The history of the Philippine Vice Presidency
Chronology of Vice Presidents
We trace the roots of the history of the Philippine Republic from the First Republic established in Malolos, Bulacan. On September 15, 1898, the revolutionary congress in Malolos started drafting a constitution for the Philippines, which won its freedom June 12 of the same year. The draft constitution, later known as the Malolos Constitution, was finally ratified and promulgated in January of 1899 with Emilio Aguinaldo as President of the First Philippine Republic. This charter did not provide for a position of Vice President, instead it vested upon the President of the Supreme Court of Justice (the Chief Justice) the responsibility of discharging the powers of the Office of the President should a President be unable to perform his duties. The First Philippine Republic was dissolved in 1901 with the end of the Philippine American War.
The position of Vice President of the Philippines was formally created on November 15, 1935 with the inauguration of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. The 1935 Constitution provided for an Office of the Vice President which was initially held by Sergio Osmeña who won with 87% of the vote. Osmeña served as Vice President to President Manuel L. Quezon for three terms. First from 1935 to 1941, Second from 1941 to 1943, and finally from 1943 to August 1, 1944 – when his term was extended due to World War II and he succeeded President Quezon who passed away.
During World War II, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was exiled to the United States. Parallel to this, a different government, sponsored by the Japanese, was established in the country. The Second Philippine Republic was inaugurated on October 14, 1943 with Jose P. Laurel as President. It had a different constitution which did not provide for a Philippine Vice President. The Second Republic was formally dissolved on August 17, 1945 with the surrender of the Japanese to the Americans.
After World War II, the Philippine Commonwealth was reestablished with Sergio Osmeña as President and a vacant Vice Presidency. In accordance to granting the Philippines independence, the American Congress adopted a Joint Resolution, setting the date for the elections for the Philippine government not later than April 30, 1946. President Osmeña approved Commonwealth Act 725 calling for a national election in accordance with the American Joint Resolution. The election was held on April 23, 1946 with Manuel Roxas winning the Presidency and Elpidio Quirino winning the Vice Presidency. Quirino became the Second Vice President of the Philippines.
Roxas and Quirino were inaugurated on May 28, 1946 as President and Vice President of the Philippine Commonwealth. They were once again inaugurated on July 4, 1946 as President and Vice President of an independent Philippines – the third Philippine Republic. Quirino served as Roxas’ Vice President until April 15, 1948 when he succeeded to the Presidency after Roxas’ sudden demise.
The position of Vice President would remain vacant until 1949 when the next national elections were scheduled. On November 8, 1949, Elpidio Quirino and Fernando Lopez won the Presidency and Vice Presidency, respectively. Fernando Lopez served as the third Vice President of the Philippines until 1953. He was not renominated by his party and did not run for re-election.
In 1953, President Quirino and his running mate lost to Defense Secretary Ramon Magsaysay and Senator Carlos P. Garcia. Garcia was elected as the fourth Vice President of the Philippines attaining 62% of the vote. Garcia served as Magsaysay’s Vice President until President’s plane tragically crashed. Magsaysay passed away on March 17, 1957 and Garcia took his oath as President the next day. At the time, he was away on official business and had to travel back to the Philippines immediately to assume the Presidency.
Elections were set the same year that Magsaysay was killed in a plane crash. In those elections, Garcia ran and won the Presidency but his running mate, House Speaker Jose B. Laurel, Jr., lost the election for Vice President. This was the first instance in the history of the Philippines where the top two officials of the land came from different parties. Diosdado Macapagal, a Liberal, won with 46% of the vote and became the fifth Vice President of the Philippines. It was also the first time the Vice President was elected with a plurality. Macapagal served as Garcia’s Vice President until 1961 when he challenged Garcia’s reelection bid.
During the 1961 elections, Diosdado Macapagal, the incumbent Vice President, went on to win the Presidency and his running mate Emmanuel Pelaez became the sixth Vice President of the Philippines. Pelaez won with a plurality of votes getting a total of 38%. Vice President Pelaez eventually left the Liberal Party and joined the Nationalista Party to vie for its nomination for President. He failed in his bid as the Nationalista Party nominated Senate President Ferdinand Marcos to run as President and incumbent Senator and former Vice President Fernando Lopez to run as Vice President.
In the elections of 1965, Marcos and Lopez came out on top against incumbent President Macapagal. Lopez won by a plurality of votes getting 48% of the total votes cast. Lopez served as the seventh Vice President of the Philippines until the imposition of Martial Law in 1972.
At the time of Martial Law, the Philippine Legislature was closed and the Vice Presidency was abolished. Moves to change the Constitution came to a head with the ratification of the 1973 Constitution which reestablished a unicameral legislature and completely abolished the Vice Presidency. It was not until 1984 when amendments to the 1973 Constitution were approved through a referendum that the Office of the Vice President was reestablished. The first election for Vice President since 1969 was set for 1987 but was done in February of 1986 when President Marcos called for a snap election. In that election, Salvador Laurel won against rival Arturo Tolentino with 51% of the vote – making him the eighth Vice President of the Philippines. The subsequent EDSA Revolution would eventually repeal the 1973 Constitution and put in place our current constitution in 1987. It reestablished the Vice Presidency and a bicameral legislature.
In 1992, the first Presidential election under the 1987 Constitution was held on May 11. It was the election where the most number of candidates ran for the Vice Presidency. Out of the seven candidates Joseph Estrada won the Vice Presidency by garnering 33% of the vote. This was the second time in our history where the Vice President and the President did not come from the same party. Estrada served as the ninth Vice President of the Philippines until he ran for President in 1998.
The 1998 elections also saw a high number of candidates vying for the Vice Presidency. Out of the 7 candidates, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo won the elections garnering 50% of the vote. Arroyo took office in 1998 along with President Joseph Estrada. She was the tenth Vice President of the Philippines and assumed the Presidency after President Estrada resigned in 2001.
With the Vice Presidency vacant in 2001, President Arroyo nominated her party mate and incumbent Senator Teofisto Guingona . His nomination was affirmed by the Congress of the Philippine and he became the 11th Vice President of the Philippines. He served as President Arroyo’s Vice President until 2004 when he did not run for reelection.
President Arroyo chose independent Senator Noli de Castro as her running mate in the 2004 elections. Both won the Presidency and the Vice Presidency respectively. With 50% of the vote, de Castro went on to be the 12th Vice President of the Philippines. He served until 2010 and was succeeded by Vice President Jejomar Binay, the 13th Vice President of the Philippines.
In the 2016 elections, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte won as President while Camarines Sur Third District Representative Leni Robredo won as Vice President. Garnering 35% of the vote, Vice President Robredo became the first congresswoman to win the Vice Presidency.
According to the 1935 Constitution, the Vice President is allowed to head one of the executive departments upon the choice of the President. The first Vice President, Sergio Osmeña, was appointed as the Secretary of Public Instruction following the tradition that Vice Governor Generals were appointed to the same position.