party-list system, are complete viaplurality-at-large voting. Each voter has x votes, with the x candidates with the utmost number of votes being elected. For representatives elected the party-list system, a party that gained at least 2% of the national vote wins one seat, with additional seats, but not exceeding three seats, depends on the number of votes it acknowledged. If the number of sectoral representatives does not reach 20% of the membership of the House of Representatives, gatherings with fewer than 2% of the vote are given a seat each until the 20% membership is filled.

Local government

The constitution mandates that local governments essential have local autonomy. The smallest local government unit, thebarangay or village, is inclined from the balangay of the Maragtas legend, where the first Austronesian peoplereached the Philippines via the boat. The ancient barangays were headed by datus. Currently, barangays are grouped into municipalities or cities, though municipalities and cities may be further grouped into provinces. Each barangay, municipality or city, and province is ruled by a barangay chairman, mayor, or governor, respectively, with its legislatures being the Sangguniang Barangay , Sangguniang Bayan , and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan .
Regions stay the highest administrative divisions but do not have powers possessed under them; though, autonomous regions are assumed wider powers than other local government units. While the constitution lets autonomous regions in the Cordilleras and in Muslim Mindanao, only the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao(ARMM) occurs, with the proposed autonomous region in Cordillera being overcome after two plebiscites. The ARMM have a regional governor and a regional gathering.
While local government units have autonomy, utmost of their budget is derivative from the Internal Revenue Allotment, a pay out from the national government which is ultimately derived from taxes. This makes utmost local government units ultimately reliant on the national government, unless they have former sources of income, such as property taxes.


Pre-Spanish era

Before the appearance of Ferdinand Magellan, the Philippines was split into numerous barangays, which were not unlike the Greek city-states. These barangays warred, through peace, traded and had relations with each other. In Mindanao, Islamic sultanates such as per of the Sultanate of Sulu and Maguindanao, prospered.Ferdinand Magellan's death in 1521 can be partly attributed to a dispute amid Lapu-Lapu and Rajah Humabon for control of Cebu. The Kingdom of Maynila was trading with China and other near empires when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi conquered the kingdom in 1565 and assimilated it with the other kingdoms he had conquered nearby to tie the Philippines under Spanish rule.

Spanish era

Upon the defeat of the local population in Manila and Cebu, the Spaniards refused the locals any political participation. The old sovereign class in the pre-Spanish era were given essentially powerless government posts. Several revolts erupted contrary to Spain but were all defeated. In 1808, when Joseph Bonaparte became king of Spain, the liberal constitution of Cadiz was accepted, giving the Philippines representation to the Spanish Cortes. However, once the Spanish defeated the Bonapartes, the Philippine, and indeed colonial, representation in the Spanish Cortes was rescinded.
The restoration of Philippine demonstration to the Cortes was one of the grievances of the Illustrados, the learned ethnic class during the late 1800s. The Illustrados mounted a campaign that would include indigenous voices in running the government. Though, the Katipunan advocated complete Philippine independence, thereby starting the Philippine Revolution in 1896. Later the execution of Jose Rizal in December 30, 1896, the leader of the Illustrados who disapproved of the revolution, the rebellion increased. Cavite, Bulacan and Morong were the main areas of conflict; the Katipunan in Cavite had attained several battles against the Spaniards, but was split into the Magdiwang and Magdalo factions. A session was held in 1897 to unite the two factions, but instead caused further division that led to the execution of Andres Bonifacio, who was then the frontrunner of the Katipunan; Bonifacio's death passed the control of the Katipunan to Emilio Aguinaldo.
The death of Bonifacio also affected several of the revolutionaries to be demoralized; Aguinaldo and his men retreated northward up to reaching Biak-na-Bato in San Miguel, Bulacan. The Spaniards and the revolutionaries signed the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, that providing for Aguinaldo's surrender and exile to Hong Kong, and amnesty and payment of indemnities by the Spaniards to the revolutionaries. However, both sides sooner or later violated the agreement, and this gave an opportunity for the United States admiral George Dewey to lead his squad to Manila Bay, defeating the Spanish navy. Aguinaldo returned from exile, utmost of the Philippine revolutionaries rallying to his cause, and negotiated with the Americans, while the Americans in 1898 beaten the Spaniards in what was called a mock battle in Manila, and took control of the city. Aguinaldo then announced the independence of the Philippines on June 12, 1898 at his home in Cavite. A Congress was convened in January 1899 in Barasoain Church and instated the first Philippine Republic.
The Philippine–American War erupted in February in a skirmish in Manila; the Filipinos mislaid the battle, and Aguinaldo again began a northward retreat. Aguinaldo was took on April 1, 1901 at Palanan, Isabela, while the Americans had already started setting up civil governments in areas that had already been pacified.

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