1987 Charter the best among the Philippine constitutions

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Many of the young and a good number of older but uncaring Filipinos might not have known that in our history as a nation and as a people, we have had not just one but nine Constitutions so far. And based on my careful study, the current one is the best. And there is nothing wrong with it. Those who want to play games with the fundamental law just to allow their alien masters to come in and rob us of our patrimony should be ashamed of themselves.

Our first, in case you do not know or do not remember, was the short-lived Constitution of Biak-na-Bato, drafted by Isabelo Artacho and Felix Ferrer in a hinterland cave in Bulacan, and this took effect only from November 1,1897 to December 14, 1897. It was de facto and there is no record that it was ratified. The second was the famous Malolos Constitution, which was drafted by the Malolos Congress inside the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan, and took effect from January 23, 1899 until March 23, 1901. Out of the 100 members of the Malolos Congress, 98 voted to approve it. It was by virtue of that organic law that Emilio Aguinaldo was elected president in the Tejeros Convention.

The third were the two organic acts under the American regime from December 10, 1898 to March 34, 1934, namely: the Philippine Organic Act of 1902 or the Jones Law, and the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916 or the Tydings-McDuffie Act. Those were the years when the Americans mentored the Filipinos on the art and science of self-government. We were prepared to become independent.

The fourth was a major one, known to us as the 1935 Commonwealth Constitution which took effect from November 15, 1935 to July 4, 1946. It was ratified by 96.43% or 1,213,046 voters out of 1,258,009 who voted. The same became our fifth when the new republic readopted it and took effect from July 4, 1946 up to January 16, 1973.

But there was an interloper, which is our sixth, the Japan-imposed Constitution which took effect de facto from October 14, 1943 to August 17, 1945. The seventh was the Marcos Martial Law Constitution, which took effect from January 17, 1973 to February 22, 1986, the EDSA Revolution. That Marcos Charter had a doubtful ratification process by mere raising of hands in viva voce. The records claim that 90.67% ratified it or allegedly 14,976,561 out of 19,908,760 who voted.

The eighth was the Freedom Constitution written by the inner circle of President Corazon C. Aquino, specifically Joker Arroyo who copied mainly from the 1935 Charter with few innovations. It took effect from March 25, 1986 to February 1, 1987.

The 1987 Charter is our ninth and our best. It was ratified by 77.04% or 16,622,111 out of 21,575,486 valid votes. This Constitution reflects the genuine aspiration and ultimate dream of every Filipino, which is to build a just and humane society. It enshrines the fundamental rights of a freedom-loving and honest, hard-working people. It upholds the value of life, human rights, family, protection of women and youth, and the promotion of social justice in all phases of national development. It seeks to protect, conserve, and develop our national patrimony, our ancestral domain and the natural resources of our land, seas, rivers, lakes, and air.

The proponent of economic changes seek to allow their favored alien friends, business partners, and clients to rob us of our natural patrimony. If we love our country and if we are mindful of our own rights and interests, we need to stand together to oppose all these treacherous travesties of our most fundamental law.

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