History of the Provincial Government

The provincial government of Cavite has a colorful history. During the greater part of the Spanish regime the provincial administration was handled by the alcalde mayor who was the representative of the governor and captain general in Manila. As alter ego of the Chief executive of the country, the alcalde mayor exercised over all executive, judicial, and legislative functions within his jurisdiction. He was in fact a petty captain general because he held under his orders the armed forces of the province for purposes of defense and maintenance of peace and order. By the Decree of June 25, 1847 the title of alcalde mayor in Cavite was changed to politico-military governor. He was also tripped of judicial functions.

The last Spanish politico-military governor of Cavite, with headquarters in the cabecera of Cavite (now Cavite City), was Col. Fernando Pargas whom Emilio Aguinaldo, as captain municipal of Cavite el Viejo (now Kawit), saw on the morning of August 31, 1896 to ask for a detachment of soldiers to protect his town from bandits. Aguinaldo’s plan was to ambush the government troops on their way to Kawit and seize their arms which his Magdalo followers needed urgently to start the armed uprising against Spain.

While waiting for his turn to talk to Pargas in his office, Aguinaldo learned that only one company of soldiers was left in Cavite as all available infantry men had been sent to Manila upon urgent summons from Governor and Captain General Ramon Blanco, who had placed eight Luzon provinces (Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Batangas and Cavite) under martial law following the discovery of the Katipunan secret society.

With this valuable information, Aguinaldo returned posthaste to Kawit and with the help of two councilmen, Candido Tria Tirona and Santiago Daño, led the assault and capture of the town’s tribunal (municipal building). Earlier that day the towns of San Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias) and Noveleta had risen in arms and taken over the control of the local government. It was this cry of Cavite on August 31, 1896, that signaled the beginning of the revolution. This soon spilled over to nearby provinces until it engulfed the entire country.

Spanish sovereignty in the Philippines was overthrown by revolutionists led by Aguinaldo. Historical documents show that during the revolutionary regime, Cavite had three politico-military governors: Mariano Trias, Emiliano Riego de Dios and Ladislao Diwa.

The revolutionary regime was succeeded by the American regime. Cavite had nine provincial governors from the start of the American regime until the establishment of the Commonwealth government in 1935. These governors were Mariano Trias (1901-1905; Louis J. Van Schaick (1906-1907); Leonardo R. Osorio (1908-1909); Tomas Mascardo (1910-1912); Antero S. Soriano (1912-1919); Luis O. Ferrer, Sr.; (1919-1921); Raymundo Jeciel 1922-1925); Fabian Pugeda (1925-1931) and Pedro F. Espiritu (1931-1934).

The Commonwealth regime lasted from 1935 to 1946. It was interrupted by the Pacific war and the subsequent Japanese occupation of the country. Three governors served during the first phase: Ramon Samonte (1935-1939); Emilio P. Virata, acting governor (1939), and Luis Y. Ferrer, Jr. (1940-1944). Ferrer was succeeded by Mariano N. Castañeda from May to November 1944.

The Japanese-sponsored Second Republic under Dr. Jose P. Laurel was proclaimed in October 1943. Dominador M. Camerino was appointed governor from December 1944 to the early part of February 1945. On February 13, Castañeda was recalled as governor by the commander of the advancing Allied forces.

The Commonwealth government was re-established towards the end of February 1945 with Rafael F. Trias as the governor. He served for only a few months after he was succeeded by Francisco T. Arca.

The Third republic was established on July 4, 1946 by virtue of the Tydings-McDuffie Act. Manuel Roxas, the last elected president of the commonwealth, continued as president of the Third Republic. During that time, Dominador Camerino was appointed governor. During the end of his term, Mariano B. Villanueva and Horacio Rodriguez took turn of Camerino’s position.

Camerino was elected governor in 1952, but again toward the latter part of his term, he was replaced by Dominador Mangubat who acted as governor from 1954 to 1955. Mangubat was followed by Delfin Montano who was elected governor for four consecutive terms (1956 to 1971). Lino D. Bocalan succeeded him in 1972. He was replaced by Dominador M. Camerino who served as acting governor from October 1, 1972 until his death on July 24, 1979.

It was Juanito R. Remulla who was appointed as acting governor on September 25, 1979. Under the Third Republic, he was elected governor on January 30, 1980. President Marcos proclaimed the Fourth Republic in 1981 and still, Remulla was in his service as governor until February 19, 1986. Fernando C. Campos succeeded him in 1986 to 1987. Remulla was reelected for a long term (1987-1995). He was succeeded by Epimaco A. Velasco from 1995 to January 1998 and when he was given a position as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. was appointed in place of him. Bong Revilla served from February 2, 1998 to 2001. He was then replaced by Erineo “Ayong” S. Maliksi in 2001. Maliksi served for three consecutive terms (2001 – 2010).

Gov. Juanito Victor “Jonvic” C. Remulla took his oath as the new governor of Cavite last June 26, 2010 at Holy Cross Parish in Tanza, Cavite. During the turn-over ceremony last June 30, 2010 held at the Provincial Building’s Ceremonial Hall, Gov. Remulla vows to continue the programs of the last administration and promise to prioritize public service to the Caviteños.

(Source: Saulo and de Ocampo (1985). History of Cavite. Provincial Government of Cavite, Trece Martires City / PPDO-Cavite)