A Netizen’s Commentary on the ConCom’s proposed Federal Constitution (Part I)

Today, the viral copy of the Federal Constitution, as Consultative Committee (ConCom), has been released. Although the spokesperson denies the authenticity and hence, taken down, I cannot blame them but they should’ve released their recent update, for the sake of transparency and to inform and give opinions from the sovereign Filipino people. Well, it’s a norm in President Duterte’s philosophy of governance — takpan muna bago paliwanag.

Luckily, I downloaded the popular copy (in short, malaking resibo) but before they will send their actual recommendations to the President on Monday, July 9. I’ll try to make a summary out of the first 6 articles of the draft. Not all provisions will be tackled.


Preamble

No substantial changes from the current constitution amidst additional adjectives.

Article I. National Territory

This is the part where the geophysical boundary of the effect of the Constitution.

Section 2. The Philippines has sovereign rights over that maritime expanse beyond its territorial sea to the extent reserved to it by international law, as well as over its extended continental shelf, including the Philippine Rise. Its citizens shall enjoy the right to all resources within these areas.

In this section, we do our part but our leaders are lazing up to China. And that last sentence, tell that to the fishermen in Zambales!

Article II. Declaration of Principles and State Policies

Principles

SECTION 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. The Republic shall uphold federalism, national unity, and territorial integrity.

Sovereignty resides in the people… Territorial integrity. Oh dear, we neglect to do our duties because you are an unconditional worshipper of the cult of personality.

SECTION 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as a part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

Filing a protest against China does not constitute as a war but this government enjoyed the loophole of amity with all nations, including the territorial adversary.

Section 3. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Government is the protector of the people and the Federal Republic. The Armed Forces of the Philippines shall secure the sovereignty of the Republic and the integrity of its national territory. The Government may call upon the people to defend the Federal Republic and render personal military or civil service under conditions provided by federal law

Conscription, ROTC, mandatory military service can be declared here.

Section 4. The recognition of fundamental freedoms, the observance of the rule of law, and the promotion of sustainable human development are essential for the enjoyment by the people of the benefits of a democratic republican federal government.
Section 5. The separation of the church and the State shall be inviolable. Relations between them shall be governed by benevolent neutrality.
Tribalism alert: This does not apply if you are part of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

State Policies

Section 6. The Federal Republic shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In establishing relations with other States, its paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.
It does not say, pursue a China-dependent foreign policy!
SECTION 7. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from weapons of mass destruction in its territory.
What are you waiting for?
SECTION 8. The Federal Republic shall maintain honesty, integrity, and efficiency in the public service and take positive, effective, deterrent, and punitive measures against graft and corruption.
That means, no fake news peddling and make alibis!
SECTION 9. The Federal Republic, hereby adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.
Desperately needing that law — with tooth.
SECTION 10. The Federal Republic and its instrumentalities shall, at all times, maintain the highest quality of governance, integrity, transparency, and accountability.
Echos!
Sections 11 to 27 are the most yawning provisions, hence the ommission, but for libertarians, this is insulting and called it a “nanny state.” More on that in later parts.
SECTION 28. The Federal Republic shall promote the autonomy of local government units in accord with federalism.
Really?

Article III. Bill of Rights

A. CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS

SECTION 7. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. For this purpose, the local government units shall, among other things, establish appropriate freedom parks for the peaceful assembly of the people.
We are still one of the nations with journalistic impunity and continues to be harassed. Are you okay with this?
SECTION 21. (a) No person shall be detained solely by reason of his political beliefs and aspirations.
(b)No involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.
Really, if I’m critical of this administation and I’ve been detained by you fanatics and enslaved us. Is that nationalism or being a complete freak?
SECTION 22. (a) Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall death penalty be imposed, unless for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it. Any death penalty already imposed shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
For now, the death penalty bill is stalled.
Sections 26-28 is OK for me but not for, you guessed it, hardcore libertarians.

Article IV. Citizenship

No change there. I’m good with that but sadly, it does not have jus sinigang or the Liza Soberano Doctrine where one must love sinigang to acquire citizenship. Okay, I’m kidding.

Article V. Suffrage and Political Rights

SECTIONS 4 to 7 is something we all wanted: mature political parties mechanism. However, it’ll still be a multi-party system.

Religious denominations and sects, and political parties which seek to achieve their goals through violence or unlawful means, or refuse to uphold and adhere to this Constitution, or which are supported by any foreigner or foreign government shall not be registered. (Section 4b)

Sorry, CIBAC, Alagad, BUHAY Partylist, your party might be over.

Section 7 expressively ends the era of political turncoatism where previous Constitutions left out.

Section 8 is the anti-political dynasty mechanism but we need an enabling law.

Article VI. People’s Initiative, Plebiscite and Referendum

If I were in the ConCom on People’s Initiative:

  • A proposal to revise the Constitution shall be accompanied by the signature of voters representing at least a quarter (25%) of the votes cast in the last national election, of which it has a support of at least a majority of regions.
  • A proposal to amend the Constitution shall be accompanied by the signature of voters representing at least twelve percent (12%) of the votes cast in the last preceding national elections, of which at least a majority of federated regions must be represented;
  • A proposal to enact, amend or reject a Federal Law must be accompanied by the signature of voters representing at least ten percent (10%) of the votes cast in the last preceding national elections, of which at least a majority of federated regions must be represented.

The rest goes normal, I suppose.

Part II will be up tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “A Netizen’s Commentary on the ConCom’s proposed Federal Constitution (Part I)

  1. Pingback: A Netizen’s Commentary on the ConCom’s proposed Federal Constitution (Part II) | Timow P

  2. Pingback: A Netizen’s Commentary on the ConCom’s proposed Federal Constitution (Part III) | Timow P

  3. Pingback: A Netizen’s Commentary on the ConCom’s proposed Federal Constitution (Part IV) | Timow P

  4. Pingback: A Netizen’s Commentary on the ConCom’s proposed Federal Constitution (Part V) | Timow P

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