The Philippines has had several constitutions but the constitution that is in force today is the 1987 Constitution. The 1987 Constitution is an important, legally binding document.
The Philipines 1987 Consitution is an essential document for the Filipino people as it outlines their rights while at the same time limiting the powers of the government. The Consitution helps ensure a stable rule of law within the Filipino Society. When you read the 1987 Constitution, you can see that many parts were borrowed or taken from the U.S. Constitution.
The 1987 Philippines Constitution
Today the Philippines has a constitution that was ratified in 1987. This constitution came into effect after what is knowns as the People’s Power revolution, the EDSA Revolution, or February Revolution.
The People’s Power Revolution was a series of demonstrations in mainly Metro Manila in 1986. As a result of these revolutions, President Corazon Aquino came into power in the Philippines.
When President Aquino came into power, she had three choices to consider regarding the constitution. She could restore the Filipino 1935 Constitution, Reform the 1973 Constitution or pass a new constitution. She chooses the latter or to pass a new constitution.
The Philippines 1987 Constitution is similar to the U.S. Constitution in that it calls for three branches of government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
Here is what each of these government branches means in the Philippines:
- Executive Branch – This branch is headed by the president and his or her appointed cabinet members.
- Legistative – This is the Senate and House of Representaives who will enact the laws. The legislative has 24 senators and then the House is represented by district representatives.
- Judicial – The Judicial consists of the Supreme Court and lower courts
The three branches of the government are based on the U.S. Constitution. Each of the branches shares equal power, and all have limited control.
The limits of power were instituted to safeguard against abusing martial law. The President can still declare martial law, but the martial law will automatically expire after 60 days; Congress can accept or reject martial law rule.
Inside the 1987 Philippines Consitution
The Filipino 1987 constitution is essential as it sets out the rights of the individuals along with the government’s power and authority. It is a constitution that helps hold the Filipino society together and ensures that it doesn’t go into chaos. The Philippines’ 1987 Constitution is essential as it helps to add stability to the Philippines while also outlining the rights of the individuals.
The Philippines 1987 Constitution consists of several sections. The summary for each of these sections are:
- Preamble – The Preamble introduces the constitution. It follows a lot of the past Philippine consitutions inlcuding an appeal to God.
- Article 1 – Natiional Territory – The national territory section list out the territory of the Philippines which includes all the archipelgao and all the islands and waters insider the terriotory.
- Article II – Declaration of Principles and States Policies – The principles and state policies section lists out the basic social and political creed of the Philippines. Most notably is that the Phillipines is a democractic state and the family is the basic unit of the state
- Article III – Bill of Rights – The bill of rights talks abotu the protections of the people against the abuse of power by the state. This is very similar to many of the provisions in the U.S. Constitution.
- Article IV – Citizenship – The citizenship section defines who is a Filipino citizen and how a person can become a Filipino citizen.
- Aritcle V – Suffrage – The suffrage section covers who has the right to vote and how.
- Article VI – Legislative Department – The legislative section is about the rights of the Congress and House of Represenatatives and the powers that they have.
- Article VII – Executive Department – The executive section provides for the power of the president, vice president and others. It also covers terms of office and election issues.
- Article VIII – Judicial Department – The judical section talks about the power and role of the Filipino Supreme Court and lower courts.
- Article IX – Consitutional Commissions – The constitution commission in the constitution establishes three constitutional comissions that are independent of the three branches of goverment.
- Article X – Local Goverment – The local govermetn section talks about the autonomy and laws for the local government that is not already listed in the Local Government Code.
- Article XI – Accountability of Public Officers – The pulbic offiecers section establishes the Office of Ombudsman that is responsible for investigatring and prosecuritng corruption or other isseus of goverment officials.
- Article XII – National Economy and Patrimony – Article XII lays down the goals and objectives of the Filipino government in terms of wealth distrbution, jobs – essentially how to elevate the lives and livilihood of the Filipino population.
- Article XIII – Social Justice and Human Rights – Article XIII is about the government giving priority to protect and enchance the rights of the Filipino people.
- Article XIV – Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Cuture and Sports – Article XIV outlines how the states will oversea and supervise on all these area of life in the Philippines.
- Article XV – The Family – Article XV recognizes the Family unite a the basic foundation of the nation and gives protections for and within the family unit.
- Article XVI – General Provisions – Article XVI contains general provisions about things as the National flag, Armed Forces Media and Advertising. its also includes doctrine of sovereign immunity.
- Article XVII – Amendments or Revisions – Article XVII establishes the way the constitution can be ammended or revised.
- Article XVIII – Transitory Provisions – Article XVII etablishes a way to allow a clean transition to a new constitution
The Philippines’ 1987 constitution also includes other provisions. It is a lengthy document that covers many aspects of Filipino society and life.
Revising or Changing the Philippines 1987 Constitution
Today it is pretty challenging to revise or amend the Philippines’ 1987 constitution. Because of this, the constitution has received some criticism within the Philippines.
The constitution only outlines three methods or possible ways the constitution can be amended or changed. The three methods are:
- Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass)
- Consitutional Convention (Con- Con)
- People’s Initative
For these three methods to change the constitution, ratification must require a majority vote in the National Referendum. Since President Aquino, several administrations have attempted to amend the 1987 Constitution, but they could not.
Today there continue to be groups trying to change the 1987 Constitution. But time will only tell if these groups can succeed in changing the constitution where others have continued to fail.
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