Republic of the Philippines Polytechnic University of the Philippines
Quezon City Campus Philippine History
Chapter 8 (Commonwealth Period)
Transition Joan Daang BBTE 3-1 The Philippine Commonwealth Era | 1935â€“1946| >| | | Flag| Coat of arms| The Commonwealth of the Philippines was the historic predecessor to the present-day Republic of the Philippines. From 1935 to 1946 the Philippines existed as a commonwealth of the United States. That Commonwealth was created by the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which was passed by the United States Congress in 1934. When Manuel L.
Quezon was inaugurated president in 1935, he became the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines. During itâ€™s slightly more than a decade of existence; the Commonwealth had a strong executive and a Supreme Court. Its legislature, dominated by the Nacionalista Party, was at first unicameral, but later bicameral. In 1937, the government selected Tagalog, the dialect of Manila, as the official language, although it would be many years before its usage became general. Women’s suffrage was adopted and the economy recovered to its pre-depression level before the Japanese occupation.
The Commonwealth government was in exile from 1942 to 1945, when the Philippines was under Japanese occupation. In 1946, the Commonwealth ended and the Philippines became an independent Republic as provided for in Article XVIII of the 1935 Philippine Constitution. The Commonwealth era is the 10 year transitional period in Philippine history from 1935 to 1945 in preparation for independence from the United States as provided for under the Philippine Independence Act or more popularly known as the Tydings-McDuffie Law.
The Commonwealth era was interrupted when the Japanese occupied the Philippines in January 2, 1942. The Commonwealth government, lead by Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio S. Osmena went into exile in the U. S. , Quezon died of tuberculosis while in exile and Osmena took over as president. At the same time, the Japanese forces installed a puppet government in Manila headed by Jose P. Laurel as president. This government is known as the Second Philippine Republic. On October 20, 1944, the Allied forces led by Gen.
Douglas MacArthur landed on the island of Leyte to liberate the Philippines from the Japanese. Japan formally surrendered in September 2, 1945. After liberation, the Commonwealth government was restored. Congress convened in its first regular session on July 9, 1945. It was the first time the peopleâ€™s representatives have assembled since their election on November 11, 1941. Manuel Roxas was elected Senate President, and Elpidio Quirino was chosen President Pro Tempore.
Jose Zulueta was speaker of the house, while Prospero Sanidad became speaker pro Tempore. The first law of this congress, enacted as commonwealth act 672, organized the central bank of the Philippines. The commonwealth deal also tackled the issue of collaboration. In September 1945 the counter intelligence corps presented the people who were accused of having collaborated with, or given aid to, the Japanese. Included were prominent Filipinos who had been active in the puppet government that the Japanese had been established. A Peopleâ€™s Court” was created to investigate and decide on the issue. Amidst this sad state of affairs, the third commonwealth elections were held on April 23, 1946. Sergio Osmena and Manuel Roxas vied for the Presidency. Roxas won thus becoming the last president of the Philippine Commonwealth. The Commonwealth era formally ended when the United States granted independence to the Philippines, as scheduled on July 4, 1946.
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