Philippine Democracy
(Module Content)

Philippine Government
The Executive Branch
The Legislative Branch
The Judiciary
The Local Governments
A Brave Example for the World
Remembering EDSA
The Marcos Era
The Aquino Era
The Ramos Era
The Estrada Era
The Arroyo Administration
People Power in Malaysia?
History and Peoples
Philippine Culture Page
Tagalog Homepage

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Images were taken from People Power: An Eyewitness History, The Philippine Revolution of 1986
© 1986 Monina Allarey Mercado, Manila, Philippines

Philippine Government

The Republic of the Philippines has a presidential form of government. It   has three main branches of government: executive, legislative, and judiciary. The President and the Vice-President consist Executive branch. Both the President and Vice-President are elected by direct popular votes and serve for a term of six years. The President appoints his/her Cabinet to help him/her administer the functions of the government. The Cabinet is made up of various departments with specific functions and headed by secretaries. The Legislative branch has the primary responsibility for enacting laws. It is made up of the Upper House (the Senate) and the Lower House (the House of Representatives). The Senate President is the head of the Upper House; while the Lower House is led by the Speaker. The members of both Houses are also elected by direct popular vote every three years. The Judiciary branch consists of the systems of courts, with the Supreme Court as the highest and headed by the Chief Justice.


The Executive Branch:

The Presidents of the Philippines

Gloria Macapagal-ArroyoG L O R I A     M A C A P A G A L - A R R O Y O (2001-Present)
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, born in April 5, 1947, was valedictorian of her high school class at Assumption Convent, was consistently on the Dean's List in Georgetown University in Washington DC, and graduated magna cum laude at Assumption College. She was sworn in as the 14th President of the Philippines on 20 January 2001 by Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. after the Supreme Court unanimously declared the position of President vacant, the second woman to be swept into the Presidency by a peaceful People Power revolution (EDSA II).
Joseph Ejercito EstradaJ O S E P H     E S T R A D A (1998-2001)

Joseph E. Estrada, the 13th president of the Philippines, was born on April 19,1937 in Tondo, a ghetto area of Manila and once the home to the toughies and poorest of the poor, to Engr. Emilio Ejercito and Maria Marcelo. Estrada entered politics when he ran for Mayor of San Juan in 1968.
Fidel V. RamosF I D E L     R A M O S (1992-1998)

Fidel V. Ramos won the Philippine election held on May 11, 1992 after campaigning against the country's long tradition of graft, corruption, and favoritism. Lacking a strong party organization and having been criticized for having served the Marcos dictatorship, Ramos won a seven-way race with only 24% of the vote to become the 12th president of the Philippines.
Corazon AquinoC O R A Z O N     A Q U I N O (1986-1992)

Corazon "Cory" C. Aquino is the First Lady President of the Philippines. She was the eleventh president of the Philippines. She was born on January 25, 1933 into a wealthy and politically prominent family based in Tarlac. In the turmoil that erupted over Ninoy Aquino's murder, the widowed Corazon became the symbol of moral opposition to the Marcos government.
Ferdinand MarcosF E R D I N A N D     M A R C O S (1965-1986)

Ferdinand E. Marcos was born in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte on September 11, 1917 to Mariano Marcos and Josefa Edralin. He was the 10th president of the Philippines and held office from 1966 to 1986. He established an authoritarian regime in the Philippines that came under criticism for corruption and for its suppression of democratic processes. Besides being president, he also became the first prime minister in Philippine history.
Diosdado MacapagalD I O S D A D O     M A C A P A G A L (1961-1965)

Diosdado Macapagal was born in Lubao, Pampanga on September 28, 1910 to Urbano Macapagal and Romana Pangan. Known as the "poor boy from Lubao," He rose to become the 9th President of the Philippines in 1961. His journey from his humble beginnings in Lubao to the country's premier office in Malacanang was an inspiration for Filipinos. He was a man who brought a true sense of nationalism to public service and brought honor to the term politics.
Carlos P. GarciaC A R L O S     G A R C I A (1957-1961)

Carlos P. Garcia was the seventh president of the Philippines. He was born in Talibon, Bohol on November 4, 1896 to Policracio Garcia and Ambrosia Polistico. He began his studies at the Siliman University in Dumaguete and later transfered to the Philippine Law School where he finished his law degree in 1923. He took the bar examination and was among the top ten who passed it. It was at the Bohol Provincial School where he initially started teaching.
Ramon MagsaysayR A M O N     M A G S A Y S A Y (1953-1957)

Ramon Magsaysay, known popularly as "The Guy," was born in Iba, Zambales on Aug. 31, 1907. He was the second child of Exequiel Magsaysay and Perfecta del Fierro. As the eighth president of the Philippines, Magsaysay endeared himself to the Filipino masses by giving them easier access to the Office of the President and providing them more opportunities to air their grievances. To this day, his qualities and his kind of leadership are looked up to as standards for Filipino leaders.
Elpidio QuirinoE L P I D I O     Q U I R I N O (1948-1953)

Elpidio Quirino was a political leader and the 6th president of the Philippines. He was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur on November 16, 1890. After finishing his law studies at the University of the Philippines in 1915 he hurdled the Bar examinations that same year. He began his public service in humble positions: as a barrio school teacher in Vigan, a "junior computer" in the Bureau of Lands, a property clerk in the Manila Police Department and private secretary to President Quezon who was then the Senate president.
Manuel RoxasM A N U E L     R O X A S (1946-1948)

Manuel A. Roxas, the fifth president of the Philippines, was born in Capiz (now Roxas City) on January 1, 1892. He studied law at the University of the Philippines, graduated with high honors in 1913, and topped the Bar examinations held that same year. Initially, he was employed as private secretary of then Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano and taught law in 1915-1916.
Sergio OsmenaS E R G I O     O S M E Ñ A (1944-1946)

Sergio Osmeña, Filipino statesman, founder of the Nationalista Party (Partido Nacionalista) and 4th president of the Philippines (1944 to 1946), was born in Cebu City on September 9, 1878. Before completing his law studies at the University of Santo Tomas in 1903, he served the Philippine Revolution of 1896 as a courier for its leader, Emilio Aguinaldo. He was married to the former Esperanza Limjap.
Jose P. LaurelJ O S E     L A U R E L (1943-1945)

Jose P. Laurel was born on March 9, 1891 in the town of Tanauan in Batangas province. He was elected as the 3rd president of the Philippines by the National Assembly on September 25, 1943 and was inducted on October 14, 1943. This was during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines (1942-45) in World War II.
Manuel QuezonM A N U E L     Q U E Z O N (1935-1944)

Manuel Luis Molina Quezon, who was known as the principal architect of Philippine Independence, became the second president of the Philippines. He was born in Baler, Tayabas (now Quezon) province, Luzon, on August 19, 1878 to a schoolteacher and small landholder of Tagalog descent.
Emilio AguinaldoE M I L I O     A G U I N A L D O (1898-1901)

Emilio Aguinaldo, the first elected president of the Philippines, was born on March 22, 1869 in Kawit, Cavite to parents of Chinese and Tagalog origins. As a leader he fought first against Spain and later against the United States for the independence of the Philippines. In 1882 he was inducted into the Katipunan which was a secret revolutionary society that fought bitterly and successfully against the Spanish.

The qualifications for a candidate running for President and Vice-President:

The  Cabinet of the Arroyo Administration

The Legislative Branch:

  • The Upper House: The Philippine Senate

    (Members of the 12th Congress)

Edgardo J. Angara (LDP) Joker P. Arroyo (PDP-PPC)


Robert Z. Barbers (LAKAS-NUCD) Rodolfo G. Biazon (LDP)
Renato L. "Compañero" Cayetano (LAKAS-NUCD)


Noli "Kabayan" L. de Castro (IND.)
Franklin M. Drilon (IND.-PPC)
Senate President

Luisa "Loi" P. Ejercito Estrada (PnM)


Juan M. Flavier (LAKAS-NUCD-PPC)
Senate President Pro-Tempore


Gregorio B. Honasan II (IND.)
Robert S. "JAWO" Jaworksi (IND.)

Panfilo M. Lacson (LDP)
Loren Legarda Leviste (LAKAS-NUCD)
Senate Majority Leader

Ramon B. Magsaysay, Jr.(IND.-PPC)

Blas F. Ople (LDP)
Appointed DFA Secretary
Teresa Aquino-Oreta (LDP)


John Henry R. Osmeña (IND.) Sergio R. Osmeña III (PDP-LP)
Francis N. Pangilinan (PPC)


Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP)

Ralph G. Recto (PPC)


Ramon B. Revilla (LAKAS-NUCD)


Vicente C. Sotto III (LDP)
Senate Minority Leader
Manuel B. Villar, Jr. (IND.-PPC)

  • The Lower House: The House of Representatives

The 1987 Constitution provides that the House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty (250) members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. The party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per cent (20%) of the total number of representatives including those under the party list.

A Member of the House of Representatives should be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five (25) years of age, able to read and write, and, except the party list representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately proceding the day of the election.

The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years, and shall serve for no more than three consecutive terms.

The Curriculum Vitae of the House Members (12th Congress)

The qualifications for candidates running for Membership in the House of Representatives:

  • a natural born citizen
  • on the day of election, at least twenty-five years old
  • able to read and write
  • a registered voter in the constituency in which he shall be elected
  • and a resident thereof for a period of not less than six months immediately preceding the day of election

The Judiciary:

This is the branch of government tasked to intepret laws when controversies or disputes arise, the judiciary is vested by the Constitution with what is called judicial power. The Constitution states that: "The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government." 

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