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Philippine Political History. From Pre-Colonial to the Post-Martial Law Period. Pre-Colonial . Early Filipinos possessed a well-organized political structure even before the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16 th century.

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Philippine Political History

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Philippine Political History

From Pre-Colonial to the Post-Martial Law Period


  • Early Filipinos possessed a well-organized political structure even before the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century.

  • Barangays, a Malay word “balangay” which means sailboat, are small self-sustaining communities consisted of 30 to 100 families.

  • Each barangay is independently ruled by a datu, raja, hari, or lakan.

Barangay Government

Barangay Government

  • The position of barangay chieftain is a hereditary position.

  • In the absence of a legitimate son or daughter of the deceased chieftain, the all noble and freemen elect their new chief, on the basis of:

    • Wealth

    • Strength

    • Wisdom.

Barangay Government

  • Aside from the right of the people to choose their new chieftain, in cases necessary, the early barangay government manifested signs of democracy.

  • Albeit the great powers of the datu, they are not absolute. Hence, consultation with the elders or “Maginoo” is required in cases of:

    • Declaration of war;

    • Marriage of the lakan or lakambini;

Barangay Government

  • Entering of Inter-Barangay Alliance;

  • Passage of new barangay laws; and

  • Judgment of certain crimes.

Pre-Colonial: Social Classes

Inter-Barangay Relations

  • In order to protect themselves against bigger and stronger barangays, some barangays entered into alliances or confederations. Usually, confederations existed because of:

    • Military Protection;

    • Trade;

    • Marriages of the lakans and lakambinis.

  • Treaties were sealed by the traditional “sandugo” [one blood] or blood compact.

Arrival of the Spanish

  • March 16, 1521, the Portuguese explorer and commander of the Spanish Expedition, Ferdinand Magellan rediscovered the Philippine Islands.

  • March 17, 1521, the expedition first landed on a small uninhabited islet of Homonhon

  • March 18, 1521, the Spaniards first encountered the Filipino natives, bearing bananas, fish, coconuts and palm wine.

  • March 29, 1521, RahaKolambu & Magellan made the first recorded blood compact between a native & a foreigner.

Arrival of the Spanish

  • March 31, 1521, first Catholic Mass held on the shores of Limasawa[?]

  • April 7, 1521, Magellan landed on Cebu & made a blood compact with Raja Humabon.

  • April 27, 1521, Magellan fought the forces of Lapu-Lapu and was killed during the battle.

Arrival of the Spanish

  • After the Magellan Expedition, there were five (5) more expeditions to the Orient:

    • Loaisa – 1525

    • Cabot – 1526

    • Saavedra – 1527: Reached Mindanao but failed to colonize

    • Villalobos – 1542: Reached Mindanao but failed to colonize. Named Mindanao “CesareaCaroli” in honor of King Charles I of Spain. Named the Philippines “Islas Filipinas” in honor of then Crown Prince Philip.

    • Legazpi – 1564: Successful colonization.

Arrival of the Spanish

  • February 13, 1565, Legazpi arrived in Cebu.

  • February 22, Legazpi and DatuUrrau of Samar entered into a blood compact.

  • March 9, Legazpi landed in Limasawa and was hospitably received by DatuBankaw.

  • March 16, Legazpi & Sikatuna entered into a blood compact. After a few days, Legazpi did the same with Sigala.

  • April 27, Legazpi sailed back to Cebu and fought the defiant forces of Raja Tupas, who was defeated by the Spanish forces.

Period of Spanish Colonialism

  • The Philippines was a part of the Viceroyalty of Mexico.

  • After the separation of Mexico from Spain in 1821 and until 1898, our country was directly ruled by Madrid, Spain, through the appointed colonial officers.

  • Being a part of the expansive colony of the Spanish empire, all affairs of the colonies, including the Philippines, were handled by the Council of the Indies.

Period of Spanish Colonialism

  • The Council of the Indies was later replaced by the Ministerio de Ultramar.

Philippine Colonial Government

Philippine Colonial Government

Era of Philippine Revolution

  • Reasons for the early revolutions against Spain:

    • To regain lost freedom & happiness;

    • To fight Spanish oppression;

    • To denounce religious persecution;

    • To struggle against tributes & forced labor;

    • Agrarian disputes;

    • Wine monopoly.

Era of Philippine Revolution

Propaganda Movement

  • Reforms Desired by the Propaganda Movement

    • Equality of Filipinos & Spaniards before the law.

    • Assimilation of the Philippines as a regular province of Spain.

    • Restoration of Philippine representation in the Spanish Cortes.

    • Filipinization of the Philippine parishes and expulsion of the friars.

    • Human rights for Filipinos.

The Katipunan

  • Founded on the 7th of July, 1892 at No. 72 Azcarraga St., Tondo, Manila.

  • Aims of the Katipunan:

    • To unite the Filipinos; and

    • To fight for Philippine Independence.

  • Independence through violent revolution.

The Katipunan Government

Katipunan Membership

The Philippine Revolution

  • August 26, 1896 – The Cry of Balintawak

  • August 30, 1896 – The Battle of San Juan

  • November 9-11, 1896 – Battles of Binakayan & Dalahican

Magdiwang & Magdalo Councils

The Imus Assembly

  • Establishment of a revolutionary government under new elected officials.

  • Uniting the Magdalo & Magdiwang forces under a single command.

The Tejeros Assembly

  • Same objectives of the Imus Assembly.

  • Controversial.

  • Conflict-filled.

Result of the Tejeros Election

Naic Revolutionary Assembly

Bonifacio’s Execution

  • Bonifacio vs. Aguinaldo in Limbon, Indang, Cavite.

  • May 5, 1897 – Bonifacio Bros. were charged before the Court-Martial

  • May 6, 1897 – the Council of War rendered its decision recommending the death penalty.

  • May 8, 1897 – Aguinaldo commuted the death penalty of death to banishment to an isolated place.

  • May 10, 1897 – Andres & ProcopioBonifacio were executed by firing squad at Mount Hulog, Maragondon, Cavite.

Biak naBato Assembly

  • Under the Biak naBatoAsembly, the Biak naBato Republic was inaugurated and the Biak naBato Constitution was promulgated.

  • The Constitution was patterned closely after the Cuban Constitution. It was written by IsabeloArtacho & Felix Ferrer.

  • Term of effectivity: Two years only.

  • It declared that the aim of the revolution was the separation into an independent state.

  • Government was vested to a Supreme Council, headed by a President, Vice-President, & four secretaries.

  • Executive power resided in the President, or in his absence, the Vice-President.

  • Judicial power was vested in a Supreme Council of Grace & Justice.

  • Official language of the Republic: Tagalog.

  • The Biak naBato Constitution also contained a Bill of Rights to safeguard the human rights of the people.

Aguinaldo on Exile

  • The Pact of Biaknabato was a peace agreement between the Spanish Governor & General Aguinaldo. It declared the cessation of military actions between the 2 parties & the enactment of reforms and amnesty.

  • In accordance with the Pact of Biaknabato, entered between Governor Primo de Rivera & General Aguinaldo, Aguinaldo ceased all military actions, received in behalf of the Filipino people sum amount of monetary indemnity, and went abroad for exile.

Entry of the Americans to Philippine Soil

  • The Battle of Manila Bay

  • Filipino-American Collaboration

Aguinaldo’s Dictatorial Government

  • When Aguinaldo was on exile, he planned on establishing a Federal Republic of the Philippines.

    • Mariano Ponce wrote the Constitution in Hong Kong.

  • Upon recommendation & advice, Aguinaldo established a temporary dictatorial government on May 24, 1898.

Proclamation of Philippine Independence

  • June 12, 1898, Kawit, Cavite – the Philippine Independence was proclaimed & the country is to be governed by a dictatorial government.

    • Formal unfurling of the Filipino Flag;

    • Playing of the National Anthem;

    • Reading & signing of the “Act of the Declaration of Independence”.

  • June 23, 1898 – under the advise of ApolinarioMabini, Aguinaldo changed the dictatorial government into a revolutionary government.

End of Filipino-American Collaboration

  • August 18, 1898 – Manila was “captured” by the Filipino & American forces.

  • Treaty of Paris – Spain ceded the Philippines to the USA for the amount of $20 million.

The Malolos Congress

  • Malolos Congress was inaugurated at the Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan.

  • The Congress was able to achieve the following:

    • Ratification of the Philippine Independence;

    • Floating of a domestic loan of P20,000,000.00 redeemable in 40 years after the date of issue;

    • Promulgation of the Malolos Constitution.

Malolos Constitution

  • 3 Consitutional Drafts:

    • Mabini Plan: Constitutional Programme of the Philippine Republic;

    • Paterno Plan

    • Calderon Plan – the draft which was considered the best and later on approved by the Malolos Congress.

  • January 21, 1899 – Aguinaldo proclaimed the Malolos Constitution as the law of the land

Birth of the Philippine Republic

  • Malolos Republic – The first Philippine Republic

    • It was the first republic in Asia.

    • January 23, 1899

    • Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan.

    • It lasted for 2 years, 1 month & 10 days.

America’s Rule

  • “The Philippines are ours, not to exploit, but to develop, to civilize, to educate, to train in the science of self-government.” – US Pres. Mckinley

Philippine Democratization

Japanese Occupation

Independence & the Third Republic

  • Roxas Administration: began the rehabilitation & reconstruction of the war-ravaged Philippines.

    • Established a pro-American policy.

    • Supported the Parity Amendment

  • Quirino Administration: continued economic reconstruction of the nation and the restoration of the faith & confidence of the people in the government.

    • Hukbalahap insurgency grew stronger.

  • Magsaysay Administration: 1st President to improve the conditions of the barrios & the indiscriminate slaughter of carabaos.

    • SEATO was established.

    • Laurel-Langley Agreement between the Philippines & the US was concluded. It provided for the gradual abolition of free trade between the US and the Philippines.

    • Reparation Agreement with Japan was signed. It provided that Japan would pay reparations for the destruction committed by the Japanese forces during WWII totalling $300,000,000 for 25 years.

  • Garcia Administration:

    • strengthened Philippine democracy

    • revived Filipino culture.

    • Adopted the “Filipino First” policy to promote greater Filipino participation in business.

  • Macapagal Administration:

    • the agricultural Land Reform Code was enacted.

    • Propagation of the Filipino Language.

    • Independence day was changed from July 4 to June 12.

    • Officially filed a claim over Sabah, North Borneo.

    • Formation of MaPhilIndo.

  • Marcos Administration:

    • 1st Term

      • Stabilization of government finance

      • Greater production of rice by promoting the cultivation of “miracle rice”, the construction of more irrigation systems & giving financial & technical assistance to the farmers.

      • Building of more roads & bridges, school houses & other public works.

      • Intensive drive against smuggling, crime syndicates, and the communist NPA.

  • 2nd Administration

    • Problems:

      • Prevalence of dirty politics

      • Rampage of graft & corruption

      • Widening gap between the rich & the poor

      • Impotency of the 1935 Philippine Constitution to cope with the new socio-economic problems of the times

      • Rising tide of communism, crime & subversion.

Martial Law Regime

  • 9:00pm September 22, 1972 – Proclamation 1081 was implemented.

  • 1973 Constitution was finally passed, adopted, & ratified.

    • Establishment of a Parliamentary Government.

    • Legislative power was vested in a unicameral National Assembly.

    • Emphasis on the duties & obligations of citizens, as well as their rights & duty to vote.

    • Parity rights was terminated.

    • Marcos was given the power to legally exercise legislative powers & his term was to be extended beyond 1973.

The New Society

  • The conquest of mass poverty & the democratic distribution of wealth & property.

  • Land reform is considered as the greatest achievement of President Marcos under martial law.

  • National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) was established.

  • Tax reforms were implemented quadrupling the government revenue from Php5.3 Billion to Php19.2 Billion.

  • January 17, 1981 – Proclamation 2045, ended the 8 years & 4 months of martial law in the Philippines.

  • June 30, 1981 – Marcos inaugurated the “New Republic”, history-wise is the 4th Philippine Republic.

Restoration of Democracy in the Philippines

  • Voxpopuli, voxdei.

  • During the transitory government of Aquino, she promulgated the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines or the “Freedom Constitution”.

  • June 2, 1986 – Constitutional Commission for the framing of a new Constitution was created.

  • February 2, 1987 – Constitution was ratified by the people.

Concept of the Constitution


  • [T]hat body of rules & maxims in accordance with which the powers of sovereignty are regularly exercised. (Cooley, as cited by I. Cruz, Consti. Law)


  • To prescribe the permanent framework of a system of government;

  • To assign to the several departments their respective powers & duties, &

  • To establish certain first fixed principles on which government is founded.

Supremacy of the Constitution

  • The Constitution is SUPREME.

    • No act shall be valid, however noble its intentions, if it conflicts with the Constitution. [Supremacy of the Constitution must prevail.]


Essential Qualities of the Written Constitution

Essential Parts of the Written Constitution

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