Gobernadorcillo

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Portrait of a Gobernadorcillo in the attire typical in the Philippines during the first half of the 1800s.
The Gobernadorcillo was a public functionary in the Philippines during the Spanish Regime who carried out in a town the combined charge or responsibility as Chief of the civil, economic, and judicial administration. In a coastal town, the Gobernadocillo functioned as a Port Captain. His appointment was done through an exclusive nomination provided by the Spanish law. His term of office lasted for two years. The position of a Gobernadorcillo was honorary and mandatory in order to afford him of those valid exemptions signified in the law. At the end of his biennial term he would enter and would form part of the Principalía, and was entitled to enjoy the honors and preeminence inherent to this state. This Mayor, Justice of Peace, and Port Captain is directly responsible to the Governor of the province in the exercise of his office. <ref> Cf. Gobernadorcillo in Encyclopedia Universal Ilustrada Europeo-Americana, Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, S.A.,1991, Vol. XLVII, p. 410.</ref>

In 1893, the Maura Law was passed with the aim of making the municipal governments in the Philippine Archipelago more effective and autonomous. One of the changes that this law brought about was the reorganization of certain structures of town governments, among which was the changing of the designation of town head from Gobernadorcillo to Capitan Municipal effective 1895.<ref> Cf. Wikipedia article: Emilio Aguinaldo, n. 1 (Early life and career). </ref>




Contents

System of Election of a Gobernadorcillo

The Gobernadocillo was elected from among the ranks of the Principalía by twelve senior Cabezas de Barangay. These Cabezas have to elect three candidates who are to compose a terna [i.e., three nominees for any office]. It was a must that the respective place of each nominee in the terna be indicated. It is to be noted that the candidate must be able to speak, read, and write in the Castillan language. If one who was not in possession of these qualities was election, the election would be considered null and void. The same requirements were demanded in the election of officers of justice in the municipalities.<ref>Cf. Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands (1493-1898), Cleveland: The A.H. Clark Company, 1903, Vol. XVII, pp. 327-328.</ref>

The election of a Gobernadorcillo was done in secret balloting. It was authorized by a notary, presided over by the provincial chief. The parish priest of the town may be present if he wishes, to express what opinions he may consider fitting, but for no other purpose. The sealed envelops containing the election results in provinces near Manila were sent to superior offices of the government in the capital. From the list of the terna, the Governor General appoints the Gobernadorcillo, taking into consideration the report of the president of the election. In distant territories, the chief of each province appointed the nominee who got the highest vote. <ref>Ibid., pp. 327-328, 331.</ref>

Ceremonies Attached to the Office

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The Spanish Royal Coat of Arms used in the Philippines during the colonial period.
On the day on which the Gobernadorcillo takes his office, his town holds a great celebration [fiestahan]. All eat, drink, smoke, and amuse themselves at the expense of the municipality. The feast is held in the municipal or city hall where he occupies a large and lofty seat, which is adorned by the coat of arms of Spain and with fanciful designs, if his social footing shows a respectable antiquity.<ref>Cf. Ibid., pp. 331-332. </ref>

On holy days the town officials go to the Church together in one body. The Principalía and cuadrilleros form in tow lines in front of the Gobernadorcillo. The are preceded by the band playing the music as they process towards the Church. The Gobernadorcillo occupies a seat in precedence of those of the chiefs or Cabezas de Barangay, who have benches of honor. After the Mass, they usually go to the rectory to pay their respects to the parish priest. Then, they return to the tribunal [i.e., municipal hall or city hall] in the same order, and still accompanied by the band playing a loud double quick march called in Spanish as paso doble.<ref>Ibid., p. 32.</ref>

When the Gobernadorcillo goes out of the street, an alguecil [i.e., police of the period] <ref>Cf. Captain Alatriste, List of Main Characters.</ref> with a long wand precedes him.<ref>Ibid.</ref>

Honors, Powers, and Privileges of this Office

The Gobernadorcillos and officials of justice received the greatest consideration from the Spanish Crown officials. The provincial chiefs were under obligation to show them the honor corresponding to their respective duties. They are allowed to sit in the houses of the provincial chiefs, and in any other places. They were not left to remain standing. It was not permitted for parish priests to treat these officials with less consideration.<ref>Ibid.; Vol. XXVII, pp. 296-297.</ref>

The Gobernadorcillos exercised the command of the towns. They were Port Captains in coastal towns.<ref>Cf. Gobernadorcillo in Encyclopedia Universal Ilustrada Europeo-Americana, Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, S.A.,1991, Vol. XLVII, p. 410. </ref> Their office corresponds to that of the alcaldes and municipal judges of the Peninsula. They perform at once the functions of judges and even of notaries with defined powers. <ref>Cf. Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands (1493-1898), Cleveland: The A.H. Clark Company, 1903, Vol. XVII, p. 329.</ref> They also have the rights and powers to elect assistants and several lieutenants and alguaciles, proportionate in number to the inhabitants of the town.<ref>Ibid.</ref>

Responsibilities of a Gobernadorcillo

The Sapnish Royal Arms on the entrance of Fort Santiago, Intramurus, Manila.
  • they are especially bound to aid the parish priest in everything pertaining to worship and the observance of the religious laws.
  • oversee the collection of royal revenue.
  • to give notice of ordinances for good government.
  • build public infrastractures in his town and other public works.
  • collect some other taxes that are specified in their own credentials during their appointment in office.
  • hear and judge civil cases up to the value of two taels of gold, or forty pesos.
  • they take action in criminal cases by collecting preliminary evidence, which they submit to the provincial chiefs.<ref>Ibid., pp. 324-325, 329-330.</ref>

References

  1. ^ Cf. Gobernadorcillo in Encyclopedia Universal Ilustrada Europeo-Americana, Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, S.A.,1991, Vol. XLVII, p. 410.
  2. ^ Cf. Wikipedia article: Emilio Aguinaldo, n. 1 (Early life and career).
  3. ^ Cf. Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands (1493-1898), Cleveland: The A.H. Clark Company, 1903, Vol. XVII, pp. 327-328.
  4. ^ Ibid., pp. 327-328, 331.
  5. ^ Cf. Ibid., pp. 331-332.
  6. ^ Ibid., p. 32.
  7. ^ Cf. Captain Alatriste, List of Main Characters.
  8. ^ Ibid.; Vol. XXVII, pp. 296-297.
  9. ^ Cf. Gobernadorcillo in Encyclopedia Universal Ilustrada Europeo-Americana, Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, S.A.,1991, Vol. XLVII, p. 410.
  10. ^ Cf. Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands (1493-1898), Cleveland: The A.H. Clark Company, 1903, Vol. XVII, p. 329.
  11. ^ Ibid., pp. 324-325, 329-330.Category"Political Organizations

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