History: Presidents of the Philippines

The President of the Philippines is elected by direct vote of the people, and has a term of six years with no provision for reelection.There have been 15 Presidents of the Philippines from the establishment of the office on January 23, 1899, in the Malolos Republic. President Emilio Aguinaldo is the inaugural holder of the office and held the position until March 23, 1901, when he was captured by the Americans during the Philippine-American War.

The Office of the President of the Philippines was abolished after the capture of Aguinaldo, and ceased to exist until the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935.

After the first national elections were held on September 16, 1935, Manuel L. Quezon was elected as the second President of the Philippines and the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth. Originally elected to a six-year term, President Quezon would stay in office until 1944, because the 1935 Constitution was amended in 1940 to allow reelection, but shortened the term of the President to four years. Quezon was elected again in 1941—however, due to constitutional limitations, he would have not served the full four years—his term started on November 15, 1935, and thus would end on November 15, 1943. In 1943, however, President Quezon had to take an emergency oath of office, extending his term, because of the outbreak of World War II.

When World War II forced the Philippine Commonwealth into exile, a different government would be installed in the Philippines, which would later to be known as the Second Republic of the Philippines. Jose P. Laurel would lead this government as the third President of the Philippines and the only President of the Second Republic. Laurel stayed in office from 1943 to 1944 when the Second Republic was abolished. At this point, the President of the Second Republic would overlap with the President of the Commonwealth. On September 17, 1945, however, the laws of the Second Republic were declared null and void by the Supreme.

The Philippine Commonwealth would be reestablished in Philippine soil in 1945 with President Sergio Osmeña as the second President of the Commonwealth and the fourth President of the Philippines. Osmeña took his oath of office in the United States after the demise of President Quezon. Osmeña would run in the first post-war presidential elections held in 1946, but lose to Senate President Manuel Roxas.

President Roxas was elected in 1946 as the third President of the Philippine Commonwealth, first President of the independent Republic of the Philippines, and the fifth President of the Philippines. He would usher in the end of the Philippine Commonwealth on July 4, 1946, and the birth of the Third Republic. Roxas would be followed by Presidents Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos P. Garcia, and Diosdado Macapagal as the second, third, fourth, and fifth President of the Third Republic and the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth President of the Philippines, respectively.

President Ferdinand E. Marcos became the last President of the Third Republic when he declared martial law in 1972, while the 1973 Constitution suspended the 1935 Constitution, he only formally proclaims the “New Republic”—the Fourth—in 1981. Marcos became the first President of the Fourth Republic and the tenth President of the Philippines overall. Marcos stayed in office for 20 years—the longest serving President of the Philippines.

In 1986, the EDSA Revolution successfully installed Corazon C. Aquino as the new President of the Philippines—the 11th in the country’s history. President Aquino served as the second and last President of the Fourth Republic at the beginning of her term. A transitional, Freedom Constitution was put into effect in the same year. When the 1987 Constitution was put into full force and effect, the Fourth Republic was ended and the Fifth Republic inaugurated. Thus, President Aquino became the first President of the Fifth Republic. She would be followed by Presidents Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Benigno S. Aquino III as the second, third, fourth, and fifth President of the Fifth Republic and 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th President of the Philippines, respectively.

The current President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, is the sixth President of the Fifth Republic and the 16th President of the Philippines.(https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/about/gov/exec/)