Constitution of the Philippines
Overview
The Constitution of the Philippines is the supreme law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

.

The Constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 currently in effect was enacted in 1987, during the administration of President
President of the Philippines
The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines...

 Corazon Aquino
Corazon Aquino
Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office in Philippine history. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines...

, and is popularly known as the "1987 Constitution". Philippine constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

 experts recognize three other previous constitutions as having effectively governed the country — the 1935 Commonwealth
Commonwealth of the Philippines
The Commonwealth of the Philippines was a designation of the Philippines from 1935 to 1946 when the country was a commonwealth of the United States. The Commonwealth was created by the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1934. When Manuel L...

 Constitution, the 1973 Constitution, and the 1986 Freedom Constitution.
Encyclopedia
The Constitution of the Philippines is the supreme law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

.

The Constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 currently in effect was enacted in 1987, during the administration of President
President of the Philippines
The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines...

 Corazon Aquino
Corazon Aquino
Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office in Philippine history. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines...

, and is popularly known as the "1987 Constitution". Philippine constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

 experts recognize three other previous constitutions as having effectively governed the country — the 1935 Commonwealth
Commonwealth of the Philippines
The Commonwealth of the Philippines was a designation of the Philippines from 1935 to 1946 when the country was a commonwealth of the United States. The Commonwealth was created by the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1934. When Manuel L...

 Constitution, the 1973 Constitution, and the 1986 Freedom Constitution. Constitutions for the Philippines were also drafted and adopted during the short-lived governments of Presidents Emilio Aguinaldo
Emilio Aguinaldo
Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy was a Filipino general, politician, and independence leader. He played an instrumental role during the Philippines' revolution against Spain, and the subsequent Philippine-American War or War of Philippine Independence that resisted American occupation...

 (1898) and José P. Laurel
Jose P. Laurel
José Paciano Laurel y García was the president of the Republic of the Philippines, a Japanese-sponsored administration during World War II, from 1943 to 1945...

 (1943).

Background of the 1987 Constitution

In 1986, following the People Power Revolution which ousted Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 as president, and following on her own inauguration, Corazon Aquino issued Proclamation No. 3, declaring a national policy to implement the reforms mandated by the people, protecting their basic rights, adopting a provisional constitution, and providing for an orderly translation to a government under a new constitution.
President Aquino later issued Proclamation No. 9, creating a Constitutional Commission (popularly abbreviated "Con Com" in the Philippines) to frame a new constitution to replace the 1973 Constitution which took effect during the Marcos martial law regime. Aquino appointed 50 members to the Commission. The members of the Commission were drawn from varied backgrounds, including several former congressmen, a former Supreme Court Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the Philippines
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines presides over the Supreme Court of the Philippines and is the highest judicial officer of the government of the Philippines...

 (Roberto Concepcion
Roberto Concepcion
Roberto Concepción was the Chief Justice of the Philippines from June 17, 1966, until April 18, 1973. Apparently, he took a leave 50 days earlier from his scheduled mandatory retirement...

), a Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 (Teodoro Bacani) and film director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

 (Lino Brocka
Lino Brocka
Catalino Ortiz Brocka is known as one of the greatest film directors of the Philippines. Brocka was openly homosexual and many of his films incorporated LGBT themes into their often dramatic storylines....

). Aquino also deliberately appointed 5 members, including former Labor Minister
Department of Labor and Employment (Philippines)
The Philippines' Department of Labor and Employment is the executive department of the Philippine Government mandated to formulate policies, implement programs and services, and serve as the policy-coordinating arm of the Executive Branch in the field of labor and employment...

 Blas Ople
Blas Ople
Blas Fajardo Ople was a Filipino journalist and politician who held several high-ranking positions in the executive and legislative branches of the Philippine government, including as Senate President from 1999 to 2000, and as Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 2002 until his death...

, who had been allied with Marcos until the latter's ouster. After the Commission had convened, it elected as its president Cecilia Muñoz-Palma
Cecilia Muñoz-Palma
Cecilia Muñoz-Palma was a Filipino jurist and the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the Philippines...

, who had emerged as a leading figure in the anti-Marcos opposition following her retirement as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the Philippines
The Supreme Court of the Philippines is the Philippines' highest judicial court, as well as the court of last resort. The court consists of 14 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice...

.

The Commission finished the draft charter within four months after it was convened. Several issues were heatedly debated during the sessions, including on the form of government to adopt, the abolition of the death penalty, the continued retention of the Clark
Clark Air Base
Clark Air Base is a former United States Air Force base on Luzon Island in the Philippines, located 3 miles west of Angeles City, about 40 miles northwest of Metro Manila. Clark Air Base was an American military facility from 1903 to 1991...

 and Subic
U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay
U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay was a major ship-repair, supply, and rest and recreation facility of the United States Navy located in Zambales, Philippines. It was the largest U.S...

 American military bases, and the integration of economic policies into the Constitution. Brocka would walk out of the Commission before its completion, and two other delegates would dissent from the final draft. The ConCom completed their task on October 12, 1986 and presented the draft constitution to President Aquino on October 15, 1986. After a period of nationwide information campaign, a plebiscite for its ratification was held on February 2, 1987. More than three-fourth of all votes cast, 76.37% (or 17,059,495 voters) favored ratification as against 22.65% (or 5,058,714 voters) who voted against ratification. On February 11, 1987, the new constitution was proclaimed ratified and took effect. On that same day, Aquino, the other government officials, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Armed Forces of the Philippines
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is composed of the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force...

 pledged allegiance to the Constitution.

Parts of the 1987 Constitution

The Constitution is divided into 18 parts, excluding the Preamble, which are called Articles. The Articles are as follows:
  • Article I - National Territory
  • Article II - Declaration of Principles and State Policies
  • Article III - Bill of Rights
  • Article IV - Citizenship
  • Article V - Suffrage
  • Article VI - Legislative Department
  • Article VII - Executive Department
  • Article VIII - Judicial Department
  • Article IX - Constitutional Commission
  • Article X - Local Government
  • Article XI - Accountability of Public Officers
  • Article XII - National Economy and Patrimony
  • Article XIII - Social Justice and Human Rights
  • Article XIV - Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports
  • Article XV - The Family
  • Article XVI - General Provisions
  • Article XVII - Amendments or Revisions
  • Article XVIII - Transitory Provisions

Preamble of the 1987 Constitution

The Preamble reads:

Significant features of the 1987 Constitution

The Constitution establishes the Philippines as a "democratic and republican State", where "sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them". (Section 1, Article II) Consistent with the doctrine of separation of powers
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

, the powers of the national government are exercised in main by three branches — the executive branch
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 headed by the President
President of the Philippines
The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines...

, the legislative branch
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

 composed of Congress
Congress of the Philippines
The Congress of the Philippines is the national legislature of the Republic of the Philippines. It is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate , and the House of Representatives although commonly in the Philippines the term congress refers to the latter.The Senate is composed of 24 senators half...

 and the judicial branch
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 with the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the Philippines
The Supreme Court of the Philippines is the Philippines' highest judicial court, as well as the court of last resort. The court consists of 14 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice...

 occupying the highest tier of the judiciary. The President and the members of Congress are directly elected by the people, while the members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President from a list formed by the Judicial and Bar Council
Judicial and Bar Council
The Judicial and Bar Council of the Philippines is a constitutionally-created body that recommends appointees for vacancies that may arise in the composition of the Supreme Court and other lower courts.-Composition:...

. As with the American system of government, it is Congress which enacts the laws
Republic Acts of the Philippines
This article contains a partial list of Philippine laws. Philippine laws have had various nomenclature designations at different periods in the history of the Philippines, as shown in the following table:...

, subject to the veto power
Veto
A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

 of the President which may nonetheless be overturned by a two-thirds vote of Congress (Section 27(1), Article VI). The President has the constitutional duty to ensure the faithful execution of the laws (Section 17, Article VII), while the courts are expressly granted the power of judicial review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

 (Section 1, Article VIII), including the power to nullify or interpret laws. The President is also recognized as the commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the armed forces
Armed Forces of the Philippines
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is composed of the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force...

 (Section 18, Article VII).

The Constitution also establishes limited political autonomy to the local government units
Local government
Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

 that act as the municipal governments for provinces
Provinces of the Philippines
The Provinces of the Philippines are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 80 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. The National Capital Region, as well as independent cities, are autonomous from any provincial...

, cities
Cities of the Philippines
A city is a tier of local government in the Philippines. All Philippine cities are chartered cities, whose existence as corporate and administrative entities is governed by their own specific charters in addition to the Local Government Code of 1991, which specifies the administrative structure...

, municipalities
Municipalities of the Philippines
A municipality is a local government unit in the Philippines. Municipalities are also called towns . They are distinct from cities, which are a different category of local government unit...

, and barangay
Barangay
A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward...

s. (Section 1, Article X) Local governments are generally considered as falling under the executive branch, yet local legislation requires enactment by duly elected local legislative bodies. The Constitution (Section 3, Article X) mandated that the Congress would enact a Local Government Code. The Congress duly enacted Republic Act No. 7160, The Local Government Code of 1991, which became effective on 1 January 1992.
The Supreme Court has noted that the Bill of Rights "occupies a position of primacy in the fundamental law".
The Bill of Rights, contained in Article III, enumerates the specific protections against State power. Many of these guarantees are similar to those provided in the American constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 and other democratic constitutions, including the due process
Due process
Due process is the legal code that the state must venerate all of the legal rights that are owed to a person under the principle. Due process balances the power of the state law of the land and thus protects individual persons from it...

 and equal protection clause
Equal Protection Clause
The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws"...

, the right against unwarranted searches and seizures
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause...

, the right to free speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

 and the free exercise of religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

, the right against self-incrimination
Self-incrimination
Self-incrimination is the act of accusing oneself of a crime for which a person can then be prosecuted. Self-incrimination can occur either directly or indirectly: directly, by means of interrogation where information of a self-incriminatory nature is disclosed; indirectly, when information of a...

, and the right to habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

. The scope and limitations to these rights have largely been determined by Philippine Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the Philippines
The Supreme Court of the Philippines is the Philippines' highest judicial court, as well as the court of last resort. The court consists of 14 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice...

 decisions.

Outside of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution also contains several other provisions enumerating various state policies including, i.e., the affirmation of labor "as a primary social economic force" (Section 14, Article II); the equal protection of "the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception" (Section 12, Article II); the "Filipino family as the foundation of the nation" (Article XV, Section 1); the recognition of Filipino
Filipino language
This move has drawn much criticism from other regional groups.In 1987, a new constitution introduced many provisions for the language.Article XIV, Section 6, omits any mention of Tagalog as the basis for Filipino, and states that:...

 as "the national language of the Philippines" (Section 6, Article XVI), and even a requirement that "all educational institutions shall undertake regular sports activities throughout the country in cooperation with athletic clubs and other sectors." (Section 19.1, Article XIV) Whether these provisions may, by themselves, be the source of enforceable rights without accompanying legislation has been the subject of considerable debate in the legal sphere and within the Supreme Court. The Court, for example, has ruled that a provision requiring that the State "guarantee equal access to opportunities to public service" could not be enforced without accompanying legislation, and thus could not bar the disallowance of so-called "nuisance candidates" in presidential elections.
But in another case, the Court held that a provision requiring that the State "protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology" did not require implementing legislation to become the source of operative rights.

Constitution of La Liga Filipina

A short lived constitution prepared by Nationalist Jose Rizal
José Rizal
José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda , was a Filipino polymath, patriot and the most prominent advocate for reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is regarded as the foremost Filipino patriot and is listed as one of the national heroes of the Philippines by...

 for the Organization La Liga Filipina
La Liga Filipina
La Liga Filipina was a progressive organization created by Dr. José Rizal in the Philippines in a house at Ilaya Street, Tondo, Manila in 1892.The organization derived from La Solidaridad and the Propaganda movement...

, that dissolved when Dr. Rizal was exiled in Dapitan.

Constitution of Biak-na-Bato (1897)

The Katipunan
Katipunan
The Katipunan was a Philippine revolutionary society founded by anti-Spanish Filipinos in Manila in 1892, whose primary aim was to gain independence from Spain through revolution. The society was initiated by Filipino patriots Andrés Bonifacio, Teodoro Plata, Ladislao Diwa, and others on the night...

 revolution led to the Tejeros Convention
Tejeros Convention
The Tejeros Convention was the meeting held between the Magdiwang and Magdalo factions of the Katipunan at San Francisco de Malabon, Cavite on March 22, 1897...

 where, at San Francisco de Malabon, Cavite
Cavite
Cavite is a province of the Philippines located on the southern shores of Manila Bay in the CALABARZON region in Luzon, just 30 kilometers south of Manila. Cavite is surrounded by Laguna to the east, Metro Manila to the northeast, and Batangas to the south...

, on March 22, 1897, the first presidential and vice presidential elections in Philippine history were held—although only the Katipuneros (members of the Katipunan) were able to take part, and not the general populace. A later meeting of the revolutionary government established there, held on November 1, 1897 at Biak-na-Bato in the town of San Miguel de Mayumo in Bulacan
Bulacan
Bulacan , officially called the Province of Bulacan or simply Bulacan Province, is a first class province of the Republic of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon Region in the island of Luzon, north of Manila , and part of the Metro...

, established the Republic of Biak-na-Bato. The republic had a constitution drafted by Isabelo Artacho and Félix Ferrer and based on the first Cuban Constitution
Constitution of Cuba
Since attaining its independence from Spain, Cuba has had five constitutions. The current constitution was drafted in 1976 and has since been amended.-1901 Constitution:The 1901 Constitution was Cuba's first as an independent state...

. It is known as the "Constitución Provisional de la República de Filipinas", and was originally written in and promulgated in the Spanish and Tagalog languages.

Malolos Constitution (1899)

The Malolos Constitution
Malolos Constitution
The Malolos Constitution was enacted on January 20, 1899 by the Philippine Malolos Congress, and established the First Philippine Republic. The original was written in Spanish, which became the first official language of the Philippines....

 was the first republican constitution in Asia. It declared that sovereignty resides exclusively in the people, stated basic civil rights, separated the church and state, and called for the creation of an Assembly of Representatives to act as the legislative body. It also called for a Presidential form of government with the president elected for a term of four years by a majority of the Assembly. It was titled "Constitución política", and was written in Spanish following the declaration of independence from Spain, proclaimed on January 20, 1899, and was enacted and ratified by the Malolos Congress
Malolos Congress
-Further reading:*Philippine House of Representatives Congressional Library...

, a Congress held in Malolos, Bulacan.

The Preamble reads:

(We, the Representatives of the Filipino people, lawfully covened, in order to establish justice, provide for common defense, promote the general welfare, and insure the benefits of liberty, imploring the aid of the Sovereign Legislator of the Universe for the attainment of these ends, have voted, decreed, and sanctioned the following)

Acts of the United States Congress

The Philippines was a United States Territory
United States territory
United States territory is any extent of region under the jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, including all waters including all U.S. Naval carriers. The United States has traditionally proclaimed the sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing its...

 from December 10, 1898 to March 24, 1934. As such, the Philippines was under the jurisdiction of the federal
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 government of the United States during this period. Two acts of the United States Congress passed during this period can be considered Philippine constitutions in that those acts defined the fundamental political principles, and established the structure, procedures, powers and duties, of the Philippine government.
  1. The Philippine Organic Act of 1902
    Philippine Organic Act (1902)
    The Philippine Organic Act, popularly known as the Philippine Bill of 1902 and sometimes known as the Cooper Act after its author Henry A. Cooper, was the first organic law for the Philippines enacted by the United States Congress during the American Colonial Period in the Philippines...

    , sometimes known as the "Philippine Bill of 1902", was the first organic law for the Philippine Islands enacted by the United States Congress. It provided for the creation of a popularly elected Philippine Assembly
    Philippine Assembly
    The Philippine Assembly was the lower house of the legislative body of the Philippines during the early part of American colonial period. It was created by the Philippine Organic Act, passed in 1902, which also established the Philippine Commission as the upper house of the Philippine Legislature,...

    , and specified that legislative power would be vested in a bicameral legislature composed of the Philippine Commission
    Taft Commission
    The Taft Commission, also known as Second Philippine Commission was established by United States President William McKinley on March 16, 1900. The Commission was the legislature of the Philippines, then known as the Philippine Islands under the sovereign control of the United States during the...

     (upper house) and the Philippine Assembly (lower house). Its key provisions included a bill of rights
    Bill of rights
    A bill of rights is a list of the most important rights of the citizens of a country. The purpose of these bills is to protect those rights against infringement. The term "bill of rights" originates from England, where it referred to the Bill of Rights 1689. Bills of rights may be entrenched or...

     for the Filipinos and the appointment of two nonvoting Filipino resident commissioners to represent the Philippines in the United States Congress
    United States Congress
    The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

    .
  2. The Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916, sometimes known as "Jones Law", modified the structure of the Philippine government by removing the Philippine Commission as the legislative upper house, replacing it with a Senate
    Senate of the Philippines
    The Senate of the Philippines is the upper chamber of the bicameral legislature of the Philippines, the Congress of the Philippines...

     elected by Filipino voters. This act also explicitly stated that it was and had always been the purpose of the people of the United States to withdraw their sovereignty over the Philippine Islands and to recognize Philippine independence as soon as a stable government can be established therein.


Though not a constitution itself, the Tydings-McDuffie Act
Tydings-McDuffie Act
The Tydings-McDuffie Act approved on March 24, 1934 was a United States federal law which provided for self-government of the Philippines and for Filipino independence after a period of ten years. It was authored by Maryland Senator Millard E...

 of 1934 provided authority and defined mechanisms for the establishment of a formal constitution via a constitutional convention
Constitutional convention (political meeting)
A constitutional convention is now a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution or revising an existing constitution. A general constitutional convention is called to create the first constitution of a political unit or to entirely replace an existing constitution...

.

Commonwealth and Third Republic (1935)

The 1935 Constitution was written in 1934, approved and adopted by the Commonwealth of the Philippines (1935–1946) and later used by the Third Republic of the Philippines (1946–1972). It was written with an eye to meeting the approval of the United States Government as well, so as to ensure that the U.S. would live up to its promise to grant the Philippines independence and not have a premise to hold onto its "possession" on the grounds that it was too politically immature and hence unready for full, real independence.

The Preamble reads:


The original 1935 Constitution provided for unicameral National Assembly and the President was elected to a six-year term without re-election. It was amended
Constitutional amendment
A constitutional amendment is a formal change to the text of the written constitution of a nation or state.Most constitutions require that amendments cannot be enacted unless they have passed a special procedure that is more stringent than that required of ordinary legislation...

 in 1940 to have a bicameral Congress composed of a Senate and House of Representatives, as well the creation of an independent electoral commission
Commission on Elections (Philippines)
The Commission on Elections, or COMELEC, is one of the three constitutional commissions of the Philippines. Its principal role is to enforce all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of elections, initiatives, referendums, and recalls....

. The Constitution now granted the President a four-year term with a maximum of two consecutive terms in office.

A Constitutional Convention
Constitutional convention (political meeting)
A constitutional convention is now a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution or revising an existing constitution. A general constitutional convention is called to create the first constitution of a political unit or to entirely replace an existing constitution...

 was held in 1971 to rewrite the 1935 Constitution. The convention was stained with manifest bribery and corruption. Possibly the most controversial issue was removing the presidential term limit so that Ferdinand E. Marcos could seek election for a third term, which many felt was the true reason for which the convention was called. In any case, the 1935 Constitution was suspended in 1972 with Marcos' proclamation of martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

, the rampant corruption of the constitutional process providing him with one of his major premises for doing so.

Second Republic (1943)

The 1943 Constitution was drafted by a committee appointed by the Philippine Executive Commission
Philippine Executive Commission
The Philippine Executive Commission or PEC was established on January of 1942 with Jorge B. Vargas as its first Chairman. The PEC was created as the temporary care-taker government of the Greater Manila area and eventually of the whole Philippines during the Japanese occupation of the country...

, the body established by the Japanese to administer the Philippines in lieu of the Commonwealth of the Philippines
Commonwealth of the Philippines
The Commonwealth of the Philippines was a designation of the Philippines from 1935 to 1946 when the country was a commonwealth of the United States. The Commonwealth was created by the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1934. When Manuel L...

 which had established a government-in-exile. In mid-1942 Japanese Premier Hideki Tōjō
Hideki Tōjō
Hideki Tōjō was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army , the leader of the Taisei Yokusankai, and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during most of World War II, from 17 October 1941 to 22 July 1944...

 had promised the Filipinos "the honor of independence" which meant that the commission would be supplanted by a formal republic.

The Preparatory Committee for Philippine Independence
Preparatory Committee for Philippine Independence
The Preparatory Committee for Philippine Independence or the PCPI was the drafting body of the 1943 Philippine Constitution which was signed and unanimously approved on September 4, 1943 by its members and was then ratified by a popular convention of the KALIBAPI in Manila on September 7,...

 tasked with drafting a new constitution was composed in large part, of members of the prewar National Assembly and of individuals with experience as delegates to the convention that had drafted the 1935 Constitution. Their draft for the republic to be established under the Japanese Occupation, however, would be limited in duration, provide for indirect, instead of direct, legislative elections, and an even stronger executive branch.

Upon approval of the draft by the Committee, the new charter was ratified in 1943 by an assembly of appointed, provincial representatives of the Kalibapi
KALIBAPI
The Kapisanan ng Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas , or KALIBAPI, was a Filipino political party that served as the sole party of state during the Japanese occupation...

, the organization established by the Japanese to supplant all previous political parties. Upon ratification by the Kalibapi assembly, the Second Republic was formally proclaimed (1943–1945). José P. Laurel
Jose P. Laurel
José Paciano Laurel y García was the president of the Republic of the Philippines, a Japanese-sponsored administration during World War II, from 1943 to 1945...

 was appointed as President by the National Assembly and inaugurated into office in October 1943. Laurel was highly regarded by the Japanese for having openly criticised the US for the way they ran the Philippines, and because he had a degree from Tokyo International University
Tokyo International University
is an institution of higher learning with a strong international focus, with a satellite campus--Tokyo International University of America --Willamette University in Salem, Oregon....

.

The 1943 Constitution remained in force in Japanese-controlled areas of the Philippines, but was never recognized as legitimate or binding by the governments of the United States or of the Commonwealth of the Philippines and guerrilla organizations loyal to them. In late 1944, President Laurel declared a state of war existed with the United States and the British Empire and proclaimed martial law, essentially ruling by decree. His government in turn went into exile in December, 1944, first to Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 and then Japan. After the announcement of Japan's surrender, Laurel formally proclaimed the Second Republic as dissolved.

Until the 1960s, the Second Republic, and its officers, were not viewed as legitimate or as having any standing, with the exception of the Supreme Court whose decisions, limited to reviews of criminal and commercial cases as part of a policy of discretion by Chief Justice José Yulo
Jose Yulo
José Yulo was the Chief Justice of the Philippines during the Japanese Occupation and was Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives from 1939 until the World War II started in 1941.-Career:...

 continued to be part of the official records (this was made easier by the Commonwealth never constituting a Supreme Court, and the formal vacancy in the chief justice position for the Commonwealth with the execution of Chief Justice José Abad Santos
José Abad Santos
In 1919, Abad Santos would become instrumental in laying the legal groundwork as well as drafting the by-laws and constitution of the Philippine Women's University, the country's and Asia's first private non-sectarian institution for higher learning for women...

 by the Japanese). It was only during the Macapagal administration that a partial, political rehabilitation of the Japanese-era republic took place, with the recognition of Laurel as a former president and the addition of his cabinet and other officials to the roster of past government officials. However, the 1943 charter was not taught in schools and the laws of the 1943-44 National Assembly never recognized as valid or relevant.

The Preamble reads:


The 1943 Constitution provided strong executive powers. The Legislature consisted of a unicameral National Assembly and only those considered as anti-US could stand for election, although in practice most legislators were appointed rather than elected.

The New Society and the Fourth Republic (1973)

The 1973 Constitution, promulgated after Marcos' declaration of martial law
Proclamation No. 1081
Proclamation No. 1081 was the declaration of martial law in the Philippines by President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Once in effect, it covered the entire republic on September 21, 1972...

, was supposed to introduce a parliamentary-style government. Legislative power was vested in a National Assembly whose members were elected for six-year terms. The President was ideally supposed to be elected as the symbolic and purely ceremonial head of state from the Members of the National Assembly for a six-year term and could be re-elected to an unlimited number of terms. Upon election, the President ceased to be a member of the National Assembly. During his term, the President was not allowed to be a member of a political party or hold any other office. Executive power was meant to be exercised by the Prime Minister who was also elected from the Members of the National Assembly. The Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the Philippines
The Prime Minister of the Philippines was the official designation of the head of the government of the Philippines from 1978 until People Power Revolution in 1986...

 was the head of government and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. This constitution was subsequently amended four times (arguably five depending on how one considers Proclamation No. 3 of 1986).

On October 16–17, 1976, a majority of barangay voters (Citizen Assemblies) approved that martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 should be continued and ratified the amendments to the Constitution proposed by President Marcos.

The 1976 amendments were:
  • an Interim Batasang Pambansa (IBP) substituting for the Interim National Assembly
  • the President would also become the Prime Minister and he would continue to exercise legislative powers until martial law should have been lifted.


The Sixth Amendment authorized the President to legislate:

Whenever in the judgment of the President there exists a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof, or whenever the Interim Batasang Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act adequately on any matter for any reason that in his judgment requires immediate action, he may, in order to meet the exigency, issue the necessary decrees, orders or letters of instructions, which shall form part of the law of the land.


The 1973 Constitution was further amended in 1980 and 1981. In the 1980 amendment, the retirement age of the members of the Judiciary was extended to 70 years. In the 1981 amendments, the false parliamentary system was formally modified into a French-style semi-presidential system:
  • executive power was restored to the President;
  • direct election of the President was restored;
  • an Executive Committee composed of the Prime Minister and not more than fourteen members was created to "assist the President in the exercise of his powers and functions and in the performance of his duties as he may prescribe;" and the Prime Minister was a mere head of the Cabinet.
  • Further, the amendments instituted electoral reforms and provided that a natural born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his citizenship may be a transferee of private land for use by him as his residence.


The last amendments in 1984 abolished the Executive Committee and restored the position of Vice-President (which did not exist in the original, unamended 1973 Constitution).
In actual practice, while the 1973 Constitution was ideally supposed to set up a true parliamentary system, the late President Marcos had made use of subterfuge and manipulation in order to keep executive power for himself, rather than devolving executive powers to the Parliament, as headed by the Prime Minister. The end result was that the 1973 Constitution - due to all amendments and subtle manipulations - was merely the abolition of the Senate and a series of cosmetic text-changes where the old American-derived terminologies such House of Representatives became known as the "Batasang Pambansa" (National Assembly), Departments became known as "Ministries", cabinet secretaries became known as "cabinet ministers", and the President's assistant - the Executive Secretary - became known as the "Prime Minister."

Ultimately, Marcos' so-called "Parliamentary System" therefore functioned as an authoritarian-run Presidential System due to the series of amendments and other modifications put in place after the 1973 Constitution was ratified.

1986 "Freedom Constitution"

Following the EDSA People Power Revolution that removed President Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 from office, the new President, Corazon C. Aquino
Corazon Aquino
Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office in Philippine history. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines...

 issued Proclamation No. 3 as a provisional constitution. It adopted certain provisions from the 1973 constitution and granted the President broad powers to reorganise thse government and remove officials from office, and mandated that the president would appoint a commission to draft a new constitution.

See also

  • Constitutional economics
    Constitutional economics
    Constitutional economics is a research program in economics and constitutionalism that has been described as extending beyond the definition of 'the economic analysis of constitutional law' in explaining the choice "of alternative sets of legal-institutional-constitutional rules that constrain the...

  • Constitutionalism
    Constitutionalism
    Constitutionalism has a variety of meanings. Most generally, it is "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law"....

  • Charter Change
    Philippines charter change
    Charter Change, also known as "Cha-Cha" in the Philippines, refers to the political and other related processes involved in amending or revising the current 1987 Constitution of the Philippines...


External links

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