history of the Nacionalista Party is essentially the story
of the Filipino people's search for national identity, liberty,
equality, justice, and human dignity in the modern era since
the turn of the century.
first recorded act of native heroism in a feat of arms
against foreign invaders was that of the chieftain Lapu-Lapu
in Mactan on April 27, 1521. But at that time what is
now known as the Republic of the Philippines consisted
of widely scattered strings of human settlements known
as barangays (or balangais) mainly located along the
fertile coasts and on lowland plains, and for the most
part unaware of each other's existence.
school of historians identified with the philosopher
Benedetto Croce whose Filipino spokesman was the late
Teodoro Agoncillo believes that history is meaningful
only as it relates to the conscious search for human
liberty. Thus there is a tendency to gloss over the
first three centuries of Spanish rule as a largely inert
and passive era when foreign rulers, in spite of themselves
and obeying a necessity of their own, were accomplishing
the administrative consolidation of a vast archipelago
with several million people without as yet a distinctive
Historical Setting for the Rise of the NP
This thesis marks the beginning of Philippine history from
the Filipino national sentiment and the quest for liberty
clearly stirred in the last half of the nineteenth century.
In 1872, the arbitrary watermark in the year of the Cavite
Mutiny was the heroism of the martyred priests Gomez, Burgos
and Zamora, collectively known as GomBurZa.
GomBurZa, to whom Jose Rizal dedicated his first novel,
Noli me Tangere, was the precursor of the Propaganda Movement
which included Rizal himself, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Juan
and Antonio Luna, Graciano Lopez Jaena, and Mariano Ponce.
They were mainly exiles in Europe, who sought to advance
the Filipilino cause with the printed word, especially the
Barcelona-based journal, La Solidaridad. The movement ploughed
the soil and sowed the seeds that germinated into Asia's
first independent democratic republic in 1898. The Philippine
revolutionary forces defeated Spain in the battlefield (except
in Manila) but could not prevail against the brash newcomer
on the world scene, the United State of America, with its
"manifest destiny" rolling inexorably westward
across the Pacific.
1901 the Americans had begun in earnest the establishment
of a new civil government in the Philippines. The
Filipino ilustrados who served the First Philippine
Republic established in Malolos, Bulacan in January
1899 had split into two factions: between those who,
like Pardo de Tavera, Cayetano Arellano, Pedro Paterno
and Felipe Buencamino believed in the intermediate
restoration of peace and civil order under a benevolent
American rule, and those who, like Apolinario Mabini,
Paciano Rizal, Artemio Ricarte and Pablo Ocampo were
called the "intransigents" and believed
in continuing the struggle for "immediate and
complete independence" even under American occupation.
early as 1900, the first American Civil Governor General
William Howard Taft started recruiting Filipino sympathizers
and prompted them to form the Federalista Party. Pro-independence
parties were not permitted until Governor General
Henry C. Ide lifted the ban in 1906, on the eve of
the formation of the first Philippine Legislature,
otherwise known as the Philippine Assembly.
Birth of the Nacionalista Party
March 12, 1906, the Partido Independista and the Union Nacionalista
merged to pursue more effectively the common goal of "immediate,
absolute and complete independence." In this decisive
meeting at Lacoste St. (now Ongpin) in Manila were Sergio
Osmeña, Manuel L. Quezon, Rafael Palma, Rafael Del
Pan, Teodoro Sandiko, Isauro Gabaldon, Fernando Ma. Guerrero,
Leon Ma. Guerrero, Justo Lukban, Macario Adriatico, Jose
Vales, Galicano Apacible, Jose dela Viña, Francisco
Liongson, and Vicente Miranda.
a year, these players moved for the unification of the Filipinos
and rallying them under one banner. The formal reckoning
date for the final formation of the Nacionalista Party was
April 29, 1907, when all the various pro-independence parties
unite to form the Nacionalista Party to contest the seats
in the first Philippine Assembly.
The First Victory
the elections held in July 1907, the newly organized
Nacionalista Party running on a platform of peaceful
struggle for independence swamped its Federalista
(now Progresista) opponents, winning 58 out of 80
seats, leaving 22 seats to the Progresistas and the
rest to the independents. This Nacionalista Party
victory decisively relegated the American-supported
Federalista party thereafter into minority role in
the Philippine politics. (The latter-day Democratas
descended directly from the Federalista Party of 1901).
Of the Nacionalistas elected, the most prominent were
Sergio Osmeña of Cebu, Manuel L. Quezon of
Tayabas, Pablo Ocampo of Manila, and Jayme de Veyra
of Leyte. Of the Progresista winners, the most prominent
was Vicente Singson Encarnacion of Ilocos Sur. Osmeña,
editor of a nationalist newspaper in Cebu, was elected
Speaker of the Philippine Assembly upon its inauguration
on October 16, 1907. Quezon, a colonel of the Philippine
Revolution under General Tomas Mascardo and a lawyer
from Tayabas, became his close collaborator and ultimately,
his foremost rival.
Nacionalistas ran on a platform rejecting the policy of
"American tutelage" under President William McKinley
Instructions of April 7, 1900, on the ground that "the
Filipino is as good as, if not better, than the American."
On August 11, 1907 the victorious party staged a rally at
the Luneta during which demonstrators, "marching up
and down by the thousands, pausing before several buildings
occupied by the Americans, raised the emblem of the Filipino
revolutionary forces and then tore down, trampled on and
burned the American flag." The American community rose
in outrage. The Philippine Commission was obliged to pass
the "Flag Law," which forbade the public display
of the Katipunan flag.
may be noted that in 1914, the leading radicals of the Nacionalista
Party led by Teodoro Sandiko of Bulacan, a member of the
Philippine Assembly, formed a third force, the Partido Democrata
Nacional, some of whom openly urged the resumption of armed
struggle for independence.)
1907 onwards, the Nacionalista Party dominated Philippine
politics, its supremacy challenged time and again
not only by minority parties but also by factions
within it that had become critical of its policies.
solidarity of the party was first broken in 1922 when
Manuel L. Quezon challenged Osmeña on the issue
of collective leadership, which he advocated as opposed
to what he described as Osmeña's unipersonal
leadership. From that struggle Quezon emerged the
victor, remaining as the President of the Senate,
with Osmeña as Senate President of Pro-Tempore.
Manuel A. Roxas succeeded Osmeña as Speaker
of the House of Representatives.
1924, Quezon and Osmeña reconciled and joined forces
in what was denominated the Partido Nacionalista Consolidado
against the threat of an emerging opposition from the Democrata
Party. The reunited Nacionalista Party dominated the political
scene until the second break-up when the members polarized
into Pros and Antis in 1934.
Pros were led by Osmeña and Roxas, who together
had succeed in procuring the enactment by the United
States Congress of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act, which
promised eventual independence to the Philippines.
Some of the main provisions of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting
A transition period of 10 years, during which the
following limitations of duty-free imports from the
Philippines into the United States would be in effect:
800,000 tons of crude sugar; 50,000 tons of refined
sugar; 200,000 tons of coconut oil and 3,000,000 pounds
2. A quota of 50 immigrants a year would allow the
A graduated export tax (from 5 to 25 per cent) of Philippine
exports to the US would commence the 6th year of the Commonwealth,
the proceeds being used to pay off Philippine government
4. The Philippine legislature must approve the independence
bill and the Philippine people must approve the Constitution
of the Philippine Commonwealth before either went into effect.
Quezon, who headed the Antis, succeeded in having the measure
rejected by the people. He argued that some of the provisions
were not to the best interest of the Philippines. Subsequently
he secured the approval of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, in
March 1934 by the Philippine Assembly.
Tydings-McDuffie Act provided for the ultimate settlement
of the military bases issue and the review of the naval
bases issue on terms satisfactory to both the US and the
government of the Philippine islands.
the interest of party unity, and facing the heady prospect
of independence, Quezon and Osmeña once again reconciled
to be elected President and Vice-President, respectively,
of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935.
all these policies in place, the Commonwealth government
was sadly interrupted by the Japanese invasion which
begun with a surprise raid at the Amercan Naval Base
in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941 (Dce. 8, 1941
in the Philippines). This was followed by the bombing
of Clark Airbase in Pampanga, Nichols Airbase in Manila
and other major military establishments in the Philippines.
the vanguard of the Japanese Imperial army rapidly
advancing towards Manila, Quezon and his Cabinet,
on the advise of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, were evacuated
to Corregidor and eventually went into exile in the
United States mainland. But before leaving, Quezon
reorganized his Cabinet by designating Chief Associate
Justice Jose P. Laurel as Acting Chief Justice and
concurrent Justice Secretary, and Executive Secretary
Jorge Vargas as Mayor of the newly-created local government
unit, Greater Manila.
was to have accompanied Quezon to Corregidor, but, at the
last minute, Quezon changed his mind and took along Justice
Jose Abad Santos instead. Laurel, at first, refused to be
left behind, reasoning that he would rather run to the hills
and fight the Japanese. But Quezon was adamant, insisting
that someone has to be left behind to deal with the Japanese
and mitigate the harshness of the Japanese occupation. To
Quezon, that man was Laurel. He then instructed Laurel and
Vargas to fully cooperate with the Japanese, saying "Do
what they ask you to do, except one thing- do not take oath
of allegiance to Japan."
the sponsorship of the Japanese authorities, a unicameral
assembly was created. Laurel was elected President of the
National Assembly during the Japanese occupation of the
Philippines from 1943-1945.
had initially wanted to go in exile with Quezon wary that
he would be seen as a collaborator, but the latter insisted
he stayed on saying, "someone has to protect the people
from the Japanese". Laurel took this mandate seriously
as he staked his life to prevent the enemy command from
conscripting the Filipino youth into the Japanese Army.
||Before his presidency of the puppet government, Laurel was an achiever in many fields, as legislator, jurist, writer and administrator in the pre-war struggle for independence. Politically, he was a Nacionalista. Professionally, he rose from mere Clerk to Secretary of the Interior in 1923, at age 31. He was elected Senator of the Fifth District in 1925 and served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1934, where he was nominated Presiding Officer. In 1936 he was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon in 1941.
his service during the war, Laurel eloquently maintained
that: "forced collaboration is not collaboration and
voluntary collaboration as a means of national survival
should not be taken as treason." After the Liberation,
he was again elected Senator, a title he carried until his
death in November 6, 1952.
NPs and LPs Rotate the Power
1944 Osmeña succeeded Q uezon, who died in the United
States, as president of the government-in-exile. Osmeña
returned to Manila in 1945, and plans went forward to inaugurate
the independent Republic of the Philippines. Manuel Roxas
challenged the elderly Osmeña for the presidency
and split from the Nacionalista Party to form the Liberal
Wing. Roxas won the election of April 1946 and became the
first President of the new republic, with Elpidio Quirino
as vice president.
July 4, 1946, after decades of struggle and lobbying, the
Republic of the Philippines was finally formally proclaimed.
Also in 1946, this Liberal wing of the Nacionalista Party,
which he led, assumed a new identity as the Liberal Party.
This event marked the third split of the Nacionalista Party.
the war, the Philippines faced growing tensions between
landowners and the rural poor. The Hukbalahap (or the "Huks")
was a powerful guerrilla force during the war with strong
rural-based support. The organization was mostly composed
of radicalized peasantry who held many grievances against
agrarian warlords. With such grievances, the Hukbalahap
continued to exist beyond the war. In March 1948, President
Roxas declared the Hukbalahap to be an illegal organization
and stepped up counter insurgency measures.
President Quirino succeeded Roxas when the latter died in
April 1948. He went on to win the presidency in the 1949.
When the Huk insurgency intensified to the point of threatening
the stability of the Philippine government, Quirino appointed
Ramon Magsaysay as Secretary of National Defense.
had gained visibility as an able guerrilla leader during
World War II and then served two terms in the Philippine
legislature. He crushed the Huk resistance, using solutions
such as tenancy reform to erode the rural support base of
the Huks. He won the hearths of the peasants by offering
land and tools to those who came over to government side
and insisting that the army units treat t he people with
respect. He initiated the training of the Philippine Armed
Forces with the help from the United States, which considers
the Huks as threat to the stability of the Philippines.
He dismissed corrupt and incompetent army officials. He
emphasized mobility and flexibility in combat operations
against the guerrillas. In 1950 police forces captured the
core of the Huk leadership. Those who surrendered were offered
amnesty. The insurgency effectively ended in May 1954 with
the surrender of Luis Taruc to the young Benigno Aquino,
Magsaysay, a native of Iba, Zambales, was the idol of the
masses, champion of democracy, and was a freedom fighter.
Although Magsaysay was a Liberal, the Nacionalista Party
successfully backed him for president against Quirino in
the 1953 elections. Unfortunately, Magsaysay died during
this term, at the age of 50 years old when his airplane
crashed at Mt. Manunggal in Cebu early morning of March
17, 1957, he was succeeded by vice president Carlos P. Garcia,
a Nacionalista from Talibon, Bohol.
administration (1957-1961) was anchored in his austerity
program. It was also noted for its Filipino first policy
- an attempt to boost economic independence.
1946, control of the government shifted between the Liberal
party and the Nacionalista Party. The Liberal Party led
the nation during the administration of President Roxas
(1946-48) and of President Quirino (1948-53).
of the government, however, passed to the Nacionalista Party
during the terms of President Magsaysay (1953-57) and President
the 1961 presidential elections, the Liberal Party once
again emerged as the party in power during the term of President
Diosdado Macapagal (1961-65). But the Nacionalista Party
once more reasserted itself as the party in power when Ferdinand
Marcos became President in 1965. The party also carried
Marcos to a second term in 1969.
this time, the Nacionalista Party was nurtured and
brought back into the limelight by Eulogio "Amang"
was born in Montalban, Rizal. He started his career
in politics as a Democrata or a member of the opposition
party, and not until there was a general realignment
of parties due to the divisive struggle over the approval
of the Independence Law in 1933, did he switch to
the majority or the Nacionalista Party, to which he
remained faithful until the day of his death three
decades later. He nursed the party during its darkest
hours, and steered it successfully through he political
reefs and typhoons that rocked the local scene, thus
earning for him the sobriquet "Mr. Nacionalista".
Unlike many others in his time, he did not switch
parties for personal convenience.
a legislator, Amang always supported measures improving
the lot of common man, for he knew that the upgrading of
the masses was the best way of retaining democracy in the
country. Many were sometimes politically at odds with him,
but they always found him to be a reasonable opponent who
played clean in a game known for its mendacity and unprincipled
moves. A man of integrity, he played fair even with his
opponents, and he can even be generous in victory.
was Municipal President of Montalban, Rizal from 1906-1916;
became Governor of Rizal in June 1916; and was re-elected
in June 1922. He was appointed Mayor of Manila by Governor
General Leonard Wood on July 23, 1923, and later served
as Representative of Nueva Viscaya District from February
1924 to May 1925. He became representative of the second
district of Rizal in 1925 and was re-elected in 1931 and
1934. He was also appointed Secretary of Agriculture and
Commerce by Governor Frank Murphy on July, 1934, re-appointed
by President Quezon on January 1940, serving as such until
August 28, 1941. After his resignation as Mayor of Manila,
he campaigned for a seat in the Senate and was elected senator
in 1941. On May 20, 1953, he was elected Senate President,
a position he occupied for the next ten years, until the
young Ferdinand Marcos unseated him in 1962. This marked
changes both in the Party and in the general political climate
of the country.
Party Under Martial Law
the 21-year administration of Marcos (1965-86), radical
changes occurred in the equation of political parties,
Senator Gil J. Puyat,Jr., President of the Nacionalista
Party, went on leave to campaign for his re-election
to the Senate for a 4th term. Senate President Pro-Tempore
Jose Roy, a high ranking official of the party, was
chosen by the Nacionalista Party Central Committee
Acting Party President, and continued in that capacity
after the imposition of martial law in 1972 until
his death in 1985.
his re-election as President in 1969, Ferdinand Marcos's
rule was under fire. Political critics and insurgents
both rallied against his policies. Before the elections
of 1973, mounting violence and political unrest ruled.
Rallies were held almost regularly, and politicians
were bickering left and right.
Sept. 21, 1972, Marcos declared Presidential Decree 1081,
known as Martial Law. The writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended
and Marcos's opponents and critics were arrested and/or
who had originally been a Liberal but was propelled into
the presidency by the Nacionalista Party, wanted to create
a new party and eliminate the two-party system. It was Speaker
Jose B. Laurel who suggested that instead of organizing
a regular political party as originally proposed by President
Marcos, which would mean the annihilation of the two major
parties before martial law - - the Liberal Party and Nacionalista
Party - - a movement or an umbrella organization would suffice.
Thus an umbrella organization known as the Kilusan Bagong
Lipunan (KBL) was formed in a caucus held in Malacañang
and attended by various political leaders. President Marcos,
however, later converted this movement, into a regular political
the KBL in place, the Nacionalista Party went into a political
hibernation during the martial regime.
March 1980, upon the end of Martial Law, KBL had become
the ruling party, and other parties were being formed. Senator
Puyat resumed the Presidency of the Party upon the strong
representation of high officials of the Party including
the Vice-President Fernando Lopez, Speaker Jose B. Laurel
Jr., Senator Ambrocio Padilla, Senator Mamintal Tamano,
Senator Dominador Aytona, Senator Gerardo Roxas, Congressman
Ismael Veloso, Governor Cipriano Primicias, and others.
As his first official act, President Puyat issued Executive
Order No.1, Series of 1980, invoking Section 37 of the Rules
of the Party which authorized him to create an "Ad
Hoc Committee which shall have full power and authority
to reorganize and revitalize the Party on a nationwide basis.
"The Ad Hoc Committee had the following members: Hon.
Fernando Lopez, Hon. J. Laurel Jr., Hon. Jose Roy, Hon.
Domocao Alonto, and Hon. Dominador Aytona.
March 29, 1980, Speaker Laurel was unanimously elected
Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee upon the nomination
of Vice-President Lopez.
Salvador "Doy" H. Laurel was appointed "Interim
Secretary and Finance Officer until the Ad Hoc Committee
shall have set up the committees and agencies it may
see fit to create, to achieve its purposes."
Nacionalista Party President, Puyat realized the need
to expand the Ad Hoc Committee, and subsequently issued
Executive No. 2, Series of 1980, increasing the membership
of the Ad Hoc Committee and Empowering the Committee
"to negotiate, conclude and sign agreements,
including coalitions and other similar arrangements
with other political organizations and groups."
following were included as members of the Ad Hoc Committee:
Edmundo B. Cea, Salvador P. Lopez, Ambrosia Padilla, Cipriano
Primicias, Jr., Decoroso Rosales, Mamintal Tamano, Ismael
Veloso, Marcelino R. Veloso, Leroy Brown.
revitalization and strengthening of the Nacionalista Party
suffered a setback when the Party President, Senate President
Gil Puyat passed away on March 22, 1981 of a massive heart
attack while recuperating from flu at his seaside resort
in Nasugbu, Batangas. The task of revitalizing the party
was then pursued by the Ad Hoc Committee.
May 11, 1981, the Nacionalista Party National Directorate
was convened at the Club Filipino to hear the report of
the Ad Hoc Committee on the revitalization of the Party,
and to elect the regular officers of the Party.
Laurel reported that Party members were organized in every
province and city to supervise the various provincial and
city chapters of the Party. The country was divided into
14 Regions headed by Acting Regional Chairmen, namely, Region
I - Ilocos Region - Ex-Gov. Damoso Samonte; Region I-A -
Pangasinan - Sen. Ambrosio Padilla; Region II - Cagayan
Valley - Cong. Benjamin Ligot; Region III - Central Luzon
- Gov. Alejandro Galang and Gov. Rafael Lazatin as acting
Vice-Chairman; Region IV - Southern Tagalog - Assemblyman
Salvador H. Laurel with Cong. Manuel S. Enverga as Vice-Chairman;
Region V - Bicol Region - Senator Edmundo B. Cea with Atty.
Dominador Reyes as Vice-Chairman; Region VI - Western Visayas
- Vice-Pres. Fernando Lopez; Region VII - Central Visayas
- Senator Rene Espina; Region VIII - Eastern Visayas _ Senator
Decoroso Rosales with Cong. Marcelino R. Veloso as acting
Vice-Chairman; Region IX - Western Mindanao - Cong. Indanan
Anni; Region X - Northeastern Mindanao - Mr. Jose O. Paloma;
Region XI - Southeastern Mindanao - Cong. Ismael L. Veloso
with Hon. Dominador Carillo and Mayor Hilario de Pedro as
that same Directorate meeting, the regular officers of the
Party were elected, namely Speaker Laurel, President; Senator
Aytona, Executive Vice-Counsel; and Mr. Marcelino Balatbat,
Senator Roy maintained that he was the President of the
Nacionalista Party invoking a special resolution of the
Nacionalista Party Central Committee (Junta) designating
him as the President of the Party. This led to the birth
of the Laurel Wing and the Roy Wing of the Nacionalista
Party, marking the fourth split in the ranks of the Party.
Roy Wing of the Nacionalista Party fielded Secretary of
Defense Alejo Santos of Bulacan (now deceased), for President
against President Marcos, after failing to entice Doy Laurel
to run, in the presidential elections of 1981. Former Information
Minister Francisco Tatad was the party's secretary general
and campaign manager. As expected, Secretary Santos lost
pathetically to President Marcos, polling less than 10 percent
of the votes. But this boldness and sacrifice imparted to
the strong-man President a color of democratic legitimacy.
Senator Roy died in 1985, people thought that the Roy Wing
of the Nacionalista Party would be extinguished with his
death. It turned out, however, that the political lieutenants
of the Roy Wing would maintain its identity.
man who claimed to be his executive vice president, Governor
Rafael Palmares of Iloilo, assumed the presidency and entered
into a coalition with the KBL in the 1986 presidential "snap"
Nacionalistas, therefore, were split between the KBL's
Marcos-Tolentino ticket and the UNIDO's Aquino-Laurel
team in that election. In the last week of February,
1986, a military revolt led by Defense Secretary Juan
Ponce Enrile and General Fidel T. Ramos and backed
up by "People's Power" at EDSA, forced the
departure of President Ferdinand Marcos and his family,
leaving the KBL, most of whose leaders originally
came from the Nacionalista Party, orphaned and bewildered.
Corazon Aquino, with Doy Laurel as her vice president,
proclaimed a revolutionary government with the so-called
"Freedom Constitution" or Proclamation No.
3. The Batasang Pambansa was abolished. The elected
governors and mayors of provinces, cities and towns
were replaced arbitrarily with Officers in Charge
(OICs). On April 15, 1986, some forty members of the
abolished Batasang Pambansa formed the Partido Nacionalista
ng Pilipinas (PNP) under the leadership of former
Labor Minister Blas F. Ople to fill the need for an
opposition party to fiscalize the new government.
was elected president with vice presidents: J. Antonio Leviste
and Zosimo Jesus Paredes, Luzon; Regalado Maambong, Visayas;
Celso Palma, Mindanao. Arturo Brion was secretary general
with Antonio Roman, Salvador P. Bigay, Adelino Sitoy as
deputies, Jose Reynaldo Morente, treasurer, and Ruperto
C. Gaite, auditor. Other key leaders were Arturo V. Barbero,
Teodulo C. Natividad, Vicente Alberto, Emilio Macias II,
Kimal Salacop and B. Macabando.
the decision was taken to form the Constitution Commission
to draft a new charter that would restore democratic institutions,
the PNP was invited to name the four members of the opposition.
These were Ople, Natividad, Maambong and Rustico de los
Reyes Jr. who all served with distinction in the Con-Con.
the Roy Wing of the Nacionalista Party under Palmares as
president and Renato Cayetano as secretary general regrouped
as the new Nacionalista Party, acknowledging Secretary Enrile
as their inspiration and symbol. The Palmares-Cayetano group
challenged before the Commission on Elections the right
of the Ople group to use the name "Nacionalista"
but the dispute was amicably settled before the PNP could
file its counter-petition.
||Grand Alliance For Democracy
Following the ratification of the new Constitution on Feb. 2, 1987, and the call for the first congressional elections under the new Constitution, especially the senatorial contest, various opposition parties agreed to form an umbrella group they called "Grand Alliance for Democracy." Vicente G. Puyat was elected chairman. Federated into GAD were the following parties or elements claiming to speak for them or segments thereof: the Nacionalista Party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, the Partido Nacionalista ng Pilipinas, the Liberal Party (Kalaw Wing), the Mindanao Alliance, the Muslim Federal Party and the Christian Social Democracy Party. Out of 24 senatorial candidates, two who were declared Nacionalistas won: Juan Ponce Enrile and Joseph Estrada. Estrada, shortly after assuming his seat, took his oath as a Liberal under Jovito Salonga, the Senate President. Enrile, as the sole opposition member, is also the minority floor leader.
the House of Representative, some 19 opposition members
were elected, a significant number of them from the Nacionalista
Party but a majority from the KBL. Most of the KBL members,
however, are also professed Nacionalistas.
The Two-Party System
January 5, 1988, President Aquino signed into law Republic
Act 6646, otherwise known as the electoral reform law, which
was expressly passed by Congress to cover the first local
elections on Jan. 18, 1988. The law, consistent with the
constitutional choice of a President form of government,
clearly titled the electoral system back to a familiar two-party
mold, granting primary election watchers with some of the
true powers of election inspectors exclusively to a ruling
coalition and a dominant opposition coalition. In the implementing
COMELEC resolution, issued just before the elections, Laban
and the GAD were specifically designated as the ruling coalition
and the dominant opposition coalition, respectively, because
the Omnibus Election Code pegs such ratings of parties to
the most recent electoral performance.
reality, however, was that it was the Nacionalista Party
that fielded up to 98 percent of all the opposition candidates
covered by the GAD's electoral franchise under RA 6646.
The Nacionalista Party put up complete tickets nationwide
for all local-offices, from councilor to governor and city
or municipal mayor. In the Jan. 18, 1988 elections, and
it was to these candidates and their campaign manager that
the GAD certificates of authority were distributed through
the Nacionalista Party headquarters.
is necessary to note this, because although six out of seven
original parties that formed GAD into a federation for the
specific and limited purpose of contesting the first congressional
elections had withdrawn from it, there is an attempt to
claim a patent on GAD as still potentially a useful political
trademark. The COMELEC, when it writes its next implementing
resolution for RA 6646 for the next elections, can clearly
see that the Nacionalista Party has to be the acknowledged
dominant opposition party. Without the Nacionalista Party's
nationwide reach and pervasive grassroots presence, GAD
is left as a historic relic and those who genuinely revere
it for the sacrifices it has made for Philippine democracy
should cease exploiting the name.
This Nacionalista Party that put up complete nationwide
tickets for local elections in the January 1988 elections
was the Enrile-Rodriguez-Ople group, with former Governor
Isidro Rodriguez of Rizal as the party president, Ople as
the secretary general, and Alfonso Reyno, Alejandro Fider
and Renato Cayetano as deputy secretaries general.
in a Name?
group initially led by Rodriguez and Enrile had earlier
met at what was billed as a National Directorate conference
on November 14, 1986 at the Club Filipino. Rodriguez,
son of the late Amang Rodriguez, former President
of the Nacionalista Party, was one of the prime movers;
others were Palmares, Cayetano, Antonio Gatuslao,
Romeo Jalosjos, Peter Sabido, Jose Zubiri, and Manuel
Collantes. This prompted the Rabaya faction which
also claimed to represent the Roy Wing to file a petition
with the Commission on Elections questioning the use
of the name "Nacionalista Party" by the
group, now expanded with the entry of the PNP, and
the legitimacy of Rodriguez and Ople as party president
and secretary general, respectively. The COMELEC,
in a recent ruling, refused to make a conclusive finding
or resolution of the dispute. The
dispute over the use of the party name, however, is
expected to become moot and academic after the National
Convention of the Nacionalista Party succeeds in unifying
all the elements of the Nacionalista Party.
strengthen the unification efforts, the political leaders
opposed to the present regime representing all functions
within the Nacionalista party, agreed to revitalize the
party in the "Nacionalista Party Reunion Meeting"
held at the Hotel Intercontinental on March 9, 1989. To
carry out this task Speaker Laurel was appointed "Interim
President " of the party in a Manifesto signed by the
following leaders; Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile, Hon. Isidro Rodriguez,
Hon. Blas F. Ople, Hon. Homobono A. Adasa, Hon. Dominador
Aytona, Hon. Constancio Castaneda, Hon. Frisco San Juan,
Hon. Alfonso Roy, Jr., Hon. Vic Rabaya, Vicente G. Puyat,
Hon. Rafael Palmares, Vice-President Salvador H. Laurel,
former Senator and Secretary of foreign Affairs Arturo M.
Tolentino, and Congressman Jose A. Roño, among others.
Manifesto declared that the National Convention would be
convened to elect the regular officers of the Party, promulgate
a platform and approved a national agenda of the Nacionalista
to said Manifesto, the National Convention was held on May
21, 1989 at the Philippine International Convention Center
(PICC). In this historic reunion, they all agreed to merge
their forces under the aegis of the Party, forgetting their
past differences and discarding their individual labels.
As a result, Doy Laurel came out as the President of the
revitalized Nacionalista Party, with Blas Ople as the Executive
Vice President, and Juan Ponce-Enrile as Secretary General.
Keeping the Flame Alive
H. Laurel, was born into a political family whose nationalism
and integrity are unquestioned. He is the son of former
President Jose P. Laurel and grandson to Judge Sotero Laurel,
Secretary of the Interior in General Aguinaldo's time and
was one of the pillars of the Malolos Constitution.
as he is fondly called studied higher law, earning a Master's
Degree and later a Doctorate in Judicial Science at Yale,
after which he practiced and taught law to sustain his family.
ease the plight of indigent litigants, he established the
Citizen's Legal Assistance Committee (CLAC) of the Philippine
Bar Association. He traveled all over the country to exhort
the best lawyers to organize free legal aid chapters in
each town and province, earning the "Lawyer of the
Year Award" in 1967 for extending free legal aid to
the poor but deserving litigants.
the young Laurel, there was the gnawing realization
that even though the indigents could get a lawyer's
service for free, the law itself did not help them
enough to afford the high cost of justice. It was
then that he decided to run for the Senate in order
to carry on his crusade to bring justice to the poor
through appropriate legislation.
won as a Nacionalista Senator and took his oath in
January 22, 1968. In the Senate, he fought for all
kinds of reforms, penal, judicial and land reform.
He even pushed for government reorganization and community
development. But in keeping with his campaign promises,
his priority bills were those that would be enacted
as Republic Act 6033, 6034, 6035, 6036 and 6127 popularly
known as "Justice for the Poor Laws" or
simply Laurel Laws. His work as a senator and as a
lawyer has earned his plaudits both here and abroad.
1978 when Marcos put up the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL)
to replace the two-party system. Doy ran for the interim
Batasang Pambansa as a Nacionalista under the KBL umbrella.
December 22, 1979, Marcos decided to renege to his promise
and ruled that the KBL was a political party. A local elections
on January 30, 1980, barely six weeks away. Doy was able
to put up a complete slate with men who believed in his
cause in the province of Batangas where Jose Laurel V ran
as governor and Sotero Olfato in his hometown Tanauan. After
a dramatic turn of events where the Batangueños stood
for what they thought was right against the Marcos regime
dramatized by three thousand people with torches and singing
Bayan Muna stopped truckloads of soldiers from taking away
ballot boxes. With Doy as their leader the opposition won
in Batangas. It was the only province with a Nacionalista
Governor. Tanauan Town registered a 100 % victory as well.
the beginning of the 80's Doy had grown more and more disgusted
with the country's worsening conditions under Martial Law.
He decided to organize the United Nationalist Democratic
Organization (UNIDO) as the opposition to Marcos' KBL. During
the 1984 elections Doy was able to filled in 183 candidates
for all the elective seats in the Batasan. UNIDO won 59
the snap elections that Marcos called in 1985, Doy was unanimously
nominated standard bearer of the opposition against the
dictator. UNIDO was in high spirits and geared for the final
battle. To solidify the opposition, Doy after seeking Divine
guidance agreed to run as Vice President to Ninoy's widow,
Cory Aquino. In they end the opposition triumped, only to
be thwarted by the KBL which declared Marcos and Tolentino
the winners. People Power 1 followed and Cory and Doy took
their oath as President and Vice President of the Philippines
in Club Filipino on February 25. Doy was concurrently Foreign
Minister and by her Proclamation No. 1 Prime Minister. A
month later the position of Prime Minister was abolished.
A month later the Vice President found himself eased out
of Malacañang's inner circle and was an outsider.
In September 1988, he resigned as Foreign Minister due to
fundamental difference with Cory.
Cory's term ended Doy geared up for the presidential election
in 1992. Since then, he worked silently to keep the Nacionalista
Presidential Elections Of 1992
a renewed fervor for the seeming restoration of democracy,
the 1992 elections brought out the most number of candidates
for the country's top post. Political personalities like
former Senator Salvador H. Laurel, Businessman and Marcos
crony Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr., Imelda
Marcos (widow of Ferdinand), former Gen. Fidel V. Ramos
(a key figure in the EDSA Revolution of 1986), political
veterans Jovito Salonga and Ramon Mitra, and former Judge
Miriam Defensor-Santiago all vied for the presidency.
was nominated by the Nacionalista Party to run for President.
He appointed Eva Estrada-Kalaw as his vice-presidential
Nacionalista Party member, Danding, who was back in the
Philippines in 1991 after a five-year exile with deposed-dictator
Ferdinand E. Marcos since 1986, did not let this stop his
bid for the presidency. As if to bounce right back into
the political arena, Danding promptly created the Nacionalist
People's Coalition (NPC) as an opposition party. Joining
him in this new opposition party was Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile.
placed a respectable 3rd in the election. Political analysts
say he would have won if the opposition weren't split between
him and Marcos's widow, considering that Ramos's victory
posed a slim margin over Santiago (who placed second) and
was the last time, Nacionalista Party fielded candidates
for the top two posts. Since then, the party has been in
a sort of hiatus from the political arena. Much of the familiar
names identified with the party have since lived up to the
"Butterfly Politics" of transferring from one
party to another. Veterans and analysts all indicate that
a return to the two-party system will definitely put a semblance
of organization in Philippine Politics and return the focus
on issues rather than the personalities.
Reviving the Grand Old Party
Needing new blood for the party, Doy Laurel sought to woo new members among the elected officials. One such prospect was businessman-turned-politician Manuel B. Villar, Jr. Born in Moriones, Tondo, Villar sold shrimps and fish in Divisoria market to contribute to the family income and support his studies as well as those of his seven siblings. He completed his Bachelor and Master's Degree in Business Administration in the University of the Philippines.
In his first major business venture, he succeeded in making a 10,000 capital small enterprise into the fastest growing and biggest mass housing in the Philippines which provided affordable and decent housing for the common Filipino and gave jobs to a thousand Filipino workers. Up to now, Manny Villar still dreams to help and inspire Filipinos to fulfill their dreams thru hard work and determination (Sipag at Tiyaga).
Villar had been the Speaker of the House of Congress, the
youngest to hold the post. He won the Las Piñas Congressional
seat in 1992, 1995 and 1998. Under his leadership, more
than 1,000 bills were passed. Among them are bills that:
provide protection to small farmers and fishermen; increase
benefits for the so-called neglected sectors (disabled,
senior citizens, war veterans, etc.) and provide livelihood
to ordinary citizens.
brand of dynamic and principled leadership was instrumental
in sending the impeachment articles against then President
Joseph Estrada to the Senate for investigation in November
13, 2000. He was elected Senator in May 2001 and served
as Senate President Pro-tempore and Chairman, Committee
on Agriculture during his first year, he now chairs the
Committee on Finance and the Committee on Foreign Relations.
first approached Villar in 2001. The latter was hesitant,
but Doy was not daunted. Knowing that Villar could help
bring the party back to its feet, Doy would not let up.
Finally, in Villar's visit to the ailing President of the
Party in November 6, 2003, Manny Villar swore in as a member
of the Nacionalista Party at Doy's home in California.
December 2003, an Interim Executive Committee was constituted
by Doy where Villar was designated Chairman. The objective
was to hasten the nationwide reorganization and revitalization
of the party; recruitment of members and review of the existing
party rules and, when ready, call a National Assembly. The
members were, Former Ambassador Jose Macario Laurel IV,
Senator Ralph G. Recto, Former Assemblyman Atty. Homobono
A. Adaza, Atty. Ramon M. Maronilla, Mr. Ramon S. Orosa,
Atty. Edilberto Bravo, Mr. Exequiel Garcia, Congresswoman
Cynthia Villar, Atty. Jose Oliveros, Congressman James J.
Gordon, Atty. Rhaegee B. Tamaña, Talisay City Mayor
Eduardo R. Gullas, and Vice Governor of Batangas Peter P.
Laurel. A series of meetings were held at the Penthouse
of the Pacific Place Bldg., Pearl Drive, Ortigas Center,
couple of months later, Villar once again got a call from
Doy. The latter was apologetic and was clearly giving instructions
about keeping the party alive. Somehow, in his last days,
Doy Laurel's mind was filled with the need to make it known
that the Nacionalista Party has to be revived. Doy finally
gave in to his Lymphoma on February 4, 2004.
February 11, 2004, in a gathering of loyal Nacionalistas,
the Interim Executive Committee was dissolved and Villar
was elected President of the Party. In his acceptance speech,
Villar reiterated the need to infuse new blood into the
party, to involve the youth and to push for the return of
the two-party system.
then, Villar has been rallying Nacionalistas to a more proactive
role in the party and in the country's administration. He
opened the membership to men and women who want to come
back to the fold and invited new members at the same time.
political Party in Philippine history has done more to shape
the modern Filipino nation or advance the cause of its freedom
and general welfare than the Nacionalista Party. In contemporary
terms, this party alone could claim to present the continuity
of the nation's political history, especially history as
the search for a national identity and liberty.
is still the party of Quezon and Osmeña, Laurel and
Recto, Magsaysay and Garcia, the only one with truly deep
roots in both the soil and the psyche of the Filipino people.
But today its sights are trained on the problems and prospects
of a nation and society vastly more complex, in a more independent
but also more dangerous world. These problems call for the
resources of leadership, experience, imagination and patriotism
that only the Nacionalista Party can provide. It is time
to recapture the party's --and the nation's-greatness through
a new generation of highly motivated Nacionalista leaders.
principles on which the Nacionalista Party stands
were hewn by the heroes of the revolution. It was
the Nacionalista Party that carried the on an unflagging
campaign for Philippine Independence. Through the
years, blood, sweat and tears stained the hands that
held up the banner of freedom.
Ang bayan higit sa lahat is not a mere moniker nor a tag line. It is a battlecry and a reminder for those who wish to serve, not to gain power, but to genuinely serve the Filipino people. The Nacionalista Party is a party of change. In the tradition of Apolinario Mabini's "social regeneration" and Manuel L. Quezon's "social justice", the Nacionalista Party has always stood for social change and economic reform, on the side of the masses, the workers, the poor and the dispossessed.
the annals of the Nation, the Nacionalista Party is the
historic champion of civil liberties and of the rights of
the people. It is the party that has always upheld the rule
of law and the principles that ours is not a government
of men but of laws.
Nacionalista Party is the party of the New Filipino. We
translate into habits the idea of national independence-a
morality worthy of an independent society. We are distinguished
by love of action and challenge, by a belief in a dynamic
and purposeful life. We confront responsibilities and we
are ashamed to evade them. We believe in the ethic of work
and salvation through work.
matter how recent events may blur them, these ideals remain
deep in the perspective of history. At a time of great challenges
to our freedom arising from a deeply troubled world, the
rich wisdom of our past counsels keep our trust in the hands
of a party, tried and true, the great party of nationalism
and social justice. The Nacionalista Party.