The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines

The Philippine Constitution of 1987 is the fourth fundamental law to govern the Philippines since it became independent on July 4, 1946. The first was the Commonwealth Constitution, adopted in 1935, which continued by its provisions to be operative after the proclamation of the Republic of the Philippines.

 

The second was the Constitution of 1973, which was enforced during the marcos regime following its dubious approval and ratification at a time when the country was already under martial law.

On February 25, 1986, as a result of the people power upheaval that deposed President Marcos, the new President proclaimed a freedom Constitution, to be effective pending the adoption of a permanent Constitution aimed at correcting the shortcomings of the previous constitutions and specifically eliminating all the iniquitous vestiges of the past regime.

The new Philippine Constitution consists of eighteen articles and is excessively long compared to the Constitutions of 1935 and 1973, on which it was largely based. Many of the original provisions of the 1935, particularly those pertaining to the legislative and the executive departments, have been restored becuase of the revival of the bicameral Congress of the Philippines and the strictly presidential system.

The independence of the judiciary has been strengthened, with new provisions for appointment thereto and an increase in its authority, which now covers evenm political questions hitherto beyond its jurisdiction. Additional , many provisions of the 1973 Constitution have been retained, like those on the Constitutional Commissions and local governments. The bill of rights of the Commonwealth and Marcos Constitution has been considerably improved in the Constitution of 1987 and even bolstered with the creation elsewhere in the document of a Commission on Human Rights.

The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines is the basic and paramount law to which all other laws must conform and to which all persons, including the highest officials of the land, must defer. No act shall be valid, however nobly intentioned, if it conflics with the Constitution. the Constitution must ever remain supreme. All must bow to the mandate of this law. Expediency must not be allowed to sap its strength nor greed for power debase its rectitude. Right or wrong, the Constitution must be upheld as long as it has not been changed by the sovereign people lest its disregard result in the usurpation of the majesty of law by the pretenders to illegitimate power.

– Isagani Cruz, Philippine Political Law

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