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Nachura Notes Constitutional Law

I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES A. Political Law branch of public law which deals with the organization and operations of the governmental organs of the State and defines the relations of the State with the inhabitants of its territory. B. Scope/Division 1. Constitutional Law study of the maintenance of the proper balance between authority as represented by the 3 inherent powers of the State and liberty as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights 2. Administrative Law Fixes the organization of the government; Determines the competence of the administrative authorities who execute the law; and Indicates to the individuals remedies for the violation of his right. 3. Law on Municipal Corporations 4. Law of Public Officers 5. Election Law C. Basis of the Study 1. 1935 and 1973 Constitution 2. 1986 Constitution 3. Other organic laws made to apply in the Philippines 4. Statutes, EOs and decrees, judicial decisions 5. US Constitution II. THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION A. Nature of the Constitution 1. Definition a. The body of rules and maxims in accordance with which the powers of sovereignty are habitually exercised. b. That written instrument enacted by the direct action of the people, by which the fundamental powers of the government are established, limited and defined;

and by which those powers are distributed among several departments for their safe and useful exercise for the benefit of the body politic. 2. Purpose a. Prescribe permanent framework of a system of government; b. Assign to several departments their respective powers and duties c. Establish certain first principles on which the government is founded 3. Classification a. Written precepts are embodied in one document/ set of documents Unwritten rules which have not been integrated into a single, concrete form but are scattered in various sources (statutes, judicial decisions, commentaries, customs and traditions, common law principles). b. Enacted (Conventional) formally struck off at a definite time and place following a conscious or deliberate effort taken by a constituent body or ruler. Evolved (Cumulative) result of political evolution, changing by accretion rather than by any systematic method. c. Rigid amended only by formal and usually difficult process Flexible changed by ordinary legislation 4. Qualities of a good written Constitution a. Broad comprehensive enough to provide for every contingency b. Brief confine to basic principles to be implemented c. Definite to prevent ambiguity 5. Essential parts of a good written Constitution a. Constitution of Liberty sets forth the civil and political rights of the citizens and imposing limitations on the powers of the government b. Constitution of Government outlines the organization of the government;

Nachura Notes Constitutional Law

enumerates its powers; and lay down rules relative to its administration c. Constitution of Sovereignty points out the mode or procedure in accordance with formal changes in the fundamental law may be brought about 6. Interpretation/Construction of the Constitution a. Verba legis: given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed b. Ratio legis et anima: ambiguity intent of the framers, bearing in mind the objects sought to be accomplished and evils sought to be prevented; doubtful provision shall be examined in light of the history of the times and the conditions and circumstances under which the Constitution was framed c. Ut magis valeat quam pereat: Constitution to be interpreted as a whole - Safer to construe the Constitution from what appears upon its face. If, however, the plain meaning of the word is not found to be clear, resort to other aids is available. - In case of doubt, consider provisions as self-executing; mandatory rather than directory; and prospective rather than retroactive. - Self-executing provisions: one that lays down principle is usually not self-executing. That which is complete in itself and becomes operative without the aid of supplementary or enabling legislation, or that which supplies a sufficient rule by means of which the right it grants may be enjoyed or protected, is self-executing. - Self-executing if the nature and extent of the right conferred and liability imposed are fixed by the Constitution itself. - Section 26, Article II of the Constitution does NOT contain judicially enforceable constitutional rights. B. Brief Constitutional History 1. Malolos Constitution 2. American Regime and Other Organic Acts

3. 4. 5. 6.

1935 Constitution Japanese Occupation 1973 Constitution 1987 Constitution

C. Amendment 1. Amendment isolated or piecemeal change in the Constitution Revision revamp or rewriting of the entire instrument 2. Legislative Power merely provides details for implementation 3. Steps a. Proposal - Congress, of ALL its members understood as of Senate and of HRs - Constitutional Convention, called into existence by 2/3 a vote of all the members of Congress with the question of whether or not to call a convention to be resolved by the people in a plebiscite - People through Power of Initiative, petition of at least 12% of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least 3% of the registered voters therein power of the people to propose amendments to the Constitution or to propose and enact legislation through an election called for that purpose Limitation: No amendment w/in 5 years following the ratification of this Constitution nor more than once every five years thereafter. 3 systems of initiative: (1) Initiative on the Constitution (2) Initiative on Statutes (3) Initiative on Local Legislation - Choice of method of proposal is within the full discretion of the legislature - 3 Theories on the position of a Constitutional Convention vis--vis the regular departments of government (1) Theory of Conventional Sovereignty (2) Convention is inferior to other departments