Article VII, Section 1, of the 1987 Constitution vests executive power on the President of the Philippines. The President is the Head of State and Head of Government, and functions as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As chief executive, the President exercises control over all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES
The President of the Philippines is elected by direct vote by the people for a term of six years. He may only serve for one term, and is ineligible for reelection. The term of the President of the Philippines starts at noon of the 30th day of June after the election.
The qualifications for an individual aspiring to become the President of the Philippines are outlined in Article VII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. According to the constitution, an individual may become President provided he meets the following criteria:
- natural born Filipino;
- a registered voter;
- must be able to read and write;
- 40 years of age at the day of the election; and
- must have resided in the Philippines ten years before the election is held.
The President of the Philippines is elected by direct vote of the people, and has a term of six years with no provision for reelection.
There have been 15 Presidents of the Philippines from the establishment of the office on January 23, 1899, in the Malolos Republic. President Emilio Aguinaldo is the inaugural holder of the office and held the position until March 23, 1901, when he was captured by the Americans during the Philippine-American War.
The Office of the President of the Philippines was abolished after the capture of Aguinaldo, and ceased to exist until the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935.
After the first national elections were held on September 16, 1935, Manuel L. Quezon was elected as the second President of the Philippines and the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth. Originally elected to a six-year term, President Quezon would stay in office until 1944, because the 1935 Constitution was amended in 1940 to allow reelection, but shortened the term of the President to four years. Quezon was elected again in 1941—however, due to constitutional limitations, he would have not served the full four years—his term started on November 15, 1935, and thus would end on November 15, 1943. In 1943, however, President Quezon had to take an emergency oath of office, extending his term, because of the outbreak of World War II.
When World War II forced the Philippine Commonwealth into exile, a different government would be installed in the Philippines, which would later to be known as the Second Republic of the Philippines. Jose P. Laurel would lead this government as the third President of the Philippines and the only President of the Second Republic. Laurel stayed in office from 1943 to 1944 when the Second Republic was abolished. At this point, the President of the Second Republic would overlap with the President of the Commonwealth. On September 17, 1945, however, the laws of the Second Republic were declared null and void by the Supreme.
The Philippine Commonwealth would be reestablished in Philippine soil in 1945 with President Sergio Osmeña as the second President of the Commonwealth and the fourth President of the Philippines. Osmeña took his oath of office in the United States after the demise of President Quezon. Osmeña would run in the first post-war presidential elections held in 1946, but lose to Senate President Manuel Roxas.
President Roxas was elected in 1946 as the third President of the Philippine Commonwealth, first President of the independent Republic of the Philippines, and the fifth President of the Philippines. He would usher in the end of the Philippine Commonwealth on July 4, 1946, and the birth of the Third Republic. Roxas would be followed by Presidents Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos P. Garcia, and Diosdado Macapagal as the second, third, fourth, and fifth President of the Third Republic and the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth President of the Philippines, respectively.
President Ferdinand E. Marcos became the last President of the Third Republic when he declared martial law in 1972, while the 1973 Constitution suspended the 1935 Constitution, he only formally proclaims the “New Republic”—the Fourth—in 1981. Marcos became the first President of the Fourth Republic and the tenth President of the Philippines overall. Marcos stayed in office for 20 years—the longest serving President of the Philippines.
In 1986, the EDSA Revolution successfully installed Corazon C. Aquino as the new President of the Philippines—the 11th in the country’s history. President Aquino served as the second and last President of the Fourth Republic at the beginning of her term. A transitional, Freedom Constitution was put into effect in the same year. When the 1987 Constitution was put into full force and effect, the Fourth Republic was ended and the Fifth Republic inaugurated. Thus, President Aquino became the first President of the Fifth Republic. She would be followed by Presidents Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Benigno S. Aquino III as the second, third, fourth, and fifth President of the Fifth Republic and 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th President of the Philippines, respectively.
The current President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, is the sixth President of the Fifth Republic and the 16th President of the Philippines.
POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT
Besides the constitution, the powers of the President of the Philippines are specifically outlined in Executive Order No. 292, s. 1987, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987. The following powers are:
1. Power of control over the executive branch
The President of the Philippines has the mandate of control over all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. This includes restructuring, reconfiguring, and appointments of their respective officials. The Administrative Code also provides for the President to be responsible for the abovementioned offices’ strict implementation of laws.
2. Power ordinance power
The President of the Philippines has the power to give executive issuances, which are means to streamline the policy and programs of an administration. There are six issuances that the President may issue. They are the following as defined in the Administrative Code of 1987:
Executive orders — Acts of the President providing for rules of a general or permanent character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers shall be promulgated in executive orders.
Administrative orders — Acts of the President which relate to particular aspects of governmental operations in pursuance of his duties as the administrative head shall be promulgated in administrative orders.
Proclamations — Acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest, upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is made to depend, shall be promulgated in proclamations which shall have the force of an executive order.
Memorandum orders — Acts of the President on matters of administrative detail, or of subordinate or temporary interest which only concern a particular officer or government office shall be embodied in memorandum orders.
Memorandum circulars — Acts of the President on matters relating to internal administration, which the President desires to bring to the attention of all or some of the departments, agencies, bureaus, or offices of the government, for information or compliance, shall be embodied in memorandum circulars.
General or special orders — Acts and commands of the President in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines shall be issued as general or special orders.
It is important to note that during the term of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, he used executive issuances known as presidential decrees as a form of legislation. These decrees have the full force and effect of laws because at the time the legislature did not exist and, when the 1973 Constitution was put into full force and effect, it gave the power to the President to do as such. This continued until the first year of President Corazon C. Aquino’s term. However, President Aquino opted to used executive orders instead of presidential decrees. President Aquino’s executive orders, however, still had the full force and effect of laws until the ratification of the 1987 Constitution.
3. Power over aliens
The President of the Philippines has certain powers over non-Filipinos in the Philippines. The powers he may exercise over foreigners in the country are as follows:
- The chief executive may have an alien in the Philippines deported from the country after due process.
- The President may change the status of a foreigner, as prescribed by law, from a non-immigrant status to a permanent resident status without necessity of visa.
- The President may choose to overrule the Board of Commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration before their decision becomes final and executory (after 30 days of the issuance of the decision). The Board of Commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration has jurisdiction over all deportation cases.
- The president is also mandated by the Administrative Code of 1987 to exercise powers as recognized by the generally accepted principles of international law.
4. Powers of eminent domain, escheat, land reservation and recovery of ill-gotten wealth
The President of the Philippines has the authority to exercise the power of eminent domain. The power of eminent domains means the state has the power to seize or authorize the seizure of private property for public use with just compensation. There are two constitutional provisions, however, that limit the exercise of such power: Article III, Section 9 (1) of the Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of his/her life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Furthermore, Article III, Section 9 (2), provides that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.
Once the aforementioned conditions are met, the President may exercise the power of eminent domain which are as follows:
Power of eminent domain — The President shall determine when it is necessary or advantageous to exercise the power of eminent domain in behalf of the national government, and direct the solicitor general, whenever he deems the action advisable, to institute expropriation proceedings in the proper court.
Power to direct escheat or reversion proceedings — The President shall direct the solicitor general to institute escheat or reversion proceedings over all lands transferred or assigned to persons disqualified under the constitution to acquire land.
Power to reserve lands of the public and private domain of the government —
(1) The president shall have the power to reserve for settlement or public use, and for specific public purposes, any of the lands of the public domain, the use of which is not otherwise directed by law. The reserved land shall thereafter remain subject to the specific public purpose indicated until otherwise provided by law or proclamation.
(2) He shall also have the power to reserve from sale or other disposition and for specific public uses or purposes, any land belonging to the private domain of the government, or any of the friar lands, the use of which is not otherwise directed by law, and thereafter such land shall be used for the purposes specified by such proclamation until otherwise provided by law.
Power over ill-gotten wealth — The President shall direct the solicitor general to institute proceedings to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public officials or employees, from them or from their nominees or transferees.
Within the period fixed in, or any extension thereof authorized by, the constitution, the President shall have the authority to recover ill-gotten properties amassed by the leaders and supporters of the previous regime, and protect the interest of the people through orders of sequestration or freezing of assets or accounts.
5. Power of appointment
The President may appoint officials of the Philippine government as provided by the constitution and laws of the Philippines. Some of these appointments, however, may need the approval of the Committee on Appointments (a committee composed of members from the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines).
6. Power of general supervision over local governments
The President of the Philippines, as chief executive, has the mandate to supervise local governments in the Philippines, despite their autonomous status as provided by Republic Act No. 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
Traditionally, this is done by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, headed by a cabinet secretary—an alter ego of the President.
7. Other powers
Aside from the aforementioned powers of the President of the Philippines, he can also exercise powers enumerated in the constitution, and powers given to him by law.
|Department of Agrarian Reform: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Agriculture: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Budget and Management: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Education: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Energy: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Environment and Natural Resources: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Finance: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Foreign Affairs: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Health: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of the Interior and Local Government: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Justice: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Labor and Employment: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of National Defense: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Public Works and Highways: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Science and Technology: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Social Welfare and Development: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Tourism: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Trade and Industry: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Transportation and Communications: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Information and Communications Technology: Click here for their Mandate|
|Department of Migrant Workers: Click here for their Mandate|