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SECTION 1. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the
Philippines not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least
eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines
for at least one year and in the place wherein they propose to vote
for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No
literacy, property, or other substantive requirement shall be
imposed on the exercise of suffrage.

Suf r
Is the right and obligation: to vote of qualified citizens in the election

of certain national and local officers of the government and in the

decision of public questions submitted to the people.
Is the right to vote gained through the democratic process
The right to run for office is sometimes called candidate eligibility,

and the combination of both rights is sometimes called full suffrage.

In many languages, the right to vote is called the active right to
vote and the right to run for office is called the passive right to vote.
In English, these are sometimes called active suffrage and passive

Suffrage is often conceived in terms of elections for representatives.

However, suffrage applies equally to initiatives and referenda.

Suffrage describes not only the legal right to vote, but also the
practical question of whether a question will be put to a vote. The
utility of suffrage is reduced when important questions are decided
unilaterally by elected or non-elected representatives.
In most democracies, eligible voters can vote in elections of

representatives. Voting on issues by initiative may be available in

some jurisdictions but not others. For example, while some U.S. states
California and Washington have
shared sovereignty to offer citizens the opportunity to write, propose,
and vote on referendums and initiatives, other states have not.
Meanwhile, the United States federal government does not offer any
initiatives at all. On the other hand, many countries, such as
Switzerland, permit initiatives at all levels of government.

Suffrage is granted to qualifying citizens once they have reached the

voting age. What constitutes a qualifying citizen depends on the

government's decision, but most democracies no longer extend
different rights to vote on the basis of sex or race. Resident aliens can
vote in some countries, and other countries make exceptions for
citizens of countries they have close links to (e.g., some members of
the Commonwealth of Nations and members of the European Union).

N ature of suf r
1. A mere privilege
- Suffrage is not a natural right of the citizens but merely a privilege
to be given or withheld by the lawmaking power subject to constitutional
limitations. Suffrage should be granted to individuals only upon the
fulfillment of certain minimum conditions deemed essential for the
welfare of society.
2. A political right
- In the sense of right conferred by the Constitution, suffrage is
classified as a political right, enabling every citizen to participate in the
process of government.

Scope of suf r
1. Election - strictly speaking, it is the means by which
the people choose their officials for definite and fixed
periods and to whom they entrust, for the time being as
their representatives, the exercise of powers of
2. Plebiscite - It is the name given to a vote of the people
expressing their choice for or against a proposed law or
enactment submitted to them, In the Philippines, the
terms is applied to an election at which any proposed
amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution is
submitted to the people directly affected before certain
proposed changes affecting local government units may
be implemented (Art. X, Sec. 10, 11, 18.);
3. Referendum - It is the submission of a law or part

Q ualif c
iations of voters.
He must be:
1. A citizen (male or female) of the Philippines;
2. Not otherwise disqualified by law;
3. At least eighteen (18) years of age; and
4. Have resided in the Philippines for at least one (1) year and in the
place wherein he proposes to vote for at least six (6) months preceding
the election.

A ge Q ualif c
1. Minimum age - Obviously, there must be some minimum age for
voting. No one, no matter how ardent his belief in democracy, has ever
contented that human beings must be permitted to participate in the
selection of public officials from the day of their birth.
2. Basis - This suffrage qualification is based on the assumption that
under a certain age, human beings do not have the maturity, experience,
education, and sense of judgment the will enable them to vote with any
reasonable degree of intelligence.
3. No maximum age limit - No general exists as to the exact age at
which the individual supposedly attains the maturity sufficient for
political participation. While there is a minimum voting age in every
state, no country, however, has as yet seen fit to set a maximum age limit.

R esidence Q ualif c

1. Period of residence A voter must have been a permanent resident

of the Philippines for at least one (1) year preceding the election and
six (6) months in the province, city, or municipality where he is a

2. Importance - Six (6) months residence in a province, city or

municipality is considered the minimum length of time within which a

person can adequately familiarize himself with the needs and
conditions and the personalities of the locality. Giving him a right to
vote before that period, it contented, will result in unpurposive and
mechanical voting.

P ersons disqualif e
id to
The responsibility of determining who may be "disqualified by law" and
therefore, may be precluded from exercising the right of suffrage is left
by the constitution to Congress. As to who are disqualified to vote, the
law enumerates them as follows;
1. Any person who has been sentenced by final judgment to suffer
imprisonment for not less than one (1) year, such disability not having
been removed by plenary pardon or granted amnesty. But such person
shall automatically reacquire the right to vote upon expiration of five (5)
years after service of sentence;

2. Any person who has been adjudged by final judgment by competent

court of tribunal of having committed any crime involving disloyalty to
the duly constituted government such as rebellion, sedition, violation of
the anti-subversion and firearms laws, or any crime against national
security, unless restored to his full civil and political rights in accordance
with law. Such person shall likewise automatically regain his right to vote
upon expiration of five (5) years after service of sentence; and
3. Insane or incompetent persons as declared by competent authority.
The above persons are not qualified to vote even if they have the

Argum ents Justifying the low ering of

voting age from 21 to 18
The Following have been given:

It has the effect of broadening the base of democratic participation in

the political process;


The voting age of 21 years is as old as the Roman Empire; therefore,

it is obsolete;


It is the (alleged) findings of midical science that todays 18-year-old

is physically at least 3 years ahead of an 18-year-old of 1900;


The communication media explosion has resulted in making 18-yearold citizens better informed that their parents;


The Philippines is becoming an increasingly young country and the

youth are more idealistic and are more change-oriented that their

6. The objection that 18-year-old citizens lack the maturity to exercise an

important political right widely is at best a debatable question;
7. If at the age of 18 one is mature enough to fight in defense of his
country, he is old enough to be given a voice in the determination of its
public policy;
9. By including those under 12 but aleast 18 to vote will make them feel
that they are part of the decision-making process and thereby at least
increase their loyalty to our institutions; and
10. Voting is the major if not the sole participation of common citizens in
the political process of the state. It is, under present circumtances, the
most effective medium for securing consent to or rejection of government
short of extra constitutional remedies. The smaller the number of electors
in a particular community, the more limited the basis of consent.
The reduction of voting age is consent with the theory of popular
sovereignty which is one of the funadamental premises of our

Agum ents justifying rem ovalof

literacy requirem ent
The 1973 Constitution removed the requirement under the 1935

Constitution on ability to read and write such that then as now an

illiterate person has the right to vote. The illiterate voter is not
necessarily an ignorant voter.

Property Requirem ent

Congress cannot also impose property requirement for
the exercise of suffrage
(Sec 1)
Property ownership not a test of an individual
Property requirement inconsistent with concept of
Property requirement inconsistent with social justice

1. Property oownership not a test of an individual

The justification for the abolition of property qualification that
ownership of property, per se, neither add to nor detracts from a
mans capacity to function properly and fully as a social and political
Today, the argument that only property holders have a stake in the
community is consider obsolete.
It is the human person, not property, that is to be represented, and
given primacy in the hierarchy of values.wnership not a test of an
individual capacity.

2. Property requirement inconsistent with concept of republican

The imposition of property qualifications on the voters would be
inconsistent with the very nature and essence of our republican
system of government ordained in our Constitution.
Political system is premised upon the tenet that sovereignty resides
the people and all governmental authority emanates from (Art II, Sec
The right to vote and to be voted shall not be dependent upon the
wealth of the individual concerned.

3. Property requirement inconsistent with social

justice principle
Social justice presupposes equal opportunity for all, rich and poor
No person shall, by reason of poverty, be denied the chance to vote
and to be elected to public office.
In a case, Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional a law requiring
all candidates for public offices to post a surely bond equivalent to
the (1) year salary or emoluments of the position for which they are
candidates which shall be forfeited if the candidates, except, when
declared winner, fail to obtain at least 10% of the votes cast for the
office to which they have filed their certificates of candidacy.

O ther Substantive
Requirem ent Prohibited
Congress is prohibited by the
Constitution to impose additional
substantive (not procedural)
requirements for voting similar in
nature to literacy or ownership of
property (Sec. 1)
Taxpaying ability

1. Education

The more education a man has, the better and more valuable
member of society he will be.
Formal education itself is no guarantee of good citizenship or of
intelligent voting.
The requirement of a high school or even an elementary
would disenfranchise large segments of the poorer classes of our

2. Sex
The antagonism in the past to female
suffrage stemmed in some degree from the
belief that a womans place was in the home
and that the performance of public duties was
the function of the male members of the family.
Unless one is willing to contend that women,
simply by virtue of their womanhood, are
incapable of free and intelligent social and
political activity.

3. Taxpaying ability
This restriction is to property
requirement for voting.
Congress cannot by law deny to an
individual the right to vote on the ground
that he is exempted from taxation or is
not liable to pay tax or the taxes paid by
him or for which he is liable during the
year are below a specified amount.

C om pulsory Suf r
The 1973 Constitution made registering and voting a

mandatory obligation of every qualified citizen.

Noteworthy is the fact that Section 1 uses the word
may as in the 1935 Constitution in place of the world
shale in the 1973 Constitution. In view in permissive
language of the Constitution, it is doubtful whether the
failure to perform the obligation to register and vote
can be criminally punished.

Should voting be made compulsory?

1. Arguments against compulsory suffrage.
Those who are against any system of coercive voting say

that is not only undemocratic but that no useful purpose

would be served by dragging the people to the polls against
their will. They maintain that is not the size but the quality of
the vote cast that is important, and that individuals forced to
exercise suffrage might do real injury to the public good by
voting blindly and unintelligently. There is no means of
compelling a person to vote intelligently or to study the
personalities and issues involved in an election.

Even assuming that the voter has the right to invalidate his

ballot by leaving it blank, still it would prevent those who feel

strongly against the candidates or the particular manner of
holding an election from expressing their moral indignation
by openly boycotting the election and persuading others to
follow suit.

2. Arguments in favor of compulsory suffrage.

The proponents of compulsory suffrage, on the other

hand, contend that a requirement that would force an

apathetic individual to the polls would make him aware
of the responsibility that rest on him and would
encourage him to become acquainted with the issue
and personalities involved in the election. Once interest
is awakened by actual participation, the matter of
coercion, they feel, would become a secondary motive.

In the Philippines for instance, it is not uncommon to

see political leaders dragging their constituents to the

polls on Election Day. This shameful spectacle will not
take place if suffrage were an obligation. It should be
noted that people are more prone to sell their votes if
they depend on politicians to bring them to the polling
places. Furthermore, compulsory suffrage is the only
way of assuring the accurate representation of the will
of the people. If suffrage were not exercise then, the
theory of popular sovereignty would become a myth.

In the long run, the participation of the people in the

government through the ballot is more important than

the result of an election or plebiscite. A defaulting
majority will make possible a government installed only
by a voting minority.

Unfortunately, no define study has as yet been made of

the effects of compulsory voting in any of the countries

which employ it. Hence, there is no way of actually
determining whether the obligatory franchise improves
or detracts from representative government.

SECTION 2. The congress shall provide a system

for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the

ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by
qualified Filipinos abroad.
The congress shall also design a procedure for

the disabled and illiterates to vote without the

assistance of other persons. Until then, they
shall be allowed to vote under existing laws and
such rules as the Commission on Elections may
promulgate to protect the secrecy of the ballot.

System for securing the

secrecy and sanctity of the
1. Untrammeled exercise of the right to vote.

The right to vote has reference to a constitutional

guarantee of the utmost significance. It is a right

without which the principle of sovereignty sin he people
becomes nugatory. It is essential then to ensure that
the others shall exercise their right freely uninfluenced
by threats, intimidation or corrupt motives and to
secure a fair honest count of the ballots. To accomplish
this aim, Congress is directed by the Constitution to
provide a system for securing the secrecy and sanctity
of the ballot.

2. Voting by the disabled and illiterates.

With the enfranchisement of illiterates and the existence of many

disabled voters, this responsibility of the legislative body assumes

more importance. The sanctity of the electoral process requires
secrecy of the vote.
A. Congress will have to enact a law prescribing procedures that will
enable the disabled and the illiterate to secretly cast their ballots without
requiring the assistance of other persons, to prevent them from being
manipulated by unscrupulous politicians to insure their victory at the
polls. Perhaps, a method of voting by symbols may be devised to make it
possible for disabled and illiterate citizens to exercise the right of

B. Until Congress provides for the appropriate procedure, they shall be

allowed to vote under the existing law such rules as the Commission on
elections may promulgate to protect the secrecy of the ballot. This
prevents their disenfranchisement while the law referred to has not yet
been enacted by Congress.

System for Absentee voting by

ed Filipinos abroad.
Section 2 extends the right of suffrage even to Filipinos abroad

provided they possess all the qualifications mentioned therein and

none of the disqualifications provided by law.

Filipinos who force of circumstance's (e.g., the need to

earn a living) have to temporarily work and reside

abroad but maintain their love and loyalty to their
native land are still part of our Republic. They are also
affected by the quality of public officials and the
policies of the government. They remain liable to pay
taxes, and are subject to many of its law. Hence, they
should also be given the constitutional right to vote.
Congress is mandated to provide a system of absentee

voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. It is bound to set

aside funds and other requirements for the purpose and
to provide safeguards to ensure that elections overseas
are held in a free , clear and orderly manner.

Submitted by:

Vhemissaa Lopez Reverente

Socia, Dominic A.
Anmuloc Nivla Kram
Kevin Mamforte
Page, Ross Einreb
Kyle Michelson