AGAIN, to aid in the intelligent discussion and debate on charter change, we have prepared another matrix, comparing this time the 1987 Constitution with the working draft of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by Lakas Rep. Constantino Jaraula.

At first glance, the House draft appears to be a benign document, with seemingly fewer controversial provisions than what the Constitution being proposed by the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo-assembled Consultative Commission on charter change (Con-Com) contains.

Well, for a while, it does seem so. The text of the preamble is untouched. Article I (National Territory) only had the phrase "and/or historic right or legal title" (similar to the Con-Com’s) inserted to its provision. It does not introduce any new article, much more a Bill of Duties, except for one, Article VII-A on The Prime Minister and the Cabinet, which is an obligatory appendage to the one on the President which has replaced the old article on the Executive Department given a projected shift to the parliamentary system.
And unlike the Con-Com proposal which dropped 18 provisions under Article II on the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, only two sections have encountered substantial revisions, although Section 2 no longer renounces war as an instrument of national policy, but merely "abhors" it.

Section 3 drops the description of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as "the protector of the people and the State" and supplants it by stating that "shall secure the sovereignty of the State, the integrity of the national territory, and the fundamental rights of the people."

Section 25 adds the phrase "or clusters thereof, towards the ultimate establishment of a federal system of government" to the declaration regarding the autonomy of local governments.

The Bill of Rights virtually escapes unscathed except for Section 19, where the death penalty imposed on crimes shall no longer be reduced to reclusion perpetua, and subsection (3) of Section 12, which extends the inadmissibility of any confession that is obtained in violation of said section "in any proceeding."

But as soon as one begins reading Article VI on The Parliament and onwards, the real nature of the proposed amendments are revealed.

For starters, take a look at Article XVIII. Clearly written all over the transitory provisions is the "No Elections" scenario in 2007 that the Con-Com has earlier proposed.

Sections 1 to 4 now read as follows:

Section 1. The unicameral parliamentary system and the Parliament provided herein shall begin immediately after ratification of these Amendments, with the present Congress converted into the Interim Parliament and all Members thereof shall become automatic Members of the Interim Parliament until June 30, 2007.  The first elections of the Members of the Parliament, and of all local officials nationwide except those of the Barangay, shall be held on the second Monday of May, 2007. The senators elected in May 2004 shall serve as Members of Parliament until June 30, 2010.

Section 2. The incumbent Vice President shall automatically become Member of the Parliament and of the Cabinet until June 30, 2010. He shall preside over the Parliament for the immediate election of the Prime Minister, upon nomination of the incumbent President. Thereafter, the Parliament shall elect the Speaker, and both shall assume their respective offices immediately.

Section 3. However, if in the Plebiscite for the ratification of the foregoing proposed amendments, the people shall decide to set the first elections under the parliamentary system to the second Monday of May 2010, then the Interim Parliament shall be extended until June 30, 2010.

Section 4. On the other hand, if the people decide to push through with the elections of 2007, then the terms of office of all officials elected therein shall be up to June 30, 2012. And Parliament shall elect, after noon of June 30, 2010, from among the Members thereof the President who shall serve until June 30, 2012.

Section 3 even poses a deceptive multiple choice that the Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL) dissects into two major proposals to be submitted to a planned plebiscite: (1) whether or not the people support the parliamentary system and its resulting parliamentary elections, and (2) whether or not the
people want to postpone th 2007 elections.

Voting "no" to the first, according to CODAL, is tantamount to voting to a postponement of the 2007 elections. A "yes" vote, on the other hand, implies suporting the shift to the parliamentary system.

(CODAL has issued a legal memorandum that comprehensively discusses the House proposals. To read more, click here.)

Here’s more under Article XVIII. Under the new Section 8, which reads:

From the ratification of the foregoing Amendments to June 30, 2010, the  incumbent President shall continue to exercise the same powers as she has now, except those she will delegate to the Prime Minister who shall serve as chief operating officer of the government, conformably with the Parliamentary system.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is not only guaranteed to stay as president until 2010, she is assured as well of the same powers she enjoys now, including commander-in-chief powers, control and supervision over the Ministies and Cabinet, executive powers of supervision over local governments, power to contract loans and to ratify treaties.

Section 25 under the same article, which reads:

After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and, when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose, and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.

has been deleted, largely seen as eliminating the last constitutional obstacle to the re-deployment of US troops and the reestablishment of US military bases in the country.

The safety mechanisms against martial law instituted under the 1987 Constitution have also been removed. Under Section 12 of Article VII-A (The Prime Minister and the Cabinet), only the first paragraph remains, a largely diluted one:

The Prime Minister shall be commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Philippines, and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, insurrection, or rebellion. In case of invasion, or rebellion, or imminent danger thereof when the public safety requires it, he may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.

Gone from the provision is the clause that limits martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus to a period not exceeding 60 days. Gone as well are the powers of Congress to revoke such a proclamation or suspension, and of the Supreme Court to initiate a review of the factual basis of the proclamation or suspension.

The section also introduces new grounds for declaring martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus. Whereby the 1987 Constitution limited martial law to "rebellion and invasion, when public safety requires it," the nebulous concept of "imminent danger" also will now suffice.

Download the matrix here to learn more about what has been removed, revised and added to the 1987 Constitution as proposed by the Jaraula committee.

By the way, we hope Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao, whose services is reportedly being tapped by the Arroyo administration to help in its campaign to make charter change acceptable to the people, will engage himself in rigorous study of the proposed charter changes the way he seriously trains to prepare for a boxing match. Please tell him about this blog.

10 Responses to Another easy guide, this time,
to the House-proposed Constitution



January 31st, 2006 at 2:08 pm

Revision of the 1987 constitution now is a futile exercise. We all know that the con-com’s proposal is tainted with malacañang’s interests. The house draft is also full of deceptions and vague provisions. The interest of the majority may prevail on the working draft, but with our legislature’s reputation of insertions on any piece of legislation, the final draft will surely be against the sovereign will of the Filipino nation.

I won’t bother to consider studying neither the con-com’ proposal nor the House drafts. What would I rather do if I can, is to campaign against the overhaul of the present constitution. What we need is just an amendment to some bad provisions in it.



January 31st, 2006 at 9:08 pm

Whether be it done by the House or by the Con-com, by a Con-Con or Con-Ass, Charter change still misses the entire point of solving the legitimacy GMA’s ascendancy to the Presidency.

The issue is not entirely about our imperfect Constitution( Is there one out there?) being too old, the issue is whether GMA cheated or not.

This has been stressed by the CBCP in their newest pastoral letter and I do hope that the silent majority would quickly get over their prayers and start to put those in action.


lokalokang matino

January 31st, 2006 at 10:32 pm

GRABE!!! TAILOR made for gloria makapal arrovo… Para bang sinulat ni TIGLAO, Ni-review the BUNYE, proof read by MIKE DEFENSOR, APPROVED BY MIKE ARROVO, prresented to TO ABUEVA , submitted to gloria.

Imaginne removing the safeguards in declaring martial rule!!! These people must really be REMOVED from power.

GARAPALAN!!! Do we, 80million Filipinos allow this?



February 2nd, 2006 at 10:54 pm

If at all, the charter change will be successful, elections next year pushes through, and ultimately the shift to parliamentary system of gov’t takes effect… as most others see it, the PGMA will remain in power…look again. JDV? listen more… FVR? his cigar is burnt! Kabayan?..nah!!!!!No way, Jose! Sen. Drilon?…Ambot lang kung tugutan sang mga ilonggo ini sya! Sen. M. Santiago?…Ambot man gihapon! ma-alam guid man na sya sa constitution, no doubt about that. (sorry about my greek!)

But still, we are forgetting someone…

So, who else have we left unnoticed? Aha! there, now you can’t seem to attach another luminary as to who will be the next member of the Powers That Be?

It’s none of the above! At present this person is busy collating all the data, outside looking in, watching at the bleachers of the never-ending political brawls; acting as if he’s the king of the jungle now, waiting for the right time to attack and growl.

Many perceive this person to be a good substitute in the new system of gov’t called parliamentary; he’s a good businessman, according to his horn-tooters, however was part of the grim past of the Marcos regime, Enriched himself at the time. No… it’s not even JPE! he would be too grouchy by then.

This person I have in mind is also tagged by those close to him that he has a spitfire attitude, with an undertow worst than tsunami. If in my previous comments here, I’ve said that some broadcasters are members of the AC/DC (attack & collect/ Defend & collect) team, this next supposed “Prime Minister” if indeed, the shift to parliamentary will push through, is very much accommodated by the AC/DC chosen few broadcasters.

So, observe and monitor your favorite AM talk stations when the shift to parliamentary is almost to be won, and said AC/DC announcers will flaunt his name…

I’m sure you all got DC, (oops!,wrong spelling,) Dizzy with my hyperbole:)


lokalokang matino

February 6th, 2006 at 2:01 am

I dont think, we need aids, tools for an intelligent idscussions on the CON-COM. What we need is an intelligent solution to this self-serving
GIMMICRY of this illegal administration. The best solution is to TRASH and refused discussion,publication of any issue connected to the proposed amendment to the constitution. The more we provide forum to this proposal, the more, they will be incourage to ram our throat
further and deeper until we dilirously say yes.

We have to make our stand clear and stubornly deny them any chance
to impressed their will on us. We have to say NO,NO, NO,NO,NO, NOW.
Lets IGNORE, IGNORE, IGNORE, IGNORE, Even if these CONCOM proponents shout on top of their voice, just ignore, ignore and ignore.



February 7th, 2006 at 8:51 pm

out muna si gloria bago chacha



February 10th, 2006 at 10:02 am

In general, I try to look at these proposals as objectively as possible. It’s hard to do that, however, when so many of the suggested changes are obviously self-serving. I agree with the general sentiment of everyone who has written thus far, but I don’t think we can afford to ignore these proposals. We need to understand them, especially if there’s any chance (even the slightest) that they’ll succeed. At the very least, if we want to convince others that charter change is not a good idea (at least not in the form currently presented), then even more that we need to understand the proposals — so we can point out egregiously bad provisions to other people.

Believe it or not, the House draft is not completely devoid of good ideas. For example, increasing the quorum for parliamentary sessions from 33% to 50% should be welcomed. Too many House representatives today have spotty attendance records. (Someone needs to remind them that they are elected to /legislate/ — they can’t do that if they’re always absent.) Another great idea included in the House draft is the forfeiture of office upon abandonment of party. This will definitely boost party discipline, which is necessary for any well-functioning parliamentary system. Among other things, this rule makes it so that MPs’ loyalties can’t be “bought” so easily.

That said, most of the House changes are NOT good (and I’m not even going to mention the numerous “vague” provisions they included). First and foremost, party-list representation is significantly reduced in the House draft. So much for the rights of laborers, peasants, the poor, and other minority groups. It’s true, as someone else has pointed out, that the 45-day campaign period hurts the chances of party-list representatives. But that’s just the beginning. Party-list representation is explicitly limited to 20% in the House draft, as opposed to the ConCom’s proposed 30%.

Further, the House draft also reduces the size of the committee on appointments from 36 to 15, Sounds harmless, no? But let’s think about it, especially given the importance of that committee. If there were 36 members of the committee on appointments, any party with about 3% of parliamentary seats is entitled to representation. Under the House proposal, however, if there are only 15 members, then a party needs to have almost 7% of the total number of (parliamentary) seats to be even entitled to just one committee member. Anyway you look at it, it’s a double-whammy for minority representation. Not only is it harder for smaller parties to get parliamentary seats in the first place, but now they need even more seats to be represented in the committee on appointments.

There are also some SHOCKING provisions in the House draft. If you read the House draft carefully enough, you’ll discover that the provision on “full disclosure of financial and business interests” has been removed (someone please correct me if I’m wrong). Hindi na ba sila nahiya? What do they take us for? Idiots?



February 10th, 2006 at 11:06 pm

Regarding my previous comment on the proposed size of the Committee on Appointments. I forgot to say that the percentages that I gave were based on a hypothetical 100 person parliament. The real percentages would be different, of course, but the math would be similar — the House draft imposes a threshold that is more than double that imposed by the ConCom’s proposal.


INSIDE PCIJ » Easy guide to the latest House revisions to 1987 Constitution

September 13th, 2006 at 12:21 am

[…] The PCIJ also compared changes in the committee’s earlier drafts with the 61-page, expanded version of House Resolution No. 1230, which contains the latest proposed amendments. The matrix shows that certain amendments in previous versions — especially the more “controversial” ones which have drawn widespread criticism — have been revised in the new draft. (Download the matrix. You may also access previous matrices here and here.) […]


Manuel L. Quezon III: The Daily Dose » Blog Archive » Lobbying the Supremes

October 16th, 2006 at 1:25 pm

[…] A pressure group involved  is supposedly the Iglesia ni Cristo, to which one justice is sympathetic (if not beholden). While the “sweetener” for another justice who would otherwise be out of the running for Chief Justice is the extension of the age of retirement for members of the Supreme Court. This extension has been in the Jaraula amendments to the Constitution for some time. Present Constitution: Section 11.The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall hold office during good behavior until they reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office. The Supreme Court en banc shall have the power to discipline judges of lower courts, or order their dismissal by a vote of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon. […]

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