The Passing of Spanish Dominian

Forbes-Lindsay, C. H.: The Philippines under Spanish and American Rules. Philadelphia, 1906: pp. 161-200

The Audiencia

The Audiencia was established in 1584. lt consisted of a president, that office being filled by the Governor-General; three auditors, or associate justices; a fiscal, or prosecuting attorney, and minor auxiliary officials. The Audencia had jurisdiction in all cases that might be appealed from the provincial authorities. lt acted as a court of first instances only in "cases wbich, on account of their importance, the amount involved, and the dignity of the parties, might be tried in a superior court, and criminal cases arising in the place where the court might meet."

There was no appeal from the findings of the Audencia except in civil cases of sufficient magnitude to justify an appeal to the King.

In the event of the inability of the governor to continue his duties, the Audencia was empowered to assume the government. The Audencia had authority to summonceitizens of the islands either in peace or war. The Audencia also had a certain degree of jurisdiction in matters ecclesiastical. The duties and functions of this body were rnultiplex and various, being judicial, legislative, and administrative in character.

The Audencia soon incurred the displeasure of the priests, and their representations to the King resulted in the abolition of the hody in 1589. lt was, however, re-established in 1598, and in 1776 its personnel was enlarged by the addition of several members. Previous to 1840 the Audencia had discretionary power over the retention and removal of judges and justices, thus subjecting them to an altogether undesirable influence. In that year a royal decree considerably curtailed that power.

From time to time there have been changes in the composition and functions of the Audencia which it is not necessary to consider.

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created: November 20, 1997
updated: November 23, 1997
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger