The Philippines political system takes place in an organized structure of a presidential, representative, and democratic republic wherein the president is both the head of government and the head of state within a multi-party system. This system has three co-dependent branches: the executive branch (the law-enforcing body), the legislative branch (the law-making body), and the judicial branch (the law-interpreting body). Below are the full details on the three branches with their corresponding Philippine government officials.
Executive power is implemented by the government under the leadership of the president which is President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wherein her party affiliation is under Kampi or Lakas-CMD. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was appointed as president last January 20, 2001 and has been reelected last May 2004 elections. Her term will then end this coming May 2010 elections. The President functions as both the head of state, the head of government tand 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 her cabinet members whom she officiates over. The executive seat of government is managed officially from Malacañang Palace which is also the official residence of the president which is in the capital City of Manila. The President may no longer run for re-election, unless he or 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 wherein his party affiliation is Lakas-CMD or Independent, which is also elected by popular vote last June 30, 2004. The vice-president is second in line to succession should the president resign, been impeached or die in office. The vice-president is usually a member of the president’s cabinet but not always. If there is a vacancy in the position of Vice President, the President will appoint any member of Congress which is usually a party member as new Vice President. The appointment will be validated by a three-fourths vote of Congress voting separately.
The bicameral Philippine legislature wherein members of both are elected by popular vote, the two chamber Congress, consists of the following:
Senate or Senado or upper chamber consists of 24 seats wherein one-half are elected every three years and members elected at large by popular vote to serve six-year terms. They can be reelected but they are no longer eligible to run for a third consecutive term. The Senate is elected at large. Elections for Senate was last held on 14 May 2007 and next to be held in May 2010.
b. House of Representative
House of Representatives or Kapulungan ng mga Kinatawan or lower chamber consists of 212 members representing districts plus 24 sectoral party-list members and members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms. The Constitution prohibits the House of Representatives from having more than 250 members. 206 are elected from the single-member districts. The remainder of the House seats are elected 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 re – elected but they are no longer qualified to run for a fourth consecutive term. The House of Representatives may decide on 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 and will be considered as one elective term. The same rule applies in the Senate however it will only apply if the seat is vacated before the regular legislative election. Elections for House of Representatives was last held on 14 May 2007 next to be held in May 2010.
The judiciary branch of the government is headed by the Supreme Court, which has a Chief Justice which is Reynato Puno as its head and 14 Associate Justices, all selected by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council and they shall serve until 70 years of age. Court of Appeals which is Sandigan-bayan is a special court for hearing corruption cases of government officials.
- POLITICAL DYNASTY
Politics in the Philippines has been under the control of a few notable families. It is normal for a politician’s son, wife, brother, or other kinsman, to run for the same or other government office. The term coined by Filipinos to describe this practice is “Political dynasty”, the equivalent of an oligarchy in political science.
We call this interrelationship as a Political Dynasty or DYNASTOCRACY– a government ruled by a few families controlling certain regions, provinces and cities and municipalities in our country.
This is designed to preserve and propagate power within the clans giving scant options to the less privileged people to assume political power. Needless to say the clans their allies and minions who hold the levers of power likewise have economic dominance. Such is the perverted power dynamics we have today.
- ABSENCE OF LAWS ON POLITICAL DYNASTY
What then is political dynasty? The Supreme Court had defined the term political dynasties in the case of Navarro v. Ermita (GR No. 180050; April 12, 2011).
In that ruling, Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio defined political dynasties in the Philippines as a “phenomenon that concentrates political power and public resources within the control of a few families whose members alternately hold elective offices, deftly skirting term limits.”
There were Bills files in the legislature. One of these is the Senate Bill-2649: Anti-Political Dynasty Act of the Constitution, Article II, Section 26 states:
“The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”
The accompanying arguments of this bill, thus:
To give force and effect to this provision, the playing field of the political arena should be levelled and opened to persons who are equally qualified to aspire on even terms with those from ruling politically dominant families.
Philippine society, many sociologists note, revolves around the system of extended families. However, this extended family system, an otherwise beneficial concept when applied to the social aspects of human behavior, finds its pernicious effects in the political arena where public office becomes the exclusive domain of influential families and clans that are well-entrenched in Philippine politics. The monopoly of political power and public resources by such families affects the citizenry at the local and national levels.
The socio-economic and political inequities prevalent in Philippine society limit public office to members of ruling families. In many instances, voters, for convenience and out of cultural mindset look up to these ruling families as dispensers of favors, and thus elect relatives of these politically dominant families.
This bill was filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on January 24, 2011. Similar to this are SB-1317 of 2004 by then senator Alfredo Lim, SB-1468 of 2007 filed by Senator Panfilo Lacson and the House Bill-2493 of 2007 by Rep. Teddy Casino. Sadly, none of these bills were passed into a law.
Former Chief Justice Renato Puno pointed succinctly the cause for failures for any initiatives on such bills: the phrase attached to the provision “…as may be defined by law.” In this country with this system, the dynasts are empowered to define political dynasty.
This singularity makes a fine case for changing our system.
THE CURRENT CROP OF NATIONAL CANDIDATES
The Philippine legislative branch of the government comprises 24 senators elected universally by the majority of Philippine voters and come from no specific province or region. Like the President of our Republic, they represent the Pilipino voters in general.
There are no existing Philippine laws that prohibit the entry of candidates coming from the same region, province or city.
The current eminencies of opposing political groupings are:
ANGARA – Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (son of Senator Edgardo Angara)
AQUINO – Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco (aunt-in-law of President Aquino)
AQUINO – Paolo Benigno “Bam” IV (nephew of President Benigno Aquino)
BINAY – Nancy Binay-Angeles (daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay)
CAYETANO– siblings Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano in the Senate
EJERCITO-ESTRADA– if Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito will be placed into the pedestal of power in the government in this elections on May 13, 2013, there will be two sons of Erap Estrada in the Senate with Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada, the felon
ENRILE– once Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile Jr. wins in the political bout on May, he will join Juan Ponce Enrile, his father, in the Senate
MAGSAYSAY – Milagros “Mitos” Habana-Magsaysay and Ramon Magsaysay Jr., son of the popular former President;
and VILLAR– Cynthia Villar (wife of termed out Sen. Manny Villar).
If ever all of these candidates win in the May 2013 elections, we will have a grand total of 13 family-related senators in the senate. This is more than 50% of the entire Upper House. That makes eight family collectively in control of the Senate.
REFERENCE: Centrist Democracy Political Institute website
Political dynasties in the Philippines
Politics in the Philippines has been under the control of a few notable families. It is normal for a politician’s son, wife, brother, or other kinsman, to run for the same or other government office. The term coined by Filipinos to describe this practice is “Political dynasty“, the equivalent of an oligarchy in political science.
One can trace its roots from the Spanish colonial times where favored families of the mestizo stock, or the Illustrados were given responsibilities of Gobernadorcillo, or Alcalde. As such, these men have wielded some influence in their communities, and patronage politics was a common undertaking.
During the early years of American rule of the Philippine Islands, these Illustrados joined the democratic process introduced by the Philippine Bill of 1902. During this period, family names such as Cojuangcos,Lopezes, Marcoses, Osmeñas and Aquinos started to emerge, later on becoming household names.
The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines states in Article II Section 26, “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”
Many have called for the Congress to pass the Anti-Dynasty Law, but this bill has been passed over by each Congress since 1987. Some have pointed that oligarchy is the root problem of all the corruption in the Philippine government.
ANG TUNAY NA KAHULUGAN NG PDAF
Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos gathered at Luneta Park on Monday to voice outrage at graft-tainted pork barrel fund in the largest demonstration since President Benigno Aquino was elected in 2010 on a platform to fight corruption.
Between 80,000 to 100,000, according to police estimate, turned out including professionals, students, workers, priests, nuns and even civic and showbiz personalities, in a sign of the breadth of anger over graft in the country.
“It was most probably 60,000 to 70,000 during the rally. At most, I would say about 100,000,” said national police spokesman Reuben Sindac.
Organizers said the rally drew as many as 400,000 people.
WHAT IS PORK BARREL IN THE PHILIPPINES?
In the Philippines, the term “pork barrel” is used to mean funds allocated to the members of the Philippine House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate to spend as they see fit without going through the normal budgetary process or through the Executive Branch.
The PDAF scam involved the funding of “ghost projects” that were funded using the PDAF funds of participating lawmakers. These projects were in turn “implemented” through Napoles’ companies, with the projects producing no tangible output. According to testimony provided by Benhur Luy’s brother, Arthur, funds would be processed through fake foundations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) established under the wing of the JLN Group of Companies, the holding company of Janet Lim-Napoles, with Napoles’ employees—even a nanny—named as incorporators or directors. Each foundation or NGO served as an official recipient of a particular legislator’s PDAF funds, and each organization had a number of bank accounts where PDAF funds would be deposited for the implementation of these projects.
The infographic below shows how the pork barrel scam has mutated since the reforms were introduced. Data below were provided by whistleblowers, erstwhile employees of Janet Lim-Napoles, to Levito Baligod, detailing the flow and trail of pork barrel. Hover over the “i” icons in each square and understand what happens every step of the way.
Even though the Battle of Manila had little direct relation to freeing Cuba from Spanish rule, Americans were excited by Dewey’s sudden victory over the larger (but older) Spanish Navy at Manila. However, Dewey had no troops, and without troops, the invasion of Manila could not begin. The US Asiatic Squadron had to wait for months in the sweltering heat of Manila Harbor, waiting for American troops to arrive for a ground assault. While they waited, other European fleets sailed near Manila, especially the German and British fleets. Although not involved in the war, both countries sent ships claiming that they wanted them there to evacuate Germans and Britons in the event of serious fighting. However, the German fleet also sought to harass Dewey and intimidate the US. The British, on the other hand, wanted to offset German intimidation in order to foster better relations between Britain and America. At this time, Britain was aware of America’s rapid increases in power due to industrial growth, and was hoping to pave the way for future alliances.
Finally, after Dewey’s ships had waited for months, US ground troops arrived in the Philippines. The US troops allied with the Filipino guerillas to fight against the Spanish. The guerillas were led by Emilio Aguinaldo, a Filipino nationalist who the Spanish had exiled, and who Dewey brought back to help unify the people against their Spanish overlords. The Filipinos saw the US as liberators, and gladly fought alongside them. On August 13, 1898, US troops, aided by Aguinaldo’s guerillas, captured Manila.
War in the Philippines proved to many Americans the importance of another set of Pacific islands, the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii, considered the “crossroads of the Pacific” might be used as a coaling station to help supply the US Navy in future operations in the Pacific. To be honest, Hawaii could have easily worked as a coaling station without formal annexation, since American businessmen essentially controlled the island anyway. Nonetheless, keeping with the spirit of the times, the US annexed Hawaii on July 7, 1898. Hawaiians were given full US citizenship. Because the US had such a massive business interest in Hawaii, and so many American businessmen lived there, this came as little surprise.
The US switch to imperialist behavior that occurred in 1898 has been a topic of great historical attention. After all, the US has generally claimed to stand in opposition to the practice of taking colonies, to be an advocate of freedom, democracy, and self-government for all. Some historians believe that this imperialist period was a “Great Aberration”, a mistake that the US would never repeat, and one that goes against everything the US stands for. Others think that America really continued to have a kind of “informal colonial” influence throughout the twentieth century. By “informal colonialism”, they mean that the US has promoted democracy as a means to opening foreign markets for American manufactures and sources of raw materials. In this way, through a subtle dominance based on economics rather than direct politics, the US was able to create the same economic relationship that European powers had with their colonies. Under this view, the colony grabbing of 1898 (Guam, Hawaii, Philippines, Puerto Rico) was only the most obvious episode of American imperialism; it was the short period before the US discovered more subtle methods of economic domination, known as “neo-imperialism”.
So how could Americans suddenly shift from anti-imperialism to jingoism? One explanation says that what really made the difference was a sudden shift in opinion among a “Foreign Policy Elite” consisting largely of businessmen, intellectuals, politicians, bureaucrats, and newspapermen. Partially, this shift might have occurred because of economic motivation, especially the search for new markets and the need to protect those markets with coaling stations, as advocated by Mahan. Alternatively, imperialism could have been a continuation of “Manifest Destiny”, the ideology that fueled westward expansion. With the West mostly won, people now looked elsewhere to expand. The “Foreign Policy Elite” also may have justified imperial expansion using the theory of Social Darwinism, which suggested that only the strongest nations would survive, and that fierce competition was natural and necessary. Protestant ideals and a desire to educate and “Christianize” various groups was also an interest (even though the Filipinos had already been Catholic for centuries). Finally, the Foreign Policy Elite might have looked to Europe and followed the example set by European imperialists, in particular Great Britain. Most likely is that some mixture of these various factors all worked together to change the mind of the Foreign Policy Elite regarding the acquisition of an American empire.
The conquests of 1898 did not entirely mimic the European colonial model. In some senses, American actions 1898 represented a “New Imperialism”, a new and unique empire, separate from the European colonial tradition and distinctly American. American imperialism was not a rejection of the anti-colonialism of the early republic, but a conscious choice based on economic motivations that held true before and after 1898. Americans were not merely aping the trappings of the European colonial experience. Instead of seeking empire for God, glory or gold, some would argue that American imperialism sought markets for industrial overproduction. Furthermore, access to foreign markets rather than actual political control of markets was the goal. In earlier mercantilist philosophies, nations sought colonies as outlets for their finished goods and as sources of raw materials for their extractive economies. American imperialists, though, wanted colonies that would serve to keep foreign markets accessible and open, not colonies that would be the markets themselves. The Philippines were important not only for a population of 7 million, but because the island provided room for a naval base from which the US could protect its business interests in Japan and China.
The Ruling Class in Preconquest Times
Early part of sixteenth century, before the colonizer came here in the Philippines, we do not have a national unit of government but we have just a small unit that was called barangay, which was a family-government structure. Barangay was divided into three classes: the maharlika (nobility) , timawa (freemen) and the aliping namamahay at aliping sagigilid (serfs and slaves). The nobility (maharlika) is the one who is in the ruling class. They were the datu which means “leader” and in other region also being called rajah, hadji or sultan. Being a datu was inherited but a member of maharlika can also take over by their wealth and physical ability. Next to the rank of nobility is the timawa. They paid no taxes, owned lands, and were from the word “free” in freemen, they were free to select their own occupations. However, owed loyalty to the datu, accompanying him in his hunting of fishing trips and also went to war with him. The aliping namamahay were the debt payers who worked for the maharlika or the timawa. They have no land and animals; they built their homes on lands owned by their superiors. Aliping sagigilid or the slaves were the household servants and sometimes they could be sold. They could attain freedom by purchase, marriage and voluntary action of the superior. Being aliping namamahay and sagigilid, children can obtain it from their parents.
When the Spaniards colonized the Philippines it brought an end to the supreme power of the ruling datus over their respective authories. The highly fragmented nature of the barangay governmental units facilitated their invasion by the foreigners. The political control was the enconmienda system. Under this system, vast areas of lands were distributed among loyal and deserving Spaniards who known as enconmienderos. The indios (as the Spaniards called the Filipinos) who lived inside the area were placed under the control of the encomienderos were forced to pay tribute. But the Filipinos were not favored about this and Spaniard had to use force and religion among Filipinos.
During the American regime, there was much progress in our country. The Filipinos enjoyed a better life under America than as a colony of Spain. The standard of living was raised. Agriculture and industry were developed. Transportation and communication were improved. Domestic and foreign trade expanded. Health and sanitation were promoted. Education and religion marched with the times. What Spain could not do in over 300 years, the United States did in less than 50 years.
Political system is structured by the people who are in power. Here in Philippines, our government is in Democracy, people have rights. We Filipinos are the one who choose the people that was well-suited to rule our country, from presidential and representative. They have different responsibility to supervise in our country from the peace and order to maintain, setting up economic problems, managed the needs of the Filipino people, create a law and many more.. They are the one who is in charge where to use the money of the Filipino people, that’s why nowadays many of our society are very interested in politics. There are lots of problem involving the politics. Political dynasty was the very common political issue, our country was under the control of the notable families or landed elites, as we can observed from the Presidents of the Philippines almost all of them came from notable families. Majority of the people in politics use their position just to steal the money of the people in our country. Just like the PDAF issue known as pork barrel issue nowadays while the longer it takes to investigate the person involved was widely discover.
Economic Policies of Different Philippine Presidents
- period of rehabilitation
- need for economic recovery in our country after the war because there were a lot of damages
- lack of funds
- forced to accept the Americans’ offer:
- continued economic policies Roxas started
- import substitution policy, underscored the control on importation
- goal: solve trade deficit to achieve balance of trade (there is trade deficit when the expences from import exceed the export income)
- started to solve problems on land redistribution
- Land Reform Act of 1955: gave emphasis on the welfare of the poor farmers who desired to own agricultural land
- established the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act (NARRA) to give land to some farmers
- also established the FACOMA (Farmers’ Cooperative and Marketing Association) to organize the farmers
- considered as the most decisive administration
- Filipino First Policy
- objective: to free our economy from foreign intervention and control
- the control on import, financial loans, foreign currencies was tightened
- he gave priority to Filipino industries in the distribution of resources
- supported the Retail Nationalization Trade Act
- lifted the control on foreign currencies and allowed the importation of goods, which resulted to devaluation
- economic policy: “decontrol” – allowing foreign products to enter freely in our country
- signed the Agricultural Land Reform Code – abolished the kasama system in tilling the land
- paved way to the implementation of land reform
- established the Land Bank of the Philippines
- served the government for 20 years, longest term for a Philippine president
- continued the Decontrol Policy of Diosdado Macapagal
- at first, the economy was doing well
- national income increased rapidly; production was high
- land reform was introduced under Presidential Decree Nos. 2 and 27.
- declared Martial Law
- cronyism and nepotism were rampant
- foreign debt became higher and laws became tougher
- there was a negative figure in national income
- public funds were corrupted and missing
- economic crisis
- was exiled to Hawaii during the height of EDSA I
- first woman president of the country
- put into power through a bloodless revolution (EDSA I)
- Democracy was established once again
- Privatization was the centerpiece of her reform
- Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP): emphasize economic conditions of the farmers through Republic Act 6657
- initiated moral recovery among Filipinos
- approved the Value Added Tax (VAT) as a tax reform measure
- industrialization was the aspiration
- implemented Philippines 2000 – Medium Term Philippine Development Plan
- objective: economic improvement and upliftment through global competitiveness and people empowerment
- continued to attract foreign investors to enter the country and put their capital in our industries
- implemented various tax reforms to have funds
- “The Sick Man of Asia” (no longer called today)
- became controversial with the implementation of the Expanded Value Added Tax (E-VAT) to reform the tax collection
- our country approved and joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
- 13th president
- most celebrated Philippine president
- former movie actor, he became a politician
- involved in different controversies particularly when he was the top man of the country
- most controversial was the impeachment case which led to his imprisonment
- economic agenda zeroed in on the alleviation of poverty
- battle cry was “ERAP Para sa Mahirap.”
- gained the heart and support of the Filipino masses
- captured the hearts of Filipinos through his charisma
- He was not able to fulfill his plans and promises to the poor people because o the sudden change in government leadership
- 2nd woman president
- was put in power through the EDSA People Power II after Erap’s controversial impeachment case
- focused all its efforts to implement the previous administration programs, which were not attained
- emphasized importance of transparency in the government, to check graph and corruption
- facing many problems like peace and order, high prices, insurgency, attempt to destabilize the government
- trying to improve projects and programs that have already been implemented by the past administration, particularly projects related to the upliftment of the economic status of the poor
- launched the program: Pagkain sa Bawat Mesa
- tried to stabilize the peso-dollar exchange rate