The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines sucks. And there’s no way to go around it.
I know this is a bold idea for an introductory post for this site. But it’s better to start things by being blunt about it.
Now, some may deny that statement like the former Chief Justice Hilario Davide who has called the 1987 Constitution “the best in the world.” (or as the kids would say, ”BEST CONSTITUTION EVARRRR!!! WOOO!!!”
To such remarks, I say this: if the 1987 Constitution is “the best in the world,” why hasn’t it help make our political system better than what it was during the time of Ferdinand Marcos? After all, Marcos was overthrown by a people’s revolution precisely because of the broken system that he fomented.
If the 1987 Constitution is so “great,” how come the economic policies it set forth only made the country poorer and not richer?
And if the 1987 Constitution is so “great,” why are there many people who do not appreciate this document, some even find it intimidating at least to read?
If it sounds like I’m putting too much stock into something like the constitution, that’s because it deserves to be. A constitution is the core foundation of a State, pretty much defines most, if not all, of its principles, the system of government, and various basic policies to name a few.
And if a country is experiencing such dysfunctionality that has become “normal”, one must look at its constitution for finding the possible root cause.
What we have right now is a constitution that establishes policies that are either senseless and outdated in this ever-changing world and crafted in such a way that makes the ordinary people confused or intimidated because it was written in the language of legalese gobbledygook rather than the language that they speak and understand.
Despite these obvious flaws, there are those who refuse to see these and have tried their darndest to block attempts to make the necessary changes for the last 32+ years. Their reason? Because they believe the 1987 Constitution is such a “precious” document, too sacred to be touched lest it would mean doom for the country or something.
Bullshit. Such beliefs betray their sheer ignorance as to what the constitution is supposed to be.
Yes, the constitution is an important and sacred document. But that does not mean it should not evolve with the changing times and needs of the people.
Thomas Jefferson, one of the “Founding Fathers” of the United States of America put it best saying, “Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence…too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment…But I know also that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind… As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, institutions must advance also, to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain forever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
Indeed, while the U.S. Constitution was originally ratified back in 1788, it was amended multiple times over the years, with the first amendment passed only 3 years after the ratification of the constitution and the most recent amendment passed in 1992. And if the U.S. Constitution did not go through those several changes, there would not have been a Bill of Rights, nor would slavery have been abolished in the country.
That’s how important it is to make changes to the constitution, especially for one that has been untouched for more than 32 years.
But if you think that nothing should be changed in the 1987 Constitution, then consider this beginning of a lengthy discourse on why it should be changed and what needs to be changed.
To be continued…