Return to Democracy

President Corazon Aquino showed enthusiasm and tremendous expectation for the future. She formed a revolutionary government to normalize the situation. Under her presidency, democratic institutions and civil liberties were revitalized.

On February 1987, a new constitution was ratified by referendum. The new constitution replaced the National Assembly with a bicameral legislature and limited the president to a single term (6 years) in office. Despite of all efforts, administration was vied by many as weak and fractious and a return to full political stability and economic development was held back by several coups and by series of natural disasters, including the Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991.

A peaceful election in May 1992 was held and Fidel V. Ramos won the presidency with just 23% of the vote in a field of seven candidates. During his term, he declared “National Reconciliation”. He legalized the Communist Party and laid groundwork for talks with the communist insurgent, Muslim separatists and military rebels. He also worked to establish economic stability. Introduced economic and financial reforms needed for a competitive industrial economy. He encouraged private enterprise, invited more foreign and domestic investment and reduced corruption. President Ramos vision of “Philippines 2000” led the country into a newly industrialized country in the world.

In 1998 election, Joseph Estrada was elected as a president of the Philippines by an overwhelming mass support. Under the cloud of Asian financial crisis (began in 1997) his governance took a heavy tool on the economy, budget deficit grew, high unemployment rate, and currency plunged. The economy eventually recovered but on a very slow pace. The Estrada presidency was soon dogged by allegations of cronyism and corruption as well as the failure to remedy the problems of poverty.

President Estrada was impeached by the House of Representatives, but his impeachment trial in the Senate broke down when the senate voted to block the examination of president’s bank records. A political turmoil arises and clamors for Estrada’s resignation become stronger. Countenance with the street protests, cabinet resignations and the loss of political support eventually forced him from the office.

On 20 January 2001, the Supreme Court declared that the seat of presidency was vacant. At noon, Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency.

President Arroyo outlines her vision for the country as “building a strong republic” throughout her tenure. Her agenda consist of building up a strong bureaucracy, lowering crime rates, increasing tax collection, improving economic growth and intensifying counter-terrorism efforts.

In December 2002, President Arroyo announced her desire to seek for a new term on the coming May 2004 election. On 30 June 2004, she took her oath of office in Cebu City.

Impeachment charges were brought against President Arroyo for allegedly tampering with the results of election after purported tapes of her speaking with an electoral official during the vote count. However, the Congress rejected the charges in September 2005. Similar charges were discussed and dismissed by the Congress on the following year.

Economic growth in terms of gross domestic product has averaged 4.6% during the Arroyo presidency from 2001 to 2005. This is higher than the previous recent presidents. Her administration also forged a strong relationship with the United States, East Asian and Southeast Asian nations. On 21 August 2007, President Arroyo pleads to the Senate to ratify a US$4 billion trade with Japan, which would create more that 300,000 jobs. An Amnesty proclamation was signed for members of the Communist party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, and other communist rebel group. Granted pardon to former President Estrada on 25 October 2007. Despite of all efforts made, criticism and public perception to the Arroyo’s administration haven’t change. The involvement on series of scandals and the allegations of corruptions of the Arroyo Administration led to public condemnation. The unfolding political crisis persists.