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Philippine Government and Constitution PASINOS, Venmari Joyce T.

2SLP Historical Development of the Philippine Government

The Pre-Spanish Government

1. UNIT of GOVERNMENT Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, the Philippines was composed of settlements or villages, each called barangay. Barangay is named after balangay, a Malaysian word meaning boat It consists of more or less 100 families. It was virtually a state, for it possessed the four basic elements of statehood. Some joined together as confederations mainly for the purpose of mutual protection against common enemies. 2. DATU Each barangay was ruled by a chief called datu in some places, and rajah, sultan, or hadji in others. The datu was the barangays chief executive, lawgiver, chief judge, and military head. He was assisted usually by a council of elders (maginoos) which served as his advisers. One could be a datu chiefly by inheritance, wisdom, wealth, or physical prowess. In form, the barangay was a monarchy with the datu as the monarch. 3. SOCIAL CLASSES in the BARANGAY The nobility (Maharlika) The freemen (Timawa) The serfs ( Aliping namamahay) The slaves (Aliping sagigilid) 4. EARLY LAWS Written Laws Promulgated by datus The two known written are the Maragtas Code and the Kalantiaw Code. Maragtas Code was said to have been written about 1250 AD by Datu Sumakwel of Panay Kalantiaw Code Written in 1433 AD by Datu Kalantiaw of Panay Unwritten Laws consisted of customs and traditions which had been passed down from generation to generation 5. COMPARISON with OTHER ANCIENT GOVERNMENTS

The laws of the barangay were generally fair. An eminent scholar has written: The Filipino people, even in the prehistoric times had

already shown high intelligence and moral virtues; virtues and intelligence clearly manifested in their legislation, which, taking into consideration the circumstances and the epoch in which it was framed, was clearly as wise, as prudent, and as humane, as that of the nations then at the head of civilization.

Government during the Spanish period

1. SPAINS TITLE to the PHILIPPINES It was based on the discovery made by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. 2. SPANISH COLONIAL GOVERNMENT From 1565 to 1821, the Philippines was indirectly governed by the King of Spain through Mexico. From 1821, when Mexico obtained her independence from Spain, to 1898, the Philippines was ruled directly from Spain. The council in Spain responsible for the administration of the Philippines was the Council of the Indies. In 1837, it was abolished and legislation for the Philippines was temporarily performed by the Council of Ministers. From 1863, the Ministry of Ultramar (colonies) exercised general powers of supervision of Philippine affairs. Three times during the Spanish period (1810-1813, 1820-1823, 1836-1837), the Philippines was given representation in the Spanish Cartes, the legislative body of Spain. Basic principle introduced by Spain: The union of the CHURCH and the STATE. 3. GOVERNMENT in the PHILIPPINES: UNITARY The government which Spain has established: centralized in structure and national in scope. The barangays were consolidated into towns (pueblos), each headed by a gobernadorcillo (little governor), popularly called capitan, and the towns into provinces, each headed by a governor who represented the Governor General in the province. Cities governed under special charters were also created. Each of these cities had an ayuntamiento or cabildo (city council) Cebu was the first city to be established in 1565 in the Philippines. The second was Manila, in 1571. 4. The GOVERNOR GENERAL The powers of the government were actually exercised by the Governor-General who resided in Manila. Governor General, Captain General, Vice Royal Patron

As Governor-General: He had executive, administrative, legislative, and judicial

As Captain General: He was Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces in the

As the Vice Royal Patron: He exercised certain religious powers. It has been said that the Governor-General enjoyed more powers than the King of

Spain himself. This was justified because of the distance of the Philippines from Spain.
The Governor-General was assisted by many boards and officers, particularly the Board

of Authorities and the Council of Administration.

Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (1565-1571) first Spanish Governor-General

Gen. Diego de los Rios (1898) last Spanish Governor-General

5. The JUDICIARY Royal Audiencia (1583) It is the Supreme Court of the Philippines during the Spanish times. Its decision was final except on certain cases of great importance which could be appealed to the King of Spain. It performed functions of executive and legislative nature. Territorial Audiencias (1893) It is below the Royal Audiencia There were two territorial audiencias: one in Cebu and the other in Vigan It exercised appellate jurisdiction over criminal cases coming from the surrounding territory. In 1886, courts of first instance with both civil and criminal jurisdiction were established in the provinces. At the bottom of the judicial system were the justice of the peace courts which were established in the different towns in 1885. There were special courts: Military and Naval courts Had jurisdiction over military defenses Ecclesiastical courts Had cognizance of canonical matters and ecclesiastical offenses Treasury and Commercial courts 6. EVALUATION of the SPANISH GOVERNMENT in the PHILIPPINES Demerits The government which Spain established was defective. It was a government for the Spaniards not for the Filipinos. The Spanish officials were often inefficient and corrupt. The union of the church and state produced serious strifes between the ecclesiastical and civil authorities. Equality before the law was denied to the Filipinos.


The Spanish rule was generally mild and humane.

The Filipinos were not brutalized. Spaniards and Filipinos intermarried and mingled socially. Slavery and tribal wars were suppressed.
It brought about the unification of the Filipino people.

The diverse tribes were molded into one people, under one God, under one King, and one government. The spirit of nationalism blossomed.
It uplifted the Filipinos from the depth of primitive culture and paganism.

blessings of Christianity and European civilization

Government during the Revolutionary era

1. the KATIPUNAN GOVERNMENT The Katipunan was the secret society that precipitated our glorious revolution on August 26, 1896. It was organized by Andres Bonifacio, who, together with a group of Filipino patriots, signed the covenant of the Katipunan with their own blood on July 7, 1892. Its central government was vested in a Supreme Council (Kataas-taasang Sanggunian). In each province there was a Provincial Council (Sangguniang Balangay). In each town, there was a Popular Council (Sangguniang Bayan). The judicial power was exercised by a Judicial Council (Sangguniang Hukuman).

The Katipunan was the first clear break from Spanish rule with the ultimate goal to establish a free and sovereign Philippines.
It was replaced by another government headed by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.

Tejeros Convention on March 22,1897

2. the BIAK- na -BATO REPUBLIC On November 1, 1897, a republic was established by Gen. Aguinaldo in Biak-na-Bato (now San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan). It had a constitution which was to take effect for two years only. The aim of the revolution: separation of the Philippines from the Spanish monarchy and their formation into an independent state It lasted up to December 15, 1897, with the conclusion of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato. 3. the DICTATORIAL GOVERNMENT In view of the chaotic conditions in the country, Gen. Aguinaldo established the Dictatorial Government on May 23, 1898. Most important achievements: Proclamation of the Philippine Independence at Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898

Reorganization of local governments

4. the REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT On June 29, 1898, Gen. Aguinaldo established the Revolutionary Government with himself as President and a Congress whose function was advisory and ministerial.
The aims of the new government:

to struggle for the independence of the Philippines, until all nations including Spain will expressly recognize it to prepare the country for the establishment of a real Republic

5. the FIRST PHILIPPINE REPUBLIC On September 15, 1898, a revolutionary Congress of Filipino representatives met in Malolos, Bulacan at the call of the Revolutionary Government On September 29, 1898, the Malolos Congress ratified the proclamation of Philippine independence made by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 and framed the so-called Malolos Constitution. This Constitution was the first democratic constitution ever promulgated in the whole of Asia. It established a free and independent Philippine Republic which was inaugurated on January 23, 1899 with Gen. Aguinaldo as President. Our first Philippine Republic was not recognized by the family of nations. It was nevertheless an organized government because it actually existed and its authority was accepted. It existed from January 23, 1899 to March 23, 1901. The Republic was short-lived. Its independence cut short by the superior might of a new colonial power. The Malolos Constitution had no opportunity to operate. This in no way diminishes its historical significance. It was the first war of independence fought by Asians against foreign domination. It gave birth to the first constitutional democracy in Asia and the West Pacific.

Governments during the American Regime

1. the MILITARY GOVERNMENT It began in the Philippines on April 14, 1898, the day after the capture of Manila. The existence of war gave the President of the United States the power to establish a military government in the Philippines, as Commander-in-Chief of all Armed Forces of the United States. His authority, all powers of government -- executive, legislative, and judicial -was delegated to the military governor. General Wesley Merritt first American Military Governor General Eiwell E. Otis second Military Governor Major General Arthur MacArthur third and last Military Governor

2. the CIVIL GOVERNMENT The so-called Spooner Amendment ended the military regime in the Philippines. The Civil Government was inaugurated in Manila on July 4, 1901, headed by a Civil Governor whose position was created on October 29, 1901. The Civil Governor (later changed to Governor-General) exercised legislative powers. He remained as President of the Philippine Commission, the sole law-making body of the government from 1901 to 1907. From 1907 to 1916, the Philippine Commission acted as the upper house of the legislative branch with the Philippine Assembly serving as the lower house. These two bodies gave way to the Philippine Legislature with the passage of Spooner Law in 1916. Judge William H. Taft (1901-1903) first Civil Governor Luke F. Wright (1904-1906) succeeded Taft the first American to enjoy the title of Governor-General of the Philippines Frank Murphy (1933-1935) last Governor-General the first High Commissioner of the United States to the Philippines upon the inauguration of the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines 3. the COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT of the PHILIPPINES Pursuant to an act of the United States Congress on March 23, 1934, commonly known as the Tydings-McDuffie Law, the Commonwealth Government was established. Among other things, the law provided for a transition period of ten years during which the Philippine Commonwealth would operate and at the expiration of said period on July 4, 1946, the independence of the Philippines would be proclaimed and established. The new government was inaugurated on November 15, 1935, following the first national election under the 1935 Constitution held on September 12, 1935, with Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmea, as President and Vice- President, respectively. The Commonwealth Government of the Philippines was republican in form under the presidential type. Legislative power It was first vested in a unicameral National Assembly and later in a bicameral Congress composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Judicial power It was vested in the Supreme Court and lower courts provided by law. The Commonwealth Government was very autonomous. The Filipinos had almost complete control over the domestic affairs, the United States retaining control only over matters involving foreign affairs.

Governments during the Japanese Occupation

1. the JAPANESE MILITARY ADMINISTRATION It was established in Manila on January 3, 1942, one day after its occupation. Under a proclamation issued by the Japanese High Command, the sovereignty of the United States over the Philippines was declared terminated. 2. the PHILIPPINE EXECUTIVE COMMISSION The Philippine Executive commission composed of Filipinos with Jorge B. Vargas as chairman, was organized by the military forces of occupation. It exercised both the executive and legislative powers. The laws enacted were subject to the approval of the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese forces. The judiciary continued in the same form but without the independence which it had traditionally enjoyed. 3. the JAPANESE-SPONSORED REPUBLIC of the PHILIPPINES It was inaugurated on October 14, 1943 with Jose P. Laurel as President. The ultimate source of its authority was the Japanese military authority and government. President Laurel proclaimed its dissolution on August 17, 1945.

The previous Philippine Republics

Under Joint Resolution No. 93, the President of the United States was authorized to proclaim the independence of the Philippines prior to July 4, 1946, after the Japanese had been vanquished and constitutional processes in the country restored.

The Republic of the Philippines was formally inaugurated on July 4, 1946 with Manuel A. Roxas as the first President and Elpidio Quirino as the first Vice-President.
They also served as the last Commonwealth President and Vice-President.

The 1935 Constitution served as the fundamental law not only for the Commonwealth Government which was interrupted by World War II but also for the Republic of the Philippines until the ratification of the 1973 Philippine Constitution establishing a parliamentary form of government, effected by virtue of Proclamation No. 1102 of President Ferdinand E. Marcos on January 17, 1973, after the declaration of martial law on September 21, 1972.

2. The First Republic was established on January 23, 1899 under the Malolos Constitution; the Second, on October 14, 1943 under the Japanese-sponsored Constitution, and the Third, on July 4, 1946 under the 1935 Constitution. President Ferdinand E. Marcos, in his inaugural address on June 30, 1981, proclaimed the birth of the Fourth Republic under the 1973 Constitution which, as amended in a plebiscite on April 7, 1981, installed a modified parliamentary system of government, thus making him its first President.

The present Republic came into being upon the ratification of the 1987 Constitution on February 2, 1987.

The provisional Government of 1986

Before Corazon C. Aquino took her oath of office on the morning of February 25, 1986 at Club Filipino, San Juan, Metro Manila, the last day of a four-day people power revolt (Feb.22-25) that culminated in the ouster of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, she read Proclamation No. 1 wherein she declared the she and her Vice-President were taking power in the name and by the will of the Filipino people. In her oath, she swore to preserve and defend the fundamental law and execute just laws.



The government was revolutionary because it was instituted not in accordance with the procedure provided in an existing Constitution.
It derived its existence and authority directly from the people themselves and not

from the then operating 1973 Constitution.

2. DE JURE / DE FACTO de Jure It is constituted or founded in accordance with the existing constitution of the state (according to law) de Facto It is not so constituted or founded but has the general support of the people and effective control of the territory over which it exercises its powers. A de facto government acquires a de jure status when it gains wide acceptance from the people and recognition from the community of nations. 3. CONSTITUTIONAL and TRANSITORY The provisional government was not a purely revolutionary one but a hybrid constitutional revolutionary government. There was nothing to prevent the government from amending, suspending or abrogating the Provisional Constitution and adopting a new one or operating without any constitution. It did not have a status of a supreme or fundamental law because the government was not created by it and was not bound to obey it. 4. DEMOCRATIC The provisional government was claimed to be democratic because it was installed by direct action of the people as a direct expression or manifestation of their sovereign will. It was based on the consent of the governed or the approval of the people.

5. POWERS A revolutionary government, being a direct creation of the people, derives its powers from the people to whom alone it is accountable. It is said that it is clothed with unlimited powers because it makes its own laws; it is a law unto itself. However, with the adoption of the Provisional Constitution, it opted to abide with and to subject itself to the provisions thereof, pending approval of a new charter. 6. the PROVISIONAL CONSTITUTION Instead of declaring the 1973 Constitution with certain amendments and minus certain articles and provisions, as the interim Constitution, Proclamation No. 3 promulgated a Provisional Constitution to replace the former, adopting in toto insofar as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Proclamation, certain provisions of the 1973 Constitution. The Provisional Constitution self-destruct upon the ratification and effectivity of the new Constitution on February 2, 1987.