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Government of the Philippines

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Government of the Philippines
Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas
Coat of arms of the Philippines
JurisdictionRepublic of the Philippines
Legislative branch
Meeting placeBatasang Pambansa Complex
(House of Representatives)
GSIS Building
Executive branch
AppointerDirect popular vote
HeadquartersMalacañang Palace
Main organCabinet
DepartmentsExecutive departments of the Philippines
Judicial branch
CourtSupreme Court

The government of the Philippines (Filipino: Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas) has three interdependent branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The Philippines is governed as a unitary state under a presidential representative and democratic constitutional republic in which the president functions as both the head of state and the head of government of the country within a pluriform multi-party system.

The powers of the three branches are vested by the Constitution of the Philippines in the following: Legislative power is vested in the two-chamber Congress of the Philippines—the Senate is the upper chamber and the House of Representatives is the lower chamber.[1] Executive power is exercised by the government under the leadership of the president. Judicial power is vested in the courts, with the Supreme Court of the Philippines as the highest judicial body.

Executive branch[edit]

The Executive Branch of government comprise the Cabinet and all executive departments, led by the president. The president and vice president are directly elected separately by national popular vote for a term of six years. While the vice president may be re-elected once, the president is barred from seeking re-election. The incumbent president and vice president are Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte, respectively, who were elected in 2022.


The president of the Philippines is the country's chief executive, serving as the head of state and head of government. The president heads all executive departments. The heads of the departments, which make up the cabinet, are appointed by the president subject to the approval of the Commission on Appointments. The president also supervises all local government units. The president may also give executive issuances, grant pardons, and exercise the power of eminent domain. Aside from having the power to veto any bill, the president also sets the legislative agenda for Congress.

Vice president[edit]

The vice president of the Philippines, the deputy chief executive, is the first in line for succession if the president resigns, is removed after impeachment, is permanently incapacitated, or dies. The vice president is usually, though not always, a member of the president's cabinet and may be appointed without the approval of the Commission of Appointments.

If there is a vacancy in the position of vice president, the president will appoint any member of Congress (usually a party member) as the new vice president. The appointment must then be validated by a three-fourths vote of the Congress.[2]

Legislative branch[edit]

The legislative power is vested in the Congress of the Philippines. The Congress is bicameral, consisting of the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives. The two chambers have roughly equal powers, and every bill or resolution that has to go through both houses needs the consent of both chambers before being passed for the President's signature. The Senate is located in Pasay, while the House of Representatives is located in Quezon City, both of which are in Metro Manila.


The Senate of the Philippines is the upper house of Congress. Senators are elected for a term of six years; they can be re-elected but may not run for a third consecutive term. Once a bill is approved by the House of Representatives, it is passed onto the Senate. A bill must first be approved by the Senate in order to be passed for the president's signature to become a law. Only the Senate can concur with treaties and try impeachment cases.

The Senate is led by the President of the Senate. The current senate president is Francis Escudero.

House of Representatives[edit]

The House of Representatives of the Philippines is the lower house of the Congress. The House consists of district and sectoral representatives elected for a term of three years and may be re-elected for three consecutive terms. Each bill has to be approved by the House, after which it is sent to the Senate. Furthermore, all franchise and money bills must originate from the House. The House of Representatives also has the power to impeach certain officials.

The House of Representatives is headed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The current speaker is Martin Romualdez.

Judicial branch[edit]

Judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court of the Philippines and lower courts established by law. The Supreme Court, which has a chief justice as its head and 14 associate justices, occupies the highest tier of the judiciary. The justices serve until the age of 70. The justices are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council of the Philippines.[3] The sitting chief justice is Alexander Gesmundo, the 27th to serve in that position.

Other types of courts, of varying jurisdiction around the archipelago, are the following:

Constitutional commissions[edit]

Article 9 of the Constitution of the Philippines establishes three independent constitutional commissions: the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit.[4]

The Civil Service Commission is the central personnel agency of the Philippine government. It is responsible for strengthening employment and a conducive work environment in the civil service sector and overseeing the Civil Service Exam, a civil service entrance examination to assess qualifications and work integrity for employment in the sector.[4]

The Commission on Elections enforces and administers all laws and regulations related to conducting elections, plebiscites, initiatives, referendums, and recalls. It decides on all decisions surrounding election protests and contests and has the right to deputize and take control of law enforcement and state security forces to ensure the free and orderly conduct of elections.[4]

The Commission on Audit is responsible for examining, auditing, and settling all revenues and expenditures of public funds and properties used by the government or its attached agencies.[4]

Office of the Ombudsman[edit]

The three branches of the Philippine government are independently monitored by the Office of the Ombudsman (Filipino: Tanodbayan). The ombudsman is given the mandate to investigate and prosecute any government official allegedly guilty of crimes, especially graft and corruption. The ombudsman is assisted by six deputies: the overall deputy, the deputy for Luzon, the deputy for Visayas, the deputy for Mindanao, the deputy for the armed forces, and the special prosecutor.

Local government[edit]

Local government hierarchy
President of the Philippines
Autonomous regions
ProvincesIndependent citiesProvincesIndependent cities
Component citiesMunicipalitiesComponent citiesMunicipalities
The dashed lines emanating from the president means that the President only exercises general supervision on local government.

The Philippines has four main classes of elected administrative divisions, often lumped together as local government units (LGUs). They are, from the highest to the lowest division:

  1. Autonomous and administrative regions
  2. Provinces and independent cities
  3. Municipalities and component cities
  4. Barangays


Regions are the highest administrative division in the Philippines, primarily used to coordinate planning and organize national services. Administrative regions are not local government units themselves but instead consist of several local government units. Meanwhile, autonomous regions are regions that have control over their governance, culture, and economy. The 1987 Constitution only allows for the creation of two autonomous regions, one in the Cordilleras of Luzon and another in Muslim Mindanao; at present, only the latter exists, with the former remaining an administrative division.


The Bangsamoro is an autonomous region located in Mindanao. Established in 2019, the region replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The region has a regional parliamentary system separate from the national presidential system. Its executive branch is led by the regional chief minister, the Council of Leaders, and the Bangsamoro Cabinet. Its legislative branch is the unicameral Bangsamoro Parliament. The region also has its own judiciary system that applies Sharia.

Local legislative councils[edit]

Local government officials[edit]


  1. ^ Exec. Order No. 1987-292 Book II Chapter 1 Section 1 (July 25, 1987) President of the Philippines. Retrieved on November 21, 2015.
  2. ^ Philippine Government
  3. ^ Redden, R.K. 1984. Modern Legal System Cyclopedia – Asia Chapter 7(b) "The legal system of the Philippines" W.B. Hein, Buffalo NY
  4. ^ a b c d "1987 Constitution of the Philippines, art. 9". Official Gazette. Retrieved December 28, 2018.