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o It’s purpose is to prescribe the permanent

framework of a system of government, to
GENERAL PRINCIPLES assign to the several departments their
respective powers and duties, and to establish
Political Law certain first principles on which the
government is founded [11 Am. Jur. 606].
o That branch of public law which deals with the
organization ,and operations of the
governmental organs of the State and defines Classification of the Constitution
the relations of the State with the inhabitants
of its territory [People v. Perfecto, 43 Phil. 1. Written or unwritten
887; Macariola v. Asuncion, 114 SCRA 77
o A written constitution is one whose
Scope/Divisions of Political Law precepts are embodied in one
document or set of documents;
o Constitutional Law
o Law on Municipal Corporations o An unwritten constitution consists of
o Law of Public Officers rules which have not been
o Election Laws integrated into a single, concrete
form but are scattered in various
sources, such as statutes of a
Basis of the Study fundamental character, judicial
decisions, commentaries of
o 1987 Constitution
publicists, customs and traditions,
o 1973 and 1935 Constitutions
and certain common law principles
o Other organic laws made to apply to the
Philippines, e.g., Philippine Bill of 1902, Jones
Law of 1916, and Tydings-McDuffie Law of
2. Enacted (Conventional) or Evolved
o Statutes, executive orders and decrees, and
judicial decisions
o U.S. Constitution. o A conventional constitution is
enacted, formally struck off at a
definite time and place following a
THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION conscious or deliberate effort taken
by a constituent body or ruler
o A cumulative constitution is the
o That body of rules and maxims in accordance
result of political evolution, not
with which the powers of sovereignty are
inaugurated at any specific time but
habitually exercised [Cooley, Constitutional
changing by accretion rather than by
Limitations, p. 4]. With particular reference to
any systematic method
the Constitution of the Philippines: That
written instrument enacted by direct action of
3. Rigid or Flexible
the people by which the fundamental powers
of the government are established, limited
and defined, and by which those powers are o A rigid Constitution is one that can
distributed among the several departments be amended only by a formal and
for their safe and useful exercise for the usually difficult process
benefit of the body politic [Malcolm, Philippine
Constitutional Law, p. 6].
o while a flexible Constitution is one c) Constitution of Sovereignty
that can be changed by ordinary
legislation o The provisions pointing out the
mode or procedure in accordance
with which formal changes in the
fundamental law may be brought
Qualities of a good written about, e.g., Art. XVII.
Interpretation/Construction of the
a) Broad Constitution
o Not just because it provides for the
organization of the entire 1. Verba Legis
government and covers all persons
and things within the territory of the o Whenever possible, the words used
State but because it must be in the Constitution must be given
comprehensive enough to provide their ordinary meaning except where
for every contingency. technical terms are employed. As
b) Brief the Constitution is not primarily a
o It must confine itself to basic lawyer’s document, it being essential
principles to be implemented with for the rule of law to obtain that it
legislative details more adjustable to should ever be present in the
change and easier to amend. people’s consciousness, its language
as much as possible should be
c) Definite understood in the sense they have a
o To prevent ambiguity in its common use. Second, where there is
provisions which could result in ambiguity.
confusion and divisiveness among
the people 2. Ratio Legis Et Anima

o The words of the Constitution should

Essential parts of a good written be interpreted in accordance with
the intent of the framers. Thus, in
Constitution: Civil Liberties Union v. Executive
Secretary, 194 SCRA 317, it was held
that the Court in construing a
a) Constitution of Liberty Constitution should bear in mind the
object sought to be accomplished
o The series of prescriptions setting and the evils sought to be prevented
forth the fundamental civil and or remedied.
political rights of the citizens and
imposing limitations on the powers o A doubtful provision shall be
of government as a means of examined in light of the history of
securing the enjoyment of those the times and the conditions and
rights, e.g., Art. III. circumstances under which the
Constitution was framed.
b) Constitution of Government
3. Ut Magis Valeat Quam Pereat
o The series of provisions outlining the
organization of the government, o The Constitution has to be
enumerating its powers, laying down interpreted as a whole.
certain rules relative to its
administration, and defining the o In Civil Liberties Union, it was
electorate, e.g., Arts. VI, VII, VIII declared that sections bearing on a
and IX. particular subject should be
considered and interpreted together
as to effectuate the whole purpose basic governmental plan as to amount to a
of the Constitution and one section revision”.
is not to be allowed to defeat
another, if by any reasonable
construction, the two can be made Steps in the amendatory process:
to stand together.
1. Proposal-The adoption of the suggested
change in the Constitution. A proposed
amendment may come from:

Revision o Congress, by a vote of % of all its

members. Majority of authorities
o Broadly implies a change that alters a basic opine that this is to be understood
principle in the Constitution, like altering the as 3 /4 of the Senate and 3 /4 of the
principle of separation of powers or the House of Representatives.
system of checks and balances.
o There is also revision if the change alters the o Constitutional Convention,
substantial entirety of the Constitution. which may be called into existence
o Generally affects several provisions of the either by a 2/3 vote of all the
Constitution members of Congress, or (if such
vote is not obtained) by a majority
vote of all the members of Congress
with the question of whether or not
o It broadly refers to a change that adds, to call a Convention to be resolved
reduces, deletes, without altering the basic by the people in a plebiscite [Sec. 3,
principle involved. Art. XVII].
o Generally affects only the specific provision
being amended. o People, through the power of
initiative [Sec. 2, Art. XVI/].
Requisite: A petition of at least 12%
Lambino v. Comelec, G.R. No. 174153, October of the total number of registered
25, 2006 voters, of which every legislative
district must be represented by at
o The Lambino proposal constituted a revision,
least 3% of the registered voters
not simply an amendment, of the
Constitution, because it involved a change in
the form of government, from presidential to
o Limitation: No amendment in this
parliamentary, and a shift from the present
manner shall be authorized within
bicameral to a a unicameral legislature.
five years following the ratification of
this Constitution nor more often than
o In determining whether the Lambino proposal
once every five years thereafter.
involves an amendment or a revision, the
Court considered the two-part test. First, the Initiative
quantitative test asks whether the proposed
change is so extensive in its provisions as to o is the power of the people to propose
change directly the “substance entirety” of amendments to the Constitution or to
the Constitution by the deletion or alteration propose and enact legislation through an
of numerous provisions. The court examines election called for the purpose
only the number of provisions affected and
does not consider the degree of the change. o Three systems of Initiative:
Second, the qualitative test, which inquiries
into the qualitative effects of the proposed  Initiative on the Constitution
change in the Constitution. The main inquiry -which refers to a petition
is whether the change will “accomplish such proposing amendments to the
far-reaching changes in the nature of our Constitution;
 Initiative on Statutes would be [Tolentino v. Comelec, 41 SCRA
-Which refers to a petition 702]
proposing to enact a national
legislation; and
Judicial Review of Amendments
 Initiative on Local Legislation o The question is now regarded as subject to
-which refers to a petition judicial review, because invariably, the issue
proposing to enact a regional, will boil down to whether or not the
provincial, city, municipal or constitutional provisions had been followed
barangay law, resolution or [Sanidad v. Comelec, 78 SCRA 333; Javellana
ordinance [Sec. 2(a), R.A. 6735]. v. Executive Secretary, 50 SCRA 50

 Indirect Initiative Judicial Review

-is exercise of initiative by
the people through a proposition o The power of the courts to test the validity of
sent to Congress or the local executive and legislative acts in light of their
legislative body for action [Sec. 2(b) conformity with the Constitution.
R.A. 6735]
o This is not an assertion of superiority by the
Ratification courts over the other departments, but
merely an expression of the supremacy of the
o The proposed amendment shall become part Constitution [Angara v. Electoral Commission,
of the Constitution when ratified by a majority 63 Phil. 139].
of the votes cast in a plebiscite held not earlier
than 60 nor later than 90 days after the o The duty remains to assure that the
approval of the proposal by Congress or the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld
Constitutional Convention, or after the [Aquino v. Enrile, 59 SCRA 183]
certification by the Commission on Elections
of the sufficiency of the petition for initiative o The power is inherent in the Judicial
under Sec. 2, Art. XVII. Department, by virtue of the doctrine of
Doctrine of Proper Submission separation of powers.

o Because the Constitution itself prescribes the

time frame within which the plebiscite is to be Who may exercise the power of Judicial Review
held, there can no longer be a question on o Sec. 4(2), Art. VIII of the Constitution
whether the time given to the people to recognizes the power of the Supreme Court
determine the merits and demerits of the to decide constitutional questions.
proposed amendment is adequate.
Functions of Judicial Review

Plebiscite a) Checking

o may be held on the same day as regular b) Legitimating

c) Symbolic [See: Salonga v. Pano, 134 SCRA
o The use of the word “election" in the singular 438]
meant that the entire Constitution must be
Requisites of Judicial Review/lnquiry:
submitted for ratification at one plebiscite
only; furthermore, the people have to be 1. Actual case or controversy
given a “proper frame of reference” in arriving
at their decision. Thus, submission for o A conflict of legal rights, an assertion
ratification of piece-meal amendments by the of opposite legal claims which can be
Constitutional Convention (which is tasked to resolved on the basis of existing law
revise the Constitution) was disallowed since and jurisprudence [Guingona v.
the people had, at that time, no idea yet of Court of Appeals, G. R. No. 125532,
what the rest of the revised Constitution July 10, 1998]
used for a decision. The
o A request for an advisory opinion is constitutional issue must be the lis
not an actual case or controversy. mota of the case. See: Zandueta v.
But an action for declaratory relief is de la Costs, supra.; De la Llana v.
proper for judicial determination. Alba, 112 SCRA 294.

o The issues raised in the case must

not be moot and academic, or Effects of Declaration of Unconstitutionality
because of subsequent a) Orthodox view
developments, have become moot
and academic. o An unconstitutional act is not a law;
o it confers no rights;
2. The constitutional question must be o it imposes no duties;
raised by the proper party. o it affords no protection;
o it creates no office;
o A proper party is one who has o it is inoperative, as if it had not been
sustained or is in imminent danger passed at all. See Art. 7, Civil Code
of sustaining an injury as a result of of the Philippines.
the act complained of.
b) Modern view
o To be a proper party, one must have
“legal standing”, or locus standi. o Courts simply refuse to recognize
the law and determine the rights of
o Locus standi is defined as a right of the parties as if the statute had no
appearance in a court of justice on a existence. See: Manila Motors v.
given question. Flores, 99 Phil. 738; Serrano de
Agbayani v. PNB, 35 SCRA 429;
3. The constitutional question must be Republic v. Henda, 119 SCRA 411.
raised at the earliest possible Certain legal effects of the statute
opportunity. prior to its declaration of
unconstitutionality may be
o In Matibag v. Benipayo, G.R. No. recognized. See: Pelaez v. Auditor
149036, April 2, 2002, it was held General, 15 SCRA 569. Thus, a
that the earliest opportunity to raise public officer who implemented an
a constitutional issue is to raise it In unconstitutional law prior to the
the pleadings before a competent declaration of unconstitutionality
court that can resolve the same, cannot be held liable [Ynot v. IAC,
such that, If not raised in the supra]
pleadings, it cannot be considered at
the trial and, if not considered in the
trial, it cannot be considered on Requisites of Partial Unconstitutionality:
a) The Legislature must be willing to retain
the valid portion(s), usually shown by the presence of
4. The decision on the constitutional a separability clause in the law; and
question must be determinative of the
case itself. b) The valid portion can stand independently
as law. See: In Re: Cunanan, 94 Phil. 534; Salazar v.
o Because of the doctrine of Achacoso, 183 SCRA 145.
separation of powers which
demands that proper respect be
accorded the other departments,
courts are loathe to decide
constitutional questions as long as
there is some other basis that can be