Politics and Forms of Government in the Philippines
Politics and Forms of Government in the Philippines
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Politics and Forms of Government in the Philippines
Meaning of Politics
According to scientists, politics is the study of power and the powerful of influence and
the influential of rulers and the ruled of authority and the authoritative.
According to Sen. Ernesto Maceda, “Politics is the art of compromise
to achieve certain end."
According to Senate President Jovito Salonga, it is simply the capacity
to say no to something dangerous or inimical to public interest.
In its broad sense, it can be defined as the art and science of governance, the means by
which the will of community is arrived at and implemented the activities of the government,
politicians and political part.
Politics exist at anytime at anyplace with anybody trying to own and exercise power and
influence to attain given objectives. It inevitably exists in the family, churches, in schools, in
classrooms, mass media, associations, corporations , societies, revolutionary groups, etc.
Its purposes can be personal, organizational, institutional, governmental, commercial,
senatorial or collective in nature.
Four Essential Elements of Politics
Meaning of Governance
Governance is the exercise of political, economic and administrative authority in the
management of a country’s affairs at all levels.
It is the delivery of government services and information to the public using electronic
means. It can be defined as “giving citizen the choice of when and where they can access
government information and services.”
Is a community of persons more or less occupying a definite territory possessing an
organize government and enjoying independence or external control. The elements of which
are sovereignty, people, territory and government.
It is defined as people or aggregation of men existing in the form of an organize society
usually inhabiting a distinct portion of the earth, speaking the same language, using the same
customs, possessing historic continuity and disguised from other like group by their racial origin
and characteristic and generally but not necessarily living under the same government and
Differences of a State and a Nation
♥ State is more of political concept while nation is racial or ethnical one.
♥ There can be a nation without there being a state but when there is a state there is at
least one nation.
♥ A state may be made up of one or more nations and a nation may occupy two or more
states. A state composed of several nations is called Polynational state while a state
with one nation is called Mononational state.
♥ A state presupposes a government and a definite territory while these are not necessary
in the existence of the nation.
It is the aggregation of authorities which rule the societies.
Differences of a State and a Government
1. Government is an essential mark of the state. There cannot be a state without a
government but there can be a government without there being a state.
Ways of Changing the Government
By natural/accidental death of the Chief Executive
Resignation/voluntary exile of the Chief Executive
Coup d’ etat
2. A state possesses the quality of permanency while the government may come and go
leaving the state to continue unimpaired and unaffected.
3. The state is an ideal person while the government is the instrumentality of this political
Elements of a State
It is the entire body of those citizens of a state who are
invested with political or for political purposes.
It is the geographical area under the jurisdiction of another
country or sovereign power of a state. It must be a fixed
territory with inhabitants occupy.
Modes of Acquiring Territory
By discovering or occupation
A state may acquire territory by discovering a continent, an island or land with no
inhabitants or occupied by uncivilized inhabitants and there after occupying it under its
Land inhabited by uncivilized persons
Land discovered but failed to occupy it for unreasonable length of time
It is the mode of acquiring territory through continuous and undisputed exercise of
sovereignty over it during such period as is necessary to create under the present condition
of things is in conformity with international order.
It is the assignment transfer or yielding up of territory by one state or government to
By Subjugation and Annexation
It is a mode of acquiring territory belonging to a state by occupation and conquest made by
another state in the course of war and by annexation of the end of a war.
Another mode of acquiring territory by addition of portion of soil, either artificial or natural.
As an element of state, it is the totality of authorities
which rule a society by prescribing and carrying out
the fundamental rules which regulate the freedom of
each member. It is derived from “Gubernaculum”
Two Kinds of Government
De Jure (Legitimate) Government
It is one established in accordance to the constitution of the nation and lawfully entitled
to recognition and supremacy and administration of the nation but which is actually cut
off from power or control.
De facto (Illegitimate) Government
It is one that maintains itself by display of force against the will of the rightful legal
government and is successful at least temporarily in overturning the institution of the
rightful legal government by setting its own in lieu thereof.
Three Kinds of De Facto Government
Government by Revolution
A government established by the inhabitants who rise in revolt against and deposed the
Government by Secession
A government established by the inhabitants of a state who secede there from without
overthrowing its government.
Government by Occupation
It is a government established in the course of war by the invading forces of one
belligerent country in the territory of another belligerent country. The government of
which is also displaced.
It is the supreme absolute and uncontrollable power by which an independent state is
Two Kinds of Sovereignty
It is the power to control and direct the internal appears of the country. We have the
right to enact, execute and apply laws.
It is the power of an independent state to control and direct its external affairs. We have
the authority to enter into treaties with other countries, to wage war and to receive and
send diplomatic missions.
Rights of a State
A. The right of existence and self defense - It is the right of the state to use force against
an aggressor state.
B. The right of independence - It is the right of the state to be free from dependence,
dictation, subjection control and intervention of another state or external power.
C. The right of equality - This right is inherent to a state.
D. The right of legation - It is the right of the state to enter into a diplomatic relation or
intercourse with others state by receiving and sending diplomatic corps or
The principal forms are the following:
1. As to number of persons exercising sovereign powers
Monarchy - The sovereign power is vested in a single person.
o Absolute Monarchy - One in which the ruler rules by divine right.
o Limited Monarchy - One in which the ruler rules in accordance with
Aristocracy - The political power is exercised by few privileged class.
Democracy - One in which the political power eased by a majority of the people.
o Direct or pure democracy - One in which the will of the state is formulated or
expressed directly and immediately though the people in the mass meeting
or primary assembly rather than through the medium of delegates or
representatives chosen to act for them.
o Indirect, representative or republican democracy - One which the will of the
state is formulated and expressed through the agency of a relatively small
and select body of persons chosen by the people to act as their
2. As to extent of powers exercised by the central or national government
Unitary government - One in which the control of national and local affairs is
exercised by the central of national government.
Federal government - One in which the power of the government are divided
between two sets of organ, one for national affairs and the other for local affairs.
3. As to relationship between the executive and legislative branches of the government
Parliamentary government - The state confers upon the legislature the power to
terminate the tenure of office of the real executive.
Presidential government - One in which the state makes the executive
constitutionally independent of the legislature as regards his tenure and to a large
extent as regards his policies and acts, and furnisher him with sufficient power to
prevent the legislature from trenching upon the sphere marked out by the
constitution as executive independence and prerogative.
1. Unit of Government - The Philippines was composed of settlements or villages each
called barangay, named after balangay, a Malayan word meaning “boat.”
2. Datu - Each barangay was ruled by a chief called datu in some places and rajah, sultan
or hadji. He was its chief executive, law giver, chief judge and military head. In the
performance of his duties, however, he was assisted usually by a council of elders
(maginoos) which serves as his advisers. In form, the barangay was a monarchy with the
datu as the monarch. One could be a datu chiefly by inheritance, wisdom, wealth or
3. Social Classes in the barangay - The people of the barangay were divided into four
classes, namely: the nobility (maharlika), to which the datu belonged, the freemen
(timawa), the serfs (aliping namamahay), and the slaves (aliping sagigilid).
4. Early Laws - The two known written codes in the pre-Spanish era are the “Maragtas
Code” which was said to have been written about 1250 A.D. by Datu Sumakwel of Panay
and the “Kalantiaw Code” written in 1433 A.D. by Datu Kalantiaw, also of Panay. The
unwritten laws consisted of customs and traditions which have been passed down from
generation to generation.
5. Comparison with other ancient governments – It can be said that the laws of the
barangay were generally fair. The system of government, although defective was not so
bad considering the conditions in other lands in the age during which it flourished. 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 nation’s then at the head of civilization.
Government during the Spanish period
1. Spain’s title the Philippines - It was based on the discovery made by Ferdinand Magellan
in 1521, consummated by its conquest by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi forty-five years later
and long possession for almost four centuries, until it was terminated in 1898, when by
the Treaty of Paris, the Philippines was ceded by the Spain to the United States.
2. Spanish colonial government - From 1565 to n1821, 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 over Philippine affairs.
Three times during the Spanish period (1810-1813, 1820-1823, and 1836-1837), the
Philippines was given representation in the Spanish Cortes, the legislative body of Spain. A basic
principle introduced by Spain to the Philippines was the union of the church and the state.
3. Government in the Philippines Unitary - The government which Spain established in the
Philippines was centralized in structure and national in scope. The barangays were
consolidated into towns (pueblos) each headed by a goberrnadorcillo (little governor),
popularly called capitan, and the towns into provinces, each headed by a governor
represented the Governor General in the province.
Cities governed under special characters 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. He was “Governor-General” “Captain
General,” and “vice-royal patron.” As Governor-General, he had executive,
administrative, legislative, and judicial powers. As Captain-General, he was Commander-in-
chief of all the Armed Forces in the Philippines. As the vice-royal patron, he exercised
certain religious powers. Because of these broad powers, it has been said that the
Governor General enjoyed more powers than the King of Spain himself. This was
justified, however, because of the distance of the Philippines from Spain.
The first Spanish Governor-General in the Philippines was Miguel Lopez de Legazpi
(1565-1571) and the last was Gen. Diego de los Rios (1898).
5. The Judiciary- The Royal Audencia which was established in 1583 was 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 also
performed functions of executive and legislative nature.
Below The Royal Audencia, were two Territorial Audencias established in 1893- one in Cebu
and the other in Vigan - which 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.
In addition, there were special courts, like the military and naval courts which had
jurisdiction over military offenses, and the ecclesiastical courts which had cognizance of
canonical matters and ecclesiastical offenses. Treasury and commercial courts were also
created but were later abolished.
6. Evaluation of the Spanish Governments in the Philippines - The government which
Spain established in the Philippines was defective. It was government for the Spaniards
and not for the Filipinos. The Spanish officials were often inefficient and corrupt. The
union of church and state produced serious strife’s between the ecclesiastical and civil
authorities. Equality before the law was denied to the Filipinos. The demerits, however,
of the Spanish administration were more than offset by its merits.
(a.) The Spanish rule, when viewed in the broader light of global colonization, was
generally mild and humane. The Filipino people were not brutalized. Spaniards and
Filipinos intermarried and mingled socially. Slavery and tribal wars were suppressed;
(b.) It brought about the unification of the Filipino people. The diverse tribes were
molded into one people, under one God, one King, and one government, and out of
their common grievances against Spain, blossomed the spirit of nationalism; and
(c.) Spain uplifted the Filipinos from the depth of primitive culture and paganism and
gave them the 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. The central government of the Katipunan was vested in
a Supreme Council (Kataastaasang Sanggunian). In each province there was a Provincial
Council (Sangguniang Balangay) and in each town, a Popular Council (Sangguniang
Bayan). The judicial power was exercised by a Judicial Council (Sanggunian gHukuman).
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 whose officials headed
by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo as President, were elected in the Tejeros Convention held on March
2. The Biak-na-Bato Republic - On November 1, 1897, a republic was established by Gen.
Aguinaldo in Biak-naBato (now San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan). It had a constitution
which was to take effect for two years only. It declared that the aim of the revolutions
was the “separation of the Philippines from the Spanish monarchy and their formation
into an independent state.” The Biak-na-Bato Republic lasted up to December 15, 1897,
with the conclusion of the “Pack of Biak-na-Bato.”
3. The Dictatorial Government - Following the outbreak of the Spanish-American war on
April 25, 1898, Gen. Aguinaldo, in view of the chaotic conditions in the country,
established the Dictatorial Government on May 23, 1898. The most important
achievements of the Dictatorial Government were the Proclamation of Philippine
Independence at Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 and the reorganization of local
4. The Revolutionary Government - On June 29, 1898, Gen. Aguinaldo established the
Revolutionary Government replacing the Dictatorial Government with himself as
President and a Congress whose function was advisory and ministerial. The decree
making such change stated that the new governments were “to struggle for the
independence of the Philippines, until all nations including Spain will expressly recognize
it,” and “to prepare the country for the establishment of a real Republic.”
5. The First Philippine Republic - On September 15, 1898, revolutionary Congress of
Filipino representatives met in Malolos, Bulacan at the call of the Revolutionary
Government. The Malolos Congress ratified on September 29, 1898 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 by the people. It existed from January 23, 1899 to March 23, 1901.
In February, 1899, the United States annexed the Philippines as a result of the Spanish-
American war and in April, 1901, Gen. Aguinaldo was captured. Thus, the Republic was short-lived,
its independence cut short by the superior might of a new colonial power. The Malolos
Constitution which provided for the establishment of a Philippine Republic had no opportunity
to operate. However, this in no way diminishes the historical significance of the Philippine
Revolution of 1896. It was the first war of independence fought by Asians against foreign
domination and it gave birth to the first constitutional democracy in Asia and the West Pacific.
The previous Philippine Republics
Under Joint Resolution No. 93, approved by the United States Congress on June
29,1994,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. Roxas and Quirino also served from May 28, 1946 as the last Commonwealth
President and Vice-President, respectively.
The 1935 Constitution served as the fundamental law not only for the Commonwealth
Government which was interrupted by the Second World War 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 19, 1973, after the declaration of martial law on September 21,
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 1935 Constitution. President Ferdinand E. Marcos, in his inauguration address
on June 30, 1981 proclaimed the birth of the Fourth-Republic under 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. All in-all, there were nine President in the
previous three-republics, including President Marcos in his two(2) terms in the Third Republics.
The Provisional Government of 1986
Before Corazon 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 that she and her Vice-President were “taking power in the name and by
the will of the Filipino People” on the basis of the clear sovereign will of the people expressed in
the election of February 7,1986.In her oath, she swore to preserve and defend the
“fundamentals law”(not the “Constitutions”) and execute “just laws” (instead of its laws).
(1) Revolutionary – The government was revolutionary because it was instituted not in
accordance with the procedure provided in an existing Constitution. There is a definite
acknowledgment in Proclamation No.3 that the provisional government established there
under was revolutionary in character (without calling itself as such) having been installed by
direct action of the people or by “people power,” deriving its existence and authority directly
from the people themselves and not from the then operating 1973 Constitution.
(2) De jure /de facto. – The first is one constituted or founded in accordance with the existing
constitution of the state (according to law), while the other 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 its gain wide
acceptance from the people and recognition from the community of nations.
At its inception, the revolutionary government was illegal for lack of constitutional basis
not having been sanctioned by either the 1935 or the 1973 Constitution. It was de facto
government but acquired a de jure status. There was no question then that the revolutionary
government had won continuous public acceptance and support without ant resistance
whatsoever anywhere in the Philippines and the recognition of practically all foreign
(3) Constitutional, democratic, and transitory. – The provisional government was not a purely
revolutionary one but hybrid constitutional revolutionary government, i.e. a revolutionary
government governing under a provisional or interim constitution the people could invoke to
protect their rights and to promote their welfare, to exist for a limited period until the
ratification and effectively of a permanent constitution. There was nothing, however, to
prevent the government from amending, suspending or abrogating the Provisional Constitution
and adopting a new one or operating without any constitution.
In other words, the Provisional Constitution did not have the status of a supreme or
fundamental law because the government was not created by it and was not bound to obey it.
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, and,
therefore, it was based on the consent of the governed and the approval of the people.
(4) 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 a revolutionary
government 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, the revolutionary
government opted to abide with and to subject itself to the provisions thereof, pending
approval of a new charter.
(5)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 Republic came into being
upon the ratification of the 1987 Constitution on February 2, 1987. By its very nature, the
Provisional Constitution (as well as the revolutionary government which operated under it) self-destructs
upon the ratification and effectivity of the new Constitution on February 2, 1987.