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I.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES
A. Political Law - that 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/Divisions of Political Law
1. Constitutional Law The study of the maintenance of the
proper balance between authority as represented by the three
inherent powers of the State and liberty as guaranteed by the
Bill of Rights.
2. Administrative Law That branch of public law which fixes the
organization of government, determines the competence of the
administrative authorities who execute the law, and indicates
to the individual remedies for the violation of his rights.
3. Law on Municipal Corporations
4. Law on Public Officers
5. Election Laws
C. Basis of the Study
1. 1987 Constitution
2. 1973 and 1935 Constitutions
3. Other organic laws made to apply to the Philippines
4. Statutes, executive orders and decrees, and judicial decisions
5. U.S. Constitution

II. THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION


A. Nature of the Constitution
1. Constitution That body of rules and maxims in accordance
with which the powers of sovereignty are habitually exercised.
That written instrument enacted by 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 the several departments for their safe
and useful exercise for the benefit of the body politic.
(Particular reference to the Constitution of the Philippines)
2. Purpose To prescribe the permanent framework of a system
of government, to assign to the several departments their
respective powers and duties, and to establish certain first
principles on which the government is founded.
3.

Classification:
a. Written or Unwritten
(i) Written one whose precepts are embodied in one document or
set of documents
(ii) Unwritten consists of rules which have not been integrated into a
single, concrete form but are scattered in various sources, such as
statutes of a fundamental character, judicial decisions,

commentaries of publicists, customs and traditions, and certain


common law principles.
b. Enacted (Convention) or Evolved (Cumulative)
(i)
Conventional it is enacted, formally struck off at a
define time and place following a conscious or
deliberate effort taken by a constituent body or ruler
(ii)
Cumulative it is the result of political evolution, not
inaugurated at any specific time but changing by
accretion rather than by any systematic method
c. Rigid or Flexible
(i)
Rigid one that can be amended only by a formal and
usually difficult process
(ii)
Flexible one that can be changed by ordinary
legislation
4. Qualities of a good written Constitution:
a. Broad must be comprehensive enough to provide for
every contingency
b. Brief must confine itself to basic principles to be
implemented with legislative details more adjustable to
change and easier to amend.
c. Definite to prevent ambiguity in its provisions which could
result in confusion and divisiveness among the people.
5. Essential parts of a good written Constitution:
a. Constitution of Liberty The series of prescriptions setting
forth the fundamental civil and political rights of the
citizens and imposing limitations on the powers of
government as a means of securing the enjoyment of
those rights, e.g., Art. III (Bill of Rights)
b. Constitution of Government The series of provisions
outlining the organization of the government, enumerating
its powers, laying down certain rules relative to its
administration, and defining the electorate, e.g., Arts. VI
(Legislative), VII (Executive), VIII (Judiciary) and IX
(Constitutional Commission)
c. Constitution of Sovereignty The provisions pointing out
the mode or procedure in accordance with which formal
changes in the fundamental law may be brought about,
e.g., Art. XVII (Amendments or Revisions)
6. Interpretation/Construction of the Constitution
a. Well-settled principles of constitutional construction:
(i)
Verba Legis whenever possible, the words used in
the Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning
except where technical terms are employed.
(ii)
Ratio Legis Et Anima the words of the Constitution
should be interpreted in accordance with the intent of
the framers.

Should bear in mind the object sought to be


accomplished and the evils sought to be
prevented or remedied.
(iii)
Ut Magis Valeat Quam Pereat the Constitution as to
be interpreted as a whole.
Sections bearing on a particular subject
should be considered and interpreted
together as to effectuate the whole purpose of
the Constitution and one section is not to be
allowed to defeat another.
b. Resort to other aids may be had only when other guides
fail as said proceedings are powerless to vary the terms of
the Constitution when the meaning is clear.
Proper interpretation: on how it was
understood by the people adopting it than in
the framers understanding thereof.
c. In case of doubt: consider as self-executing, mandatory
and prospective.
d. Self-executing provisions a provision 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. (one that lays down a
general principle is usually not self-executing)
(i)
A constitutional provision is self-executing if the
nature and extent of the right conferred and the
liability imposed are fixed by the Constitution itself, so
that they can be determined by an examination and
construction of its terms, and there is no language
indicating that the subject is referred to the legislature
for action.
(ii)
Section 26, Article II of the Constitution (equal access
to opportunities for public service and prohibit political
dynasty) neither bestows a right nor elevates the
privilege to the level of an enforceable right.
The provision does not contain any judicially
enforceable constitutional right but merely
specifies a guideline for legislative or
executive action.
The disregard of this provision does not give
rise to any cause of action before the courts.
B. Brief Constitutional History
1. The Malolos Constitution
2. The American Regime and the Organic Acts
3. The 1935 Consitution
4. The Japanese (Belligerent) Occupation
5. The 1973 Constitution

C. The 1987 Constitution


1. Proclamation of the Freedom Constitution
a. Proclamation No. 1, February 25, 1986, announcing that
she (C. Aquino) and Vice President Laurel were assuming
power.
b. Executive Order no. 1 [February 28, 1986]
c. Proclamation No. 3, March 25, 1986 announced the
promulgation of the Provisional [Freedom] Constitution,
pending the drafting and ratification of a new Constitution
Adopted certain provisions of the 1973
Constitution, additional articles on the
executive department, on government
reorganization, and on existing laws.
(i)
It was stated that the EDSA Revolution was done in
defiance of the 1973 Constitution.
(ii)
With the abrogation of the 1973 Constitution by the
successful revolution, there was no municipal law higher
than the directives and orders of the revolutionary
government.
Thus, during this interregnum, a person could
not invoke an exclusionary right under a Bill of
Rights because there was neither a
Constitution nor a Bill of Rights.
2. Adoption of the Constitution
a. Proclamation No. 9, creating the Constitutional Commission
of 50 members.
b. Approval of draft Constitution by the Constitutional
Commission on October 15, 1986.
c. Plebiscite held on February 2, 1987.
d. Proclamation No. 58, proclaiming the ratification of the
Constitution.
3. Effectivity of the 1987 Constitution: February 2, 1987, the date
of the plebiscite when the people ratified the Constitution.
D. Amendment
1. Amendment vs. Revision
a. Lambino v. Comelec, enumerates the distinctions between
the two as follows:
(a1) REVISION broadly implies a change that alters a
basic principle in the Constitution, like altering the principle
of separation of powers or the system of checks and
balances.
If the change alters the substantial entirety
of the Constitution
Generally affects several provisions of the
Constitution

(a2) AMENDMENT broadly refers to a change that adds,


reduces, deletes, without altering the basic principle
involved.
Generally affects only the specific
provision being amended
(i) Two-part test:

Quantitative Test asks whether the proposed


change is so extensive in its provisions as to
change directly the substance entirety of the
Constitution by the deletion or alteration of
numerous provisions.
The court examines only the number of
provisions affected and does not consider
the degree of the change.

Qualitative Test which inquires into the


qualitative effects of the proposed change in
the Constitution.
The main inquiry is whether the change
will accomplish such far-reaching
changes in the nature of our basic
governmental plan as to amount to a
revision.
(ii)
The Lambino proposal constituted a revision, not simply
an amendment, of the Constitution, because it involved
a change in the form of a government, from presidential
to parliamentary, and a shift from the present bicameral
to a unicameral legislature.
2. Constituent v. Legislative Power

Legislative Power - which power encompasses all matters


not expressly or by necessary implication withdrawn or
removed by the Constitution from the ambit of legislative
action. And as lone as such statutory details do not clash
with any specific provision of the constitution, they are
valid.

Constituent - Congress, when acting as a Constituent


Assembly pursuant to Art. XV of the Constitution, has full
and plenary authority to propose Constitutional
amendments or to call a convention for the purpose, by a
three-fourths vote of each House in joint session
assembled but voting separately. Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4
calling for a constitutional convention were passed by the
required three-fourths vote.
The grant to Congress as a Constituent
Assembly of such plenary authority to call a
constitutional convention includes, by virtue
of the doctrine of necessary implication, all
other powers essential to the effective
exercise of the principal power granted, such
as the power to fix the qualifications, number,
apportionment, and compensation of the
delegates as well as appropriation of funds to
meet the expenses for the election of
delegates and for the operation of the
Constitutional Convention itself, as well as all
other implementing details indispensable to a
fruitful convention. Resolutions Nos. 2 and 4
already embody the above-mentioned details,
except the appropriation of funds.
- While the authority to call a constitutional
convention is vested by the present
Constitution solely and exclusively in
Congress acting as a Constituent Assembly,
the power to enact the implementing details,
which are now contained in Resolutions Nos. 2
and 4 as well as in R.A. No. 6132, does not
exclusively pertain to Congress acting as a
Constituent Assembly.