ALTHOUGH it is the legal bedrock of our life as a nation, the constitution nevertheless should be allowed shifts that from time to time a fluid national situation would demand. It is, however, a completely separate issue what method to use to amend it.
I find it objectionable that Congress should do it as a Constituent Assembly. Congress is packed with members of political dynasties. Arguably, they represent the vested interests of a few families and not the general welfare of the Filipino masses. Their proposals, therefore, can be reasonably presumed or even sufficiently demonstrated to be self-serving.
Congress, for instance, persists in its reluctance to enact a law implementing a provision in the 1987 Constitution banning political dynasties from the nation’s power structure. But taking this out of the Constitution would heap a nation’s ire on them. Thus, the next best self-serving thing they do is keep the enactment of an implementing law hanging all this time and maybe forever.
It’s the other way around in the case of the economic provisions in the Constitution. They have laws in mind to enact that are not supported by existing economic provisions in the Constitution. So, they propose, as they allege, not really to amend the Constitution but merely give themselves constitutional power to enact whatever laws they might have in mind by merely adding the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to economic, educational and general provisions.
There is something sinister in the way Congress bends over backwards to become a constituent assembly for the purpose of giving itself the power to enact laws that could go against the Constitution (how else can we interpret the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law”) while they hardly lift a congressional finger to enact a law implementing the constitutional ban on political dynasties.
Even darker and more sinister is the way the intended insertion puts Congress over and above the constitution. Isn’t it unconstitutional that Congress could go around, over and against the Constitution by enacting laws that provide “otherwise”? So, how can we allow Congress to have the power to enact laws that could be either contrary to, or is not supported by, a provision in the Constitution?
To be credible Congress should enact an enforceable law implementing the constitutional ban on political dynasties. Next, it should propose specific amendments to the economic provisions and not a sweeping power to otherwise enact what could be a contrary law. Finally, charter change should be by a nationally elected Constitutional Convention.
In sum, both content and method of charter change are self-serving. People should move to oppose them.