Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Constitutional Commission and the 1987 Philippine Constitution

The bread and butter of every attorney in the Philippines are their familiarity with the Philippine constitution. More than wit, charisma, creativity, and ability to grace under pressure, an attorney should know how he can utilize the articles of the constitution into their clients’ favor.

The Constitution of the Philippines is the supreme law of our state. Our current constitution has been drafted in 1987. There have been three other constitutions that have governed our country. This includes the 1935 Commonwealth Constitution, the 1973 Constitution, and the 1986 Freedom Constitution. The 1899 Malolos Constitution was never fully implemented throughout the Philippines and was never internationally recognized due to the American occupation during the time it has been implemented.

Following the People Power and the fall of Martial Law, the late President Cory Aquino sought to ensure the freedom of the people and its return into democratic rule. The Proclamation No. 9 gave birth to the Constitutional Commission of 1986. It was a body composed of 48 national, regional, and sectorial representatives who collectively drafted the current Constitution of the Philippines. The members were appointed by Aquino and are composed by the following:

  1. Cecilia Munoz Palma (President)
  2. Ambrosio B. Padilla (Vice-President)
  3. Napoleon G. Rama (Floor Leader)
  4. Ahmad Domocao Alonto (Assistant Floor Leader)
  5. Jose D. Calderon (Assistant Floor Leader)
  6. Yusuf R. Abubakar
  7. Felicitas S. Aquino
  8. Adolfo S. Azcuna
  9. Teodoro C. Bacani
  10. Jose F. S. Bengzon, Jr.
  11. Ponciano L. Bennagen
  12. Joaquin G. Bernas
  13. Florangel Rosario Braid
  14. Crispino M. de Castro
  15. Jose C. Colayco
  16. Roberto R. Concepcion
  17. Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
  18. Vicente B. Foz
  19. Edmundo G. Garcia
  20. Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon
  21. Serafin V.C. Guingona
  22. Alberto M. K. Jamir
  23. Jose B. Laurel, Jr.
  24. Eulogio R. Lerum
  25. Regalado E. Maambong
  26. Christian S. Monsod
  27. Teodulo C. Natividad
  28. Ma. Teresa F. Nieva
  29. Jose N. Nolledo
  30. Blas F. Ople
  31. Minda Luz M. Quesada
  32. Florenz D. Regalado
  33. Rustico F. de los Reyes, Jr.
  34. Cirilo A. Rigos
  35. Francisco A. Rodrigo
  36. Ricardo J. Romulo
  37. Decoroso R. Rosales
  38. Rene V. Sarmiento
  39. Jose E. Suarez
  40. Lorenzo M. Sumulong
  41. Jaime S. L. Tadeo
  42. Christine O. Tan
  43. Gregorio J. Tingson
  44. Efrain B. Trenas
  45. Lugum L. Uka
  46. Wilfrido V. Villacorta
  47. Bernardo M. Villegas

The Members of the Constitutional Commission were from different sectors of the society to represent the interest of the public. Some of them are from the House of the Representative, former Justices of the Supreme Court, and political activists during the Marcos Regime, and a Roman Catholic Bishop.

The constitution was ratified by a nationwide plebiscite on February 2, 1987. It contains a preamble and eighteen self-contained articles with a section numbering that resets for every article.

For the attorneys in the Philippines, it is very important to know the nature of our constitution so that they can utilize it. But it is important to know that our constitution plays a big role in our history. Attorney or not, as Filipinos, we need to learn and understand it, after all, ignorance of the law excuses no one.

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