The Constitution of the Philippines (Filipino: Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas) is the supreme law of the Philippines.

The Constitution currently in effect was enacted in 1987, during the administration of President Corazon Aquino, and is popularly known as the "1987 Constitution".[1] Philippine constitutional law experts recognize three other previous constitutions as having effectively governed the country ³ the 1935 Commonwealth Constitution, the 1973 Constitution, and the 1986 Freedom Constitution.[2][3] Constitutions for the Philippines were also drafted and adopted during the short-lived governments of Presidents Emilio Aguinaldo (1898) and José P. Laurel (1943). Background of the 1987 Constitution In 1986, following the People Power Revolution which ousted Ferdinand Marcos as president, and following on her own inauguration, Corazon Aquino issued Proclamation No. 3, declaring a national policy to implement the reforms mandated by the people, protecting their basic rights, adopting a provisional constitution, and providing for an orderly translation to a government under a new constitution.[4] President Aquino later issued Proclamation No. 9, creating a Constitutional Commission (popularly abbreviated "Con Com" in the Philippines) to frame a new constitution to replace the 1973 Constitution which took effect during the Marcos martial law regime. Aquino appointed 50 members to the Commission. The members of the Commission were drawn from varied backgrounds, including several former congressmen, a former Supreme Court Chief Justice (Roberto Concepcion), a Catholic bishop (Teodoro Bacani) and film director (Lino Brocka). Aquino also deliberately appointed 5 members, including former Labor Minister Blas Ople, who had been allied with Marcos until the latter's ouster. After the Commission had convened, it elected as its president Cecilia Muñoz-Palma, who had emerged as a leading figure in the anti-Marcos opposition following her retirement as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The Commission finished the draft charter within four months after it was convened. Several issues were heatedly debated during the sessions, including on the form of government to adopt, the abolition of the death penalty, the continued retention of the Clark and Subic American military bases, and the integration of economic policies into the Constitution. Brocka would walk out of the Commission before its completion, and two other delegates would dissent from the final draft. The ConCom completed their task on October 12, 1986 and presented the draft constitution to President Aquino on October 15, 1986. After a period of nationwide information campaign, a plebiscite for its ratification was held on February 2, 1987. More than three-fourth of all votes cast, 76.37% (or 17,059,495 voters) favored ratification as against 22.65% (or 5,058,714 voters) who voted against ratification. On February 11, 1987, the new constitution was proclaimed ratified and took effect. On that same day, Aquino, the other government officials, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines pledged allegiance to the Constitution. Preamble of the 1987 Constitution The Preamble reads: We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.[1]


Significant features of the 1987 Constitution The Constitution establishes the Philippines as a "democratic and republican State", where "sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them". (Section 1, Article II) Consistent with the doctrine of separation of powers, the powers of the national government are exercised in main by three branches ³ the executive branch headed by the President, the legislative branch composed of Congress and the judicial branch with the Supreme Court occupying the highest tier of the judiciary. The President and the members of Congress are directly elected by the people, while the members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President from a list formed by the Judicial and Bar Council. As with the American system of government, it is Congress which enacts the laws, subject to the veto power

Bulacan.. It also called for a Presidential form of government with the president elected for a term of four years by a majority of the Assembly. A later meeting of the revolutionary government established there. established the Republic of Biak-na-Bato. and thus could not bar the disallowance of so-called "nuisance candidates" in presidential elections. i.[10] Malolos Constitution (1899) The Malolos Constitution was the first republican constitution in Asia.[14][15] The Preamble reads: . Article VII). the affirmation of labor "as a primary social economic force" (Section 14. The scope and limitations to these rights have largely been determined by Philippine Supreme Court decisions. including the power to nullify or interpret laws. 1897 at Biak-na-Bato in the town of San Miguel de Mayumo in Bulacan. at San Francisco de Malabon. 1899." (Section 19.e. The republic had a constitution drafted by Isabelo Artacho and Félix Ferrer and based on the first Cuban Constitution. by themselves. the first presidential and vice presidential elections in Philippine history were held³although only the Katipuneros (members of the Katipunan) were able to take part. Article VII). cities. The President is also recognized as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces (Section 18.[7] But in another case. separated the church and state. the right to free speech and the free exercise of religion. Cavite. Article II). The President has the constitutional duty to ensure the faithful execution of the laws (Section 17.1. including the due process and equal protection clause. municipalities. 7160. The Congress duly enacted Republic Act No. on March 22. and called for the creation of an Assembly of Representatives to act as the legislative body.[11] It declared that sovereignty resides exclusively in the people. Article XVI).[12] It was titled "Constitución política". the right against self-incrimination. held on November 1. Article VI). Many of these guarantees are similar to those provided in the American constitution and other democratic constitutions. 1897. and the right to habeas corpus. and even a requirement that "all educational institutions shall undertake regular sports activities throughout the country in cooperation with athletic clubs and other sectors. (Section 1. the Court held that a provision requiring that the State "protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology" did not require implementing legislation to become the source of operative rights. for example. Article X) Local governments are generally considered as falling under the executive branch. The Court. and was enacted and ratified by the Malolos Congress. Article XIV) Whether these provisions may.[6] The Bill of Rights.of the President which may nonetheless be overturned by a two-thirds vote of Congress (Section 27(1). yet local legislation requires enactment by duly elected local legislative bodies. and barangays. The Constitution (Section 3. The Local Government Code of 1991. while the courts are expressly granted the power of judicial review (Section 1. stated basic civil rights. The Constitution also establishes limited political autonomy to the local government units that act as the municipal governments for provinces. Article X) mandated that the Congress would enact a Local Government Code. Section 1). enumerates the specific protections against State power. Article II). has ruled that a provision requiring that the State "guarantee equal access to opportunities to public service" could not be enforced without accompanying legislation. the recognition of Filipino as "the national language of the Philippines" (Section 6. and not the general populace. and was written in Spanish following the declaration of independence from Spain. the equal protection of "the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception" (Section 12. which became effective on 1 January 1992. a Congress held in Malolos. the "Filipino family as the foundation of the nation" (Article XV.[13] proclaimed on January 20.[8] Historical constitutions Constitution of Biak-na-Bato (1897) The Katipunan revolution led to the Tejeros Convention where.[5] The Supreme Court has noted that the Bill of Rights "occupies a position of primacy in the fundamental law". contained in Article III. the Constitution also contains several other provisions enumerating various state policies including. the right against unwarranted searches and seizures. be the source of enforceable rights without accompanying legislation has been the subject of considerable debate in the legal sphere and within the Supreme Court. Outside of the Bill of Rights.[9] It is known as the "Constitución Provisional de la República de Filipinas". and was originally written in and promulgated in the Spanish and Tagalog languages. Article VIII).

promote the general welfare. lawfully covened. liberty. the Representatives of the Filipino people. conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation. in order to establish a government that shall embody their ideals. the Philippines was under the jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States during this period. sometimes known as the "Philippine Bill of 1902". decretado y sancionado la siguiente" (We. proveer a la defensa común. Though not a constitution itself. and democracy. The Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916. A Constitutional Convention was held in 1971 to rewrite the 1935 Constitution. The Preamble reads: "The Filipino people. as well the creation of an independent electoral commission. It provided for the creation of a popularly elected Philippine Assembly. sometimes known as "Jones Law". real independence. This act also explicitly stated that it was and had always been the purpose of the people of the United States to withdraw their sovereignty over the Philippine Islands and to recognize Philippine independence as soon as a stable government can be established therein. and insure the benefits of liberty. Possibly the most controversial issue was removing the presidential term limit so that Ferdinand . convocados legítimamente para establecer la justicia. replacing it with a Senate elected by Filipino voters. promover el bien general y asegurar los beneficios de la libertad. have voted. provide for common defense. Commonwealth and Third Republic (1935) The 1935 Constitution was written in 1934. and established the structure. 1934. It was amended in 1940 to have a bicameral Congress composed of a Senate and House of Representatives. implorando el auxilió del Soberano Legislador del Universo para alcanzar estos fines. so as to ensure that the U. and specified that legislative power would be vested in a bicameral legislature composed of the Philippine Commission (upper house) and the Philippine Assembly (lower house). Its key provisions included a bill of rights for the Filipinos and the appointment of two nonvoting Filipino resident commissioners to represent the Philippines in the United States Congress. hemos votado. approved and adopted by the Commonwealth of the Philippines (19351946) and later used by the Third Republic of the Philippines (1946-1972). would live up to its promise to grant the Philippines independence and not have a premise to hold onto its "possession" on the grounds that it was too politically immature and hence unready for full. the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 provided authority and defined mechanisms for the establishment of a formal constitution via a constitutional convention. and secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of independence under a regime of justice. imploring the aid of Divine Providence. and sanctioned the following) Acts of the United States Congress The Philippines was a United States Territory from December 10. Two acts of the United States Congress passed during this period can be considered Philippine constitutions in that those acts defined the fundamental political principles. powers and duties."Nosotros los Representantes del Pueblo Filipino. The Constitution now granted the President a four-year term with a maximum of two consecutive terms in office. The convention was stained with manifest bribery and corruption. modified the structure of the Philippine government by removing the Philippine Commission as the legislative upper house.S. 2. It was written with an eye to meeting the approval of the United States Government as well." µ µ The original 1935 Constitution provided for unicameral National Assembly and the President was elected to a six-year term without re-election. was the first organic law for the Philippine Islands enacted by the United States Congress. decreed. 1. do ordain and promulgate this constitution. The Philippine Organic Act of 1902. in order to establish justice. promote the general welfare. procedures.[16] As such. imploring the aid of the Sovereign Legislator of the Universe for the attainment of these ends. 1898 to March 24. of the Philippine government.

conserve and develop the patrimony of the Nation. provide for indirect. do ordain this Constitution. His government in turn went into exile in December. instead of direct. and in order to establish a government that shall promote the general welfare. Laurel was highly regarded by the Japanese for having openly criticised the US for the way they ran the Philippines. µ . Upon ratification by the Kalibapi assembly. the Second Republic was formally proclaimed (19431945). Laurel formally proclaimed the Second Republic as dissolved. essentially ruling by decree. and an even stronger executive branch. the 1935 Constitution was suspended in 1972 with Marcos' proclamation of martial law. The 1943 Constitution remained in force in Japanese-controlled areas of the Philippines. and contribute to the creation of a world order based on peace. Upon approval of the draft by the Committee. It was only during the Macapagal administration that a partial. Second Republic (1943) The 1943 Constitution was drafted by a committee appointed by the Philippine Executive Commission. In mid-1942 Japanese Premier Hideki Tojo had promised the Filipinos "the honor of independence" which meant that the commission would be supplanted by a formal republic. first to Taiwan and then Japan. liberty. Until the 1960s. although in practice most legislators were appointed rather than elected. with the exception of the Supreme Court whose decisions. limited to reviews of criminal and commercial cases as part of a policy of discretion by Chief Justice José Yulo continued to be part of the official records (this was made easier by the Commonwealth never constituting a Supreme Court. of members of the prewar National Assembly and of individuals with experience as delegates to the convention that had drafted the 1935 Constitution. were not viewed as legitimate or as having any standing. however. In any case. do hereby proclaim their independence.E. and its officers. legislative elections. the rampant corruption of the constitutional process providing him with one of his major premises for doing so. and moral justice. the organization established by the Japanese to supplant all previous political parties. The Preamble reads: "The Filipino people. with the recognition of Laurel as a former president and the addition of his cabinet and other officials to the roster of past government officials. However. After the announcement of Japan's surrender. but was never recognized as legitimate or binding by the governments of the United States or of the Commonwealth of the Philippines and guerrilla organizations loyal to them. and the formal vacancy in the chief justice position for the Commonwealth with the execution of Chief Justice José Abad Santos by the Japanese). imploring the aid of Divine Providence and desiring to lead a free national existence. the body established by the Japanese to administer the Philippines in lieu of the Commonwealth of the Philippines which had established a government-in-exile. which many felt was the true reason for which the convention was called. Laurel was appointed as President by the National Assembly and inaugurated into office in October 1943. the new charter was ratified in 1943 by an assembly of appointed. José P. the Second Republic. Marcos could seek election for a third term. The Preparatory Committee for Philippine Independence tasked with drafting a new constitution was composed in large part. Their draft for the republic to be established under the Japanese Occupation. 1944. The Legislature consisted of a unicameral National Assembly and only those considered as anti-US could stand for election. provincial representatives of the Kalibapi. In late 1944. political rehabilitation of the Japanese-era republic took place." The 1943 Constitution provided strong executive powers. and because he had a degree from Tokyo International University. the 1943 charter was not taught in schools and the laws of the 1943-44 National Assembly never recognized as valid or relevant. would be limited in duration. President Laurel declared a state of war existed with the United States and the British Empire and proclaimed martial law.

which shall form part of the law of the land. In the 1981 amendments. in order to meet the exigency. 3 and the adoption of a provisional constitution that would prepare for the next constitution which became the 1987 constitution. the President ceased to be a member of the National Assembly. it is really a large set of amendments which superseded and abolished certain provisions from the constitution. Aquino issued Proclamation No. an Executive Committee composed of the Prime Minister and not more than fourteen members was created to ´assist the President in the exercise of his powers and functions and in the performance of his duties as he may prescribe.The New Society and the Fourth Republic (1973) The 1973 Constitution (also known as the Ferdinand Marcos Constitution). introduced a parliamentary-style government. issue the necessary decrees. the parliamentary system was modified: y y y executive power was restored to the President. the retirement age of the members of the Judiciary was extended to 70 years. It granted the President certain powers to remove officials from office. Presidential Proclamation No. Legislative power was vested in a National Assembly whose members were elected for six-year terms. 3. nicknamed the "1986 Freedom Constitution" was the most far reaching set of amendments to the 1973 constitution that it was almost a constitution in its own right. 1986 "Freedom Constitution" Following the EDSA People Power Revolution that removed President Ferdinand E. he may.[19] The 1976 amendments were: y y an Interim Batasang Pambansa (IBP) substituting for the Interim National Assembly the President would also become the Prime Minister and he would continue to exercise legislative powers until martial law should have been lifted. Executive power was exercised by the Prime Minister who was also elected from the Members of the National Assembly. y The last amendments in 1984 abolished the Executive Committee and restored the position of Vice-President (which did not exist in the original. The Sixth Amendment authorized the President to legislate: Whenever in the judgment of the President there exists a grave emergency or a threat or imminence thereof. However. promulgated after Marcos' declaration of martial law. Source: wikipedia. the new President. Marcos from office. Upon election. Further. The President was elected as the symbolic head of state from the Members of the National Assembly for a six-year term and could be re-elected to an unlimited number of terms. unamended 1973 Constitution). the President was not allowed to be a member of a political party or hold any other office. the amendments instituted electoral reforms and provided that a natural born citizen of the Philippines who has lost his citizenship may be a transferee of private land for use by him as his residence. direct election of the President was restored.µ and the Prime Minister was a mere head of the Cabinet. During his . In the 1980 amendment. The 1973 Constitution was further amended in 1980 and 1981. This constitution was subsequently amended four times (arguably five depending on how one considers Proclamation No. On October 16-17 1976. The Prime Minister was the head of government and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. orders or letters of instructions. 3 of 1986). Corazon C. or whenever the Interim Batasang Pambansa or the regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act adequately on any matter for any reason that in his judgment requires immediate action. a majority of barangay voters (Citizen Assemblies) approved that martial law should be continued and ratified the amendments to the Constitution proposed by President Marcos. reorganise the government and hold a new constitutional convention to draft a new constitution.

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