Officially: Republika ng Pilipinas.
English: The Philippines.
Seat of government: Maynila.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president (Pangulo) is elected directly; the vice president (Pangalawang Pangulo) is elected separately at the same time, serving primarily as an emergency successor. The legislature (Kongreso) comprises the Kapulungan ng mga Kinatawan, elected in geographical constituencies modified by party-list proportional representation, and the Senado, elected by the electorate at large.
Chief governing party: Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan.
Head of government: Rodrigo (Rody) Duterte, president (since 2016).
Chief legislative parties: Partido Liberal; Nationalist People’s Coalition; National Unity Party; Partido Nacionalista; United Nationalist Alliance; PDP-Laban; Lakas – Christian Muslim Democrats.
Recent history: Longtime autocrat Ferdinand Marcos (1965-86) was confronted by a long campaign of civil resistance triggered by the assassination of opposition leader Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino in 1983 and culminating with massive protests over a rigged presidential contest in 1986 against Aquino’s widow, Corazon Aquino, who became president (1986-92) after Marcos was forced out. This event, the Rebolusyong EDSA or Lakas ng Bayan, became the global template for the modern popular revolt. Aquino was followed by Fidel Ramos (1992-8) of Lakas, an important military figure in the revolt. Tumult returned after the election of Joseph Estrada (1998-2001) of Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino (later Lapian ng Masang Pilipino) with a vice president from an opposing party, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino / Kabalikat ng Mamamayang Pilipino, with greater support in the Kongreso. Arroyo (2001-10) became president after a dubious transfer of power stemming from corruption charges against Estrada. Arroyo’s 2004 reelection was dubious as well, seemingly dependent on a rigged vote which was not properly investigated. A 2010 election to replace Arroyo was won convincingly by Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino (2010-6), son of Ninoy and Cory, representing the PL. A 2012-4 agreement to end the Moro rebellion in Mindanaw and replace the Nagsasariling Rehiyon ng Muslim sa Mindanaw with a highly-autonomous Bangsamoro has yet to be fully implemented. Duterte, standing for PDP-Laban, was elected with a plurality in 2016 over Manuel (Mar) Roxas of the PL. Duterte’s behavior and policies, continuing from his long tenure as mayor of Dabaw, are grossly illiberal and violent, using extrajudicial force against criminals and suspected criminals, particularly relating to drug use. The PL finished well ahead in the 2016 legislative elections.
FH: 4-3, partly free (not democratic). Econ: 6.12 (77), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2017 March 23.