By virtue of the Tydings-McDuffie or Philippine Independence Act of 1934, the Commonwealth of the Philippines was established, creating with it the position of president and vice president and a unicameral legislature called the National Assembly. It also mandated the Philippine Legislature to call for an election of delegates to a Constitutional Convention to draft a constitution for the Philippines. The document produced was submitted to the President of the United States for certification on March 25, 1935, and was ratified by the Filipino people through a national plebiscite on May 14, 1935.
On September 16, 1935, the first national elections in the Philippines were held. The two leading Nationalist politicians—outgoing Senate President Manuel L. Quezon and former Senate president pro-tempore Sergio Osmeña—joined forces to form a powerhouse coalition ticket. They faced former President Emilio Aguinaldo and Raymundo Melliza, who ran under the National Socialist Party, and Bishop Gregorio Aglipay of the Philippine Independent Church who, with Norberto Nabong, reestablished the Republican Party.
The coalition ticket won by a landslide, with Quezon winning in all provinces except the Aguinaldo and Aglipay bailiwicks of Cavite and Ilocos Norte, respectively. Osmeña, on the other hand, demolished his opponents and lost only in the province of Cavite, a feat unsurpassed to this day.
While united for the country’s top two positions, Quezon’s Partido Nacionalista Democrata (Antis) and Osmeña’s Partido Pro-Independencia Democrata (Pros) slugged it out for seats in the National Assembly. This unicameral legislature had 98 elected members, of which 87 were from existing representative districts, eight from existing special provinces, and three from the Mountain Province. A significant majority of elected assemblymen were Antis (72%), while 21% were Pros; the rest belonged to opposition groups.
The 1935 Constitution came into full force and effect on November 15, 1935, with the inauguration of the Commonwealth. Among its provisions was that it would remain the constitution of the Republic of the Philippines once independence was recognized on July 4, 1946.
The Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) has published the Philippine Electoral Almanac, a handy resource on Philippine national elections from 1935 onwards.