Spanish Governance Style in Ancient Past

By Jes Tirol


In the year 1885 there was a government circular requiring the local government to submit the list of local officials involved in law enforcement that was supported by public funds.

The politico-military governor of Bohol during that time was Don Augusto Linares y Pombo. He submitted his report on October 2, 1885.
The report listed all the names of the officials of the 40 towns of the main island of Bohol and the 5 towns of the island of Siquijor. During that time the island of Siquijor was still part of the Province of Bohol. It got separated when Negros Oriental became a separate province in 1892 and Siquijor was attached to Negros Oriental because it was nearer to Dumaguete, which became the capital town of Negros Oriental.

The Officials

The officials listed were, a) Gobernadorcillo (Mayor), b.) Juez de Ganados (Judge for Cattles), c.) Juez de Sementeras (Judge for Farms), d.) Juez de Policia (Judge for Police), e.) Tenientes (Lieutenants), f.) Alguaciles (Constables).

The report also indicated the place of assignments of the officials. The Tenientes and the Alguaciles were what was known as Cuadrilleros or armed law enforcement members, which were similar to our present day policemen.

From the report we can discern that there were already barrios. However, we must bear in mind that those barrios did not have a definite boundary. The names were only given to a rough location of the place. The main subdivision of the town during that time was still the barangay. The barangay was a family grouping of between 40 to 100 families and headed by the Cabeza de Barangay (Family Grouping Head). The members could live anywhere in town but they were under a particular Cabeza de Barangay.

For the sake of posterity I will list the names of the town, its officials, and their assignments. For the whole province of Bohol there were 45 Gobernadorcillos, 120 Juezes, 134 Tenientes, and 432 Alguaciles (Constables).
Tagbilaran, Bohol

A.) For the whole town
1. Don Leoncio Torralba – Gobernadorcillo (Mayor)
2. Don Tomas Jalap – Teniente No. 1 (1st Lieutenant)
3. Don Claudio Gallares – Juez de Ganados (Judge for Cattles)
4. Don Narciso Bustamante – Juez de Sementeras (Judge for Farms)
5. Don Galo Lumutjang – Juez de Policia (Judge for Police)
6. Don Hilarion Remolador – Teniente No. 2 (2nd Lieutenant)
7. Don Apolinario Butalid – Alguacil No. 1 (Constable #1)
8. Don Pio Tiroy – Alguacil No. 2 (Constable #2)
9. Don Doroteo Castro – Alguacil No. 3 (Constable # 4)
10. Don Simeon Dacaldacal – Alguacil No. 4 (Constable #4)
11. Don Mariano Tiroy – Alguacil No. 5 (Constable #5)
12. Don Julian Maslog – Alguacil No. 6 (Constable #6)
B.) For Public Works (Note: They supervised the compulsory "polo.")
1. Don Francisco Orimaco – Alguacil No. 1
2. Don Ano Enero - Alguacil No.  2
3. Don Silvestre Tabinao – Alguacil No. 3
4. Don Miguel Mingoc – Alguacil No. 4
5. Don Pedro Bueno – Alguacil No. 5
6. Don Mariano Bugas – Alguacil No. 6
C.) Assigned in the Barrio of Taloto. (Note: This was a kind of police outpost)
1. Don Martin Posta – Teniente
2. Don Bernardo Celada – Alguacil No. 1
3. Don Maximo Delusa – Alguacil No. 2
4. Don Hilarion Torillo – Alguacil No. 3
D.) Assigned at the outpost at Barrio Mansasa
1. Don Juan Pilayre – Teniente
2. Don Pedro Piñones – Alguacil No. 1
3. Don Victorio Diayon – Alguacil No. 2
4. Don Juan Putong – Alguacil No. 3

The Gobernadorcillo (Mayor) was the overall head of the civil aspect of the town. The Parish Priest was in-charge of the religious aspect of the town and he was higher in rank than the gobernadorcillo.

The Juez de Ganados was in-charge of deciding cases that involves animals. The Juez de Sementeras was in-charge of cases involving farms and land disputes. The Juez de Policia was in-charge of cases that involves criminalities. Some years later these three judges was replaced by a single judge called Juez de Paz or Justice of the Peace. These judges were not necessarily lawyers. Lawyers were still very rare during that time.

In fact my research could only identify three (3) private practicing lawyers in Bohol during that time. They were don Gabriel Oppus of Baclayon, Don Bernabe Reyes of Dauis, and Don Manuel Miñoza of Tagbilaran. (Note: Manuel Miñoza was from Argao, Cebu and got married in Calape, Bohol and practiced law in Tagbilaran). Don Bernabe Reyes went to Cebu and became an Alcalde de Ayuntamento or Board Member of the province of Cebu. Don Gabriel Oppus got married in Maasin, Leyte and resided there.

The Tenientes and the Alguaciles, aside from police work, functioned also like the modern day "Lupon ng Tagapayapa" of our Barangay Law system.