Article II: The Soul of the Nation

(A Comparison of Article II or the Declaration of Principles and State Policies under the 2018 Draft Constitution of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution and under the 1987 Constitution)

The true essence and identity of a republican nation can be found in its written constitution. And for me, her soul can be found in the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, which in the Philippine Constitution is found in Article II, right after National Territory. The time has come, after 31 years, for us to re-examine our soul as a country.

At the end of this article, I have created a comparative matrix for easy viewing. Let’s begin our analysis.

Section 1 calls for “national unity” hand in hand with federalism.

Section 2 is retained saying “the Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations”.

Section 3 is perfectly re-worded. It is the government that is the protector of the people. While the armed forces shall secure the sovereignty of the Republic. Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution on the duty of citizens to defend the Republic is lumped with Section 3.

Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution is re-worded under Section 4 of the Concom draft with right to life, liberty and property all captured as “fundamental freedoms”. But the new draft added “the observance of the rule of law, and the promotion of sustainable human development” as essential for the enjoyment by the people of the benefits of a democratic republican federal government.

Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution of the separation of church and state is retained but the ConCom added a second sentence, “relations between them shall be governed by benevolent neutrality.”

Section 6 in the ConCom Draft and Section 7 in 1987 Constitution are the same – except for the word “establishing” international relations which purports prospectivity and respect for previously established relations.

Section 7 in the ConCom Draft and Section 8 in 1987 Constitution are the same – except that nuclear weapons is now expanded to all “weapons of mass destruction” which is timely to include modern technologies even cyber-attacks.

Section 8, 9 and 10 of the ConCom draft shows a very strong stand in improving government accountability and ridding the system of graft and corruption. These provisions are Sections 27 and 28 or at the tail end of the 1987 Constitution. Section 8 of the ConCom draft insert the word “efficiency” to the existing Section 27, which means government service must not only be honest and with integrity but must be efficient. ConCom also added the words “deterrent and punitive” aside from the “take positive and effective” measures against graft and corruption.

On the full disclosure policy under Section 28 of the 1987 Constitution, the ConCom erased the phrase “subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law” and in its version of Section 9, immediately stated that “the Federal Republic adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.” The principle of FOI and Open Governance is now a constitutional mandate and does not just  proceed from any law.

The ConCom draft has a provision, particularly Section 10 – that I cannot find in the 1987 Constitution, which states: “The Federal Republic and its instrumentalities shall, at all times, maintain the highest quality of governance, integrity, transparency, and accountability.” Accountability is only mentioned twice in the 1987 Constitution and never in the state principles.

Section 11 in the ConCom Draft and Section 9 in 1987 Constitution are the same – except that the ConCom added the words “befitting of human dignity” – this is a strong commitment to the promotion of decent jobs and poverty reduction programs that are equitable, and does not demean the intrinsic human value.

Section 10 of the 1987 Constitution or the promotion of social justice is retained.

Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution is corrected for redundancy “person” instead of human person and the phrase “and guarantees full respect for the person and the right of all citizens to participate in all government processes” which shows that giving full respect and value to every person includes giving him the right to participate in all government processes.

Section 14 of the ConCom draft on family life and duty of parents is the same as Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution.

The vital role of the youth in nation building under Section 13 of the 1987 Constitution, specifically in civic affairs is encouraged to be “constructive”.

The role of women on Section 14 in the 1987 Constitution is expanded to “all aspects of national life” aside from nation-building as stated in Section 16 of the ConCom draft.

Section 15 on right to health and Section 16 on right to balanced and healthful ecology are  retained under Sections 17 and 18, respectively of the ConCom Draft.

The so called ESTACS (education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports) principle under Section 17 is retained except that as a result of the priority given to ESTACS, total human dignity and security was added under Section 19 of the ConCom draft aside the objective to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and liberation, and development as already stated in the 1987 Constitution.

Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution on labor as a primary social economic force is retained under Section 20 of the ConCom draft.

Section 19 or the national economy provision of the 1987 Constitution is strongly reworded by changing “a self-reliant and independent national economy” to an independent and competitive national economy, and adding the word “actually” to before “effectively controlled by Filipinos” in Section 21 of the ConCom draft. Needless to say, this mandate is a strong support for the Filipino brand.

Also Section 20 of the 1987 Constitution on the indispensable role of the private sector, the Section 22 of the ConCom draft complete the principle by re-stating the phrase to  indispensable role of the private sector “in national development”. The draft also adds a second sentence, “The State shall provide incentives to needed investments.”

Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution on comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform is expanded to include “industrialization, comprehensive rural agri-industrial development, and agrarian reform with effective support services”. The term “effective support services” in Section 23 of the ConCom draft is obviously a statement that learns from the lessons of the current agrarian reform program.

Section 22 on the rights of indigenous cultural communities, the 1987 Constitution only says that state shall “recognize and promote” these rights, the ConCom draft in Section 24 states the Federal Republic  “recognizes, promotes, and protects the rights of indigenous peoples”. The most important word “protect” is not found in the current constitution.

Section 23 of the 1987 constitution specifies encouraging of “non-governmental, community-based, or sectoral organizations, but Section 25 of the ConCom draft encapsulates the principle with the term “civil society participation”.

The newest term in the proposed ConCom draft is “information communication technology” under Section 26, which is only “communication and information” in nation-building in the 1987 Constitution. This is the provision that will usher the Philippines to the future.

Finally, the rebirth of a new nation is found in Section 27 of the ConCom draft that promote the autonomy of local government units in line with “the principle of subsidiarity and in accord with federalism.” In the 1987 Constitution, Section 25 merely states “The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments”.

The principle of subsidiarity is one of the main foundations of federalism. Subsidiarity is a principle of social organization that holds that social and political issues should be dealt with at the most immediate (or local) level that is consistent with their resolution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsidiarity This principle gives more emphasis on the importance of local governments solving their own local issues often to the exclusion of national government.

As to what is federalism as stated in Section 27 of the ConCom draft, I will discuss it in another article but I also recommend the reading of this site, which comprehensively defines the concept both as a process and as a structure. http://federalism.org/about/what-is-federalism/

Section 26 of Article II in the 1987 Constitution is simply an anti-dynasty principle as it states “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

But the ConCom draft has embodied a full section under Article V on Suffrage and Political Rights, particulary Section 8, which states:

SECTION 8. The Federal Republic shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties to prevent the concentration, consolidation, or perpetuation of political power in persons related to one another.

  • A political dynasty exists when a family whose members are related up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, whether such relations are legitimate, illegitimate, half, or full blood, maintains or is capable of maintaining political control by succession or by simultaneously running for or holding elective positions.
  • No person related to an incumbent elective official within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, as described above, can run for the same position in the immediately following election.
  • Persons related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, as described above, are prohibited from running simultaneously for more than one national and one regional or local position. However, in the event that two or more members of the same family are running, the member who shall be allowed to be a candidate shall be determined by the drawing of lots.
  • The Federal Congress may, by law, provide for additional prohibitions,

Please feel free to share this article and the matrix below. For more updates, join me at https://web.facebook.com/ThePhilippineFederalists/

COMPARATIVE MATRIX OF ARTICLE II By Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue

The parts in “bold” letters are the new proposals of the Consultative Committee (ConCom, for short) , the parts  “crushed out” are proposed to be discarded from the 1987 Constitution.  The words in RED are new terms in Article II ( or practically in the Constitution if the draft is approved)

ARTICLE II
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES
2018 Draft Constitution of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution  1987 Constitution
SECTION 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. The Republic shall at all times uphold federalism, national unity, and territorial integrity. Section 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.
SECTION 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations. Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.
SECTION 3. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The government is the protector of the people and the Federal Republic. The armed forces of the Philippines shall secure the sovereignty of the Republic and the integrity of its national territory. The government may call upon the people to defend the Federal Republic and render personal military or civil service under conditions provided by federal law. Section 3. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.
Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal, military or civil service.
SECTION 4. The recognition of fundamental freedoms, the observance of the rule of law, and the promotion of sustainable human development are essential for the enjoyment by the people of the benefits of a democratic republican federal government. Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.
SECTION 5. The separation of the church and the State shall be inviolable. Relations between them shall be governed by benevolent neutrality. Section 6. The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.
SECTION 6. The Federal Republic shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In establishing relations with other states, its paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination. Section 7. The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.
SECTION 7. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from weapons of mass destruction in its territory. Section 8. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.
SECTION 8. The Federal Republic shall maintain honesty, integrity, and efficiency in the public service and take positive, effective, deterrent, and punitive measures against graft and corruption. Section 27. The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.
SECTION 9. The Federal Republic adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. Section 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.
SECTION 10. The Federal Republic and its instrumentalities shall, at all times, maintain the highest quality of governance, integrity, transparency, and accountability. (No counterpart in the 1987 Constitution)
SECTION 11. The Federal Republic shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living befitting human dignity, and an improved quality of life for all. Section 9. The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.
SECTION 12. The Federal Republic shall promote social justice in all phases of national development. Section 10. The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development.
SECTION 13. The Federal Republic values the dignity of every person and guarantees full respect for the person and the right of all citizens to participate in all government processes. Section 11. The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.
SECTION 14. The Federal Republic recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government. Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.
SECTION 15. The Federal Republic recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their constructive involvement in public and civic affairs. Section 13. The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.
SECTION 16. The Federal Republic recognizes the role of women in nation-building and in all aspects of national life, and shall ensure the fundamental equality of women and men before the law. Section 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.
SECTION 17. The Federal Republic shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them. Section 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.
SECTION 18. The Federal Republic shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. Section 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.
SECTION 19. The Federal Republic shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human dignity, security, liberation, and development. Section 17. The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development.
SECTION 20. The Federal Republic affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare. Section 18. The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.
SECTION 21. The Federal Republic shall develop an independent and competitive national economy actually and effectively controlled by Filipinos. Section 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.
SECTION 22. The Federal Republic recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector in national development and encourages private enterprise. The State shall provide incentives to needed investments. Section 20. The State recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investments.
SECTION 23. The Federal Republic shall promote industrialization, comprehensive rural agri-industrial development, and agrarian reform with effective support services. Section 21. The State shall promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform.
SECTION 24. The Federal Republic recognizes, promotes, and protects the rights of indigenous peoples within the framework of national unity and development. Section 22. The State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development.
SECTION 25. The Federal Republic shall promote civil society participation in the development of the welfare of the nation. Section 23. The State shall encourage non-governmental, community-based, or sectoral organizations that promote the welfare of the nation.
SECTION 26. The Federal Republic recognizes the vital role of information communication technology in nation-building. Section 24. The State recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building.
SECTION 27. The Federal Republic shall promote the autonomy of local government units in line with the principle of subsidiarity and in accord with federalism. Section 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.
Defined in Article V, Section 8 of the ConCom Draft Constitution Section 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.
See Section 8 above Section 27. The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.
Section 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.
See Section 9 above Section 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.

An important historical feature of modern federalism is that it enabled democracy to be viable on a large scale for the first time in human history.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s