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Textbook on the Philippine Constitution [Hector S De Leon]

Textbook on the Philippine Constitution [Hector S De Leon]


t he political sci en tist has t o combin e the legal with th e extra-legal view-
points .9

Function and importance of political

(1 ) The function of political science i~ to discover the pr in ciples that
should be a dhere d to in public affa irs und to st udy the oper ations of
government in or der to demonstrat e wh a t i s good , t o criticize what is bad or
inefficient, a nd to suggest improveme nts .

(2) Its fi ndings and concl usions may be of immense pract ical u se t o

const itution-makers, legislators, executives, and j udges who need models
or norms tha t ca n be applied to imm edia te situati ons. Again, t hey m ay be
of immense pra ctical use t o individua ls who seek to unden~tand the state in
which they live.

(3 ) The study of political science deal s also wit h problems of socia l
welfa t'e, governmental economic programs, internationa l cooperation, and
a wide range of other matters t hat are urgent concern to publi c offi cia ls and
to private citi z.ens. 10

Goal in the study of political science /


Why s hould t he university or college student st udy politica l s~ence?
Wha t good will i t do him or he r, in la ter life'! Will it h el p in ge tting a j ob -·
in "getting a hea d"? Are political s cience courses ''practica l" (i.e., voca-

(1 ) E ducation for citiz(mship. - I n answer, it should be ma de clear th at
the primary objective of the political science cu rriculum is education for
citizenship. The prepara tion of studen ts for careers in politics, law, teaching.
the civil service, a nd t he foreign service (though vitally important ) is Recond-
ary to the ta::~k of equipping them to dist:ha rgE> the obliga tions of democratic
citi ze nship, which grow consta ntly heavier in the modern world.

(2 J E.c;sential parts ofliberal education. _.. Most polit ical scie nce courses
should be viewed as esse ntial parts ofl iber"' l e d ucation, bearing no materi-
a h stic pr ice tag an d promising no j ob s ecurit y. Su ch shop-worn adjectives
as "pra ctical" a nd "cultural" have no releva nce h ere. I ntelligent, responsi-
ble cit izens hip ca n save democracy; ignoranc e and neg ligence can lose it .

Democra cy has pra ctical a dvant ages which no one can appraise in mon-
etary terms. Just how much is freedom worth? The oft-repeated but seldom
comprehended quota tion, "eter~l vigilance is the price of liberty," r equires
amendment. Study, in for mation, a nd understanding of the com plexities of
modern government and politics are necessary as eterna l vigilance.

~Ib i d.

'~Ibid., p . I.

B. Concept!:< of Slate and Government

1.3 J Knowledge and understanding of' government. -·· Political science
:;eeks to gather and impart this knowledge and understanding. 'fhe "good" .
citizen who behavl:!s him1:wlf <md votes regularly is no longe1· enough. He
must algo be th~ citizen who knows the answers. He mu~t know ho~' his
.government really operates, what interests and forces are behind particu-
lar policies, what the results of such policies are likely to be, what his
rights and obligations are, who his elected representatives are, and what
they stand for. 11


Meaning of state.

A stale is a c:ommunity of persons more or less numerous, permanently
occupying a definite portion of territory, having a government of their own
to which lhe great body of inhabitants render obedience, and enjoying
freedom from extt~rnal control. 1~

The Philippines is a state.

Eiements of state. .

The modern state has four (4) essential elements. They are:

(1) People.- This refers to the mass ofpopulation living within the state.
Without people there can be no fimctionarie8 to govern an<l no subjects to be
governed. There is no requirement as to the number of people that should
compose a state. But it should be neither too small nor too latge: small enough
to be well-governed and large enough to be self-sufficingY

Reputedly the smallest state in point of population is the Vatican. Its
estimated 500 citizens, mainly clerics and some Swiss guards, are ruled by the
Pope.14 The island Republic of Nauru15 has a total population of only about
9,000. China is the largest state in point of population placed at more than one


The Philippines is now estimated to have a population of about
82,663,000,16 composed mostly of Malays and Chinese;

1'Rodec, Anderson, and Christ.ol. note 1, OfL i:it., pp. 17-1H.
1~See Gamer, Introduction to Political Science, pp. :~H-41.
1'~Scc Gar11er, p,,Jitical Hci~mce and Gtw't., p. 74.

"In 2003, the Vatican had a population ofjul't 492, a world record. with only 240 people
holding citizensh;p, hut about 111 million tourists arriving t-ach yeur tn !:'1:'1:' the headquarters of
the Roman Catholic Church ancl the home ufthe Pope. iManila fhtll~tin, ,Jan. 1, 2004, p. A-2.'•

1;Locatcd in the southwest. l'acifk ;1bout aO mile~ !'Outh of th«l Equator and 1,300 miles
northeast of Australia. The Republic c,f Palau, one of thi1 Micronesian islands about iOO
kilometers east of Mindan;;o. hRs a population ofabout 15.000 in 1973. The island kingdom of
Tonga located in the western South Pacific Ocean. with Fiji on the West and Samoa on the
northeast, ha!'; a population of about. 100,000 in 2003.

'GIJ'his is :1ccording to the data from the National Cen1;us and StatisticR Offict- !NCSO}. It
may now he about 85 million. The latef't actual account, which is done e-very five (5) years, in
20<)0 was 76,498.735, with a 2.:H>'1i annual growth rate. The 1995 figun~ waH 1>8,616,536 with
a growth rab of 2 a2'iL


<2) Territory. - It indudes not only the~~>,Zer _wl:lic!l th!:! jurisdiclion of
the ~tat~ .~~t.e.nds, but also the'f!Y~'=§..~nd J.ik~ "therein , a .~Lt.ain area. of.the
sea wJ~~c_h.ab.ut& upon itB coasts and the a ir space above it. Thus, the domain of

the state may be described as te~~-r.r..e..s·-trial,. f.l u.via~l., ma-r-i-t4i·r-i1e, and C!-er-ial.

The smallest s tate in point of territory is Vatican , located just outside

the western boundary of Rome with a n area of on ly 1/() s quare mile or 0.43
squa r e kilometer. It would flt in Rizal Park in Manila. The Republic of
Nau ru h as an area of about eight (8) square miles or 20 square kilometers .
The former Sovi et Unjon 17 was t h e largest state in point of territory with
its total la nd a rea of about 8,599, 776 square miles. Now, the biggest st.ate
is Can ada, havi ng a n a r ea of:~,852 ,000 square miles covers a sur face

n early as large as E urope.

T h e Phjlippines has a total land area of about 115,707 squar e miles or
299,681 :.>quare kilometers;1-'-

(3) Q.ourrnment.- It refers to th~~l:lcy__.thl:oa~h which thc.Yt:ill_Qf!,he
~d, ex.£i.~~~~-~~:~ carried_Q.l._lt. The word is sometimes u~e'a
to refer to the person or aggregate of th ose persons in whose ha nd::; a r e

placed for t he time being t he function of political control. This "body of
men" is usually spoken of as "~drn.i.uisir.awm . " The ordinary citizens of a

country a r e a par t of the state, but not par t of the government; a nd

( 4) .SD..uerdg.n.ty. - The term m ay be d efin ed as the_8!J-_2.J:e.m_e_,P9."~~er_ of
the state> to.£Qm.111and a_~g _e!lfor<;e .oQa.£_h e-':J.ceto ltl) will fr om people within

two -its jurisdictionandco r o l l aril sy:1 to have f r e e d o m f ro m fo r e i gn cont rol. It has,
man ifestati on . -- . ..
t h e r efo r e·; H - O • - 0 -· ,/ :r .

(a) _i_n f.J:.r.!Jg_l or the pow«:!~.oLt~u~~\~~th i q_J.t~.t~.r.rjtl) r_y ;

a nd ·

(b) ~nal or the fre e99..!!LQLt_he s tate to ~a uy out its a cti viti es .21control by.9.thtir ~lj!tes·. External sovereignty.i::;
often referred t o as m.depe;i"Jim~. .

These in ternal and exter nal aspct:ts of sovereignty a rt' not a b:wlutely
true in pr actice beca use of the de\'el upment of i nterna tion a l rel a tions a nd
consequently, ofinternationa l la\<.· .

There are severa l theories concerning the origir, of state::;. amlmg which
a r e:

( 1) !)it.Ji!~e right theory. - I t holds tha t the s tate is of divine cre ation
a nd the ruler is ordained by God to govern t he people. Refer ence h as been
m a de by advocates of this theory to the laws which Mos es received at
Mo unt Sinai;

17With the collapse of com munism, the Un ion of S oviet Sociali,:;L Republic (USSR) broke
up into several indepe ndent st ates, r eferring to t.hem~;dvcs as the Confederation of lode-
pendent Siates tC IS ).

'AA square tn ile is eq u iva ltmt to 2.59 squa1·c k ilomet ers.

B. Concept.s of State and Gon!rnment

(2) ~eessi(y m· force theocy... ---It maintains that states must have been
created through force. by some great. warriorfo\ who imposed their will upon
i..he weak;

(3} Paternalistic: theory_ --- It attributes the origin of states to the
enlargementof the family \vhich remained under the authority of the
father or mother. By natural stages, the family grew into a clan, then
developed into a tribe which broadened into a nation, and the nation
became a state; and

(4) Social contract theorY~-- It asserts that the early states must have
been for~edby deliberate and voluntary compact among the people to form
a society and organize government for their common good_ This theory
justifies the right of the people to revolt against a bad mlcr

It is not known exactly which of the above theories is the correct one.
History, however, has shown that the elements of all the theories have
played an important part in the formation and development of states_

State distinguished from nation.

Nation should not be confused with state a5 they are not the same.

( 1) The ~~js a militical_con~~pt, while vation is an .~nic con~-~pt. A

'l:E.no_rds a,.group ()f p~ople bou~lcl.J~&~.i.~I .P...t-!:.ertain characteristics such
as common 'SOcial" origin, language, customs, and traditions, and who be-

lieve that they are one and distinct from others. The term is more strictly
synonymous with (:_peop~~~

(2) A state is not subject to external control while a nation may or may
not be independent of external control; and

(3l A single state may consist of one or more nations or peoples and
conversely, a single nation may be made up of several states. The United
States is a melting pot of several nationalities. On the other hand, the Arab
nation is divided politically into several sovereign states. Among them are:
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, .Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and others. The Philippines
is a state composed of one nation.

In common usage, how·ever, the two term:'~ are often used synony·
mously. The Constitution uses them interchangeably.

State distinguished from government.

In common speech, they are usually regarded as identicaL As ordinar-
ily, the acts of the government (within the limits of the delegation of
powers) are the act.1-l o! the state, the former is 111eant when the latter is
mentioned, and vice versa.

The g_Q~E_~me~is only the.__a~~c~_!\u:u.ugh. ~}:litjl t~e3}ate_e~
l.t$._~11--.~~cal}.~.L~-!:_n_!l;!~I.!h_;ou -~t is possible to
have a government w1thout a~ Thus, we had var10us governments a~
different periods of our history, from pre-Spanish times to the present.


There was no Philippine state during those periods when we were under

foreign domination.. ~~'\~ .\~ "'''· ,•·-- /,... ¥'-."~' ':"' j.Jvvi·"'J\ ,:\\'r:~-J-.A\.0.~ t ,~ ~....~
- .. ...)}I'Jtlfl':-. ~v ~~~: ~. 'vf' ).I\ ·N c,h._arv~n~e.lJ.f'~b)JIu'f'tU...t.h':e. ' :..~~ "'\vl''\--- ~...,f """ ""
A government "·
may change, 1fs form may tate, as1 o·ng

as its esgential clements ar e present, remains the same.

Purpose and necessity o1 government.

(1) Advancement of the p ublic welfare. - Gover nm ent exi sts and should
con tinue to cx i!->t fo r th e benefi t- of the people governed. It is necessary for
the protection of society and its members , the security of persons and
property, the administra tion of justice, the preservation of the state fro m
external da nger, and the advancement of the physical, economic, social and
cultural we ll-bei ng of t h o peo ple.

(:l ) Consequence of absence. - Government exista lo do these things
which by t heir ..Jery nature, it is bettP-r equipped to a dmi nister for the
public welfare than any private individual or group of individuals. It is
obvious that wit hout an organized structure of government, anarchy and
disorder, and a gen eral feeling of fea r and inse<.:ur ity will pn~vail in society,
progress and developme nt will not be possible, and va lue:; taken for gran ted
in a free modern society such as truth, freedom, j ustice, equality, r ule of
law, a nd human dignity can never be enjoye d.

The need for government is so a pparent that even the most primitive
socie ties, history shows, had some form of it.

Forms of government.

The principal for ms a re the following:

(] l A s to number of per:wn.s exerdsing sovereign power!'~:

(a) lviJ/[q)chy or 9lle in which the supreme and fin al authority is in

the hands of a single person without r egard to the source of hi:; ·e lection

or the nature or d uration of hi.!> t enure. Monarchies a re fur ther classi·
· /_...r···-
fted into:

1) Absolute mona.rch:y or one in which the ruler rilles by divine
right; and

21 L imited monarchy or one in whkh the ruler rule1-:. in accord-

antt! w!th a constitution; ~W.\IIt ~~n-j~ c.,..~~

lh J A•·t\~fa_cy or _pt~e in which political power is exercised by a fe w

privil eged class which is known 11!-; an a ristocracy or oligarch y; and
t.el .D· emL?.lc~ra\c)y or .P{te m- w hI-Ch po1t·tl<..:a I p.ower 1. s exerci.sed by a

rnajOJ"i ty oi"the ·people. 1'' De mocratic governm ents are fu rther classifi ed

in to:

1) J)irect or p ure de mocracy or one in which the will ofthe state
is for mulated or expressed di~ectly and imm~diately through the

- - - - - - -~\\ ~~\~\-<. '· Ir\l-.-1..~ ·,<:, ~'\o\\\ -
'9G >~r ner . Polit.ic~ l SciCJ)Ce and Government, p . :315.


B. Conct!pf.s of Sl<ltt' <md Government.
c..J;;- , •.!l. . - ·t~ ......'.\l•orv \~~~ ,~.~L-. ...._".


people in a• mass meeting or primary assembly rather than through

the med1um of delegates or representatives chosen t1) act for thern;20


2) Indirect, representative, or n~publican democracy or one in
which the ltillof the state is formulated and exp1·essed through the

ag_encygf.a..r.clati:v.cly sm.alland select body.oTp-ersons ch075en by the,

people to act as their rep_~_esentativer-;. 21

(2) "As to extent of powers exercised by the central or national govern-

(a) Unitary government or one in which the control of national and

local affairs is exercised by the central or national government; and

J "---'.A ~'tVv--1. ..--:.. .
--' -- (b) Federal governmertt or one in which the powers of government
• • .. "- ~v'~· ·are divided between two sets of organs, one for national affairs and the

~-"' "'~- vther for local affairs. each organ being supreme within its own.»phere.
. ·-~.....~. (),
The United States is a federal government. ·

... ',,n:.~-..- (3) As to relationship between the executive and the legislative branches

-...: \-;.···'' ·of'\he government:

~ -:.,._._.. u ;() Parliamentary government or one in which the state confers

f ·- ~ upon the legislature the power to terminate the tenure of office of the

.~:--4/.>.'...'-.-.i··:df ·, real executive. Under this system, the Cabinet or ministry is immedi-
ately and legally responsible to the legislature and mediately or politi-
.---. • .t. _
·~:.-'t.-:~ ~ cally responsible to the electorate, while the titular or nominal execu-

• . ._,j.., t.ive - the Chief of State- occupies a pMition of irrespon.sibility; and

(b) Presidential government or one in which the state makes the
executjve constitutionally independent of the legislature as regards his
tenure and to a hu·g(! exlent as regards his policies and acts, and
furnishes him with sufficient powers to p-revent the legi::;lature from
trenching upon the sphere ma1·!>.ed out by the constitution as executive
independence and pre.rogativG.22

On the basis of the above dassHications ofgovernment, it can be said that
the Philippine government is a representative democracy, a unitary and
presidential government with separation of powers. It also embodies some
aspects of pure democracy such as, for instance, the constitutional provision
on initiative and referendum. (see Art. VI, Sec. 32.) Under our Ctmstitution,
executive power is vested in the President and the Cabinet, legislative power
with the Congress composed of a Senate and a of Representatives, and
judicial power with the Supreme Court and the lower ~ourts.-' 1

~0It iii no longer phyFoically pos~ihle in nn_v country today because of increase of popula·
tion, expansion of territory, and complexity of modern-day problems.

· 21Garner, note .19, p. :H!).

ztS(<C Garner, Introduction to Political Science, pp. 97-100.
2'1Fundamentally, what determine;; the effectiveness of a government to promote the
common good and achieve the development gnal!; of a nation is not it.ii form, but t-he quality of
men and women whro serve in it.



The pre-Spanish government.

(1) Unit of government. ·-· Prior to the arriv~Il of t he Spaniards, the
Philippines was compolSed of settlements or villag~!S, each called barangay
(consisting of more or less 100 families j, named after balangay, a Malayan
word meaning "boat" (ther eby confirming the theory that the early Filipi-
nos came to the Philippines in boats). Eve1·y barang~y was virtually a
stat e, for it possessed th e four basic elements of statehood. At times,
however, some barangays joined together as "confederations" mainly for
the purpose of mutual protection against common enemies.

(2) Datu. -- Each barangay was ruled by a chief called datu in some
places, and rajah, sultan or hadji in ot.lwrs. He wn::; its chit~f executive, law-
giver, chief judge, and military head. In the perfo rmance of his duties,
how ever, he was assisted usuall y by a council of e lders (maginoos) which
served as his advisers. One cou ld be a datu chiefly by inheritance, wisdom,
wealth, or physical prowess.

In form , the bara ng-a y wHs a monarchy with the d<•h t as the monarch.

(3) Social classes i11 the ba.rangay. ---The people of the barangay were
divided into four classes, n amely: the nobility (maha rlika), to which the
datu belonged, the fre emen (tim a.wa), the serfs (a/iping namamahay), and
the slo ves (aliping sagigilid).

(4) Early laws. -·The early Filipinos had both written and mnvritten

laws. The written lawl3 were promulgated by th(: <latus. The two known

written codos in the prt:>-Spanish era are the "!vlaragtaH CodE'" which was

said to h ave been written about 1250 A.D. by Datu Sum akwel of Panay,

and t he "Kalantiaw Code" written in 1433 A. D. by Datu Kalantia w. also of
Panay. The unwritten laws consisted of customs and traditions wVc:'h had
been passed down from generation to gen~ration.

(5 ) Comparison wWt other ancient govermnrnts. -- It can be said that
the laws of the barangay wt~re generally fair. The system of.government,
a lthough defective was not so bad considering thl:! conditions in other lands
in the age during which it flourishe d. An eminen t s chola r has written: "The
Filipino people, l:!ven in the prehistoric times h ad a lread y shown high
intelligence and moral virtues; virtues and intelligen ce clearly manifested
in their legislation, which , taking into consider atiori the circumstances and
t he epoch in wh ich it was fr amed, was clearly a s wi~e, as prudent, and a s
humane. as that of t he nations then at the head of civilization. "21

2·'S"'e Grego1·io F. Znide, Phil. Oov't ., 1962 ed., pp. 12· 19 : "A Rough Surv~y of tlH~ Pre-
Spanish Legislation in the Philippine;;,'' by .Justice Norbcrto Romualdez, PhiL Law Journal,
Nov ., 1914, p. 179.


C. T he Government of the Phili ppines in Transition

Government during the Spanish period.

11) Spain's title to the Philippines. - It was based on the discovery
made by Ferdinand MagQJlan in 1521, consummated by its conquest by
~1iguel Lopez de L£gazpi forty-five years later and long possession for
almost four centuries, until it was terminated in 1898, when by the Treaty
of Paris, t he Philippines was ce ded by Spain to the Unit~d States.

(2) Spanish colonial government. -- From 1565 to 1821, the Philip-
pines was indirectly governed by the King of Spain through .Mexico. From
1821, when Mexico obtained her independence from Spain, to 1898, the
Philippines was ruled directly from Spain. The council in Spain responsible
for the adminietration of the Philippines was the Council of the Indies. In
1837, it was abolished and legislation for the Philippines was temporarily
performed by the Council ofMinisters. From 1863, the Ministry ofUltramar
(colonies) exercised general powers of supervision over Philippine affairs.

Three times during the Spanish period (1810 -1813, 1820-1823, and
1836-1837), the Philippines was given representation i n the Spanish Cortes,
the legislative body of Spain. A basic principle introduced by Spain to the
Philippines was the union of the church and th e state.

(3) Government in the Philippines unitary. - The government which
Spain established in the Philippines was centralized in structure and
national in scope. The barangays were consolidated into towns (pueblos)
each headed by agobernadorcillo (little governor), popula rly called capitan,
and the towns into provinces, each headed by a governor who represented
the Governor General in the province.

Cities governed under special charters were also created. Each of these
cities had an ayuntamiento or cabildo (city council). Cebu was the first city
to be established in 1565 in the Phi lippines. Th e second was Manila , in

(4) The Governor-General. -The powers of the government were actu-
ally exercised by the Governor-General who r esided in Manila. He was
"Governor-General," "Captain General," and "vice-royal patron." As Gover-
nor-General, he had execu tive, administrative, legislative, and judicial
powers. As Captain-Gener al, he was Commander-in-C hief of all the Armed
Forces in the Philippines. As the vice-royal patron, he exercised certain
religious powers. Because of these broad powers, it h<l~ been said that the
Governor General enjoyed more powers than the King of S pain himself.
Thi~:; was justified, however, because of t he distance of t he P hili ppines from
Spain .

In the administration of the Philippines, the Governor-General was
assisted by many boards and officers, particularly the Board of Authorities
and the Council of Administration.

The first Spanish Governor-General in the Philippines was Miguel
Lopez de Legazpi (1565-1571) and the last was Ge n. Diego de los Rios


(5) The Judiciary. - Th e R oyal Audiencia \>Yhich was established in
1583 was the Supr eme Court of the Philippines during the Spanish times.
Its decision was final except on certain cases of great importance which
could be appealed t o the King of Spain. It a lso performed. functions of
executive and legislative nature.

Below the R oyal Audiencia., were two Territorial Au.diencias estab-
lished in 1893 - one in Cebu a n d the ot her in Vigan - which exercised
a ppellate jurisdiction over criminal cases coming from the surrounding
territory. In 1886, courts of fin;t instance with both civil a nd criminal
jurisdiction were es t ablished in the provinces. At t he bottom of the judicial
system were t he justice of t he peace cour ts which were ef'tablished in the
tiifferent towns in 1885.

In a ddition, there were special courts, like the miJitary and naval courts
which h ad j urisdiction over military offenses, and the ecclesiastical courts
which had cognizanct~ of canonical matters and ecc] N;iastica l offenses . Treas -
ury a nd commercial courts wer e Rlso created but were later abolished.

(6) E valuation of the Spanish Government in the Philippines. - The
government which Spain established in the Philippines was defective. I t
was a government fo r t he Spaniards a nd not for t he Filipino1:1. The Spanish
offic ials we re often ine ffic ient. and corrupt . T he union of church and state
produced serious stri f~s between the ecclesiastical and civil authorities.
Equality before the law was denied to the Filipinos.

The demerits, however, of the S panish adm inistration were more than
offset by its merits .

(a) The Spani~h rule, when viewed in the broader light. of g lobal
colonization, was generally mi ld a nd humane. The Filipino people were
not brutalized. Spaniards and Filipinos intermarried and mingled so-
cially. Slavery a nd t ribal wars were suppressed;

(b) It broug ht a bout th e uni fi eation of t.he Filipino people . The
diver se tribes were molded into one people. under on e God , one King,
a nd one gover nment, and out of t heir common grievances against Spain ,
blossomed t.he spirit of nati onalism; and

(c) S pain uplifte d the Filipinos from th~ depth of prim itive cult ure
and paganism and gave them the blessing!> of C hri ~tianity a nd Euro-
pean civilization.1';

Governments during the Revolutionary era.

(1 ) The Katipu nan government. - The Katipu nan was the secret soci -
ety t h at preci pitated our glorious revolut ion on August 26, 1896. It was
organized by Andres Bonifa cio, who, together with a group of Filipino
patriots, signed the covenant of the Katipunan with their own blood on

2;;See G.F. ZaidE', note 24, op. cit., pp. 34-35.

C. The Guve rnment of\.he Phiiippine:; in Transition

July 7. 1892.~6 The c~ntral government of the Katipunan was vest.ed in a
Supreme Council (Kataastaasang Sanl{guniani. In each province there was
u Provincial Council (Scmggu.niang BalangayJ and in each town, a Popular
Council (Sa.ngguniant? Bayanj. The judicial power was exercised by a Judi -
ci al Cound l (Sanggu niang Huhu mani.

The Katipunan was the first clear break from Spanish rule with the
ultimate goal to establish a free and sovereign Philippines. It was replace d
by another government whose officials headed by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo as
President, were elected in the Tejeros Convention held on March 22, 1897.

(2) The Biak-na-Bato Republic. - On November 1, 1897, a republic
was established by Gen. Aguinaldo in Biak-na-Bato (now San Miguel de
Mayumo, Bulacan). It had a constitution which was to take effect for two
years only. It declared t hat the aim of the revolutions was the "separation
of the Philippines fro m the Spanish monarchy a nd their form a tion into an
independent state." Th e Biak-na-Bato Republic lasted up to December 15,
1897, with the conclusion of t he "P act of Biak -na-Bato."

(3 ) The Dictatorial Government. -Following the outbreak of the Span~
ish-American war on April 25, 1898, Gen. Aguinaldo, in view of the chaotic
conditions in the cou ntry, establis hed the Dictatorial Government on May
23, 1898. The most important achievements of the Dictatorial Government
were the Proclamation of Philippine Independence at Kawit , Cavite on
June 12, 1898 and the reorganization oflocal governments.

<4) The Revolutionary Government.- On ,June 29, 1898, Gen. Aguinaldo
established the Revolutionary Gove rnment replacing the Dictatorial Gov-
ernment with himself as President and a Congress whose function was
advisory and ministerial. The decree making such change stated that th e
aims of the new government were "to struggle for the independence of the
Philippines, until all nations including Spain will expressly recognize it,"
and "to prepare the coun try for the establishmen t of a rea l Republic."

(5) The First Philippine R epublic. --On September 15, 1898, a re\·o tu-
tionary Congress of Filipino rcpresentat.iYes met in Malolos, Bulacan at the
call of the Revolutionary Government. The Malolos Congress ratified on
Septembt!r 29, 1898 the proclamation of Philippine independence made by
Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite on ,June 12, 1898 and framed the
so-called Malolos Consti tut.ion. This Constitution was t he first democratic
constitution ever promulgated in the whole of Asia. It esta blished a "free

'16The Katartstaa.san, lanl{ ng mfla A.nak ng Ba_,·u.n or Katipunno
for short was actually the brainch ild of Marcelo H. del Pilar. He tried to establish it in
Manila in 11:190 but succE~edl:!d only in 1R92 thr ough the he lp of his brother -in-law DeQdato

Arellano and other F ilipino patriots. Del Pilar envi;;iont>d the Katipunan to be the "weapon of
the weak" against. coloni·' l rnle in the country. The f(lunding of the radi<'al Kati punan justi-
fied the Filipino peoph!'S rt>sort to force because the colonial authorities a.horted La Liga
Filipina , the organization through which Filipino dema nds could be pursued peacefull y. With

the death of Del Pilar, nonifacio was th,·u!;t into the mat>lstrom of the Philipp in(! revr> lution.
He becam e the moving l'<pirit of the Katipunan. The word "Ka tipu nan'' suggests oneness.


a nd indep end en t Phil ippine Rep ublic" whi ch wa s inaugu r a t ed on .Ja nuary
23, 1899 with G(m. Aguina ldo as President.

Our First P hili ppi ne Republic was not recognized by t he fa mil y of
n at ions. It was neverth eless a n or ganized government beca use it actually
existed a nd its author ity wa~:> accepted by the people. It exis ted from
Janu ary 23, 1899 to Ma rch 23, 1901 Y

In February, 1899, the United States a nnexed the Philippines a s a
r esult of the Spanish-American War a nd in April, 1901, Gen. Aguina ldo
was captured . Thus, the Republic was s hort-lived , its in depen dence cut
short by the superior might. of a n ew colonial power. The Malolos Constitu-
tion which provided for the est ablishment of a P hilippine Republic had no
opportunity to opera te. However, this in no way diminis hes t h e histor ical
signifi cance of the Ph ilippine Revolution of 1896. It wa s the first war of
independence fo ught by Asia ns a ga inst fore ign domination and it gave
birth to the first constitutiona l democracy in Asia and th e West P acific.

Governments during the American regime.

(1) The Military Government. - The America n military r ule in the
P hilippines bega n on August 14, 1H98, the day aft er the ca pture of Ma nila.
The exis ten ce of war gave t he President of the U ni ted St a tes the power to
establish a Military Government in the Philippines , a s Comma nder-in-
Chief of all Armed F orces of the United States. His au thority was delegated
t o t he military governor wh o exercis ed as long as t he war lasted, all power s
of government - executive, legislative, a nd judicia l.

Th e fi rst Ame ri can Mili t a ry Governor was General vVes ley Mer ritt, t he

second was GeMral Elwell E. Ot is, and the th ird and la st, was Major

Genera l Arth ur J\.b eArthur. /

(2) The Civil Government.- Pursuant to the s o-called Spoo ner Amend-
ment (on the army a ppropria t ion a ct passed in the U.S. Congress on March
3, 1901) which ended the m ilitary regime in th e Philippines , the Civi l
Government was inaugurated in Man ila on July 4, 190 1, h eaded by a Civil
Governor whose position was created on October 29, 1901. Th e Civil Gover-
nor (the title was la ter changed to Governor-Gene ra l on Febru ary 6, 1905)
also exercised legislative powers . He remained as Presiden t of the Philip-
pine Commission, the sole lawma king body of th e government from 1901 to

From 1907 t o 1916, the Philippine Commission a cted a s the upper
house of the legislative branch with th e Philippine Assembly serving a s th e
lower house. With the pass age of t he Spooner Law in 1901, these two
bodies ga ve way to th e Philippine Legislat ure. The Philippines was repr e-
se nted in the Unite d State s by t wo Resident Commissioners who were
elected by the Ph ilip pine Legis lature. T hese com missioners had seats in

27SE!e G.F . 7-!!idc. not e 24, op. d t., pp. 38-45.

C. The Govemm'!llt of t ht! Philippines iu Tr(l n sition

the United Stat~s House of Representatives, r eeeiving the same emolu- :"<.
ments and other privileges a.s the American members of that body, but
without the right to vote.:t~<

The fir::~t Civ·tl Governor was JudgQ William H. 'I'aft 0901-1903 ). He
was succeeded by Luke F. Wright (1904-1906) who wa~ the first American
to enjoy the title of Governor-General of the Philippines. The last Gover-
nor-General was Frank Murphy (198:~-1935) who was also the first High
Commissioner of the United States to the Philippines upon the inau~ura­
tion of the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.

(3) The Commonwealth Government of' the Philippines. - The next
stage in the political development of the Filipinos was the establishment of
the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines pursuant to an act. of
the United States Congress on March 24, 1934, commonly known as the
Tydings-McDuffi.e Law. Among other things, the Jaw provided for a transi-
tion period often years during which the Philippine Commonweal th would
operate and at the expiration of ::.-aid period on July 4, 1946, the independ-
ence of the Philippines would be proclaimed <'!nd established.

The new government of t.he Commonwealth of the Philippines, deemed
successor to the Government of the Philippine Islands, was inaugurated on
November 15, 1935, following the first national election under the 1935
Constitution h eld on September 12, 1935, with Manuel L. Quezon and
Sergio Osmefia, as President and Vice-President, respectively.

The Commonwealth Government of the Philippines was republic an in
form under the presidential type . The legislative povu~r was first. vested in
a unicameral National Assembly and later in a bicameral Congress com-
posed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The judicial power
was vested in the Supreme Court a nd inferior (i.e., lower) courts provided
by law. The Government of the Commo nwealth ofthe Philippines was very
autonomous. The Filipino~ had almost complete control over the domestic
affairs, the United States retaining control only over matters involving
foreign affair:-~ .

During World War II , the Commomvcalth Government fum;tione d in
oxile in Washington from May 13, 1942 to October 3, 1944. It was
reestablished in Manila on February 27, 1945 when Gen. Douglas
MacArthur, in a ceremony held at Malacafiang Palace on hehalf of the
United States Govern ment, lurnt~d over to Pref:'ident Osmena the full
powers and responsibilities of t he Commonwcall.h Government under the
(1935) Constitution.

Governments during the Japanese occupation.

(1) The Jap anese Military Administration. - It was established in
Manila on January 3, 1942, one day after its occupation. Under a proclama-

2"See Ibid., pp. 54·55.


tion iss uNl by the .Japanese High Command, the sovereignty of the Unite d
States over t he Ph1li ppines was declared terminated.

(2) The Phihppine Executive Comrnission. - A civil government known
as the Philippi ne Executi ve Commission composed of Filipinos with J orge
B. Vargas as chairman, was organized by t he military forceg of occupation.
The com mission exercised bot h the executive and legislative powers. The
laws enacted were. however, subject to the approval of the Commander-in-
Chief of the Japanese For ces. The judiciary continued in the same form as
it wa~ u n der th e Commonwealth. Howevt>r, it funct ioned without the inde-
pen dence which it ha d tradi tionally enj oy ed.2!l

(3) The Japane~o:e-sponsored Rr~public of the Philippines. -On October
14, 1943, the so-called Japanese-sponsored Republic of the Philippines was
inaugurated with .Jose P . Laurel as President. It was ofihe same character
as the Philippine E xecutive Commission. Like the latter, the ultimate
source of its a uthority was the Japanese military a uthority an d go vern-
men t.:JU On August 17, 1945. P r esident Laurel proclaimed th~ dissolution of
i.he Republic.

The previous Philippine Republics.

(1) Under .Joint Hesolution No . 9:3, approved by the United States
Congresg on .June 29 , HJ44 , the Pr esident of t he United States was aut hor-
ized to proclaim the independence of the Philippines prior to July 4, 1946,
a fter t he .Japanese had been vanqu ished and constitutiona l processes in
t hfl country restored. The Republic of the Philippines wa s formally ina ugu-
r<lted on July 4, 1946 with Manuel A. Roxas as the first President a nd
Elpidio Quirino ag th e first Vice-President. Roxas and Quirino also served
fr om May 28, 1946 to .J uly 4, 1946 as the last Commonwealth President and
Vice-Presidcnt, re.speaively.

T he 1935 Constitution served a s the fundamentall"\,w not only for the
Commonwealth Government which was inter;upted by th'e ..Sg_cgpd World
War but also for the Republic of the P hilippines un til the "ratification" of
the 1973 Phili pp ine Constitution establishing a parliamentary form of
government, effected by virtue of Procl amation No. 1102 of President
Ferdinand E. Marcos <Jn ,Jan ua ry 17, 1973, a fter th e decl aration of martia l
law on September 21 , 1972.

<2) The First Republic was established on January 23, 1899 under the
Malolos Const itu tion ; the Second, on October 14, 1943 under the Japanese-
sponsored Constitution, and t he Third, on ,July 4. . 1946 under the 1935
Constitution. President Ferdinand E. Marcos, in his inaug ural add1·ess on
.June :30, 1981, proclaimed th e birth of the Fourth Republic under the 197:3
Constitution which, a s a mended in a plebiscite on April 7, 1981, installed a

""See ibid.. pp. 100-1 01.
·'''Co Kim Chan vs. Valdez Tan Kch. 75 Phil. 11 3.

C. The Gover-nm ent of th~ Philippines in Transition

modified parliamentary system of government,:H thus making him its first
Pre::1ident. All in a ll , there were nine Presidcnts32 in the previous t hree
republics, including President Marcos in his two (2) terms in the Third
R e p u b l i c . J:J

The present Republic came in to being upon the ratification of the 1987
Constitu tion (,n February 2, 1987.31

The Provisional Government of 1986.

Before Corazon C. Aquino took her oath of office on the morning of
February 25, 1986 at Club !filipino, San ,Juan , Metro Manila, the last day
of a four-d ay "people pc>wer" revolt <Feb. 22-25) t hat culminated in the
ouster of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, she read Proclamation No. 1
wherein she declared that she and her Vice-President were "taking power
in the n ame a nd by the will of th e Filipino people" on the banis of the clear
sovereign will of th e people expressed in the e lection of February 7. 1986.
In her oath, she swore to preserve and defend the "fundamental law" (not
the "Constitution") and ex~cute "just laws" <inl:ltead of "its laws").

(l:t Reuolutionary. -- The government was revolutionary because it
was instituted not in accordance with t he procedun? provided in an existing
Constitution. There is a definite acknowledgment in Procl amation No. 3
that the provil:lional government established t hel'ounder was revolutionary
in character (without calling itself as such) having been install ed by direct
action of the people or by "people power,'' deriving its existence and author-
ity directly from the people themselves and not from the then operati ng
1973 Constitution.

(2) De jure I de facto. - The first is one constitut ed or founded in
accordance with.the existing constitution of the state (according to law ),
while the other is not so constituted or fou nded but has the general support
of the people and effective control ofthe territory over which it exercises its
powers. A de facto go\'ernmcnt acquires a de jure status when it gains wide
acceptance from the people a nd recognition from the community of nati ons.

'1 'Se~ "Pri nciplf, (If separnt.ion (If powers" under At·ticln VI, Section 1.
~!Namely : Emilio A~:.ruinnlclo 0898-1901J, Jose P. Laurel ( 1943- 1945j, :.\1a.nuc~J :\. }{oxas (1946-

1948), El pidio Quiriuo 11948·195:31, l:{amon Mngs<ty;;ay !l9fi:l- l957i, C'arlol5 P. Garc i<1 (March

l957- 1961J, Dio.c;darlo P. Macapagal Cl961-196Gl, and Ferdinand E. Marl'os • I9tif>-l 986.J.
3"The last. 1.4-ye~r rule of President Marcos from t h e d~claration. of mart.i<1l law on

Sept.embcr 21. 1972 u ntil hi;. ovP.rthrow on Fchruary 25, J9HG by the so·callcd "people power
n!volution," waF: generally d~~cribed as dictatorial or auth oritarian .

'"With the ouster of President Marcos, Co razon C. ,\quino o HJ86-1992), became- the

President, follownd by Fidel V. R;~mos (1992- 1998). ,Josf•ph r:. Estrada (!998-200li, and

Gloria Macapagai-Arroyo <2001-presentJ. ls~e no te 2 to Art. \'1. Sec. :12. l F'rom 1898 to
pre;;ent . we have 14 Presiden tr;, including Manuel Qu~zon 1\935-1944 ! and Sergio Osmei'ln

: Hl-14-1946 1 who both served as Com m onwealth PrP.sidcnt.q. Macapagal-Arroyo WH"- elected
\"ice-President in 1998. She ,:;·~cceeded b:.">trada a.~ Presidant. in 2001 whe n the l11tter wn~
fcm.:ed to give up the l'residt~ncy. !see not.e 2, to Sc(:. 32 of Art. VI. l Prcsidt\ nt. Arroyo wa~
elt>e ted (not rn-clecbH]) for a six-year term in the May 10. 2004 e lflct.ions after serving the Last
three! 3 1year!': of the term of Presi den t F.l!trada. (see Art. VII. s~~. 4, par. 1.)


At its inception, the r evolutionary government was ill egal for lack of
constitutional basis not having been sanctioned by either the 1935 or the
1973 Constitution. It was a de facto government but acquired a de jure
status. There was no question then that the revolutionary government had
won continuous public acceptance and support without any rcsistanrB
whatsoever anywhere in the Philippines and the recognition of practically

all foreign governments.

(3) Constitutional and transitory. -The provisional government was not.
a purely revolutionary rme but a hybrid constitutional revolutionary govern-
ment, i.e., a revolutionary government. governing under a provisional or in -
terim constitution the people could invoke to protect their rights and to pro-
mote their welfare, to exist for a limited period until the ratification and
effectivity of a permanent constitution. There was nothing, however, to pre-
vent the government from amending, suspending or abrogating the Provisional
Constitution and adopting a new one or operating without. any constitution.

Jn other words, the Provisional Constitution did not have t.he status of
a supreme or fundamental law because the government was not created by
it and was not bound to obey it.

(4'> Democratic. -The provisional government was claimed to be demo-
cratic because it wa~ in stall ed by direct action of the pMple as a direct
expression or manifestation of their sovereign will, and. therefore, it was
based on the consent of the governed or the approval of the people.

(5) Power/:i. -A revolutionary government heing a direct ct'eation of

the people, derives its power~ from the people to whom alone it is account-

able. It is said that a revolutionary government is clothed with unlimited

powers because it makes its own laws; it is "a law unto itself." However,

with the adoption of the Provisional Constitution, the revolutionary gov-

ernment opted to abide with and to subject itself to the provisions thereof,

pending approval of a new charteL ~·

(6J The ProvisionaLConstitution. - Instead of declaring the 191~ Con--
s titution with certain amendments and minus certain article~_...and provi-

sions, as the interim Constitution, Proclamation No. 3 promulgated a

Provisional Constitution to repln.cP the former , adopting in toto insnfar as

they are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Proclamation, certajn

provisions of the 1973 Constitution.

By its very nature, the Provisiona l Constitution 1as wt:ll as the revolu -
tionary government which operated under it l self-dest1·uc:t upon the ratifi -
cation and effectivity of tht> new Constitution on February 2, 1987. (Art.
XVIII , Sec. 27.)


Meaning of constitution.

In its broad sense , the term constitution refers to "that body of rules

orand princj_p].e.s ia accu:r.<:!ctn~~- -"~-J~_h....w.hic.h....t.h.~ . P.9"Yer~ _sove-reignty -~Ye

D. Concept of Coniltitution

.regulas!Y-~rcised .~~ As t hus defin ed , it cover s both..$..i=!:ttelj and .tinwritten

~on stitution~. ·

With parti<:u1ar reference to the Can stitution of the. EhJli.pvines, it may

be defined as that wdtt@, which the fl.:l.PdamentalPa.wers_of

the government are established, limited, and defined and by which these

power_~_~1~~ .Qhtributed among .the several d epartment::; or _pran~:hes for

tht.!)~-safe and \;sef\.iTex.ercise for the benefit of the people.36 \Vi~" \'"-.<..
\A\"'..¥'1\11.'\ ,, \'"• •

Nature and purpose or function of constitution.

(1) S erves as the supreme or fitndamentallaw. - A constitution is the
ylfartf;\!:_ creating the gov~r!!ment. It has the status of a ppr~mlil gr .(unda-

iiiimtal fii\v·&6 -it:spe~l_l.{s for t.J:'Ie -~[_l_tire people from \\fhomit derives its claim
to obedience. It is binding nn all individual citizens and all organs .of the
government. lt is the law to which all other laws must conform a nd in

accordance with which all private rights must be determined and aJl public
authority administered_:n It is the test of the legality of alJ governmental
actions, whether proceeding from the highest official or lowest function-

ary. ~8

(2 ) Establisht!.<; basic framework and underlying principles of govern-
ment. -The purpose of a cons titution is to prescribe lhe permanent frame-
work of the system of governm ent and to assign to the different depart-
ments or branche1:1, their respective powers and duties, and to establish
certain basic principles on which the governm ent is founded.~9 lt is prima-
rily designed to preserve and protect the rights of individuals against the
arbitrary actions of those in authority.10 Its function is not to legis lat~ in
detail hut to set limits on the otherwise unlimited power of the legislature.

Meaning of constitutional law.

Con~ti.tutionallaw may be defined as that branch of puhJic law (see A,
supra.) which treats of c.onstitutions, their nature, formation , amendment,
and interpretation.

It refers to lhe law embodied in the Constitution a s well as the princi~
pies growing out of the interpretation and application made by the courts
(particularly the Supreme Court, being the court of last resort) of the

3~Sec Cooley, Constit.utionnl limitations. p. 4 .

36See Malcolm and Laurel. Phil. (;onstitutional Law, p. 6 (J936l.

•1~.Statf! v~< . .\1ain, ;n AtL HO.

~~This it; not so unde r the Rritish Constitution in view of the su premacy of P11rliament

wh ich det-e rm ines what is con11litutional, and lc!Sislatcs accord ingly.
3~Ma!t.•>lrn and Laurel. n<)te 32, op. cit., p. 2. [t actu ally serves as the framework of th e

soci;ll. economic and political life ofth t~ nation because i t. governs , a lthough in a general way.
practically all areas of human t>n deavor.

•"Its effectivene~s as tile supremn Jaw dopends to a great dP.gree upon thl:! people
the mselves. Tt becom n,:; a "mMe sc1·ap of paper" if they a llow those in authori ty to viola te it
with impunity. The root:> ofcOil;;titutionalis m, it has been ~;a id , lie in the hearts of the people.


provisions of the Constitution in specific caf.les. Thus , the Philippine Con·
stitution itself is bnef hut the Ja w of the Constitution lies scattered in
thousands of Supreme Co urt decisionsY

Kinds of constitution.

Constitutions may be das1>ified as foll ows:

( U A<; to th eir origi n and history:
(a ) Conventional or enacted. - One which is enactNl by a con~titu­

cnt assembly or granted by a monarch to his subjects like the Constitu-
tion of J apan in 1889; and

(bJ Cumulative or evolved . ·-- LikH the Engli!:'h Consli.t ution, one
which is a product of growth or a long period of development originat·
ing in cus toms, traditions, judicial decisions, etc.. rather than from a
deliberate and formal enactment.
ThE! above cla ssification substa n tially coincides with that of written
and unwritten constitutions.

(2) As to their form :

(a ) Wri tten. ··- One which has been given definite written form at a
particular time, usually by a specially constituted authority called a
"constitutional convention"; and

(b) Unwri tten. -·- One which is entirely the product of political
evolution, consisting targely of a mass of customs, usages and judicial
decisions togethP.r with a smaller body of statutory enactments of a
fundamental character, usua lly bearing diffenmt dates.42 The English
Constitution is unwritten only in the sense that it js not codified in a
single document. Part of it is written - the Acts of Parliament and
judicial decisions. Indeed, there is no ConRlitution that is entirely
written or unwritten.

(3 ) As to manner of am.1mding them :

\a ) Rigid or inelastic. - One regarded as a document of special
s anctity which cannot be amended or altered except by some special
machinery more cumbrous tha n the ordinary legi ~ lative procl:!ss;n and

ib ) Flexible or ela.stic. - One which possesses no h igher legal au-
thority than ordinary laws and which may be altered in the same way
as oth(!r laws.44

The Phi lippi ne Co n~ti tution ··ro-~; ·b~--classified a!'i con ventional or en·

a (;ted . written, a nd r igid or inelastic. It was draft ed by an appointive body
called "Constitutional Commission." (see E, in fra.}

•'V.G. Since•. Ph il. P olit i•:a l Law. I! Lh e d., p. 67 11962i.
' 1See Garner. Po iitica l Scien ce and C'.r<>vernmcnt, p . 508.
'"Strong. ~f<tdern l'ol iti<-n l Cttn.;<tit\ ns . p. 6 .
·•·•Garner. Pn lit i<:al Sctc: ntt! and Go v~ rnment, p. nOB.

D. Concept of Constiiu t ion

Advantages and disadvantages of a written

(1) It has the advantage of clearness nnd definiteness over an unwrit-
t en one. This is because it is prepared with great care and deliberation.
Such a conRtitution cannot be easily bent or twisted by the legislature or by
the courts, to meet the temporary fancies of the moment. Hence, the
protection it affords and the righ ts it guarantees are apt to be more secure/
Moreover, it is more st able and free from a ll dangers oft~mporary pop.ulat


(2 ) Its disadvantage lies in the difficulty of its amendment. (see Art.

XVII.) This prevents the immediate introduction of needed changes and

m ay thereby retard the h ealthy growth and progress of the state.46

Requisites of a good written constitution.

(1) A.c: to form, a good written constitution should be:

(a) Brief. - because if a constitution is too detailed, it would lose

the advantage of a fundam ent al law which in a few proviHions outlines

the structure of the government of the whole state and th e rights of the

citi1.ens. Jt would probably never be understood hy t.h(~ pu blic. Further-

more, it would then be nec£;ssary to amend it every once in a while to

cover m<my future contingencies; .-...

(b) Broad. - because a statement <.1f the powers a nd functions of
government, and of the relations between the governing body and the
gove rned, requires that it be as comprehensive as possible;47 and

(c) Definite. -because otherwise the application of its provisions
to concrete situations may prove unduly difficult if not impossible. Any

vagueness which may lead to opposing interpretations of essential
features may cause incalculable har m. Civil war and the disruption of
the !:'tate may conceivably follow from ambiguous expressions in a

(2) As to contents, it should contain at least three sets of provisions:

(a) That dealing with t he framework of government a nd its powers,.
and defining the electorate. This group of provisions has been called
the constitution ofgovernment;

(b) That setting for th the fundamental rights of the people and
imposing certain limitations on the powers of the government as a

"'Ibid., p. 524.
' Hf bid.

'The scope must be wide enough to make the Constitution n t<xib le and easily adaptable
to (:hanging social. economic. and political conditions, and thus .,nable i t, without amend·
numt, to meet every exigtmcy, tor a Constitution is designed l.o b(:l ~permane nt document to
serve a coun try for mnny generations .... indeed, if possible ''to nndurf:' liJr ages to come."

·~sec Malcol m and Luurel, note 32, 1lp. <:it., pp. 15- 16.


means of securing the e~joyment of these rights. This group has been
referred to as the constitution ofliberty; and

(c) That pointing out the mode or procedure for amending or revis-
ing the constitution. This group has been called the constitution of

Constitution distinguished from statute.

( l) A ccnstitution is a legislation direct from the people, while a statute
(see Art. VI, Sec. 1.) is a legislation from the people's representatives;

(2) A constit.ution merely states the general framework of the law and
the government, while a statute provides the details of the subject of which
it treats;

(:1) A constitution is intended not merely to meet existing conditions
but to govern. the future, while a statute is intended primarily to meet
existing conditions only; and

(4) A constit ution is the supreme or fundamental law of the State to
which statutes and all other laws mu~t conform.

Authority to interpret the Constitution.

( l) Even a private individual may interpret or ascertain the meaning
of particular provisions of the Constitution in order to govern his own
actions and guide him in his dealings 'Vith other pen:ons.MI

(2) It is evident, however, that only those charged with official duties,
whether executive, legislative, or judicial, can give authoritative interpre·
tation of the Constitution.

(a) This function primarily belongs to the courts whose final deci-
sions are binding vn all departments or organs of the government,
including the legislature.;, They will thus construe the applicable con-
stitutional provisions not in acwrdance with how the ·executive or
legislative department may want them construed, but in accordance
with what said provision$ say and provideY

(b) There are, however, constitution al questions !i.e.. political ques-
tions) which under the Constitution are addresse d to the discretion of
the_ other departments a n d, therefore, beyond the power of the judiciary
to decide. (see Art. VIII , Sec. 4.) Thus, t he determination of the Presi-
dent as to which foreign gcvernment "is to be ~ecognized by the Philip-
pines cannot be passed upon by the courts.

·~see Garner. In troduction to Political Science, pp. 390-:!98.
"'Black , Constitutio nal Law, :~ rd <!d .• p. 55.
" 16 C.J.S., pp. 49-50.
5"Sarmitmto Ill v;:;. Mi,;_on. L-79974, Dec. 17,1987.

E. Constit ution of thn Rep ublic of the Philippines

Purpose in interpreting the Constitution.

The fundamental purpose in construing constitutional provisions is to
ascertain and give effect to the intent of the framers and of the people who
adopted or approved it or its amendments.

It is, therefore, the duty of the courts to constantly keep in mind the
objectives sought to be accomplished by its adoption and the evils, if any,
sought to be prevented or remedied. 53 It may be assumed that the people, in
ratifying the Constitution, were guided mainly by the explanations given
by the framers on the meaning of its provisions .""


The 1935 Constitution.

(1) Framing and ratification. - Briefly stated, the steps which led to
the drafting and adoption of the 1935 Constitution of the Phil ippines are as