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 simultaneously limiting the powers of the government. The Consitution helps ensure a stable rule of law within Filipino Society. When you read the 1987 Constitution, you can see that many parts were borrowed or taken from the U.S. Constitution.
Table of Contents
- The 1987 Philippines Constitution
- Inside the 1987 Philippines Consitution
- Revising or Changing the Philippines 1987 Constitution
- Related Questions
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 regarding the constitution. She could restore the Filipino 1935 Constitution, Reform the 1973 Constitution or pass a new constitution. She chooses the latter or passing 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.
- Legislative – The Senate and House of Representatives will enact the laws. The legislative has 24 senators, and 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 Filipino society together and ensures 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 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 many past Philippine constitutions, including an appeal to God.
- Article 1 – National Territory – The national territory section lists the Philippines’ territory, including the archipelago and all the islands and waters inside the territory.
- Article II – Declaration of Principles and States Policies – The principles and state policies section list the basic social and political creed of the Philippines. Most notable is that the Philippines is a democratic state, and the family is the basic unit of the state.
- Article III – Bill of Rights – The bill of rights talks about protecting 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.
- Article 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 congress and the House of Representatives and their powers.
- 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 judicial section talks about the power and role of the Filipino Supreme Court and lower courts.
- Article IX – Constitutional Commissions – The constitution commission establishes three constitutional commissions independent of the three branches of government.
- Article X – Local Government – The local government 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 public officer’s section establishes the Office of Ombudsman responsible for investigating and prosecuting corruption or other issues of government officials.
- Article XII – National Economy and Patrimony – Article XII lays down the goals and objectives of the Filipino government in terms of wealth distribution and jobs – essentially, how to elevate the lives and livelihoods of the Filipino population.
- Article XIII – Social Justice and Human Rights – Article XIII is about the government giving priority to protecting and enhancing the rights of the Filipino people.
- Article XIV – Education, Science, and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports – Article XIV outlines how the states will oversee and supervise all these areas of life in the Philippines.
- Article XV – The Family – Article XV recognizes the Family unites the basic foundation of the nation and gives protections for and within the family unit.
- Article XVI – General Provisions – Article XVI contains general provisions such as the National flag, Armed Forces Media, and Advertising. It also includes the doctrine of sovereign immunity.
- Article XVII – Amendments or Revisions – Article XVII establishes how the constitution can be amended or revised.
- Article XVIII – Transitory Provisions – Article XVII establishes 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
It is 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 to amend or change the constitution. The three methods are:
- Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass)
- Constitutional Convention (Con- Con)
- People’s Initiative
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 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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