Philippines is a Republic state based on parliamentary democracy having Presidential form of government. Philippines (official name: Republic of Philippines) is made up of more than 7,000 islands and has the highest birth rate in Asia.
President is both the chief of the state and head of the government. President is elected by a popular vote to serve a single six-year term who then presides and appoints the cabinet members. President holds the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. President is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
The legislature in Philippines is bicameral. The parliament called Congress consists: Senate (the upper house) having 24 seats with its members elected at large by popular vote to serve six-year terms and the House of Representatives (the lower house) having up to a maximum of 250 seats with its members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms. President has the power to veto acts of the legislature, and in turn a supermajority (generally two—thirds) of legislators may act to override his veto. The people of Philippines enjoy considerable political rights.
The judiciary in Philippines though generally independent, is hampered by corruption and inefficiency. The main source of the law is the constitution of 1987. The country’s legal system is based on Spanish and Anglo-American law. Philippines accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction though with reservations. Philippines has two judicial languages: Filipino and English.
The rule of law is not necessarily respected in the Philippines. Arbitrary and unlawful arrests by Filipino forces, disappearances, kidnappings and extrajudicial killings continue in the country. To a large extent, the foreign nationals can expect an impartial trial from the country’s judicial system. A high degree of corruption exits in the country, especially in politics and business.
Major political parties
Philippines has a multi-party system and political parties have diverse ideologies. As a result, parties generally work together to form coalition governments. The major political parties in the country are:
- Lakas-CMD (Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats)- a right-of-centre conservative political party;
- LP (Liberal Party) - liberals;
- NPC (Nationalist People's Coalition) – a nationalist left-wing party;
- LDP (Struggle of Filipino Democrats) – a union of democratic parties;
- AD (Democratic Action) - mainstream political party that advocates "non-traditional" means of politics.
Major political leaders
President: Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO (since January 2001, re-elected in June 2004) – Lakas-CMD
Next political election dates
Presidential: May 2010
Senate: May 2013
House of Representatives: May 2010