A Prelude to the 1987 Philippine Constitution

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CHAPTER 4
A Prelude to the 1987 Philippine Constitution
By John Mark H. Nuncio

“Oh how much more of the journey do we have to make in order to actually live the new law — the law of the Holy Spirit who acts in us, the law of charity, of love!” -Pope Francis

Leaning Outcome/s:
1. Explain the significance of the Constitution in the existence of state and government. 2. Comprehend the messages enshrined in the Preamble of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. 3. Identify the scope and components of the Philippine National Territory.

The second chapter dealt on the entirety of the state which is considered to be a very important concept in the field of political science as it is branded as the basic unit of the international community and the ultimate expression of political activity among men. The third chapter was aimed at discovering the historical roots and progression of Philippine government in order to understand the complexities and changes within the bounds of local governance. This chapter will be dedicated to the discussion of the fundamentals of the so called “fundamental law of the land” which is the guiding light of the affairs of both state and government. In addition, this will be an opening salvo to the critical study of the document as we enter the portals leading to the first two fragments of the 1987 Philippine Constitution—the Preamble and the National Territory.

CONCEPT OF CONSTITUTION

Creating an Equilibrium
Before we delve deeper into the concept of the organic law, let us first turn our attentions to the specific field of political law that is germane to the study of the constitution itself—Constitutional Law. Constitutional Law is the study of the maintenance of the proper balance between authority as represented by the three inherent powers of the State and liberty as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.1 Genuine liberty entails exercising it without causing any harm or interception on the freedom of others. This is the ideal arrangement since by practice, people unavoidably uses liberty beyond normal control. Hence, the state has been endowed from its birth with the three inherent powers namely police power, eminent domain, and taxation in order to regulate the usage of individual rights. But this does not mean that the state always has the authority to intrude on an individual’s freedom because in the context of Constitutional Law, what is being advanced is not supremacy of one of the two factions but the promotion of the “co-existence” between both sides.

Constitution Defined
Cooley describes it as the “body of rules and maxims in accordance with which the powers of sovereignty are habitually exercised.”2 It also refers to “a written instrument by which the fundamental powers of the government are established, limited, defined, and by which these powers are distributed among several departments, for their more safe and useful exercise, for the benefit of the body politic.”3 The first definition is much more extensive compared to the second one since it covers even the unwritten constitutions like customs and traditions. Furthermore, Cooley’s definition relates on the founding principles reflecting the aspirations of the sovereign while Miller’s include in its scope the structuring of the government wherein the several powers are distributed for the promotion of the common good. In layman’s terms, it is simply defined as the organic or supreme law of the state.

Constitution vs. Statute
Constitution and statute are two terms belonging to the same world of legalities but differ in their scope and intrinsic meaning. The disparity is demonstrated in the following instances: 1. The former elaborates on general items such as policies and principles while the latter deals on more specific topics. Statutes always follow the basic rule of legislation known as “singularity of subject.” 2. In addition, in the context of being “open to change,” the constitution...