The De Facto Presidents of the Philippines

There are people who held the presidency of a government intended to represent the Philippines but they are not considered by the current government of the Philippines as an official President of the Philippines.

The List of Unofficial Presidents of the Philippines

Some historians considered Andres Bonifacio as the first president of the Philippines. When the Katipunan declared an open revolt in August 1896, Bonifacio transformed it into a revolutionary government with him as President. Bonifacio’s government is known also as the Tagalog Republic. He used it to denote all indigenous people of the Philippines in place of the term, Filipino which had colonial origins.

Some historians say that including Bonifacio in the list of former Philippine presidents would imply that Miguel Malvar and Macario Sakay should also be included in the list.

Emilio Aguinaldo is considered to be the first President of the Philippines, but this is based on his term as president of the Malolos Republic, later known as the First Philippine Republic. Prior to the Malolos Republic, Aguinaldo held several revolutionary governments which is not included in the succession of the later Philippine republics.

Flag of the First Philippine Republic by Emilio Aguinaldo –, Mandirigma Research Organization, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Public Domain,


President Andres Bonifacio

Term of Office: August 24, 1896 – March 22, 1897

President Andres Bonifacio

Andres Bonifacio was a Filipino revolutionary leader and the President of the Tagalog Republic. He was one of the founders and later Supremo (Supreme Leader) of the Kataas-taasan, Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or more commonly known as “Katipunan”. He is often called the Father of Philippine Revolution. Some historians pushed for the recognition of Bonifacio as the first President of the Philippines instead of Aguinaldo. This is based on his position as Supremo of the Katipunan revolutionary government from 1896 to 1897. This emphasizes that Bonifacio established a government through the Katipunan before a government headed by Aguinaldo was formed at the Tejeros Convention in March 22, 1897. The historian, Milagros Guerero wrote that Bonifacio had a concept of the Philippine nation called Haring Bayang Katagalugan (“Sovereign Tagalog Nation”) which was displaced by Aguinaldo’s concept of Filipinas. In the documents predating Tejeros Convention and the First Philippine Republic, Bonifacio is called the president of the “Tagalog Republic”.

President Emilio Aguinaldo

Tejeros Revolutionary Government (March 22, 1897 to November 1, 1897)

Republic of Biak-na-Bato (November 2, 1897 – December 14, 1897)

First Dictatorship (May 24, 1898 – June 23, 1898)

Pre-Malolos Revolutionary Government (June 23, 1898 – January 23, 1899)

On March 22 1897, Emilio Aguinaldo was elected President of the Revolutionary Government at the Tejeros Convention and declared the Tejeros Revolutionary Government. It lasted until November 1, 1897. On November 2, 1897, Aguinaldo established the Republic of Biak-na-Bato. It was the very first republic declared by Aguinaldo and his fellow revolutionaries however it lasted only for a month. It was dissolved on December 14, 1897. It was dissolved by a peace treaty signed by Aguinaldo and the Spanish Governor-General, Fernando Primo de Rivera which included provision for the exile of Aguinaldo and key associates to Hong Kong.

President Emilio Aguinaldo

Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines during the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. On May 24, 1898, Aguinaldo assumed command of the Philippine forces and declared a dictatorial government with himself as dictator. On May 28, 1898, Aguinaldo gathered a force of about 18,000 troops and fought Spanish troops in Imus, Cavite. The battle lasted for 5 hours. After victory, Aguinaldo unfurled the Philippine flag for the first time in front of Filipino revolutionaries. On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo issued the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain and on June 18, 1898, he issued a decree formally establishing his dictatorial government. On June 23, 1898, Aguinaldo issued a decree replacing his dictatorial government with a revolutionary government, with himself as President that lasted until January 23, 1899, the inauguration of the Malolos Republic. The Malolos Republic lasted until the capture of Aguinaldo in March 23, 1901.

President Miguel Malvar

Term of Office: April 1, 1901 to April 16, 1902

President Miguel Malvar

Miguel Malvar was a Filipino general who served during the Philippine Revolution and subsequently during the Philippine–American War. He assumed command of the Philippine revolutionary forces during the latter conflict following the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo by the Americans in March 23, 1901. Some historians considered him as the second Philippine President after Emilio Aguinaldo.

On September 18, 2007, Rodolfo Valencia, Representative of Oriental Mindoro filed House Bill 2594 that declared Malvar as the second Philippine President after Emilio Aguinaldo alleging that it is incorrect to consider Manuel L. Quezon as the Second President of the Philippine Republic. “General Malvar took over the revolutionary government after General Emilio Aguinaldo, first President of the Republic, was captured on March 23, 1901, and [was] exiled in Hong Kong by the American colonial government—since he was next in command.


President Macario Sakay

Term of Office: May 6, 1902 to July 14, 1906

After the war was declared over by the United States in 1902 on the Spanish Empire, Macario Sakay continued resistance and the following year became President of the Republic of Katagalugan somewhere in the mountains of Rizal. He was given a bad-boy image because of his conspicuous long hair and his being the leader of a group of long-haired rugged men labeled as bandits or ladrones by the American colonizers. Most of all, Sakay is said to be the most controversial Philippine hero and the most slandered patriot because of the false accusations pressed against him by the Americans and Filipino pro-Americans.

President Macario Sakay

One July 20, 1906, Sakay descending from the mountains on the promise of an amnesty for him and his officials, and the formation of a Philippine Assembly composed of Filipinos that would serve as the “gate of freedom”. Macario Sakay travelled to Manila, where they were welcomed and invited to a party. One invitation came from the Constabulary Chief, Colonel Harry H. Bandholtz; it was a trap, and Sakay along with his principal lieutenants were disarmed and arrested while the party was in progress.

Sakay was accused of “bandolerismo under the Brigandage Act of Nov. 12, 1902 which interpreted all acts of armed resistance to American rule as banditry” on his trial. The colonial supreme court then sentenced him to death and was hanged on September 13, 1907.

Before his death, he made the following statement:

“Death comes to all of us sooner or later, so I will face the LORD Almighty calmly. But I want to tell you that we are not bandits and robbers, as the Americans have accused us, but members of the revolutionary force that defended our mother country, the Philippines! Farewell! Long live the Republic and may our independence be born in the future! Long live the Philippines!”

He was buried later to the Manila North Cemetery.



Lawmaker: History wrong on Gen. Malvar at the Wayback Machine(archived April 6, 2008). January 02, 2008. (archived from the original on 2008-04-06).

Constantino, Renato (1981). The Philippines: A Past Revisited. Renato Constantino. p. 267. ISBN 978-971-8958-00-1.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close