President of the Philippines
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Rodrigo Duterte

since June 30, 2016
Government of the Philippines
Office of the President
StatusHead of state
Head of government
Member ofCabinet
National Security Council
ResidenceMalacañang Palace
AppointerDirect popular vote
Term lengthSix years, non-renewable
Constituting instrument1987 Constitution of the Philippines
Prime Minister[b]
Inaugural holderEmilio Aguinaldo
FormationJanuary 23, 1899
November 15, 1935
First holderEmilio Aguinaldo
Manuel L. Quezon
Salary365, 261 per month[e][3][4][5]

The president of the Philippines (Filipino: Pangulo ng Pilipinas, sometimes referred to as Presidente ng Pilipinas) is the head of state and the head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The president is directly elected by the people, and is one of only two nationally elected executive officials, the other being the vice president of the Philippines. However, four vice presidents have assumed the presidency without having been elected to the office, by virtue of a president's intra-term death or resignation.[f]

Filipinos generally refer to their president as pangulo or presidente in their local language. The president is limited to a single six-year term. No one who has served more than four years of a presidential term is allowed to run or serve again. On June 30, 2016, Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the 16th and current president.


Rodrigo DuterteBenigno Aquino IIIGloria Macapagal ArroyoJoseph EstradaFidel RamosCorazon AquinoFerdinand MarcosDiosdado MacapagalCarlos P. GarciaRamon MagsaysayElpidio QuirinoManuel RoxasSergio OsmeñaJose P. LaurelManuel L. QuezonEmilio Aguinaldo

Local nomenclature

In Filipino, one of the two official languages of the Philippines, the president is referred to as pangulo. In the other major languages of the Philippines such as the Bisayan languages, presidente is more common when Filipinos are not actually code-switching with the English word.


Main article: List of presidents of the Philippines

Further information: List of unofficial presidents of the Philippines

Early republics

Bonifacio's Tagalog Republic

Depending on the definition chosen for these terms, a number of persons could alternatively be considered the inaugural holder of the office. Andrés Bonifacio could be considered the first president of a united Philippines since, while he was the third Supreme President (Spanish: Presidente Supremo; Filipino: Kataas-taasang Pangulo) of the Katipunan, a secret revolutionary society that started an open revolt against the Spanish colonial government in August 1896, he transformed the society into a revolutionary government with himself as "President of the Sovereign Nation/People" (Filipino: Pangulo ng Haring Bayan).[6] While the term Katipunan (and the title "Supreme President") remained, Bonifacio's government was also known as the Tagalog Republic (Spanish: República Tagala; Filipino: Republika ng Katagalugan),[7][8][9] and the term haring bayan or haringbayan as an adaptation and synonym of "republic", from its Latin roots as res publica.[10] Since Presidente Supremo was shortened to Supremo in contemporary historical accounts of other people, he thus became known by that title alone in traditional Philippine historiography, which by itself was thus understood to mean "Supreme Leader"[11][12][13] in contrast to the later "Presidents". However, as noted by Filipino historian Xiao Chua, Bonifacio did not refer himself as Supremo but rather as Kataas-taasang Pangulo (Supreme President), Pangulo ng Kataas-taasang Kapulungan (President of the Supreme Assembly), or Pangulo ng Haring Bayan (President of the Sovereign Nation/People), as evidenced by his own writings.[13]

Although the word Tagalog refers to the Tagalog people, a specific ethno-linguistic group mostly in southern Luzon, Bonifacio used the term "Tagalog" in "Tagalog Republic" to denote all non-Spanish peoples of the Philippines in place of Filipinos, which had colonial origins, referring to his concept of the Philippine nation and people as the "Sovereign Tagalog Nation/People" or more precisely "Sovereign Nation of the Tagalog People" (Filipino: Haring Bayang Katagalugan), in effect a synonym of "Tagalog Republic" or more precisely "Republic of the Tagalog Nation/People".[14][15][16][17][18]

Petition to recognize Bonifacio as the first president
Petitions were filed before the current Philippine government to recognize Andres Bonifacio as the first Philippine president.
Petitions were filed before the current Philippine government to recognize Andres Bonifacio as the first Philippine president.

According to Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo, including Bonifacio as a past president would imply that Macario Sakay and Miguel Malvar should also be included, as Sakay continued Bonifacio's concept of a national Tagalog Republic, and Malvar continued the Philippine Republic which was the culmination of several governments headed by Emilio Aguinaldo that superseded/displaced Bonifacio's, Malvar taking over after Aguinaldo's capture.[19] Nevertheless, there are still calls, including from a descendant of Bonifacio, to let Bonifacio be recognized by the current government as the first Philippine president.[7][10] In 1993, historians Milagros Guerrero, Emmanuel Encarnacion and Ramon Villegas petitioned before the National Historical Institute (now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines or NHCP) to recognize Bonifacio as the first Philippine president but the institute turned down the petition and reasoned that Bonifacio was not even the Katipunan's first Supremo but Deodato Arellano..[20]

In 2013, the Manila City Council passed a resolution persuading the national government to declare Bonifacio as the first president of the Tagalog Republic, attributing to all natives of the archipelago of the Philippines.[20] A separate resolution was also signed in 2013 by the Philippine Historian Association urging then Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to recognize Bonifacio as the first Philippine president.[21] In the same year, representatives of the Philippine House of Representatives passed a house resolution that sought to acknowledge Bonifacio as the first president.[20] A similar house resolution was also filed in 2016.[22]

According to Marlon Cadiz of NHCP, the agency is waiting for a thorough and clear study containing new evidence as well as explanations of experts regarding Bonifacio's status as the first president.[20]

Aguinaldo's governments and the First Republic

Emilio Aguinaldo and ten of the Malolos Congress delegates that passed the Constitución Política de la República Filipina in 1899
Emilio Aguinaldo and ten of the Malolos Congress delegates that passed the Constitución Política de la República Filipina in 1899

In March 1897, during the Philippine Revolution against Spain, Emilio Aguinaldo was elected president of a new revolutionary government at the Tejeros Convention in Tejeros, Cavite.[23] The new government was meant to replace the Katipunan.[24] It variously called itself the "Philippine Republic" (Spanish: Republica Filipina),[25] "Republic of the Philippines" (Spanish: Republica de Filipinas)[26] and "Government of All Tagalogs" or "Government of the Whole Tagalog Nation/People" (Filipino: Pamahalaan ng Sangkatagalugan).[27]

Months later, Aguinaldo was again elected president at Biak-na-Bato, Bulacan in November,[28] leading a reorganized "Republic of the Philippines" (Spanish: Republica de Filipinas),[29] commonly known today as the Republic of Biak-na-Bato.[30] Aguinaldo therefore signed the Pact of Biak-na-Bato and went into exile in Hong Kong at the end of 1897.[31]

In April 1898, the Spanish–American War broke out,[32] and afterwards, the Asiatic Squadron of the United States Navy sailed for the Philippines.[33] At the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898, the American Navy decisively defeated the Spanish Navy.[34] Aquinaldo subsequently returned to the Philippines aboard a U.S. Navy vessel[35] and renewed the revolution.[36] He formed a dictatorial government on May 24, 1898,[36] and issued the Philippine Declaration of Independence on June 12, 1898.[37] During this brief period he took the title "Dictator" and the Declaration of Independence refers to him as such.[38]

On June 23, 1898, Aguinaldo transformed his dictatorial government into a revolutionary government and became known as "President" again.[39][40] On January 23, 1899, Aguinaldo was then elected president of the "Philippine Republic" (Spanish: Republica Filipina), a new government constituted by a revolutionary Congress under a likewise revolutionary Constitution.[41][42] Consequently, this government is today officially considered to be the proper First Republic and is also called the Malolos Republic,[43] after its capital Malolos in Bulacan;[44] its Congress (formally "National Assembly") and Constitution are commonly known as the Malolos Congress and Malolos Constitution as well.[45][46]

Like all of its predecessors and would-be successors until the 1935 Commonwealth of the Philippines, the First Philippine Republic was short-lived[47] and never internationally recognized,[48] and never controlled and/or was universally recognized by the entire area covered by the current Republic, though it (and they) claimed to represent and govern the entire Philippine archipelago and all its people.[49] The Philippines was transferred from Spanish to American control by the Treaty of Paris of 1898, signed in December of that year.[50] The Philippine–American War broke out between the United States and Aguinaldo's government.[51] His government effectively ceased to exist on April 1, 1901, after he pledged allegiance to the United States following his capture by U.S. forces in March.[51]

The current government of the Republic of the Philippines considers Emilio Aguinaldo to be the first president of the Philippines based specifically on his presidency of the Malolos Republic, not any of his various prior governments.[52]

Other claimants

Miguel Malvar continued Aguinaldo's leadership of the Philippine Republic after the latter's capture until his own capture in 1902, while Macario Sakay revived the Tagalog Republic in 1902 as a continuing state of Bonifacio's Katipunan. They are both considered by some scholars as "unofficial presidents", and along with Bonifacio, are not recognized as presidents by the government.[53][54]

American occupation

Between 1898 and 1935, executive power in the Philippines was exercised by a succession of four American military Governors-General and eleven civil Governors-General.[55][56][57]

Philippine Commonwealth

Manuel Luis Quezon, the first president of the Philippine Commonwealth, is officially recognized as the second president of the Philippines
Manuel Luis Quezon, the first president of the Philippine Commonwealth, is officially recognized as the second president of the Philippines

In October 1935, Manuel L. Quezon was elected the first president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, which had been established, still under United States sovereignty, under a constitution ratified on May 14 of that year.[58] During its first five years, the president could serve for a six-year term that cannot be renewed.[59] It was later amended in 1940 to limit a president to serving no more than two four-year terms.[60][61] When the administration of President Quezon exiled to the United States after the Philippines fell to the Empire of Japan in World War II, Quezon appointed Chief Justice José Abad Santos as his delegate, which in effect the acting president of the commonwealth according to Justice George A. Malcolm.[62][63] Abad Santos was subsequently executed by the Imperial Japanese Army on May 2, 1942.[62]

The Second Republic under the Japanese

On October 14, 1943, José P. Laurel became president under a constitution imposed by the Japanese occupation.[64][65] Laurel, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines,[66] had been instructed to remain in the City of Manila by President Quezon, who withdrew to Corregidor and then to the United States to establish a government in exile in the United States.[67][68] On August 17, 1945, two days after the Japanese surrendered to the Allies, Laurel officially dissolved the republic.[69]

After World War II

The 1935 Constitution was restored after the Japanese surrender ended World War II,[60] with Vice President Sergio Osmeña becoming president due to Quezon's death on August 1, 1944.[58] It remained in effect after the United States recognized the sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines as a separate self-governing nation on July 4, 1946.[58] On the same day, Manuel A. Roxas, the last president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, became the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines,[58] also known as the Third Republic of the Philippines.[70]

1973 and 1987 Constitutions

A new Constitution ratified on January 17, 1973,[71] under the rule of Ferdinand E. Marcos introduced a parliamentary-style government.[72] Marcos instituted himself as Prime Minister while serving as president in 1978.[73] Marcos later appointed César Virata as Prime Minister in 1981, although, he was only a figurehead as the government control was still with Marcos.[74]

The 1973 Constitution was in effect until the People Power Revolution of 1986 toppled Marcos's 21-year authoritarian regime and replaced him with Corazon C. Aquino.[60] On March 25, 1986, Aquino issued Proclamation No. 3, s. 1986 or the "freedom constitution" that initially replaced the 1973 Constitution.[60] This provisional constitution was done as Aquino was installed as president through revolutionary means.[75] Proclamation No. 3 abrogated many of the provisions of the then 1973 Constitution,[76] including the provisions associated with the Marcos regime,[77] which gave the president legislative powers,[78] as well as the unicameral legislature called the Batasang Pambansa[77] (literally National Legislature in Filipino). The proclamation retained only parts of the 1973 Constitution that were essential for a return to democratic rule, such as the bill of rights.[76][77] This constitution was superseded on February 2, 1987, by the present constitution.[60]

Other issues

José P. Laurel giving a speech after his inauguration as President of the Second Philippine Republic
José P. Laurel giving a speech after his inauguration as President of the Second Philippine Republic

Both Bonifacio[79] and Aguinaldo[80] might be considered to have been an inaugural president of an insurgent government. Quezon was the inaugural president of a predecessor state to the current one,[81] while Roxas was the first president of an independent Philippines.[58]

The government considers Aguinaldo to have been the first president of the Philippines, followed by Quezon and his successors.[52][82] Despite the differences in constitutions and government, the line of presidents is considered to be continuous.[83] For instance, Rodrigo R. Duterte, is considered to be the 16th president.[84]

While the government may consider Aguinaldo as the first president, the First Republic fell under the United States' jurisdiction due to the 1898 Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish–American War; the United States thus does not consider his tenure to have been legitimate.[52][37] Manuel L. Quezon is considered to be the first president by the United States when they gave the Philippines independence through the Tydings–McDuffie Act.[85] He is also the first to win a popular election and a nationwide election.[86]

During the Second World War, the Philippines had two presidents heading two governments.[87] One was Quezon and the Commonwealth government-in-exile in Washington, D.C.,[88][89] and the other was Manila-based Laurel heading the Japanese-sponsored Second Republic.[87] Notably, Laurel was himself instructed to remain in Manila by President Quezon.[67] Laurel and Aguinaldo were not formally recognized as Philippine presidents until Diosdado Macapagal's administration.[90][91] Their inclusion in the official list coincided with the transfer of the official date of Independence Day from July 4 (the anniversary of the Philippines' independence from the United States) to June 12 (the anniversary of the 1898 Declaration of Independence).[90]

Powers and roles

Chief Executive

The president of the Philippines, being the chief executive, serves as both the head of state and head of government of the Philippines.[92] The constitution vests the executive power with the president who consequently heads the government's executive branch, including the Cabinet and all executive departments.[93]

The president has power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures after conviction by final judgment, except in cases of impeachment.[94] The president can grant amnesty with the concurrence of the majority of all the members of the Congress.[95] The president has authority to contract or guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic but only with the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.[96]

The president also exercises general supervision over local government units.[97]

Power of appointment

With the consent of the Commission on Appointments, the president also appoints the heads of the executive departments, board of members and its leaders from any national government-related institutions, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, high-ranking officers of the armed forces, and other officials.[98] The members of the Supreme Court and lower courts are also appointed by the president, but only from the list of nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council. Such appointments do not need the approval of the Commission on Appointments.[99]

Government agencies

Main article: Office of the President of the Philippines

There are government agencies report to no specific department but are instead under the Office of the President.[100] These include important agencies such as the National Security Council,[101] Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process,[102] Commission on Population and Development,[103] Commission on Higher Education,[100] Climate Change Commission,[100] Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board,[100] Metropolitan Manila Development Authority,[100] Movie and Television Review and Classification Board,[100] Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan,[104] Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority,[105] and many more.[100] The Presidential Security Group, which composed of members from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority as well as civilians, is directly under the Office of the President.[106][107]

Election process


Article 7, Section 2 of the Constitution reads: "No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election."[108] Natural-born Filipinos are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship. Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines at the time of their birth and those born before 17 January 1973, of Filipino mothers, who elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority are considered natural-born Filipinos.[109] The Constitution also provides term limits where the president is ineligible for reelection and a person who has succeeded as president and has served as such for more than four years will be ineligible to be elected for a second term. However, with the case of Joseph Estrada who was elected president in 1998, deposed in 2001, and again ran for the presidency in 2010, the Constitution's wording where "[the] President shall not be eligible for any re-election"[110] remains unclear as his case was never brought to the Supreme Court. It remains unclear whether the term limit of no re-election applies only to the incumbent president or for any person who has been elected as president.


Main article: Philippine presidential election

Home provinces (blue and purple) of the presidents.
Home provinces (blue and purple) of the presidents.

The president is elected by direct vote every six years, usually on the second Monday of May.[110]

The returns of every election for president and vice president, duly certified by the board of canvassers of each province or city, shall be transmitted to Congress, directed to the president of the Senate. Upon receipt of the certificates of canvass, the president of the Senate shall open all the certificates in the presence of a joint public session of Congress not later than 30 days after election day. Congress then canvasses the votes upon determining that the polls are authentic and were done in the manner provided by law.

The person with the highest number of votes is declared the winner, but in case two or more have the highest number of votes, the president is elected by a majority of all members of both Houses, voting separately on each.


Main article: Philippine presidential inauguration

Further information: List of Philippine presidential inaugurations

Carlos P. Garcia is sworn in as the 8th president of the Philippines after winning the election of 1957
Carlos P. Garcia is sworn in as the 8th president of the Philippines after winning the election of 1957
Rodrigo Duterte during his inauguration

The president of the Philippines usually takes the Oath of Office at noon of June 30 following the presidential election.

Traditionally, the vice president takes the oath first, a little before noon for two reasons. First, according to protocol, no one follows the president (who is last due to his supremacy), and second, to establish a constitutionally valid successor before the president-elect accedes. During the Quezon inauguration, however, the vice president and the Legislature were sworn in after the president, to symbolize a new start.

As soon as the president takes the Oath of Office, a 21-gun salute is fired to salute the new head of state, and the Presidential Anthem Mabuhay is played. The president delivers his inaugural address, and then proceeds to Malacañang Palace to climb the Grand Staircase, a ritual which symbolises the formal possession of the Palace. The president then inducts the newly formed cabinet into office in one of the state rooms.

Custom has enshrined three places as the traditional venue for the inauguration ceremony: Barasoain Church in Malolos City, Bulacan; in front of the old Legislative Building (now part of the National Museum) in Manila; or at Quirino Grandstand, where most have been held. In 2004, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivered her pre-inaugural address at Quirino Grandstand, took the Oath of Office in Cebu City before Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., and the next day held the first cabinet meeting in Butuan City. She broke with precedent, reasoning that she wanted to celebrate her inauguration in each of the three main island groups of the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Her first inauguration also broke precedent as she was sworn in at the EDSA Shrine on January 20, 2001, during the EDSA Revolution of 2001 that removed Joseph Estrada from office.

In the past, elections were held in November and the president's inauguration was held on December 30 (Rizal Day). This ensured that when the inauguration was usually held at Quirino Grandstand, the new president could see the Rizal Monument on the anniversary of his death. Ferdinand Marcos transferred the dates of both the elections and the inauguration to May and June, respectively, and it remains so to this day.

The dress code at the modern inaugural ceremony is traditional, formal Filipino clothing, which is otherwise loosely termed Filipiniana. Ladies must wear baro't saya (the formal wear of other indigenous groups is permissible), while men don the Barong Tagalog. Non-Filipinos at the ceremony may wear their respective versions of formal dress, but foreign diplomats have often been seen donning Filipiniana as a mark of cultural respect.

Oath of Office

The Constitution provides the following oath or affirmation for the president and vice president-elect which must be taken before they enter into office:[111]

"I, (name), do solemnly swear [or affirm], that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President [or Vice-President or Acting President] of the Philippines. Preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation. So help me God." [In case of affirmation, last sentence will be omitted.]

— Constitution of the Philippines, art. 7, sec. 5

The Filipino text of the oath used for the inaugurations of Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, and Benigno S. Aquino III reads:[112]

"Ako si (pangalan), ay taimtim kong pinanunumpaan (o pinatototohanan) na tutuparin ko nang buong katapatan at sigasig ang aking mga tungkulin bilang Pangulo (o Pangalawang Pangulo o Nanunungkulang Pangulo) ng Pilipinas, pangangalagaan at ipagtatanggol ang kanyang Konstitusyon, ipatutupad ang mga batas nito, magiging makatarungan sa bawat tao, at itatalaga ang aking sarili sa paglilingkod sa Bansa. Kasihan nawa ako ng Diyos." (Kapag pagpapatotoo, ang huling pangungusap ay kakaltasin.)

— Konstitusyon ng Pilipinas, Artikulo VII, SEK. 5


Impeachment in the Philippines follows procedures similar to the United States. The House of Representatives, one of the houses of the bicameral Congress, has the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment against the president, vice president, members of the Supreme Court, members of the Constitutional Commissions and the ombudsman.[113] When a third of its membership has endorsed the impeachment articles, it is then transmitted to the Senate of the Philippines which tries and decide, as impeachment tribunal, the impeachment case.[114] A main difference from US proceedings however is that only a third of House members are required to approve the motion to impeach the president (as opposed to the majority required in the United States). In the Senate, selected members of the House of Representatives act as the prosecutors and the senators act as judges with the Senate president and chief justice of the Supreme Court jointly presiding over the proceedings. Like the United States, to convict the official in question requires that a minimum of two-thirds (i.e., 16 of 24 members) of the senate vote in favour of conviction. If an impeachment attempt is unsuccessful or the official is acquitted, no new cases can be filed against that impeachable official for at least one full year.

Impeachable offenses

The Constitution enumerates the culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, and betrayal of public trust as grounds for the impeachment of the president.[115] The same also applies for the vice president, the members of the Supreme Court, the members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the ombudsman.

Impeachment attempts and proceedings

See also: Impeachment in the Philippines

Joseph Estrada

Joseph Estrada was the first president to undergo impeachment when the House of Representatives voted to raise the impeachment proceedings to the Senate in 2000. However, the trial ended prematurely where anti-Estrada senators walked out of the impeachment sessions when Estrada's allies in the Senate voted narrowly to block the opening of an envelope which allegedly contained critical evidence on Estrada's wealth. Estrada was later ousted from office when the 2001 EDSA Revolution forced him out of the presidential palace and when the Supreme Court confirmed that his leaving the palace was his de facto resignation from office.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Several impeachment complaints were filed against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo but none reached the required endorsement of a third of the House of Representatives.


The official title of the Philippine head of state and government is "President of the Philippines."[3] The title in Filipino is Pangulo (cognate of Malay penghulu "leader", "chieftain"). The honorific for the president is "Your Excellency" or "His/Her Excellency." Although, in July 2016, Rodrigo Duterte released an order to drop the honorific title "Your Excellency" and "His Excellency" and just call him "President Rodrigo Roa Duterte" in all official communications, events or materials.[116][117][118]

Ulo in Tagalog means head, Pang is a reference for a designation, thus, pang+ulo = designated head.

Historical titles

The term "President of the Republic of the Philippines" used under Japanese occupation of the Philippines distinguished the government of then-president José P. Laurel from the Commonwealth government-in-exile under President Manuel L. Quezon.[119] The restoration of the Commonwealth in 1945 and the subsequent independence of the Philippines restored the title of "President of the Philippines" enacted in the 1935 constitution.[120] The 1973 constitution, though generally referring to the president as "President of the Philippines" did, in Article XVII, Section 12, once use the term, "President of the Republic."[121] In the text of Proclamation No. 1081 that placed the country under martial law in September 1972, President Ferdinand E. Marcos consistently referred to himself as "President of the Philippines."[122]

State of the Nation Address

Main article: State of the Nation Address (Philippines)

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivers her 7th State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is an annual event, in which the president reports on the status of the nation, normally to the resumption of a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate. This is a duty of the president as stated in Article VII, Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution:[3]

The President shall address Congress at the opening of its regular session. He/She may also appear anytime.

Tenure and term limits

Ferdinand Marcos was the only president to serve three terms (1965–1969, 1969–1981, 1981–1986).[123]
Ferdinand Marcos was the only president to serve three terms (1965–1969, 1969–1981, 1981–1986).[123]

The 1935 Constitution originally set the president's term at six years, without re-election.[124] In 1940, however, the 1935 Constitution was amended and the term of the president (and vice president) was shortened to four years, with a two-term limit. Under the provisions of the amended 1935 document, only presidents Manuel L. Quezon (1941) and Ferdinand E. Marcos (1969) were re-elected. Presidents Sergio Osmeña (1946), Elpidio Quirino (1953), Carlos P. Garcia (1961) and Diosdado Macapagal (1965) all failed in seeking a new term.

On August 24, 1970, Congress enacted RA No. 6132, otherwise known as the Constitutional Convention Act, for the purpose of convening a Constitutional Convention. The 320 delegates met from June 1971 until November 30, 1972, when they approved the draft of the new Charter. While in the process of drafting a new Constitution, President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law on September 21, 1972. The draft Constitution was submitted to the Citizen's Assemblies from January 10 to 17, 1973 for ratification. On January 17, 1973, President Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1102, announcing the ratification of the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. In 1981, President Marcos secured a third term, defeating Alejo Santos in an election.[125]

The 1987 Constitution restored the 1935 Constitution's original ban on presidential reelection. Under Article 7, Section 4 of the current constitution, the term of the president shall begin at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date, six years thereafter. The incumbent president is not eligible for re-election, even if non-consecutive. Moreover, no president who serves more than four years of a presidential term is allowed to run or serve again.[126]


At the start of the term

Under Article 7, Section 7 of the Constitution of the Philippines, In case the president-elect fails to qualify, the vice president-elect shall act as president until the president-elect shall have qualified.[3]

If at the beginning of the term of the president, the president-elect shall have died or shall have become permanently disabled, the vice president-elect shall become president.[3]

Where no president and vice president shall have been chosen or shall have qualified, or where both shall have died or become permanently disabled, the president of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the speaker of the House of Representatives, shall act as president until a president or a vice president shall have been chosen and qualified.[3]

During the term

Sergio Osmeña was the first vice president to succeed to the presidency upon the death of a chief executive, who was Manuel L. Quezon, in 1944.
Sergio Osmeña was the first vice president to succeed to the presidency upon the death of a chief executive, who was Manuel L. Quezon, in 1944.

Article 7, Sections 8 and 11 of the Constitution of the Philippines provide rules of succession to the presidency. In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the president, the vice president will become the president to serve the unexpired term. In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of both the president and vice president; the president of the Senate or, in case of his inability, the speaker of the House of Representatives, shall then act as president until the president or vice president shall have been elected and qualified.

The Congress shall, by law, provide who shall serve as president in case of death, permanent disability, or resignation of the acting president. He shall serve until the president or the vice president shall have been elected and qualified, and be subject to the same restrictions of powers and disqualifications as the acting president.

The line of presidential succession as specified by Article VII, Section 8 of the Constitution of the Philippines are the vice president, Senate president and the speaker of the House of Representatives.

The current presidential line of succession is:

# Name Position
1 Leni Robredo Vice President
2 Tito Sotto President of the Senate
3 Lord Allan Velasco Speaker of the House of Representatives


Privileges of office

Official residence

Main article: Malacañang Palace

Before the Malacañang Palace was designated as the official residence of the president, various establishments served as residence of the chief executive. The Spanish Governor-General, the highest-ranking official in the Philippines during the Spanish Era, resided in the Palacio del Gobernador inside the walled city of Intramuros. However, after an earthquake in 1863, the Palacio del Gobernador was destroyed, and the residence and office of the Governor-General transferred to Malacañang Palace. During the Philippine Revolution, President Aguinaldo resided in his own home in Kawit, Cavite. After his defeat in the Philippine–American War, Aguinaldo transferred the Capital of the Philippines to different areas while he struggled in the pursuit of American Forces. When the Americans occupied the Philippines, they also used the Palace as an official residence. During the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, the governmental offices and the presidential residence transferred to Baguio, and the Mansion House was used as the official residence. Meanwhile, President Quezon of the Philippine Commonwealth resided in the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. After the restoration of independence, plans were made for the construction of the new presidential residence which would replacing Malacañang in a new capital city. However, the plans did not push through and the president's official residence remained on Malacañang Palace in Manila.[127][128]

The Filipino name is derived from the Tagalog phrase "may lakán diyán", ("there is a nobleman there"), and this was eventually shortened to Malakanyáng.

Malacañang Palace serves as the official residence of the president of the Philippines, a privilege entitled to him/her under Article VII, Section 6 of the Constitution.[3] The Palace is located along the north bank of the Pasig River, along J.P. Laurel Street in the district of San Miguel, Manila.

Malacañang Palace is depicted on the reverse side of the 20-peso bill in the Pilipino, Ang Bagong Lipunan, New Design, and the present New Generation series.

Bahay Pangarap

The actual residence of incumbent president Rodrigo Duterte is Bahay Pangarap (English: House of Ambitions),[129] a smaller structure located across the Pasig River from Malacañang Palace in Malacañang Park,[130] which is itself part of the Presidential Security Group Complex.[129][131] Former president Aquino was the first president to live in Bahay Pangarap his official residence.[132][133]

Malacañang Park was originally built by former president Manuel L. Quezon as a rest house and venue for informal activities and social functions for the First Family.[129][133] The house was built and designed by architect Juan Arellano in the 1930s,[129][133] and underwent a number of renovations.[129] In 2008, the house was demolished and rebuilt in contemporary style by architect Conrad Onglao,[129][133] and a new swimming pool was built, replacing the Commonwealth Era one.[132][133] The house originally had one bedroom,[129] however, it was renovated for Aquino to have four bedrooms,[132] a guest room, a room for his household staff, and a room for his close-in security.[130] Malacañang Park was refurbished through the efforts of First Lady Eva Macapagal, the second wife of President Diosdado Macapagal, in the early 1960s.[133] Mrs. Macapagal renamed the rest house as Bahay Pangarap.[133]

Under Fidel V. Ramos, Bahay Pangarap was transformed into a clubhouse for the Malacañang Golf Club.[129] The house was subsequently used by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to welcome special guests.[129] Aquino made it clear before he assumed office that he refused to live in the main Palace, or in the nearby Arlegui Mansion (where he once lived during his mother's rule and where Ramos later stayed), stating that both were too big.[129] He lived in the Aquino family residence along Times Street, Quezon City in the first few days of his rule, although he transferred to Bahay Pangarap because it was deemed a security concern for his neighbors if he stayed in their small, 1970s home.[131]

Other residences

The president also has other complexes nationwide for official use:

Air transport

Main article: Air transports of heads of state and government § Philippines

An Aérospatiale SA-330 Puma carrying President Corazon C. Aquino at Subic Bay Naval Base.

The 250th (Presidential) Airlift Wing of the Philippine Air Force has the mandate of providing safe and efficient air transport for the president of the Philippines and the First Family. On occasion, the wing has also been tasked to provide transportation for other members of government, visiting heads of state, and other state guests.

The majority of the fleet is fairly dated with a few exceptions it includes: 1 Fokker F28, which is primarily used for the president's domestic trips and it is also called "Kalayaan One" when the president is on board, 4 Bell 412 helicopters, 3 Sikorsky S-76 helicopters, 1 Sikorsky S-70-5 Black Hawk, a number of Bell UH-1N Twin Hueys, as well as Fokker F-27 Friendships. In September 2020, a new Gulfstream G280 was delivered which will be used for VIP transport as well as for C2 (Command and Control) missions.[134] For trips outside of the Philippines, the Air Force employs a Bombardier Global Express or charters appropriate aircraft from the country's flag carrier, Philippine Airlines. Any PAL aircraft with the flight number PR/PAL 001 and callsign PHILIPPINE 001 is a flight operated by Philippine Airlines to transport the president of the Philippines. The president sometimes charter private jets for domestic trips within the Philippines due to some airports in the Philippines having small runways.

A Presidential Helicopter Bell 412 crashed on April 7, 2009, in the mountainous Ifugao Province north of Manila. On board were eight people, including two Cabinet undersecretaries and several servicemen. The flight was en route to Ifugao from Baguio as an advance party of President Macapagal-Arroyo, when the control tower at the now-defunct Loakan Airport lost communication with the craft several minutes after takeoff.

The Arroyo administration planned to buy another aircraft worth of about 1.2 billion pesos before her term ended in June 2010,[135] but cancelled the purchase due to other issues.[136]

Water transport

Main article: BRP Ang Pangulo (AT-25)

BRP Ang Pangulo (BRP stands for Barkó ng Repúblika ng Pilipinas, "Ship of the Republic of the Philippines"; "Ang Pangulo" is Filipino for "the president") was commissioned by the Philippine Navy on March 7, 1959. It was built in and by Japan during the administration of President García as part of Japanese reparations to the Philippines for World War II.[137] It is primarily used in entertaining guests of the incumbent president.

Land transport

Main article: Official state car § Philippines

The president of the Philippines uses two black and heavily armored Mercedes-Benz W221 S600 Guard, whereas one is a decoy vehicle. In convoys, the president is escorted by the Presidential Security Group using primarily Nissan Patrol SUVs with the combination of the following vehicles: Audi A6, BMW 7 Series, Chevrolet Suburban, Hyundai Equus, Hyundai Starex, Toyota Camry, Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Land Cruiser, Philippine National Police 400cc motorcycles, Philippine National Police Toyota Altis (Police car variant), other government-owned vehicles, and ambulances at the tail of the convoy; the number depends on the destination. The presidential cars are designated and registered a plate number of 1 or the word PANGULO (President). The limousine bears the Flag of the Philippines and, occasionally, the Presidential Standard.[138]

For regional trips, the president boards a Toyota Coaster or Mitsubishi Fuso Rosa or other vehicles owned by government-owned and controlled corporations or government agencies. In this case, the PSG escorts the president using local police cars with an ambulance at the tail of the convoy.

Former president Benigno Aquino III, preferred to use his personal vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser 200 or his relative's Lexus LX 570 over the black presidential limousines after their electronic mechanisms were damaged by floodwater. The Palace has announced its interest to acquire a new presidential limousine.[142]

The current president, Rodrigo Duterte, prefers to utilize a white, bullet-proof armored Toyota Landcruiser as his official presidential vehicle instead of the "luxurious" Mercedes-Benz W221 S600 Guard, in his commitment to being the "People's President"[citation needed].

The Office of the President has also owned various cars over the decades, including a 1937 Chrysler Airflow that served as the country's very first presidential limousine for Manuel L. Quezon.


Main article: Presidential Security Group

The Presidential Security Group (abbreviated PSG), is the lead agency tasked with providing security for the president, vice president, and their immediate families. They also provide protective service for visiting heads of state and diplomats.

Unlike similar groups around the world who protect other political figures, the PSG is not required to handle presidential candidates. However, former presidents and their immediate families are entitled to a small security detail from the PSG. Currently, the PSG uses Nissan Patrol SUVs as its primary security vehicles.


Presidents Emilio Aguinaldo and Manuel L. Quezon during the 1935 campaign.
Presidents Emilio Aguinaldo and Manuel L. Quezon during the 1935 campaign.

After leaving office, a number of presidents held various public positions and made an effort to remain in the limelight. Among other honors, former presidents and their immediate families are entitled to seven soldiers as their security detail.[143]

Living former presidents

As of 24 June 2021, there are three living former presidents and one incumbent president. The most recent death of a former president was that of Benigno Aquino III (2010-2016).[154][155]

See also


  1. ^ In July 2016, Rodrigo Duterte dropped the honorific title "Your Excellency" and "His Excellency" in all official communications, events or materils and he is just simply called "President Rodrigo Roa Duterte."[116][117][118]
  2. ^ As head of government.
  3. ^ a b The position was created by an independent revolutionary state, the "Malolos Republic", but was not recognized internationally. The Philippine government now recognizes the Malolos Republic as its predecessor state, which it also calls the First Philippine Republic.
  4. ^ a b From an international standpoint at that time, the First Philippine Republic never existed but rather, Spain ceded its Spanish East Indies to the United States of America by the Treaty of Paris following the Spanish–American War. Therefore, the international community only recognizes the first Philippine presidency under the US-associated Commonwealth of the Philippines.
  5. ^ The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has indicated on their website that the president's salary grade is the 33rd. The 33rd salary grade on COMELEC's website states 395,858 pesos.
  6. ^ The four vice presidents who succeeded to the presidency upon their predecessor's death or resignation and finished-out that unexpired term are: Sergio Osmeña (1944); Elpidio Quirino (1948); Carlos P. Garcia (1957); Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2001).


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