A Constitution ‘to die for’? | Inquirer Opinion

A Constitution ‘to die for’?

/ 12:14 AM February 10, 2017

Davide vows to defend Charter with his life” (News, 2/3/17) reported that former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. said he is ready to “fight moves by President Duterte and his allies in Congress to overhaul (the current Constitution).” He was railing against the principal proposal to shift from the present unitary system of government to federalism. “This is the Constitution I’m willing to die for,” he stressed.

Excuse me, but Davide should rephrase that. For one thing, the 1987 Constitution “to die  for” has a very shameful provision: While declaring “political dynasty” is a despicable thing, it left to Congress the enactment of an enabling law to give it effect. That document has been criticized for being so verbose and redundant in so many parts,  yet so parsimonious where more words were required to  drive home a point.


The truth of the matter is, several members of Congress, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate, are themselves political dynasts who for decades have been blocking any attempt to give flesh to that constitutional provision.  To date, that 1987 ideal is still just a vague notion and will most certainly remain so till kingdom come. Davide never saw that coming?

Had Davide and his fellow members of the commission tasked with formulating that Constitution gone more boldly for the jugular, that antidynasty provision would have become just as self-executory—meaning, would need no legislation to become effective—as the categorical prohibition against the reelection of a six-year-term president has been clearly understood without any ambitious politician quibbling about it anymore.


“To die for”?  Beware of the foot-in-mouth disease, please.


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TAGS: 1987 Constitution, charter change, constitutional change, Hilario Davide Jr., INQUIRER, letters, Ramon Norman Torrefranca
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