2016, February 1. Senate of the Philippines Centenary
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Senate of the Philippines Centennial
Senate of the Philippines.
The legislature in any society performs the important
function of deliberating policies for the people and passing them in
the form of statutes.
Although the Philippine Legislature was organized only in 1916, it
had deep roots in the past. Long before the Spanish rulers
came to the Philippines, the people in their barangays were already
governed by a set of rules by their chief. Over the long span
of Spanish and American rule, various forms of legislative
structures were set up to perpetuate the colonial rulers’
desire to rule the country.
The Filipinos, just like other colonized people, fought for
independence from colonial rule. During this struggle, they also
recognized the critical role that a legislature could play in the
movement for independence. After the victory over Spain, they
established the Malolos Congress, based on their Constitution. The
Philippine Legislature, composed of the Philippine Senate and the
House of Representatives, was created under the Philippine Autonomy
Act, popularly known as the Jones Law, which was passed by the
Congress of the United States and became law on August 29, 1916. It
served as the legislative body of the Philippines from October 1916
to November 1935, until it was succeeded by the National Assembly
upon the inauguration on November 15, 1935 of the Commonwealth
provided in the Constitution of the Philippines.
With independence from America in 1946, the legislature was called
the Philippine Congress which shared governmental powers with the
executive and the judiciary.
In 1972, the President declared martial law and Congress was
abolished. The bloodless coup of February 22-25, 1986, brought forth
a new regime and restored the bicameral congress which is the
present set-up of the Philippine Legislature.