The Phillipine Government

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  • Topic: Philippines, Corazon Aquino, Ferdinand Marcos
  • Pages : 44 (16758 words )
  • Download(s) : 27
  • Published : February 27, 2013
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| Philippines - GOVERNMENT

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Philippines - GovernmentPhilippinesAS PRESIDENT CORAZON C. AQUINO entered the final year of her six-year term in 1991, she presided over a demoralized nation reeling from the effects of natural calamities and economic malaise. The country had slid into dictatorship and gross economic mismanagement during Ferdinand E. Marcos's twenty-year presidency. When Aquino was elevated to the presidency in an inspiring People's Power Revolution in 1986, Filipinos' hopes rose. Inevitably, the stark realities of the nation's economic and political predicaments tarnished Aquino's image.Aquino's achievements, however, were significant. She helped topple a dictator who had unlimited reserves of wealth, force, and cunning. She replaced a disjointed constitution that was little more than a fig leaf for Marcos's personalistic rule with a democratic, progressive document that won overwhelming popular approval in a nationwide plebiscite. She renounced the dictatorial powers she inherited from Marcos and returned the Philippines to the rule of law; she lived with the checks on her own power inherent in three-branch government; and she scheduled national elections to create a two-chamber legislature and local elections to complete the country's redemocratization.The 1987 constitution returned the Philippines to a presidential system. The national government is in theory highly centralized, with few powers devolving to provincial and municipal governments. In fact, local potentates often reserve powers to themselves that the national government is not even aware of. The national government consists of three branches: the executive, headed by the president; two houses of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives; and the Supreme Court, which heads an independent judiciary. A bill of rights guarantees political freedoms, and the constitution provides for regular elections.The performance of these institutions was, of course, conditioned by Philippine history and culture, and by poverty. For example, the twenty-four members of the Senate, elected by nationwide ballot, in the 1980s were drawn almost entirely from old, prominent families. Senators staked out liberal, nationalist positions on symbolic issues, such as military base rights for the United States, but were exceedingly cautious about any structural changes, such as land reform, that could jeopardize their families' economic positions.Political parties grew in profusion after the Marcos martiallaw regime (1972-81) was ended. There were 105 political parties registered in 1988. As in the pre-Marcos era, most legal political parties were coalitions, built around prominent individuals, which focused entirely on winning elections, not on what to do with the power achieved. There was little to distinguish one party from another ideologically, which was why many Filipinos regarded the political system as irrelevant.President Aquino's early years in office were punctuated by a series of coup attempts. Her greatest frustration, and a most serious impediment to economic development, was a fractious, politicized army. Some officers wanted to regain the privileges they enjoyed under Marcos; others dreamed of saving the nation. Although all coup attempts failed, they frightened away foreign investors, forced Aquino to fire cabinet members of whom the army did not approve, pushed her policies rightward, and lent an air of impermanence to her achievements.Criticism of the Aquino administration came from all parts of the political spectrum. Filipino communists refused to participate in a government they saw as a thin cover for oligarchy. The democratic left criticized Aquino for abandoning sweeping reform and for her probusiness and...
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