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Topic |  


Our present political system was copied from the United States of America.  As early as 1903, political parties patterned after the United States of America were already organized in the Philippines.

In 1907 the Philippines National Assembly was elected.  It functioned as the lower house of Congress with the Philippine Commission as the Upper House.  The 28-year old lawyer from Cebu, Sergio Osmeña, Sr. became the Speaker of the National Assembly.  He defeated the young lawyer Manuel L. Quezon from Tayabas.

In the year 1916 the Jones Law was passed by the U.S. Congress providing for a Senate to act as the Upper House of Congress.  In 1917 the Philippines was divided into twelve (12) Senatorial Districts with two (2) Senators from each district.


Manuel L. Quezon became the Senate President while Sergio Osmeña was the Speaker of the House.

The Tydings-McDuffie Law provided for a ten (10) Commonwealth Government from 1935 to 1945 before independence will be granted to the Philippines.

It provided for a President, Vice President, Senate, Representatives, and the other local officials.  Manuel L. Quezon was elected President of the Philippines and Sergio Osmeña was the Vice President.  Two Boholanos, Carlos P. Garcia and Oligario Clarin were among the twenty-four (24) Senators.  However, the Commonwealth Government was interrupted by the Second World War.

Political Parties

The Filipinos imitated the American system of political parties.  The political parties were organized through national conventions of those who wanted to join a particular political party.

Just like in the United States, the two dominant political parties were given more privileges than the other parties.  Naturally many of the voters will identify themselves with any of the two political parties.


During the American period the Nacionalista Party was very dominant.  The opposing Democrata Party was very minimal.


After the end of the Second World War, Sergio Osmeña, of the Nacionalista Party, was the President.  A Presidential election was held before the scheduled granting of independence on July 4, 1946.  President Osmeña was challenged by the Speaker of the House, Manuel Roxas.  Manuel Roxas organized a political party known as Nacionalista Party-Liberal Wing.  Manuel Roxal won the Presidential election and his party, now known as Liberal Party became dominant.

The selection of candidates by national conventions continued until the declaration of Martial Law.

There were attempts to form other political parties like the Philippine Progressive Party (PPP) led by Manuel Manahan and Raul Manglapus, but it could not dislodge the Nacionalista or Liberal Parties to become a dominant party.


After the 1986 Constitution the multi-party system came into effect.  Any person can organize a political party and it will be given the same privileges with other political parties.  Soon, political conventions became passé.

U.S.A. Procedure


In the United States, during Presidential Elections, the two dominant political parties will hold a Primary Election.  The members of the Republican Party will vote as to who will be the Presidential candidate of the party.  The members of the Democratic Party will also elect who will be their candidate.

The winners of the Primary Elections will be declared by the party as the official Presidential Candidate during a national convention.

This procedure of conduction Primary Elections was not followed in the Philippines.

Philippines Today

Instead of Primary Elections, the Political Parties in the Philippines today are waiting for the results of Poll Surveys conducted by SWS and Pulse Asia, as to who are the preferred candidates by the voters.

In the U.S.A. the Presidential Election will be on November 2016 and their political parties are now conducting campaigns for the Primary Elections.

In the Philippines the Presidential Election will be on May 2016.  The Presidential hopefuls are already exposing themselves to media coverage but only Vice President Binay has declared that he will run for the Presidency.  All the others are not yet declaring.

This is understandable because “demolition jobs” are awaiting those who will say that they will run before the final filing of the certificate of candidacy.

Different Voter Behavior

In the United States the voters will contribute money for the candidate of their choice.  These contributions are tax deductible.  The government will provide a counterpart amount to the money raised by the candidates.

In the Philippines the voters will ask money from the candidate of their choice.  If there will be contributions, the contributor and the candidate must be careful.  There is a legal limit to election spending.

If the candidate spends more than the limit he maybe disqualified or be removed from office if he wins.

The contributor must be careful also because he will be in danger of being investigated by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) why he can contribute large amounts of money. (By Jes B. Tirol)

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