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Government of the Philippines

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Government of the Philippines

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Philippines

The Government of the Philippines, also known as the Philippine Government is the national government of the unitary state of the Republic of the Philippines. It is a presidential, representative, and democratic republic where the President of the Philippines is both the head of state and the head of government within a pluriform multi-party system.

The government has three interdependent branches: the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. The powers of the 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.

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.

Legislative Department

The legislative power is vested in the Congress of the Philippines which consists of the Senate and House of Representatives. The upper house is located in Pasay, while the lower house is located in Quezon City. The district and sectoral representatives are elected for a term of three years. They can be re-elected but they may not run for a fourth consecutive term.

Senators are elected to a term of six years. They can be re-elected but may not run for a third consecutive term. The House of Representatives may opt to pass for a vacancy of a legislative seat, which leads to a special election. The winner of the special election will serve the unfinished term of the previous district representative, and will be considered as one elective term. The same rule also applies in the Senate, however it only applies if the seat was vacated before a regular legislative election.

The current President of the Senate is Franklin Drilon, while the current Speaker of the House of Representatives is Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.

Executive Department

The executive power is vested in the President of the Philippines. The executive branch is headed by President Benigno S. Aquino III of the Liberal Party. The President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and is elected by popular vote to a term of six years. The president then appoints his or her cabinet over whom he or she presides. The executive seat of government is administered officially from Malacañang Palace in Manila. The president may not run for re-election unless he or she had become president through constitutional succession and had served for no more than four years.

The president is assisted by his or her cabinet that is made up of different departments and is headed by a secretary. The president appoints the secretary with the consent of the Commission on Appointments.

The second highest official, Vice President Jejomar Binay of the PDP-Laban party is also elected by popular vote. The Vice-President is first in line to succession if the President resigns, is impeached or dies. The Vice-President usually, though not always, is a member of the president's cabinet. If there is a vacancy in the position of vice-president, the President will appoint any member of Congress (usually a party member) as new vice-president. The appointment must then be validated by a three-fourths vote of the Congress. [1]

Judicial Department

The 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.[2] The sitting Chief Justice is Maria Lourdes Sereno, the 24th to serve in that position.

Other court types of courts, of varying jurisdiction around the archipelago, are the:
Lower Collegiate Courts:

  • Court of Appeals
  • Court of Tax Appeals
  • Sandiganbayan

Regular Courts:

  • Court of Appeals
  • Regional
  • Municipal Circuit Trial Courts

Muslim Courts

  • Sharia District Courts
  • Sharia Circuit Courts

Office of the Ombudsman

The government and all three of its branches are independently monitored by th 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.

Administrative divisions

Local government hierarchy. 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 regions
  2. Provinces (lalawigan, probinsiya) and independent cities (lungsod, siyudad/ciudad, dakbayan, lakanbalen)
  3. Municipalities (bayan, balen, bungto, banwa) and component cities (lungsod, siyudad/ciudad, dakbayan, lakanbalen)
  4. Barangays (also known as barrio)

Beyond these, the national government groups provinces and independent cities into regions, e.g. Metro Manila or Region VI. The President has the prerogative to create, abolish and determine the composition of regions, which is done so most often in consultation with the local government units affected, with the exception of autonomous regions, where the residents of the local government units have to ratify in a plebiscite their inclusion in such a setup.

Internal links


  1. ^ Philippine Government
  2. ^ Redden, R.K. 1984. Modern Legal System Cyclopedia - Asia Chapter 7(b) "The legal system of the Philippines" W.B. Hein, Buffalo NY
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