Government During the Spanish Period
The Philippines was under the Spanish government for more than three centuries. Without any freedom and independence, Filipinos had to adjust and adapt to the new form of government as well as to different culture and traditions. The laws implemented in the country were all from the King of Spain passed through his representative who was called the Governor-General, “who was the source of civil power for the various levels of administration” (Agoncillo, 2008, p.75). The Philippines was divided into different levels of administration and each level has its own leader. Almost all of the members of the government were Spanish and only a few Filipinos were allowed to have a position in the society for they think that they were naïve and foolish. Most of these authorities took advantage of their powers and many Filipinos were abused, may it be women or children.
The different levels consist of the central or national, which is headed by the Governor-General, and the provincial, headed by the alcalde mayor, while the military zones were governed by corregidores. Only a Spaniard can be an alcalde mayor or a corregidores and they have the power to collect taxes, be an inspector and chief of police and they also has military authority in their respective areas of responsibility. The residencia and visita are Spaniards sent from Spain to check if royal officials are abusing their powers and if they are fulfilling their duties to the people. On the municipal level, Filipinos are allowed to hold the position of gobernadorcillo and cabeza de barangay. Gobernadorcillo is the highest position a Filipino could ever get and like the parish priest, his role was considered very important in the town. Filipinos, during those times, coined the term Frailocracy or rule of the friars because the Spanish friars ruled highly even in government matters. They were known to be very abusive and cruel. Although there are gobernadorcillos and...
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