The Type of Government in the Philippines in the Spanish Colonial Period
During the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, the government was composed of two branches, the executive and the judicial.
There was no legislative branch on that time since the laws of the islands were coming from Spain. The only laws created in the Philippines are those who were ordered by the Governor General.
The government on that time was lead by the Governor General. He was considered as the representative of Spain and the King himself. He is the highest officer in the island and responsible for implementing laws from the mother country.
He also has the power to appoint or relieve officer in the government or priest in the parish, except with those personally appointed by the king of Spain.
The provinces in the island were called as “Encomienda” and were governed by the “Encomienderos”, later they were replaced by the “Alcalde Mayor”
“Alcalde Mayor” had both the executive and judicial power. He had also given the right to collect taxes. The “Alcalde Mayor” was also allowed to establish a business because of its limited salary. In 1886, their executive power was abolished but their judicial powers remain.
Small towns were governed by the “gobernadorcillo”. Under his authority were one police chief and the lower government employees from which he had jurisdiction.
“Gobernadorcillo” were elected by the married people but later a “gobernadorcillo” was chosen by those outgoing in the position as his replacement.
The city was governed by two mayors, 12 councilors and a police chief, a secretary and other employees. The city is called as “Ayuntamiento”.
The “Encomienda” system was implemented. It is a system from which the king has the right to transfer the authority of a particular land to any Spanish individual or institution. Those individual who posses the right of “encomienda” was called as “Encomiendero”.
An “Encomiendero” has authority to collect taxes from the people in his jurisdiction. He also has the duty to care and look for the benefits of those citizens.
Unfortunately, the “encomienda” system was misused by some “encomienderos”. A lot of them use the “encomienda” for their own interest. They tend to abuse their power, collecting taxes more than the real tax value.
The “encomiendero’s” abuse their powers which sometimes made people revolts against them.
The “encomienda” system created hindrances for the economic development of the masses. This making the elite richer and making the economic situation of the majority under developed.
Although the “encomienda” system is designed for governance, its implementation gives negative effects to the people from which the “encomienderos” abuse their power against the people, to whom they are bound to govern.