Politics of the Philippines
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Politics and government of
The Politics of the Philippines takes place in an organized framework of a presidential, representative, and democratic republic whereby the president is both the head of state and the head of government within a pluriform multi-party system. This system revolves around three separate and sovereign yet interdependent branches: the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. Executive power is exercised by the government under the leadership of the president. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two-chamber Congress: the Senate (the upper chamber) and the House of Representatives (the lower chamber). Judicial power is vested in the courts with the Supreme Court of the Philippines as the highest judicial body.
Elections are administered by an independent Commission on Elections every three years starting 1992. Held every second Monday of May, the winners in the elections take office on the following June 30.
Local government is exercised by local government units from the provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays. While the most regions do not have political power, and exist merely for administration purposes, autonomous regions have expanded powers more than the other local government units. While local government units enjoy autonomy, much of their budget is derived from allocations from the national government, putting their true autonomy in doubt.
Congress is a bicameral legislature. The upper house, the Senate, is composed of 24 senators elected via the plurality-at-large voting with the country as one at-large "district." The senators elect amongst themselves a Senate President. The lower house is the House of Representatives, currently composed of 287 representatives, with no more than 20% elected via party-list system, with the rest elected from legislative districts. The House of Representatives is headed by the Speaker.
Each bill needs the consent of both houses in order to be submitted to the president for his signature. If the president vetoes the bill, Congress can override the veto with a two-thirds supermajority. If either house voted down on a bill or fails to act on it after an adjournment sine die, the bill is lost and would have to be proposed to the next congress, with the process starting all over again. Congress' decisions are mostly via majority vote, except for voting on constitutional amendments and other matters. Each house has its own inherent power, with the Senate given the power to vote on treaties, while the House of Representatives can only introduce money bills. The constitution provides Congress with impeachment powers, with the House of Representatives having the power to impeach, and the Senate having the power to try the impeached official.
The Liberal Party, Nationalist People's Coalition, the National Unity Party (Philippines), the Nacionalista Party, the Lakas-CMD and the United Nationalist Alliance are the parties with largest membership in Congress. The party of the sitting president controls the House of Representatives, while the Senate has been more independent. From 1907 to 1941, the Nacionalistas operated under a dominant-party system, with factions within that party becoming the primary political discouse. During World War II, the Japanese-sponsored Second Philippine Republic forced all of the existing parties to merge into the KALIBAPI that controlled the party as a one-party state. From 1945 to 1972, the Philippines was under a two-party system, with the Nacionalistas and their offshoots Liberals alternating power, until President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. Political discourse was kept into a minimum, until Marcos then merged the parties into the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), which dominated elections until 1986 when Marcos was overthrown as a result of the People Power Revolution. The political climate ushered in a multi-party system which persists into this day.
Executive power is vested to the President; in practice however, the president delegates his power to a cabinet. The president, who is both the head of state and head of government, is directly elected to a single six-year term via first past the post. In case of death, resignation or incapacitation, the Vice President acts a president until the expiration of the term. The Vice President is elected separately from the president, and may be of differing political parties. While the vice president has no constitutional powers aside from acting as president when the latter is unable to do so, the president may give the former a cabinet office. The cabinet is mostly composed of the heads of the executive departments, which provide services to the people, and other cabinet-level officials.
The president is also the commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, thereby ensuring civilian supremacy over the military. The president is also given several military powers, although once exercised, Congress is able to prolong or end it. The president also proposes a national budget, in which Congress may adopt in full, with amendments, or a complete revision altogether. The president wields considerable political power and may be able to influence other branches via the so-called Padrino System.
The judiciary is composed of the Supreme Court and other lower courts. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort, and decides on constitutionality of laws via judicial review. The president selects justices and judges from nominees given by the Judicial and Bar Council. The Court of Appeals is the second highest appellate court, the Court of Tax Appeals rules on tax matters, and the Sandiganbayan (People's Advocate) is a special court for alleged government irregularities. The Regional Trial Courts (RTC) are the main trial courts. The Regional Trial Courts are based on judicial regions, which almost correspond to the administrative regions. Each RTC has at least one branch in each province and handles most of the criminal and civil cases; several branches of an RTC may be designated as family courts and environmental courts. Metropolitan Trial Courts try lesser offenses.
The Ombudsman investigates and prosecutes government officials on crimes while in dispensing powers given by the government. The Office of the Solicitor General represents the government in legal cases.
Elections are administered by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). The elected officials are the president, vice president, members of Congress, regional governors and assemblymen, provincial governors, vice governors and board members, city and municipal mayors, vice mayors and councilors, and barangay (village) chairmen and councilors. Elections are for fixed terms. All elected officials have three-year terms, except for the president, vice president and senators, which are six years. All terms begins and ends on June 30 of the election year.
Elections above the barangay level are held every three years since 1992 on the second Monday of May, all positions are disputed except for president and vice president; presidential and vice presidential elections are held every six years since 1992. Single-winner elections are done via the plurality voting system: the candidate with the highest number of votes is elected. Multiple-winner elections, except for representatives elected the party-list system, are done via plurality-at-large voting. Each voter has x votes, with the x candidates with the highest number of votes being elected. For representatives elected the party-list system, a party that won at least 2% of the national vote wins one seat, with additional seats, but not exceeding three seats, depends on the number of votes it received. If the number of sectoral representatives does not reach 20% of the membership of the House of Representatives, parties with less than 2% of the vote are given a seat each until the 20% membership is filled.
Latest presidential election 
|Benigno Aquino III||Liberal||15,208,678||42.08%|
|Eddie Villanueva||Bangon Pilipinas||1,125,878||3.12%|
|John Carlos de los Reyes||Ang Kapatiran||44,244||0.12%|
|Total valid votes||36,139,102||94.73%|
|Vetallano Acosta[p 1]||KBL||181,985||0.48%|
|Total invalid votes||2,010,269||5.27%|
- Disqualified after the ballots were printed. All of his votes are considered spoiled
Latest vice presidential election 
|Jejomar Binay||PDP-Laban[v 1]||14,645,574||41.65%|
|Loren Legarda||NPC[v 2]||4,294,664||12.21%|
|Perfecto Yasay||Bangon Pilipinas||364,652||1.04%|
|Dominador Chipeco, Jr.||Ang Kapatiran||52,562||0.15%|
|Total valid votes||35,165,555||92.18%|
|Total invalid votes||2,983,816||7.82%|
- Binay is Joseph Estrada's (PMP) guest candidate for vice president.
- Legarda is Manny Villar's (Nacionalista) guest candidate for vice president.
Latest Senate election 
|Total||%||Swing||Entered||Up||Not up||Won||Won in 2007||End 14th||15th||+/−|
|Liberal (Liberal Party)||78,227,817||26.34%||15.62%||10||2||2||3||4||4||4||17%|
|Nacionalista (Nationalist Party)||49,585,503||16.69%||6.61%||7||1||2||2||4||3||4||17%||1|
|PMP (Force of the Filipino Masses)||47,111,982||15.86%||15.86%||5||2||0||2||2||2||2||8%|
|Lakas-Kampia (People Power-Christian Muslim Democrats-Partner of Free Filipinos)||38,123,091||12.83%||13.84%||6||2||2||2||4||4||4||17%|
|PRP (People's Reform Party)||17,344,742||5.84%||5.84%||1||1||0||1||1||1||1||4%|
|NPC (Nationalist People's Coalition)||13,409,616||4.51%||13.61%||2||0||1||1||2||1||2||8%||1|
|PDP-Laban (Philippine Democratic Party-People's Power)||6,635,023||2.23%||1.85%||2||1||0||0||1||1||0||0%||1|
|Bangon Pilipinas (Rise Up, Philippines)||6,486,749||2.18%||2.18%||9b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0%|
|PROMDI (Provinces First Development Initiative)||3,980,370||1.34%||1.34%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0%|
|Bayan Muna (Nation First)||3,539,345||1.19%||1.19%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0%|
|GAD/Gabaybayan (Grand Alliance for Democracy/Guide to the Nation)||3,331,083||1.12%||1.12%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0%|
|KBL (New Society Movement)||2,769,847||0.93%||0.03%||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0%|
|Ang Kapatiran (Alliance for the Common Good)||2,486,241||0.84%||0.14%||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0%|
|LDP (Struggle of the Democratic Filipinos)||Not participating||0||1||0||1||1||1||4%|
|Bagumbayan-VNP (New Nation-Volunteers for a New Philippines)||Not participating||1||0||0||0||1||0||0%||1|
^a Votes and seats for KAMPI and Lakas-CMD in 2007, which were running on a common ticket, were combined; KAMPI and Lakas-CMD later merged in 2008.
^b Including Imelda Papin and Zosimo Paredes who switched from KBL and Ang Kapatiran respectively to Bangon Pilipinas.
Latest House of Representatives election 
|Lakas-Kampi (People Power-Partner of Free Filipinos-Christian Muslim Democrats)||12,769,649||37.41%||164||121||13||86||35||7||106||36.93%||15|
|KABAKA (Partner of the Nation for Progress)||70,852||0.21%||1||1||0||1||0||0||1||0.35%|
|SARRO (Sarangani Reconciliation and Reformation Organization)||60,899||0.18%||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||0.00%||1|
|Lakas Kampi CMD coalition||12.901,400||37.80%||166||123||13||87||36||7||107||37.28%||16|
|Liberal (Liberal Party)||6,802,227||19.93%||134||33||21||23||10||3||47||16.43%||14|
|KKK (Struggle for Peace, Progress and Justice)||11,076||0.03%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Liberal Party coalition||6,813,303||19.96%||135||33||21||23||10||3||47||16.43%||14|
|Nacionalista (Nationalist Party)||3,872,637||11.35%||64||25||7||18||7||0||25||9.08%|
|Kusug (Promote Progress for Cebu)||126,144||0.37%||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|PCM (People's Champ Movement)||120,052||0.35%||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||0.35%||1|
|Ugyon Kita Capiz (Unite Capiz)||45,859||0.13%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Nacionalista Party coalition||4,164,692||11.35%||68||25||7||18||7||0||26||9.09%||1|
|PMP (Force of the Filipino Masses)||853,619||2.50%||45||2||1||1||1||2||4||1.40%||2|
|Navoteño (Party of the People of Navotas)||76,276||0.22%||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||0.35%||1|
|Magdiwang (Magdiwang Party)||47,840||0.14%||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||0.35%||1|
|Aton Tamdon Utod Negrosa-non (Let’s Take Care of our Brother Negrenses)||42,796||0.12%||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Lingkod Taguig (Service to Taguig)||16,990||0.05%||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%||1|
|Unaffiliated local parties||60,662||0.18%||4||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%||1|
|NPC (Nationalist People's Coalition)||5,450,135||15.97%||72||25||10||10||3||0||29||10.14%||7|
|PDP-Laban (Philippine Democratic Party – People's Power)||246,697||0.72%||14||5[n 2]||0||2||0||0||2||0.69%||3|
|Bigkis Pinoy (Bundle Pinoy)||206,929||0.61%||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|PDSP (Philippine Social Democratic Party)||171,345||0.50%||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||0.35%||1|
|LDP (Struggle of the Democratic Filipinos)||162,434||0.48%||3||1||1||1||0||0||2||0.69%||1|
|KBL (New Society Movement)||158,416||0.47%||10||0||1||0||0||0||1||0.35%||1|
|Aksyon (Democratic Action)||151,434||0.44%||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Lapiang Manggagawa (Workers' Party)||86,556||0.22%||3||1||0||1||0||0||1||0.35%|
|Bagumbayan-VNP (New Nation-Volunteers for a New Philippines)||74,319||0.22%||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|GAD (Grand Alliance for Democracy)||47,677||0.14%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Ang Kapatiran (Alliance for the Common Good)||45,631||0.13%||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|PGRP (Philippine Green Republican Party)||21,636||0.06%||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Bangon Pilipinas (Rise Up Philippines)||11,294||0.03%||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Lapiang Manggagawa Workers and Peasants Party||8,894||0.03%||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00%|
|Invalid votes[n 4]||3,292,237||8.83%|
|Total turnout[n 4]||37,293,960||73.52%|
|Registered voters[n 5]||50,723,733||100%|
- Of all 286 House members, including party-list representatives.
- Includes United Opposition members.
- Includes Jose de Venecia, who currently has no party.
- Includes votes for Sandugo party, whose only nominee withdrew, but his name stayed on the ballot. Numbers for invalid votes in the Bulacan–1st, both Camarines Norte districts and both Lanao del Sur districts are not available.
- Excludes overseas absentee voters (568,732) who are ineligible to vote for district representatives.
Local government 
The constitution mandates that local governments must have local autonomy. The smallest local government unit, the barangay or village, is descended from the balangay of the Maragtas legend, where the first Austronesian people reached the Philippines via the boat. The prehistoric barangays were headed by datus. Currently, barangays are grouped into municipalities or cities, while municipalities and cities may be further grouped into provinces. Each barangay, municipality or city, and province is headed by a barangay chairman, mayor, or governor, respectively, with its legislatures being the Sangguniang Barangay (village council), Sangguniang Bayan (municipal council) or Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board).
Regions are the highest administrative divisions but do not have powers possessed under them; however, autonomous regions are given wider powers than other local government units. While the constitution allows autonomous regions in the Cordilleras and in Muslim Mindanao, only the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) exists, with the proposed autonomous region in Cordillera being defeated after two plebiscites. The ARMM has a regional governor and a regional assembly.
While local government units have autonomy, most of their budget is derived from the Internal Revenue Allotment, a disbursement from the national government which is ultimately derived from taxes. This makes most local government units ultimately dependent on the national government, unless they have other sources of income, such as property taxes.
During the American occupation, the Nacionalista Party was the dominant party. However, during the Japanese occupation in World War II, a new party, the Kapisanan ng Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas (KALIBAPI), was formed, and was the only party allowed to operate during the occupation.
After the war, KALIBAPI was abolished and the Nacionalistas returned to power. A new party, the Liberal Party, was formed after a Nacionalistas led by José P. Laurel and Camilo Osías split from KALIBAPI. This two-party system remained until 1972.
However, when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, he formed his own party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL, New Society Movement) composed mainly of his loyal allies from the Nacionalista Party and Liberal Party, as well as some other parties. Most of Marcos' political opponents were jailed, tortured or killed. In 1978, Marcos called an election to the interim Batasang Pambansa. An opposition party was formed known as LABAN. Among the candidates then were Benigno Aquino, Ernesto Maceda and Alex Bongcayao. During that election, no opposition candidate was elected. Some groups also sprang up including the National Union for Liberation led by John Osmeña and Diosdado Macapagal, the Mindanao Alliance, the Muslim Federal Party, the Pusyon Bisaya, and the Young Philippines.
In 1984, other opposition parties sprang up. Among them were PDP-LABAN (different from the original LABAN party) of Aquilino Pimentel and the UNIDO, or the United Nationalist Democratic Organization of Salvador Laurel. The UNIDO would later be an umbrella coalition for opposition against Ferdinand Marcos.
The Jovito Salonga faction of the Liberal Party, the remaining US-based political exiles, and the Left boycotted the elections.
When Marcos was overthrown in the People Power Revolution, other parties appeared, such as Partido Nacionalista ng Pilipinas, Lakas ng Bansa, National Union of Christian Democrats, and Philippine Democratic Socialist Party.
In 1987, the opposition parties who wanted to distance both from the Marcos & Aquino cliques formed the Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD) headed by former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Francisco Tatad. The parties taking part in the opposition coalition were the Jose Roy's allies in the Nacionalista Party headed by Renato Cayetano with Enrile as their "commanding leader", a faction of the legislators from Kilusang Bagong Lipunan that distanced from Marcos headed by Assemblyman Arturo Tolentino, the pre-1986 leaders that defected from the ruling coalition such as Eva Estrada-Kalaw, the Partido Nacionalista ng Pilipinas headed by Blas Ople, the Mindanao Alliance, the Muslim Federal Party and the Christian Socialist Democratic Party.
Another segment of KBL who are still Marcos loyalists joined forces with the Union for Peace & Progress or UPP while other loyalists shifted to the Aquino clique.
The Left created the Partido ng Bayan or PnB that led by labor leader Rolando Olalia, son of Bert Olalia as chairman. They put up 7 senatorial bets in the 1987 elections such as peasant leader Jaime Tadeo, technocrat and communist leader Horacio Morales, rebel leader Bernabe "Dante" Buscayno, and human rights lawyer Atty. Romeo Capulong. Olalia is included in the senatorial line-up before he was assassinated by suspected Rightist military elements
In 1988 the Lakas ng Bansa headed by Ramon Mitra and PDP-LABAN (Cojuangco Wing) joined to form the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino or the LDP, causing a split in the ruling coalition and the unification of the Nacionalista Party.
In 1989, anti-Aquino elements reunited at PICC into the Unification of the Nacionalista Party. Political leaders from the parties critical to the Aquino rule appointed Former House Speaker José B. Laurel, Jr. as Interim President in a Manifesto signed by opposition leaders.
A convention was held on May 21, 1989 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). Opposition leaders agreed to merge under the Nacionalista banner and forgetting their personal differences. This is the result of the unification of the opposition: Vice-President Doy Laurel was elected as the president of the Nacionalista Party, with former Labor Secretary and Assemblyman Blas Ople emerged as the Executive Vice-President and former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile as the Secretary-General
In 1992 elections, the LDP was split in half. Fidel V. Ramos formed his own party, the Partido Lakas ng Tao, which coalesced with the National Union of Christian Democrats. Their union was later known as the Lakas-NUCD, but is now known as the Lakas-Christian and Muslim Democrats. The LDP was headed by Ramon Mitra. During these elections, the Nacionalista Party also split into two. The Nacionalistas were led by Salvador Laurel while the splinter group, led by Danding Cojuangco, was known as the Nationalist People's Coalition or NPC.
In the 1998 general elections, three new political parties formed: the Partido ng Masang Pilipino by Joseph Estrada, the Aksyon Demokratiko (Democratic Action) by Raul Roco, and the Kabalikat ng Mamamayang Pilipino (KAMPI) by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
See also 
- Political dynasties in the Philippines
- Timeline of Philippine sovereignty
- Sovereignty of the Philippines
- 2 senatorial bets bolt parties, join Bro. Eddie Accessed on March 8, 2010.