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Fifth Republic (1986–Present Time)

The world’s eye was on the Philippines after it successfully toppled down almost a decade of dictatorship rule through a peaceful demonstration tagged as the EDSA People’s Power Revolution. After the widowed wife of former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Sr. was elected into office, President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino faced both economic and political problems of the country. Her rule as president began on February 25, 1986 after taking oath at the Club Filipino in San Juan, Metro Manila. She was the 11th president of the Philippines and the first woman to become president of the country. She was tasked to put together a nation devastated by the rule of her predecessor Ferdinand E. Marcos. It was not an easy task since the country’s economic condition was in its worse state since 1982. Filipinos living below the poverty line is alarmingly increasing in number. Aquino also struggled with Marcos’ supporters in the Armed Forces of the Philippines who attempted to remove her from power. The group of soldiers, who called themselves members of the ‘Reform the Armed Forces Movement’ or RAM, staged seven coup attempts against the Aquino administration. The attack held in August 28, 1987, which killed at least 53 people and injured more than 200 others, was the most serious attack the government experienced. These attacks worsened the economic condition of the Philippines as investors became wary about Aquino’s ability to rebuild the country. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the United States also forced the government to fulfill its obligations to pay an estimated $27.2 billion worth of debt Aquino inherited from the previous administration. To be eligible for IMF’s rehabilitation programs, Aquino instigated reforms towards a freer economy. These reforms ended monopolization of the agricultural industry of the country, reduced tariffs and lifted import controls in the Philippines.

Former President Corazon Cojuangco-AquinoThe political condition of the country at that time did not look any better. To resolve the issue, Aquino commissioned a referendum that would be the framework for the new government. It tackled various issues from shifting the government from presidential to parliamentary, to economic reforms involving foreign participations. Due to its immediate necessity, details of the referendum were left to the legislature to determine. Released in February 1987, the new charter easily won the approval of the public.

Fidel V. RamosThe rule that followed Aquino’s presidency established steadier governance of the Philippines. Fidel V. Ramos took office in 1992 and immediately worked on the country’s recovery. Ramos initiated the Social Reform Agenda or SRA that was geared towards alleviating poverty. The Gross National Product reached an average of 5 percent annually, which translated to a growth in the average family income of the Filipinos. He undertook the implementation of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) law which improved public infrastructure and deregulated several industries to help liberalize the economy. The country also saw improvements in its relations to secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MNLF as Ramos achieved a peace agreement with the group. Ramos bagged the first UNESCO Peace Award yet given to an Asian for this effort. He also came to be known as the ‘Centennial’ President for his successful supervision of the 100th anniversary of the country’s independence from the Spanish rule celebrated in June 12, 1998.

Former president Joseph Ejercito EstradaA film actor, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, succeeded Ramos as president in 1998. He was the previous mayor in the municipality of San Juan, Metro Manila and vice president of Ramos, Estrada was placed into office by a wide margin of vote. He gained support in the election for his promise to begin a pro-poor administration that his predecessors failed to promote in their respective platforms. This support dwindled down as his administration was rattled by corruption. Critics accused him of failing to live up to his promises due to the resurfacing of cronyism in the government. Efforts made by Ramos to resolve political conflicts in Mindanao were also threatened as Estrada launched an all-out war against the Islamic group in Mindanao called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in March 21, 2000. In the same year, Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson accused Estrada of receiving Php 400 million from him as payoff from illegal gambling profits. The revelation led to Estrada’s impeachment in November 12, 2000 and his ouster from presidency in January 20, 2001. Then Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. swore-in vice-president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as president the same day.

The Philippine Constitution allows the president to ran for a second term if he/she was sworn into office by succession and served in less than 4 years, otherwise the president is limited to one term of office. President Gloria Macapagal-ArroyoArroyo was qualified to ran for another term. Indeed, she did. In the 2004 Philippine General Election, Arroyo declared her presidential candidacy and she was seated into office for the second time. Arroyo promoted a “Stronger Republic” under her rule, which was geared toward vigorous economic reforms. However, her administration was bombarded with several controversies and impeachment attempts in the last five years. Hence, as she announced her disinterest to extend her term or run for office in the 2010 elections, critics expressed their apprehensions. Once, Arroyo had broken the people’s trust when she declared that she was not interested to run in the 2004 elections. Protesters express their disappointment every so often rallying at the streets calling against the Charter Change (Cha-Cha) and now the Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), which is currently promoted by the Arroyo’s supporters in Congress when the Cha-Cha attempt has become improbable receiving critical disapproval. The representatives in the lower house of Congress were said to have made the move independently to pass the Con-Ass however, many are skeptic of the true agenda of the Arroyo administration as the 2010 election countdown nears. Supporters of Arroyo are pushing for a change of government from a Presidential to a Parliamentary form. This will enable Arroyo run for parliament and become prime minister.


President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino IIIOn the May 10, 2010 general elections, Arroyo run and won for congresswoman for the 2nd district of Pampanga province. Making her the first president to hold a lower office after occupying the highest office of the land. On her first day as congresswoman, Arroyo filed a resolution calling for Congress to hold a Constitutional Convention to amend the constitution.


On June 30, 2010, Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III, a.k.a Noynoy and PNoy, was proclaimed as the 15th president of the republic together with Jejomar Cabauatan Binay as vice-president. Aquino is the eldest son of former president Corazon Aquino and the assassinated former senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. Aquino's 6-year term is marked by both positive and negative events. He has been President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippinescriticized with his government's slow response to aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan, the Mamasapano massacre and other crisis. In spite of these criticisms, Aquino left the presidency with a with a stable democracy, higher credit rating, surplus government funds and a Central Bank abundant in foreign reserves. And unlike his predecessor, he was never directly accused of corruption. In contrast, former Vice-President Jejomar Binay, who run and lost the 2016 presidential elections, is implicated in several anomalous government contracts.


At 12 noon, June 30, 2016, Rodrigo "Digong" Roa Duterte (a.k.a. Rody) takes oath as the 16th president of the Philippines at Malacanang Palace in Manila. Duterte is a lawyer and politician, he is the former mayor and former 1st district congressman of Davao City in Mindanao -an island in the southern Philippines where Muslim insurgents are based. He is the first president to come from Mindanao. He is clamoring for a change in the constitution from a presidential to a federal form of government. Duterte won the presidential elections as an outspoken, strong-willed crime fighter with an anti-establishment stance. He is however criticized for his alleged support of vigilante groups involved in extra-judicial killings to fight crime.


Former congresswoman Maria Leonor "Leni" Santo Tomas Gerona-Robredo, who won the vice-presidential elections took oath on the same day (June 30, 2016) as Duterte but not at Malacanang Palace, but at a rented property in Quezon City, Metro Manila. It is beacuse of Duterte's preference to have a separate oath taking. Robredo and Duterte are non-aligned. Robredo belongs to the Liberal party while Duterte belongs to PDP-Laban party. Robredo has declared her support and willingness to work with Duterte's government from the time of her proclamation as winner of the VP race. Duterte however is sympathetic to defeated vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. It remains to be seen if Duterte allows Robredo to have a role in his administration.

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