History of the Philippines (1986–present)
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|History of the Philippines|
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Corazon Aquino administration (1986–1992)
With the People Power Revolution, Corazon Aquino's assumption into power marked the restoration of democracy in the country. Aquino immediately formed a revolutionary government to normalize the situation, and provided for a transitional "Freedom Constitution" that restored civil liberties and dismantled the heavily Marcos-ingrained bureaucracy— abolishing the Batasang Pambansa and relieving all public officials. The Aquino administration likewise appointed a constitutional commission that submitted a new permanent constitution that was ratified and enacted in February 1987. The constitution crippled presidential power to declare martial law, proposed the creation of autonomous regions in the Cordilleras and Muslim Mindanao, and restored the presidential form of government and the bicameral Congress.
Progress was made in revitalizing democratic institutions and respect for civil liberties, but Aquino's administration was also viewed as weak and fractious, and a return to full political stability and economic development was hampered by several attempted coups staged by disaffected members of the Philippine military. Aquino privatized many of the utilities the government owned, such as water and electricity. This practice was viewed by many as Aquino catering to oligarchic as well U.S. interests, losing the government's power of regulation.
Economic growth was additionally hampered by a series of natural disasters. In June 1991, Mount Pinatubo in Central Luzon erupted, after being dormant for 600 years. It was the 2nd largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. It left 700 dead and 200,000 homeless, and cooled global weather by 1.5°C.
On September 16, 1991, despite lobbying by President Aquino, the Philippine Senate rejected a treaty that would have allowed a 10-year extension of the U.S. military bases in the country. The United States turned over Clark Air Base in Pampanga to the government in November, and Subic Bay Naval Base in Zambales in December 1992, ending almost a century of U.S. military presence in the Philippines.
Ramos administration (1992–1998)
In the 1992 elections, Defense secretary Fidel V. Ramos ([Lakas-NUCD]), endorsed by Aquino, won by just 23.6% of the vote, over Miriam Defensor Santiago ([PRP]), Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. ([NPC]), House Speaker Ramon Mitra ([LDP]), former First Lady Imelda Marcos ([KBL]), Senate President Jovito Salonga ([LP]) and Vice President Salvador Laurel ([NP]).
Early in his administration, Ramos declared "national reconciliation" his highest priority. He legalized the Communist Party and created the National Unification Commission (NUC), chaired by lawyer Manuel C. Herrera, to lay the groundwork for talks with communist insurgents, Muslim separatists, and military rebels. In June 1994, Ramos signed into law a general conditional amnesty covering all rebel groups, and Philippine military and police personnel accused of crimes committed while fighting the insurgents. In October 1995, the government signed an agreement bringing the military insurgency to an end.
Ramos was heavily criticized for passing an oil-deregulation law, thus inflating prices of gasoline products. Ramos was also criticized for alleged corruption in his handling of the Philippine Centennial Exposition and the PEA-AMARI land deal, in which Ramos allegedly received kickbacks amounting to millions of pesos.
A peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under Nur Misuari, a major Muslim separatist group fighting for an independent Bangsamoro homeland in Mindanao, was signed in 1996, ending the 24-year old struggle. However an MNLF splinter group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) under Salamat Hashim continued the armed Muslim struggle for an Islamic state.
The 1998 elections were won by former movie actor and Vice President Joseph Ejercito Estrada (PMP-LAMMP) with overwhelming mass support, with close to 11 million votes. The other ten candidates included his closest rival and administration candidate, House Speaker Jose De Venecia (Lakas-NUCD-UMDP) with 4.4 million votes, Senator Raul Roco (Aksyon Demokratiko), former Cebu governor Emilio Osmeña (PROMDI) and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim (LP).
Estrada administration (1998-2001)
Estrada assumed office amid the Asian Financial Crisis. The economy did, however, recover from it. From a low -0.6% growth in 1998 to a moderate growth of 3.4% by 1999. Like his predecessor there was a similar attempt to change the 1987 constitution. The process is termed as CONCORD or Constitutional Correction for Development. Unlike Charter change under Ramos and Arroyo the CONCORD proposal, according to its proponents, would only amend the 'restrictive' economic provisions of the constitution that is considered as impeding the entry of more foreign investments in the Philippines. However it was not successful in amending the constitution.
On March 21, 2000 President Estrada declared an "all-out-war" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after the worsening secessionist movement in Midanao The government later captured 46 MILF camps including the MILF's headquarters', Camp Abubakar.
In October 2000, Ilocos Sur governor Luis "Chavit", Singson a close Estrada friend, accused the President of receiving collections from jueteng, an illegal numbers game.
On November 13, 2000, the House of Representatives impeached Estrada on grounds of bribery, graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the constitution. His impeachment trial in the Senate began on December 7, but broke down on January 17, 2001, after 11 senators allied with Estrada successfully blocked the opening of confidential bank records that would have been used by the prosecution to incriminate the President. In response, millions of people massed up at the EDSA Shrine, where in 1986 the People Power Revolution had ousted Marcos, demanding Estrada's immediate resignation. Estrada's cabinet resigned en masse and the military and police withdrew their support. On January 20, the Supreme Court declared the presidency vacant and swore in Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the country's 14th President. Estrada and his family evacuated the Malacañan Palace soon after.
Nevertheless, Estrada challenged the legitimacy of the Arroyo before the Supreme Court on grounds that he did not resign, but just went on an indefinite leave. The Supreme Court upheld the legitimacy of Arroyo with finality on March 2, 2001.
Arroyo administration (2001-2010)
Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (the daughter of the late President Diosdado Macapagal) was sworn in as Estrada's successor on the day of his departure. Estrada later challenged the legitimacy of Arroyo's government, claiming he did not resign from office, but the Supreme Court twice upheld Arroyo's legitimacy. After Estrada was arrested on corruption charges in April 2001, thousands of his supporters staged an "EDSA III" to overthrow the Arroyo government, but the attempt failed when the protest rallies degraded into violence. Arroyo's accession to power was further legitimated by the mid-term congressional and local elections held in May 2001, when her coalition won an overwhelming victory.
Arroyo's initial term in office was marked by fractious coalition politics as well as a military mutiny in Manila in July 2003 that led her to declare a month-long nationwide state of rebellion. Although she had declared in December 2002 that she would not contest the May 2004 presidential election, citing a need to heal divisiveness, she reversed herself in October 2003 and decided to run. She was re-elected and sworn in for her own six-year term as president on June 30, 2004.
In 2005, a tape of a wiretapped conversation surfaced bearing the voice of Arroyo apparently asking an election official if her margin of victory can be maintained. The tape sparked protests calling for Arroyo's resignation. Arroyo admitted to inappropriately speaking to an election official, but denied allegations of fraud and refused to step down. Attempts to impeach the president failed later that year.
Arroyo currently spearheads a controversial plan for an overhaul of the constitution to transform the present unitary and presidential republic with a bicameral legislature into a federal parliamentary government with a unicameral legislature.
Benigno Aquino III Administration (2010-Present)
Senator Benigno Aquino III, son of former President Corazon Aquino, won 15 million votes or less than 50% in the Philippine presidential elections, 2010.The presidential transition of Benigno Aquino III began when Aquino won the 2010 Philippine presidential election. On June 9, 2010, at the Batasang Pambansa Complex, in Quezon City, the Congress of the Philippines proclaimed Aquino as the President-elect of the Philippines, following the 2010 election with 15,208,678 votes, while Jejomar Binay, the former mayor of Makati City, was proclaimed as the Vice President-elect of the Philippines with 14,645,574 votes, defeating runner-up for the vice presidency Mar Roxas, the standard-bearer of the Liberal Party for Vice President.
The transition was in charge of the new presidential residence, cabinet appointments and cordial meetings between them and the outgoing administration.
The presidential residence of Aquino is Bahay Pangarap (English: House of Dreams), located inside of Malacañang Park, at the headquarters of the Presidential Security Group across the Pasig River from Malacañan Palace. Aquino is the first president to make Bahay Pangarap his official residence. Malacañang Park was intended as a recreational retreat by former President Manuel L. Quezon. The house was built and designed by architect Juan Arellano in the 1930s, and underwent a number of renovations. In 2008, the house was demolished and rebuilt in contemporary style by architect Conrad Onglao, a new swimming pool was built, replacing the Commonwealth-era swimming pool. The house originally had one bedroom, however, the house was renovated for Aquino to have four bedrooms, a guest room, a room for Aquino's household staff, and a room for Aquino's close-in security. The house was originally intended as a rest house, the venue for informal activities and social functions for the First Family by former President Manuel L. Quezon. Malacañang Park was refurbished through the efforts of First Lady Eva Macapagal, wife of former President Diosdado Macapagal, in the early 1960s. First Lady Macapagal renamed the rest house as Bahay Pangarap. During the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos, the house was restored and became the club house of the Malacañang Golf Club. The house was used by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to welcome special guests. Aquino refused to live in Malacañan Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines, or in Arlegui Mansion, the residence of former presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos, stating that the two residences are too big, and also stated that his small family residence at Times Street in Quezon City would be impractical, since it would be a security concern for his neighbors.
On May 11, 2010, outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed an administrative order, creating the Presidential Transition Cooperation Team. Arroyo instructed outgoing Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza to lead the transition team. The transition team was created "to ensure peaceful, orderly and [efficient] transition on the 30th of June". On June 9, 2010, the transition team started informal meetings with the Aquino transition team.
On June 16, 2010, Aquino organized his transition team in a letter to outgoing Presidential Management Staff Secretary Elena Bautista-Horn. Aquino appointed the members of his transition team; defeated runner-up for the vice presidency Mar Roxas, incoming Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., former Secretary of Education Florencio Abad, former Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima, and Julia Abad, daughter of Florencio Abad and Aquino's chief of staff.
Aquino named long-time friend, Paquito Ochoa, Jr., as Executive Secretary. Aquino appointed Corazon Soliman as Secretary of Social Welfare & Development, a position she once held under the Arroyo administration but later resigned in 2005.
On June 22, 2010, Leila de Lima, head of the Commission on Human Rights, accepted the offer to join the cabinet, however, she did not confirm or deny if she will become the new Secretary of Justice. On July 2, 2010, De Lima took over the helm of the Department of Justice.
On June 23, 2010, Vice President-elect Jejomar Binay refused to accept any cabinet portfolio "so as not to burden" Aquino. Binay initially wanted to become Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, however, Aquino said that the post is not being considered for him. Aquino has offered Binay various positions, such as, to head a commission that will investigate the outgoing Arroyo administration, the posts of Secretary of Agrarian Reform, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and the chairman of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), but Binay has rejected all cabinet positions. However, on July 15, 2010, Binay has accepted the offer of Aquino to take charge of the housing sector as chairman of HUDCC.
On June 29, 2010, Aquino officially named the members of his Cabinet, with Aquino himself as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government. Aquino also announced the formation of a truth commission that will investigate various issues including corruption allegations against outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Aquino named former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. to head the truth commission.
The inauguration of President-elect Benigno Aquino III and Vice-President elect Jejomar Binay held at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park, Manila on June 30, 2010. The oath of office will be administered by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Conchita Carpio-Morales, who officially accepted Aquino's request to swear him into office, reminiscent of the decision of his mother, who in 1986, was sworn into the presidency by Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee. Aquino refused to allow Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Renato Corona to swear him into office, due to Aquino's opposition to the appointment of Corona by outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
- United States: United States President Barack Obama called Aquino over the phone to congratulate him over his victory in the election.
- United Kingdom: Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom was the first to greet new President Benigno Aquino III and their inauguration at the Quirino Grandstand.
- Australia: The Australian government congratulated Aquino and Binay, underscoring close bilateral ties between the Philippines and Australia.
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