During the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, the government was composed of two branches, the executive and the judicial.
There was no legislative branch on that time since the laws of the islands were coming from Spain. The only laws created in the Philippines are those who were ordered by the Governor General. The government on that time was lead by the Governor General. He was considered as the representative of Spain and the King himself. He is the highest officer in the island and responsible for implementing laws from the mother country. He also has the power to appoint or relieve officer in the government or priest in the parish, except with those personally appointed by the king of Spain. The provinces in the island were called as “Encomienda” and were governed by the “Encomienderos”, later they were replaced by the “Alcalde Mayor” “Alcalde Mayor” had both the executive and judicial power. He had also given the right to collect taxes. The “Alcalde Mayor” was also allowed to establish a business because of its limited salary. In 1886, their executive power was abolished but their judicial powers remain.
Small towns were governed by the “gobernadorcillo”. Under his authority were one police chief and the lower government employees from which he had jurisdiction. “Gobernadorcillo” were elected by the married people but later a “gobernadorcillo” was chosen by those outgoing in the position as his replacement. The city was governed by two mayors, 12 councilors and a police chief, a secretary and other employees. The city is called as “Ayuntamiento”. The “Encomienda” system was implemented. It is a system from which the king has the right to transfer the authority of a particular land to any Spanish individual or institution. Those individual who posses the right of “encomienda” was called as “Encomiendero”.
An “Encomiendero” has authority to collect taxes from the people in his jurisdiction. He also has the duty to care and look for the benefits of those citizens. Unfortunately, the “encomienda” system was misused by some “encomienderos”. A lot of them use the “encomienda” for their own interest. They tend to abuse their power, collecting taxes more than the real tax value. The “encomiendero’s” abuse their powers which sometimes made people revolts against them. The “encomienda” system created hindrances for the economic development of the masses. This making the elite richer and making the economic situation of the majority under developed. Although the “encomienda” system is designed for governance, its implementation gives negative effects to the people from which the “encomienderos” abuse their power against the people, to whom they are bound to govern. The government during the American regime
After the Spaniards capitulated to them in the Battle of Manila on August 13, 1898, the victorious Americans established the Military Government on August 14. This government which was run by military generals appointed by the American president exercised all powers of the government until the war was declared by the Americans to have ended until July 1901, following the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo. On July 4, 1901, upon the recommendation of the Second Philippine Commission headed by William Taft, the American authorities established the civil government that took over the functions of the military government. The president of the Philippine Commission became civil governor in areas already pacified under the American military rule. The Civil Governor (the title was later changed to Governor-General in 1905) also exercised legislative powers while remaining as president of the Philippine Commission, the lawmaking body of the government up to 1907.
Upon the creation of the Philippine Assembly that served as the lower house, the Philippine Commission became the upper house of the legislative branch from 1907 to 1916. The first free national elections in the Philippines were held for the members of the Philippine Assembly who were all Filipinos where Sergio Osmeña served as Speaker of the Assembly. With the passage of the Spooner Amendment in 1916, the Philippine Commission and Philippine Assembly gave way to an all Filipino Legislature. The Philippine Legislature had two houses – the Senate and the House of Representatives. Manuel Quezon was elected President of the Senate and Osmeña again became Speaker of the House. Despite the growing participation of the civil government there were still limitations. The American governor-general was still the power behind the government and, together with the American president could veto any law passed by the Philippine Legislature.
The U.S. Congress regulated Philippine trade and the American Supreme Court could overrule the decisions of the Philippine Supreme Court. Pursuant to the provisions of the Tydings-McDuffie Law passed by the U.S. Congress, the Commonwealth Government was established to succeed American Insular Government in the Philippines. Following the first national elections under the 1935 Constitution, the Commonwealth Government was inaugurated on November 15, 1935, with Quezon as president and Osmeña as vice president. The Commonwealth Government was a ten-year transitory government which gave Filipinos a chance to prove to the Americans their capability readiness in handling their own government.
If proven capable the independence of the Philippines would be proclaimed upon the expiration of the said period. The Commonwealth was a semi-independent or autonomous government of the Filipinos under American tutelage. It was republican in form under the presidential type. The legislative power was vested in a bicameral congress that was divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives. It had its own system of judicial courts with the Supreme Court on top of the ladder. When the Second World War broke out ,the Commonwealth Government became a government-in-exile administering the affairs of the Philippines across the ocean from the United States. The Commonwealth officials, headed by President Quezon, had to flee there to the Japanese occupation of the country. The Japanese occupation
The Japanese military authorities immediately began organizing a new government structure in the Philippines. Although the Japanese had promised independence for the islands after occupation, they initially organized a Council of State through which they directed civil affairs until October 1943, when they declared the Philippines an independent republic. Most of the Philippine elite, with a few notable exceptions, served under the Japanese. Philippine collaboration in Japanese-sponsored political institutions – which later became a major domestic political issue-was motivated by several considerations. Among them was the effort to protect the people from the harshness of Japanese rule (an effort that Quezon himself had advocated), protection of family and personal interests, and a belief that Philippine nationalism would be advanced by solidarity with fellow Asians.
Many collaborated to pass information to the Allies. The Japanese-sponsored republic headed by President José P. Laurel proved to be unpopular. Japanese occupation of the Philippines was opposed by increasingly effective underground and guerrilla activity that ultimately reached large-scale proportions. Postwar investigations showed that about 260,000 people were in guerrilla organizations and that members of the anti-Japanese underground were even more numerous. Their effectiveness was such that by the end of the war, Japan controlled only twelve of the forty-eight provinces. One major resistance group in the Central Luzon area was furnished by the Huks, Hukbalahap (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon), or the People’s Anti-Japanese Army organized in early 1942 under the leadership of Luis Taruc, a communist party member since 1939. The Huks armed some 30,000 people and extended their control over much of Luzon. Other guerrilla units were attached to the SWPA, and were active throughout the archipelago.
End of the Japanese occupation
On October 20, 1944, MacArthur’s Allied Forces landed on the island of Leyte accompanied by Osmeña, who had succeeded to the commonwealth presidency upon the death of Quezon on August 1, 1944. Landings then followed on the island of Mindoro and around the Lingayen Gulf on the west side of Luzon, and the push toward Manila was initiated. The Commonwealth of the Philippines was restored. Fighting was fierce, particularly in the mountains of northern Luzon, where Japanese troops had retreated, and in Manila, where they put up a last-ditch resistance.
The Philippine Commonwealth troops and the recognized guerrilla fighter units rose up everywhere for the final offensive. Fighting continued until Japan’s formal surrender on September 2, 1945. The Philippines had suffered great loss of life and tremendous physical destruction by the time the war was over. An estimated 1 million Filipinos had been killed, a large proportion during the final months of the war, and Manila was extensively damaged. First Philippine Republic
21 January 1899| The Malolos Constitution was ratified during a general assembly of Congress, and the first Council of Government of the First Philippine Republic was created.
From January 21, 1899 to May 7, 1899, with Apolinario Mabini as President of the Cabinet (i.e. Prime Minister), Gracio Gonzaga served as the Secretary of Public Welfare, which included the transportation and communications portfolio. | 07 May 1899 to 13 November 1899| When Mabini was replaced by Pedro Paterno as President of the Cabinet, among the seven departments set up was the Communicaciones y Obras PublicasÃ¢ (i.e. the Communications and Public Works Department). Maximo Paterno was appointed as Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Since then, Public Works, Transportation, and Communications have been grouped into one department.| Independent Philippines and the Third Republic (1946-1972)
In April 1946, elections were held. Despite the fact that the Democratic Alliance won the election, they were not allowed to take their seats under the pretext that force had been used to manipulate the elections. The United States withdrew its sovereignty over the Philippines on July 4, 1946, as scheduled. Manuel Roxas (Liberal Party), having been inaugurated as President as scheduled, on July 4, 1946 before the granting of independence, strengthened political and economic ties with the United States in the controversial Philippine-US Trade Act, In Mar., 1947, the Philippines and the United States signed a military assistance pact (since renewed) which allowed the US to participate equally in the exploitation of the country’s natural resources—and rented sites for 23 military bases to the US for 99 years (a later agreement reduced the period to 25 years beginning 1967). These bases would later be used to launch operations in the areas of Korea, China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. During the Roxas administration, a general amnesty was granted for those who had worked together with the Japanese while at the same time the Huks were declared illegal.
His administration ended prematurely when he died of heart attack April 15, 1948 while at the US Air Force Base in Pampanga. Vice President Elpidio Quirino (Liberal Party, henceforth referred to as LP) was sworn in as President after the death of Roxas in April 1948. He ran for election in November 1949 against Jose P. Laurel (Nacionalista Party, henceforth referred to as NP) and won his own four-year term. During this time, the CIA under the leadership of Lt. Col. Edward G. Lansdale was engaged in paramilitary and psychological warfare operations with the goal to hold backthe Huk Movement. Among the measures which were undertaken were psyops-campaigns which demoralized the superstition of many Filipinos and acts of violence by government soldiers which were disguised as Huks. By 1950, the U.S. had provided the Philippine military with supplies and equipment worth $200 million dollars.
The huge task of reconstructing the war-torn country was complicated by the activities in central Luzon of the Communist-dominated Hukbalahap guerrillas (Huks), who resorted to terror and violence in their efforts to attain land reform and gain political power. They were finally brought under control (1954) after a dynamic attack introduced by the minister of national defense, Ramón Magsaysay. By that time Magsaysay was president of the country, having defeated Quirino in Nov., 1953. His campaign was massively supported by the CIA, both financially and through practical help in discrediting his political enemies. He had promised sweeping economic changes, and he did make progress in land reform, opening new settlements outside crowded Luzon Island. His death in an airplane crash in Mar., 1957, was a serious blow to national morale. Vice President Carlos P. García succeeded him and won a full term as president in the elections of Nov., 1957. In foreign affairs, the Philippines preserved a firm anti-Communist policy and joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization in 1954.
There were difficulties with the United States over American military installations in the islands, and, in spite of formal recognition (1956) of full Philippine sovereignty over these bases, tensions increased until some of the bases were dismantled (1959) and the 99-year lease period was reduced. The United States rejected Philippine financial claims and projected trade revisions. Philippine opposition to García on issues of government corruption and anti-Americanism led, in June, 1959, to the union of the Liberal and Progressive parties, led by Vice President Diosdado Macapagal, the Liberal party leader, who succeeded García as president in the 1961 elections. Macapagal’s administration was marked by efforts to combat the mounting rise that had plagued the republic since its birth; by attempted alliances with neighboring countries; and by a territorial argument with Britain over North Borneo (later Sabah), which Macapagal claimed had been leased and not sold to the British North Borneo Company in 1878.