DO YOU THINK THERE ARE COMPELLING REASONS TO DRAFT A NEW CONSTITUTION? WHAT ARE THE COSTS AND BENEFITS
OF HAVINGA NEW CONSTITUTION?A CRITICAL ANALYSIS
A COURSE REQUIREMENT
MODULE 2- POLITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON DEVELOPMENT
PUBLIC MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
MIDDLE MANAGERS CLASS- BATCH 18
DR. TEMARIO C. RIVERA
DEMAR G. CAHILIG
MMC 18 – SIBOL
The 1987 Philippine constitution as a supreme law of our country had its final draft, completed by the Constitutional Commission on October 12, 1986 and through a nationwide plebiscite ratified on February 2,1987
As a document that provides the framework for the government and reflects the dreams and aspirations of the society , our 1987 Constitution then has been in effect far more than thirty years. It has endured for so many years and is still a living and vital document of our country. The constitution is also a law—the fountain of all laws.
Question on whether to draft or to make amendments to make this truly responsive to the demands of time would be something that entails a lot of discussions.
Should the constitution be changed to better address the situation of Filipinos today? Is our present constitution able to effect substantial improvement both economics and politics? Is it that our constitution is irresponsive and it needs a change? Is it able to respond to the challenges that are arising and may arise in the future? Will it accelerate the economic development of all regions? Are there provisions that are considered inoperative and contributory factors to the “sick” system as assumed by those who are using the parliaments of the streets? Is there a need to shift from the presidential form to federal form of governing to make it more appropriate and effective considering that Philippines is an archipelagic state?
Moreover, will it activate the regions’ participation in decision making for the common good? Will it allow the preservation of the culture and language of various ethno-linguistic groups? Will it hold together different functional units and at the same effective and efficient services are delivered both local and national? Will it be an appropriate way forward to enact a good Bangsagmoro Basic Law?
In addition, will drafting a new constitution would address problems such as corruption, low level of development, political dynasty and political parties dominating the political arena? Will it really decentralize power which is only concentrated in “imperial” Manila?
The above stated questions are some of the many questions which I am pretty sure each Filipino is trying to ask silently and even with no answers at all. Who doesn’t want to live in a progressive country – – where there is equality, peace, love, justice and freedom it the true essence of the word? Admittedly, this is what every Filipino envisions and struggles to experience.
Drafting a new constitution or even amending it is most central and most arguable change this country will face under Duterte’s administration. As a Filipino and a citizen of this beloved Republic of the Philippines, I am deeply convinced that our constitution stands firm as it is drafted. Its spirit is within the letters of the law. As for me, we need not draft a new constitution, what we need is a strong adherence to the mandate of our Constitution as a supreme law of the land. Drafting a new one is impractical and would entail big amount of money considering the many problems and challenges our country is trying to wrestle. Strong adherence to its mandate must be evident. But the failure of both the few and the many in the execution of the constitution’s provisions is tantamount to irresponsibility and is very disappointing.
If surveys tell us that the people want something different – then that might be considered. But, for our constitution to be of the people, and for the people everyone has to accept a slice of responsibility then. After all the mandate will always be to better address the pressing situation of Filipinos today. We should be reminded that this constitution is not of politicians, by politicians, and for politicians.
Yes we are living in an ever changing world and it is a reality that it makes sense to adhere change. Arguably, our constitution as the lifeblood of the nation is not impeccable wherein many are prompted to really believe that now is the time to change or draft a new one. The thought of changing or drafting a new one may prove perilous. Whatever constitution, a society has, again, as long as its mandates are not followed by those who govern the state and who executes the law, such constitution becomes voiceless. I convinced that there is no need to revise nor draft a new constitution—when amendment of laws may be enough.
There has to be an internal analysis on how those tasked to look into affairs of the state are able to do their mandated responsibilities and accountabilities. Perhaps, many contend on no prohibition against political dynasty in the present constitution which provided no chance to rule for other deserving individuals—hence the need to have amendments along this area.
We need no amendment nor revision of the Constitution in its entirety instead it has to be reviewed to ascertain if changes are needed. No constitution can provide for all possibilities although our policy makers and implementers were very discerning and provided for many solutions for future situations. Undoubtedly, what we need are leaders who abide with the existing constitution—political leaders who exercise sound leadership at all times to ensure that the process of implementation is really on track.
But the move to change if is a reflection of hunger for power of some of our politicians and to give these leaders an extension or longer term—then the cycle repeats. As a nation, there is an urgent need for us to be unified, we should have that patience that transcends with other Filipinos who firmly believe that our constitution as a lifeblood of the nation –a workable document that will steer us to a truly progressive Philippines –a nation with a democracy that endures and will always endure the challenges of time. After all, no amount of political differences and crises would weaken the strong bond and the resiliency we Filipinos are known for.
I therefore reiterate my stand and my conviction that our constitution stands firm as it is drafted.
DEMAR G. CAHILIG