THE 1987 Constitution is already 30 years old. That’s what the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) reminded us when it celebrated the 30th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution last Thursday. The occasion was attended by former members of the Constitutional Commission (Con Com), the body formed after the 1986 Edsa People Power uprising by then president Corazon Aquino to craft the charter.

I am not surprised that the CHR would spearhead the commemoration. For one, the commission is an important creation of the 1987 charter, put up because of the lessons culled from the abuses committed by the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Secondly, CHR Chair Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon holds the distinction of having been the youngest member of the Con Com.

Among the former Con Com members who joined the celebration was Gov. Hilario Davide III’s father, former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. He articulated the stand of the other framers of the 1987 Constitution, which is to oppose current attempts by the administration of Rodrigo Duterte to amend the charter. “I am willing to die for the 1987 Constitution,” he said.

Davide described the 1987 Constitution as the only charter in the world that is pro-poor, pro-people, pro-God, pro-marriage, pro-family and pro-environment. He claimed that some of the provisions of the South African constitution were copied from the Philippine charter. I don’t know about that but if true I wouldn’t be surprised. South Africa went through the worst under apartheid like the Philippines also went through bad times under Marcos’s martial law and dictatorship.

In this sense, I would agree that any constitution that the Duterte administration will craft now can never be superior to the 1987 charter. The difference there is in the milieu. The period immediately after the February 1986 uprising, historically, was among the country’s best times. We kicked out a dictator and was the toast of the world for our adherence to democratic tenets. Can we say the same of the Philippines under the current dispensation?

The members of the Con Com were not only people with known probity and intellect, they also straddled the surface of the uprising and embraced some of its progressive views. The creation of the CHR, the setting up of the Philippine National Police (that ensured the dismantling of the notorious Philippine Constabulary), the safeguards laid down in the imposition of military rule, etc.--would not have been in the charter had it been crafted in a different time.

Indeed, three decades after, the same views that made possible military rule and the Marcos dictatorship are being unabashedly promoted again, loosening our embrace of the progressive views that were the engine of the 1986 Edsa people power uprising. This is, for example, the period when extrajudicial killings (we called these “salvaging” under the dictatorship) are being rationalized and the principles of human rights demonized.

Imagine the kind of constitution that will be crafted under current circumstances.