Law, Politics, and Philosophy

Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. Atty. MICHAEL JHON M. TAMAYAO manages this blog. Contact:

Definition of Terms

Definition of Terms


Before we embark into the intricacies of our subject, “Politics and Governance with Philippine Constitution,” it is wise to define first the basic terms and concepts. This is to avoid ambiguity and vagueness later when we discuss the various political concepts and theories in our discussion. Although the definitions are not exhaustive, as these terms will be our object of concern for the entire semester, they will nevertheless be helpful in commencing our discussion in this subject.


  1. Politics

The word “politics” is derived from the Greek word “polis” which means “city,” which during the Greek period, and as it is true today, refers to a sovereign state.[1] Basing on its etymology, politics (and other related words, such as politic, political, politician, and polity) have something to do with the affairs of the state.[2]

Politics is the science of government. As a science, it is a systematic body of knowledge (for the most part, practical) that deals with the government and regulation, maintenance and development, and defense and augmentation of the state. It also deals with the protection of the rights of its citizens; safeguarding and enhancement their morals; and, harmony and peace in their relations. Thus politics is the way in which we understand and order our social affairs, and acquire greater control over the situation.[3]


Keywords: regulation; maintenance; development; protection; control


  1. Governance

The word “governance” came from the Latin verb “gubernare,” or more originally from the Greek word “kubernaein,” which means to “steer.” Basing on its etymology, therefore, the noun governance refers to the manner of steering or governing, or of directing and controlling, a group of people or a state. As defined in the dictionaries, governance is the exercise of authority;[4] action, function, power, or manner of government.[5]

More strictly, governance is the complex process whereby some sectors of the society wield power, and enact and promulgate public policies which directly affect human and institutional interactions, and economic and social development. The power exercised is always for the common good, as it is essential for demanding respect and cooperation from the citizens and the state. And a great deal about governance is the proper and effective utilization of resources.


Keywords: power; authority; utilization of resources


  1. Ideology

The word “ideology” was derived from the two Greek words, idea, which means idea, and logos, which means science. The term therefore literally means “science of ideas.” The word was first coined by Destutt de Tracy, a French philosopher and writer.

In its contemporary usage, ideology refers to the very ideas themselves which are meant to give structure and meaning to the human world. As such, ideologies give direction to our political and social activities; it is the perspective through which we picture and likewise control reality and, by extension, the people.


Keywords: ideas; perspective; reality


  1. Constitution

The term “constitution” came from the two Latin words, com, which means together, and statuere, which means place or station. Literally, therefore, constitution means the putting in position of things, or simply composition. If understood then with respect to law, it means the fundamental, organic laws that govern the operation of a group of men or a state. Or as Cooley defines it, constitution is “that body of rules and principles in accordance with which the powers of sovereignty are regularly exercised.”[6]


Keywords: fundamental law



Now let us dig dipper into the meaning and nature of politics. To do this, however, we need to discuss sufficiently some of the important concepts in landmark works in the study of politics.

[1] Greek cities, such as Athens, Sparta, and Corinth are called, not just cities, but “city-states” which have their own sovereignty. They were self-sufficient, highly independent, and with a Constitution and government of their own.

[2] Etymological definitions will primarily be utilized in explaining the meaning of terms. Although such definitions are very limited, it will help a great deal in shedding light on the meanings of the important and often misinterpreted terms.

[3] B. Ponton and P. Gill, Politics, Introduction. (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1982), p.6.

[4] Webster Comprehensive Dictionary, Encyclopedic Edition (Chicago: J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, 1995)

[6] Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, p. 4.

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This entry was posted on November 19, 2010 by in Uncategorized.




Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Atty. MICHAEL JHON M. TAMAYAO manages this blog. He is currently starting his private law practice. Contact:; Tel. No. 09353343739. PROFILE: Atty. Tamayao is currently teaching law, philosophy and social sciences at the Cagayan State University. He finished his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy degree at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Santo Tomas and graduated in 2005, garnering the highest academic honors in that Academic Year. He pursued Licentiate in Philosophy and Master of Arts in Philosophy degrees at the same university, completing them both in 2007. In 2009, he took up Bachelor of Laws and Letter at the Cagayan State University, where he also teaches. He passed the 2013 bar exams, and now currently taking up Master of Laws and Letters at the San Beda Graduate School of Law.

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