The period traversing the years 1907 to 1941 featured our first experience of nationwide politics, with the country having 13 elections in all. Although conducted under auspices of American administration, it is without doubt that this period began forming the Filipino statesmen (or politicians for that matter) whose valuable service our nation still remembers until today. However, with the many political parties these people brought forth during the period, only the Nacionalista Party dominated the scene. Also, only the Nacionalista Party survived from this era and is continuing to operate until today. What were almost neglected in the mainstream political history of our country during this period were the political parties formed in opposition to the gargantuan Nacionalista, but failed to survive to see America grant independence to her only colony in Asia. With this in the fore, introducing these parties, their formation, their members, platforms, successes, failures and their eventual dissolutions are being aimed in this series.

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See the second part of the Alternative parties series by clicking here.

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Republican Party (1907, 1935)

Gregorio Aglipay (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
   The loss of friar lands and its turn over to the insular government covered that of Aglipayan properties and holdings, making these members of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) shift their focus to the political arena. The 1907 Philippine Assembly elections gave Aglipayan political machine, already organized as Republican Party as early as 1905, a chance to garner some seats. The party, among those that actually supported candidates in the 1907 elections, was regarded as one of the more radical parties at the time for having an anti-government sentiment. Although, there is no clear evidence that the party had any direct connection with any Republican Party abroad, such as the Republican Party (locally known as GOP) of the United States.

Gregorio Aglipay, its founder and head, had the Republican Party combined with the remaining forces of the Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas (UODF) first assembled in 1903 by Isabelo de los Reyes. UODF claimed some 20,000 members by 1903. With this, Aglipayan strength in the Ilocos provinces was appended by that of UODF strength in Manila. However, the dream fusion with the Federalistas and the Nacionalistas, whereas the resulting alliance will be for promoting independence, did not materialize. The party campaigned for the following:
1) Philippine independence

2) Uphold land distribution

3) Reduction of government spending

4) Reduction of excessive taxation on land

5) Tagalog as the official national language
Isabelo de los Reyes (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
   Fusion with de los Reyes made the party appeal to the workers, especially in Manila. Their endorsed candidate for Manila’s first legislative district, Dominador Gomez, won despite being in jail. However, though affiliated with the Aglipayans, Gomez had officially ran as a Nacionalista candidate. Thus, the party can only claim part of the victory of Gomez. Besides Gomez, there were also a few less known Aglipayans who garner seats as well, although they apparently did not run under the Republican banner. The party was apparently dissolved after the 1907 elections.

   The party was revived by Aglipay himself to carry him as its presidential candidate for the 1935 Presidential election. Being the last to announce his bid for President, Aglipay’s entry had made the 1935 election a three-way race with Manuel L. Quezon being the joint standard bearer of the two Nacionalista factions, and Emilio F. Aguinaldo being carried by his own National Socialist Party as well as the Veterans of the Revolution. The Manifesto declaring his candidacy said in part:
I would consider myself unworthy of having been born a Filipino if my personal interests and the ties of friendship should prevent me from listening to the insistent popular clamor to vindicate with the powers of the highest office the constitutional liberties so arbitrarily trampled down by an abusive regime, and to cut the extravagant tentacles of the bureaucratic octopus that is suckling our public life.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
In preparation for the 1935 election, the Republican Party became part of a larger coalition known to be as the “Coalition of the Oppressed Masses”. The coalition, which consisted of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP), the Socialist Party, the Sakdalista Party, the National Socialist Party, and the Toilers’ League, was primarily an anti-Quezon coalition. After the collapse of the Sakdalistas, and the leave of Aguinaldo from the coalition to field his own bid for President, the coalition had nominated Aglipay as presidential candidate. With this, it is apparent that the Republican strategy in 1907 was kept, and further augmented by PKP strength in Central Luzon. However, after the petition of de los Reyes to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to nullify the plebiscite conducted to approve the Tydings-McDuffie Act, Aglipay had this action considered as the formal break between him and de los Reyes. Although, this petition done by the UODF founder had little reception in the Philippines and negligible effect to the Republican campaign. A seven-plank platform was presented by Aglipay during the course of the campaign:
1) Independence that will give happiness to the Filipino people

2) Enhancement of the Filipino working class and the agriculturists

3) Land distribution and other necessities that will promote the public welfare

4) Promotion of new industries

5) Strict economy in the government

6) Strict vigilance over government revenues and reduction of the land tax

7) The use of Tagalog as one of the official languages of the Philippines
Mural for IFI and UODF
(Photo courtesy of aglipayan.wordpress.com)
It is noticeable that the 1907 party platform was maintained, and seemingly formed the backbone of the 1935 platform. The only addition was the provisions for new industries, and for the working class and agriculturists. Aglipay polled 14.47% out of more than 1.2 million votes, ranking last in the three-way race. He followed closely Aguinaldo, who garnered 17.54%. Quezon’s victory was a landslide, with him having 67.99% of the vote. He carried his hometown, the province of Ilocos Norte, and nearly carried Nueva Vizcaya. Aglipay died September 1, 1940, and with his passing, combined with continuing reduction of Aglipayan members by this time, came the ultimate dissolution of the Republican Party.

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