Philippines

Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago consisting of 7,107 islands, which is divided into three main island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Philippines has a population of 100 million. About 87 major dialects are spoken all over the islands. English and Filipino are the official languages. English is the language of instruction in higher education.

The Philippines is a unitary presidential constitutional republic, with the President of the Philippines acting as both the head of state and the head of government.

The Philippine legal system is predominantly a mixture of civil law and common law regimes. This was a direct result of the successive occupation of the country by Spain and the United States during the late 19th century and early 20th century, respectively. Adding to this civil law and common law hybrid is indigenous customary law, and a separate and distinct Muslim legal system for the Muslim minority. (http://www.aseanlawassociation.org/legal-phil)

The present Constitution of the Philippines, ratified by the Filipino people in a plebiscite on February 2, 1987, is the supreme and fundamental law of the land. Under the 1987 Constitution, the Philippine government follows a tripartite structure, namely the legislative, executive and judiciary, all three of which are the primary sources of law. The bicameral legislature, consisting of the House of Representatives and Senate, is the source of statutory law. The executive, headed by the President of the Philippines, promulgates presidential issuances, and administrative rules and regulations. Meanwhile, the judiciary is the repository of case law or judicial decisions.

The Philippine court system follows the following hierarchy. Civil and criminal actions are instituted before trial courts. Each trial court is presided by a judge. The decisions of trial courts are in turn reviewable by the Court of Appeals, consisting of 23 divisions distributed geographically across the country. Three justices sit in every division. At the top of the court hierarchy is the Supreme Court, consisting of 15 justices. Cases before the Supreme Court are heard either en banc or in division. At present, the Supreme Court has three divisions.