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July 10, 1934, the Filipino Voters Elected Delegates to a Constitutional Convention.

Independence Missions from 1919 onwards were periodically sent to the U.S. Congress and the White House to lobby for and negotiate independence. In 1931, the OsRox Mission (which stands for “Osmeña and Roxas”) successfully lobbied for the enactment of the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act, which was passed over President Herbert Hoover’s veto in 1932. This was, however, rejected by the Philippine Legislature. In 1934, a new mission (the QuAquAl Mission, made up of Quezon, Benigno Aquino Sr., and Rafael Alunan) negotiated the Tydings-McDuffie or the Philippine Independence Act, which set a ten-year transition period to be known as the Commonwealth of the Philippines, followed by the recognition of the independence of the Philippines by the United States.

(The opening of the Constitutional Convention in the House session hall of the Legislative Building in 1934 [])

On July 10, 1934, election of delegates to a constitutional convention pursuant the Tydings-McDuffie Law of 1934 was held. 202 delegates were elected to the said convention which drafted the Philippine Constitution of 1935.

The so-called “Seven Wise Men” — Filemon Sotto, chairman, and Norberto Romualdez, Manuel Roxas, Vicente Singson Encarnacion, Manuel C. Briones, Miguel Cuaderno, and Conrado Benitez (who replaced Jose P. Laurel) — prepared the draft of the Constitution.

The 1934 Convention opened its session on July 30, 1934 and was presided over by Claro M. Recto. The constitution to be written would cover not only the transitional Commonwealth, but would apply to the Republic as well. The convention finished its work on February 8, 1935 and submitted it to the President of the United States for certification that its provisions complied with the Philippine Independence Act. It was certified on March 25, 1935 and it was subsequently ratified by the Filipino people in a plebiscite on May 14, 1935.

The 1935 Constitution provided for unicameral National Assembly and the President was elected to a six-year term without re-election.

The Constitution was amended in 1940 to have a bicameral Congress composed of a Senate and House of Representatives, as well the creation of an independent electoral commission. The amendment also granted the President a four-year term with a maximum of two consecutive terms in office.



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