The Centrist Proposals

The Centrist proposals
The Centrist proposals (CDPI, CDP, Lakas, 2004 ConCom and CDA) calls for a shift to a parliamentary-federal system, with a unicameral body, with the president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government, both elected from among the members of parliament.
The parliament is constituted first and oversees the creation of autonomous territories toward the establishment of federal states.
Shift to the Parliamentary Form of Government
1st stage: now up to February/May 2019 plebiscite and mid-term elections
A. Constituent Assembly will start revising the 1987 Constitution targeting February/May 2019 plebiscite coinciding with mid-term elections
B. Officials elected mid-term will only hold office until first parliamentary elections in May 2020 (one-year term). Transitory provisions in the new constitution will provide for this.
2nd stage: May 2020-2025
A. First unicameral parliamentary elections under the new federal constitution with five-year term.
B. Incumbent DU30 shall continue his dual role as head of state and head of government (prime minister)
3rd stage: May 2022 (DU30’s term ends under the 1987 Constitution)
A. By May 2022, DU30 steps down as head of state and a new president is elected by parliament to serve his remaining term, or
B. DU30 ends his term by 2025 (provided for in the transitory provisions)
4th stage: May 2025-2030
A. 2nd regular parliamentary elections with five-year term. By 2030, we have new president and new prime minister, both elected by the unicameral parliament.
Creation of autonomous territories
1st stage: February/May 2019 plebiscite and mid-term elections
A. Upon ratification of new constitution, a body/commission is created to oversee negotiations, setting parameters for creation of autonomous territories.
B. The Bangsamoro will be constituted ahead based on BBL enacted by Congress previous to the plebiscite.
C. Parliament can enact under the new constitutions the Organic Act of the Bangsamoro and other autonomous territories that are advanced in their negotiations and agreements.
2nd stage: May 2020-2025
A. Parliament shall guide and allow evolution of the provinces and highly urbanized cities from what they are today into autonomous territories (eventually a federal state) based on several criteria (details in the booklet).
B. Results of these negotiations shall be incorporated in an organic law by parliament within a year of a petition to be subsequently approved by the constituents of the newly formed autonomous territory in a referendum.
C. Some provinces and cities will be ahead of the pack and some will be laggards therefore the development of a federal republic will not be uniform.
D. If 60 percent of the autonomous territories are established with their organic acts, then the Federal Republic of the Philippines is created. By our reckoning, this will happen between 2025 and 2028.
This roadmap to federalism is thus designed to mitigate the shock to the body politic arising from the purging of traditional political practices, first, through the immediate passage of reform laws, now pending in Congress. Furthermore, the critical process of transition to a parliamentary-federal republic has to be in place in the revised constitution so the assurance of its continuity is safeguarded by the constitution itself even beyond the term of the current president.

PDP-Laban Draft Executive Summary

Proposed Amendments to the 1987 Philippine Constitution
[The Constitution of the Federal Republic of the Philippines]

The PDP Laban Model of PH Federalism: An Executive Summary

The Philippines has a unitary system of government by an accident of history. The Spaniards and Americans who colonized our country saw that that fastest way to subjugate the native peoples was to set-up a highly-centralized system with Manila as the imperial capital. Despite the archipelagic nature of the country inhabited by diverse cultures, the unitary system was carried over even when the Philippines gained its independence and became a Republic in 1946.
Through time, the disadvantages of a unitary system became apparent in the country. The system concentrated political and economic power in the “center” and thus, development was limited in areas close to Manila and stifled elsewhere. Not surprisingly, in a country of more than 100 million people, sixty two per cent (62%) of the country’s GDP comes from Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON while the rest of the country is suffering from underdevelopment and low investment. Our system of government has resulted in a grave imbalance in the distribution of resources among regions and local government units. Unfortunately, this inequality has led to social unrest, with various groups (especially in Mindanao) arming themselves to fight against the system. Clearly, there is a need for change.
The problem, we submit, is our highly-centralized form of government and the solution, we believe, is the adoption of the federal system. We believe that the only way to bring about equitable and widespread development in our country is for the central government to share power – political and economic – with the regions and LGUs.
The unprecedented assumption to power of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his political party, PDP Laban, has given the country a rare opportunity to introduce systemic change to our country’s system of government, among other Constitutional Reforms. The solution advocated by PDP Laban since 1982 is to abandon the unitary system and shift to a Federal system of government. Federalism, a system of governance, has been adopted by many nations in the world such as the United States, Germany, Malaysia, and Australia to keep their countries strong and progressive while allowing the different communities within their country to work together for the progress of all.
As a political think tank, the PDP Laban Federalism Institute has been studying and advocating for Federalism in the Philippines. In July of last year, the Federalism Study Group[2] composed of various political scientists, lawyers, politicians and practitioners was convened by the Institute under the direction of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. The group was tasked to study various federalism models from around the world, determine what model would be best for our country, and propose the necessary amendments to the Constitution.
In proposing amendments to the Constitution, the Federalism Study Group approached this task based on the following principles:
  1. There is no “one size fits all model” of Federalism. Federalism scholars contend that there are as many federal models as there are federal countries; every federal country has a distinct model that works best for its own country. Countries who wish to shift to a federal system – like the Philippines — must discern its own version of federalism according to the peculiar conditions of their societies. Therefore, it is important to learn from the experiences – whether good or bad – of existing federations.
  2. There is a different context to Federalism in the Philippines. Many of the established federations in the world like the US and Australia examples of “coming together” federalism, meaning they were independent states that decided to bond together. We, on the other hand, will be an example of a “holding together” federalism, because we are already a unitary state seeking to shift into a federation. Thus, many of the standard features of federal countries like “shared sovereignty” between the federal and regional governments do not apply to us because of our different context.
  3. There is no need to come up with an entirely new Constitution. The 1987 Constitution has many good provisions that need not be changed. Thus, we have taken a “surgical” approach towards amending the fundamental law, concentrating only on the articles and provisions that would enshrine federalism into the Constitution and strengthen our public institutions, among others. Thus, there are articles in the 1987 Constitution that are left practically untouched such as Articles on the Bill of Rights, Citizenship, and Suffrage, among others.
It is essential that we continue to strengthen our democracy not by supplanting or doing away entirely with the 1987 Constitution but by improving the current Constitution, the charter that allowed us to abandon Marcos authoritarianism and move forward. In doing so, we ensure Constitutional continuity and stability while at the same time make adjustments in our charter to address the needs of the present and the future.
The PDP Laban Model of PH Federalism being proposed herein draws lessons from other countries but is customized to our own needs and circumstances. The foundational ideas were provided by the ideologues of Federalism like Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., the founder of PDP Laban and father of the Local Government Code. We also took into account the salient features outlined by our Party Chairman, President Rodrigo Duterte. We studied our 25-year experience of devolution under the Local Government Code, our 20-year experience with ARMM, as well as many models of Federalism, Decentralization, and political arrangements from around the world.
Some of the salient features of the proposal includes a shift to a Federal Government with a Semi-Presidential System or a Hybrid Parliamentary System similar to the governments in Taiwan, South Korea, Portugal and to a certain extent, France. It also features a transition mechanism for Regional Governments to prepare themselves for further decentralization, provisions to strengthen political parties, mechanisms to regulate political dynasties, and other political and electoral reforms.
PH Federal System. There shall be two Constitutionally-established orders or levels of government – the Federal Government and the Regional Government. Unlike the present system where there are overlapping mandates between the National Government and Local Government Units (LGUs), each level of government in the Federal structure will have its particular jurisdiction. The Federal Government shall have exclusive legislative powers over National Defense, Police and National Security, Foreign Affairs, Currency, Immigration, and other matters that concern the entire nation.[3] In addition, all residual powers are retained by the Federal Government but these may be delegated to the Regional Governments.
The creation of Regional Governments are guided by the principles of Autonomy, Subsidiarity, Solidarity, Decentralization and Devolution, Democracy and Accountability. Basically, since local governments are closest to the people, they are the ones who are best equipped to deliver basic services to the people. Those basic services, however, that are best delivered under a national standard shall be a shared power[4] between the Federal and Regional Governments. We propose the creation of 11 regional governments the composition of which shall be attached as an ordinance to the Constitution.[5]
Regional Governments shall have primary legislative powers over basic services such as Social Welfare and Development; Tourism; Irrigation, Water and Sewerage; Waste Management; Fire Protection; Regional Development Planning; Franchises, Licenses and Permits; and the allocation and provision of funds and resources to local Governments within the Region, among others.
Semi-Presidential System. It is proposed that our current Presidential System which concentrates executive power in a single office, the Presidency, be replaced with a semi-presidential or hybrid parliamentary system where executive power is dispersed among the President, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Parliament and the Regional Governments.
The logic for this division of executive powers in the context of the Philippines are as follows: First, in the transition to a more decentralized system of governance, we need a popularly elected presidency to hold and unite the country together and ensure that the transition to federalism and transfer of powers to the regions will be successful. The President can help as an arbiter of disputes between the federal and regional governments and among regional governments.
Second, we need an effective president to deal with powerful countries like China and the United States, as well as to effectively compete in a globalized world economy; Third, we need a president who can decisively address the numerous national security problems and natural disasters; Fourth, a pure parliamentary system without strong political parties can be unstable. It will take time to build strong political parties. We need a president to ensure that there is no gridlock in our political system and a president who can remain decisive in cases of national crises;
Finally, having a president, a prime minister, a cabinet and regional chief ministers will help spread out the burdens of governance, avoid a single issue agenda and, most importantly, help speed up regional development by giving more powers to the regions, which is the main objective of our reform. More horses pulling the national and regional wagon together is better than one.[6]
Therefore, we propose both a President and a Prime Minister for our country. The President, who is nationally elected, shall be the Head of State. He/she will be the symbol of the nation and the decisive leader in times of crisis. He/she will be primary responsible for the country’s National Defense and Foreign Affairs. The President can veto acts of Parliament, appoint members of the Judiciary, nominate and with the consent of the Federal Assembly, appoint the Prime Minister and he/she can dissolve the Federal Assembly depending on certain conditions, and call for new elections. Given these powers, the President will be insulated from day-to-day politics and act as an “elder statesman.” The President is given a maximum of two 5-year terms.
The Prime Minister, on the other hand, shall be the Head of Government and he shall now handle the day-to-day affairs of government. It is now the Prime Minister who will set domestic and economic policy and control public finances. He/she should be a member of the majority party or ruling coalition in the Federal Assembly in order to be appointed by the President as Prime Minister. He/she is responsible for the program of Government and determines the guidelines of national policy, appoints members of his/her Cabinet and other officials except those appointed by the President, and prepares the National Expenditure Program and submits it to the Federal Assembly for approval.
The Parliament. It is proposed that the present Bicameral legislature be retained but with different names, powers, and functions. Legislative power shall be vested in Parliament which shall have two houses or chambers – the Federal Assembly and the Senate.
Under the hybrid Parliamentary system, primary legislative power is vested on the Federal Assembly which will be composed of 400 members – 60% elected by plurality votes in Legislative Electoral Districts and 40% elected through the Proportional Representation system of accredited national political parties.[7] The Federal Assembly shall have the power to initiate legislation which shall go through the mandatory 3-readings. The Prime Minister shall also come from the Federal Assembly together with the Cabinet, a majority of which shall come from the Assembly.
The Senate shall now be elected by region just like in other Federal countries. In the exercise of its legislative powers, the Senate shall concur on all bills and resolutions passed by Federal Assembly before it becomes law. But in order to avoid the duplication of functions between the two chambers and to streamline the legislative process, the 3-reading rule shall no longer apply to the Senate. One reading shall suffice. Moreover, it cannot initiate legislation. The power of the Senate shall be limited to the review of bills passed by the Federal Assembly.[8]
Instead of a bicameral Commission on Appointments, it shall now be the Senate who shall confirm appointments made by the President and Prime Minister to the Cabinet (except when the nominee is a member of Parliament) and to other positions (e.g. Constitutional Commissions) that require confirmation. The Senate shall continue to act as the Impeachment Court; approves treaties and international agreements, and screen and nominates appointments to the Judiciary instead of the Judicial and Bar Council.
There shall be 3 senators elected from each Region. Both the Senators and the Members of the Federal Assembly shall have a maximum of two 5-year terms.
Transition Mechanism to a Federal System. For federalism to succeed there must be serious consideration to a smooth transition mechanism. We should learn from the painful experience we had with the devolution of health services et. al. under the 1991 Local Government Code where no smooth transition mechanism was put in place. Since the shift to a federal system will impact on practically all government agencies and levels of government, the transition must be slow, deliberate and purposeful.
It is proposed that there be a three-step process in the transition process. This is important to ensure the capability and readiness of the Regional Governments and their constituent Local Government Units to take on the devolved powers and responsibilities from the Federal Government. The transition mechanism will also give Parliament the time needed to amend national laws as well as enact complementing legislation.
Step 1: Regional and Local Government Code (RLGC). Eighteen months from the ratification of the amendments to the 1987 Constitution, a Regional and Local Government Code shall be enacted by Parliament to replace the 1991 Local Government Code. The RLGC shall define the powers, functions, and responsibilities of Regional Governments and their constituent LGUs. The Code shall also provide the taxing powers and other sources of funds of the Regional and Local Governments. And it shall provide for the creation of an Equalization Fund which shall replace the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
Step 2: Regional Commissions. Once the Regional and Local Government Code is passed, the Regional Governments are deemed created. But in order to save on government resources and do away with the need for new elections for Regional positions, the Regional Governments in the interim shall be governed through Regional Commissions. Each Regional Commission shall be composed of the incumbent Governors of Provinces and Mayors of Highly Urbanized Cities and Independent Component Cities within the Region. The chairmanship of each commission shall be by rotation among its members for a term of one-year term. The organizational structure and operations of the commissions shall be defined by the Regional and Local Government Code.
The Regional Commissions shall serve as the interim Regional Government acting as a collegial body with both executive and legislative Powers. A Regional Chief Administrator who is a professional manager appointed by the Commission En Banc shall act as the Chief Executive Official tasked with running the day-to-day operations of the Regional Government. The Commission shall create and organize the government offices necessary for the effective and efficient functioning of the Regional Government.
The rationale behind the establishment of a Regional Commission as the Interim Regional Government are as follows: Firstly, it will reduce the cost of establishing the regional government as the commissioners are already receiving their salaries from their respective LGUs; Secondly, the regional government can operate right away without the need for new elections which takes time and entails cost to government; Thirdly, it allows the constituent units to determine the agenda of the regional governments until such time that region can transition to a regular regional government through an Organic Act.
Step 3. Regional Organic Act. Within 5-10 years from the establishment of the Regional Government, the Regional Commission shall submit to Parliament for approval a proposed Regional Organic Act more responsive to the needs, culture, and aspirations of the region. The Act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of an Executive Department headed by a Chief Minister and a Regional Assembly composed of elected representatives from each province and city. The regional chief executive called Chief Minister shall be elected by the Regional Assembly from among its members. Once the Regional Organic Act is approved by Parliament, the Regional Commission shall transfer its powers and functions to the Regular Regional Government.
Fiscal Reforms. Changes in the allocation of funds to the regions are at the heart of the shift in the system of government. The unequal distribution of public funds to the regions is one of the major causes of underdevelopment in the country. We will pursue the principle that the budget shall follow the division of powers; which means that the regions should be given the necessary funds to properly exercise the powers devolved to them.
At present, 83% of national government revenue are controlled by the national government and only 17% are allocated to local governments. Under our formula, this will change in favor of regional governments: 60% to be controlled by the Regional Governments and only 40% by Federal Government.[9]
Political, Electoral and Other Reforms.
For Federalism to succeed, it should come with a package of electoral and political reforms. We believe that federalism can fail if we do not institute changes in our political and electoral system.
In order to democratize political power, we propose to make the anti-dynasty provision in the Constitution self-executing. It is proposed that relatives of incumbent politicians up to the 2nd degree of affinity or consanguinity shall be prohibited from running for public office in the territorial jurisdiction where the incumbent was elected.
In order to establish strong and cohesive political parties, Parliament shall be mandated to promote the development of political parties as public institutions that shall serve as a mechanism for communication and cooperation between the people and the government, facilitating political organization and representation.
To support this initiative, political turn-coatism shall be prohibited. Party switching shall be banned within 1 year immediately preceding or following an election, otherwise he loses his position and shall be prohibited from running in the next election. It is also proposed that state subsidy shall be provided to political parties based on their electoral performance in the previous election just like they do in mature democracies. This is to reduce or all together eliminate the influence of big business and drug and gambling lords in our politicians.
The current party list system is also proposed to be improved and transformed into a system of proportional representation. The 3-seat cap will be removed in order ensure that the ruling party is able to muster a majority and ensure a stable parliamentary system.
As to the restrictive economic provisions in our current Constitution, we propose that we delegate to Parliament the matter of fixing the percentage of allowable foreign ownership in nationalized economic activities. Land ownership in the country, however, shall be reserved only for Filipino citizens.
Since corruption is still a curse devastating our country, we shall continue to strengthen the Ombudsman, Sandiganbayan, and the Commission on Audit and make them a strong presence in every Region.
Our Last Hope. As argued by President Duterte, it is our firm believe that the next logical, and perhaps the only peaceful, legal and constitutional avenue left open to those who wish to lay down the foundations for a just and lasting peace and development not only in Mindanao but in the entire country is the adoption a federal system of government.
In conclusion, we do not see federalism to be the cure-all to all our problems. In fact, there is no cure-all to all our nation’s ill. Federalism is not a perfect system; but it may be the answer to the country’s lingering problems rooted in our country’s multi-cultural federal nature. Maybe it is time to recognize the Filipino identity as a “diversity of identities” and not one single monolithic artificial construct. We submit that it is the recognition of differences that make communities prepared to embrace a common identity with others. The time for change is now.
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[1] By Jonathan E. Malaya, Executive Director, PDP Laban Federalism Institute
[2] Members: Dean Dr. July Teehankee (DLSU), Assoc. Prof Dr. Ed Araral (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy), Prof. Ed Tayao (LOGODEF), Dr. Tony Avila, Dir. Novel Bangsal (CPBRD, HRep), Atty. Valery Brion (Office of the Senate President), Dir. Mon Casiple (IPER), Dr. Grace Jamon (UP Diliman), Mr. Francis Manglapus (CAPDI), Dr. Edwin Martin (ASPAP), Dir. Gen. Jun Miral (CPBRD, HRep), Mr. Raphael Montes (CLRG, UP NCPAG); Sec. Gary Olivar (FEF), Atty. Al Oxales (O/Senate President), Atty. Salma Rasul (PCID), Atty. Vince Revil (PDP Laban), Sec. Gary Teves (FEF), Mr. RV Vicerra (CDPI), Mr. Jojo Villano, Mr. Orion Perez Dumdum (CoRRECT™ Movement) and Federalism Institute Director Jonathan Malaya.
[3] Other functions under the iurisdiction of the Federal Government includes: Currency and Monetary Policy; Customs and Tariff; International Trade; Inter-regional Commerce; Postal Service; Quarantine; Citizenship, NaturaIization, Immigration and Deportation; General Auditing; National Elections; Maritime, Land and Air Transportation and Communication; Patents, Trademarks, Trade Names and Copyrights, Energy, Judiciary, and the Administration of Justice.
[4] In the case of basic education which is proposed to be a shared power, the Federal Department of Education shall set the curriculum, minimum standards and conduct assessment and testing of all basic education institutions while the Regional Governments can handle classroom construction, creation of teaching items, provision of school furniture and equipment, etc.
[5] This follows the proposal of Senator Nene Pimentel. Nonetheless, the number and composition of these regional governments shall be subject to extensive consultation with the people on the ground, thus, we will leave this matter for the Constitutional Convention or Constituent Assembly to finally settle.
[6] Dr. Ed Araral, Vice Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
[7] The Proportional Representation or PR system will improve on the current Party-list system we have under the current Constitution.
[8] This power is referred to in Parliamentary democracies as Consent Legislation. Which is not to say that the Senate cannot propose a bill or resolution. It can still do so but not in its chamber. Any senator may submit a proposed bill or resolution to the Federal Assembly who shall act on it consistent with its rules.
[9]The Federal government will remain responsible for the national debt.

Preamble

We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of the Sovereign Legislator of the Universe, in order to establish a secular Government of integrity and competence that shall embody our ideals, promote the general welfare and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of democracy and a thriving economy under a regime of justice, peace, liberty, and equality, do ordain and promulgate the following:

POLITICAL CONSTITUTION

Chapter I – The Republic

Article 1. The political association of all Filipinos, regardless of ethnicity, constitutes a Nation, whose State shall be named the Republic of the Philippines. Accordingly, the Republic:

  1. Recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples and cultural communities within the framework of the indissoluble unity of the Filipino Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Filipinos;
  2. Guarantees the right to self-government of the ethnicities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all; and
  3. Promotes the economic viability of the Autonomous Territories.

Article 2. The Republic of the Philippines is free and independent. Accordingly, the Republic shall pursue an independent foreign policy, and in its relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.

However, the Republic renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land, and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations, maintaining privileged ties of friendship and cooperation with its neighboring countries in the region, and with countries it shares affinities with in language, history, culture, and values in democracy, human rights, and rule of law.

It is understood that the territory of the Republic comprises the Philippine archipelago, with all the islands and waters embraced therein, and all the other territories belonging to the Philippines by historic right or legal title, including the territorial sea, air space, subsoil, sea-bed, insular shelves, and submarine areas over which the Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction. The waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the archipelago, irrespective of their breadth and dimensions, form part of the internal waters of the Philippines.

Article 3. Sovereignty resides exclusively in the Filipino people, who shall exercise it through their representatives and by means of referendum and petitions.

Chapter II – The Government

Article 4. The Government of the Republic is popular, representative, and responsible, and shall be divided among three distinct powers, which shall be the legislative, executive, and judicial. Never can two or more of these powers be given to a person or corporation, nor shall the power of the legislative be vested in any single individual.

The prime duty of the Government is to serve, protect, and represent the people.

Chapter III – Religion

Article 5. The State recognizes the freedom and equality of all beliefs. No religion may be exalted above any other, and no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting its free exercise thereof.

Article 6. The practice of any religion and the functioning of the State shall be kept separate, and this separation shall be inviolable. There shall be no interference whatsoever of religious sentiments in State affairs and politics, nor shall there be any interference whatsoever by the State on the internal affairs of religious associations. Accordingly:

  1. Filipinos who are of legal age or older shall be allowed to be members of the clergy, whether as priests, preachers, ministers, other religious teachers or dignitaries as such;
  2. Members of the clergy shall not perform any governmental employment, except in cases found in Paragraph 3 of Article 70;
  3. Members of the clergy shall not be allowed to enter into political associations, however, as Filipino citizens, they shall be allowed to vote;
  4. Members of the clergy shall neither promote nor attack any political candidate, party, or association whatsoever, nor shall they attack the laws or institutions of the Republic in any public gathering, religious activity or through any religious publicity; and
  5. Political gatherings shall never take place at churches, mosques, or temples of any sort.

Any violation of this article shall be punishable under the law.

Chapter IV – The Flag

Article 7. The flag of the Philippines shall be red, white, and blue, with a sun of eight rays and three stars as recognized by law.

Flags of autonomous territories may be recognized provided that they are used together with the flag of the Philippines on public buildings and official ceremonies.

Chapter V – Sovereign Immunity

Article 8. The State may not be sued without its consent. The President and Vice President of the Republic and the President of the Council of Government shall be immune from suit during their respective tenures. Thereafter, no suit shall lie for official acts done by them, or by others pursuant to their specific orders while in office.

Chapter VI – Military and Police Forces

Article 9. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal, military or civil service.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines shall be composed of a citizen armed force which shall undergo military training and serve, as may be provided by law. It shall keep a regular force necessary for the security of the State.

Civilian authority shall at all times be supreme over the military.

Article 10. All members of the armed forces shall make a solemn affirmation to uphold and defend this Constitution.

Professionalism in the armed forces and adequate remuneration and benefits of its members shall be a prime concern of the State. The armed forces shall be insulated from partisan politics. No member of the military shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity, except to vote.

No member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries.

Laws on retirement of military officers shall not allow extension of their service.

The tour of duty of the Chief of Staff of the armed forces shall not exceed three years. However, in times of war or other national emergency declared by the National Assembly, the President of the Republic, upon the binding advice of the President of the Council of Government, may extend such tour of duty.

Article 11. The State shall provide immediate and adequate care, benefits, and other forms of assistance to war veterans and veterans of military campaigns, their surviving spouses and orphans.

Article 12. The State shall establish and maintain one police force, which shall be national in scope and civilian in character, to be administered and controlled by a National Police Commission. The authority of local and autonomous territorial executives over the police units in their jurisdiction shall be provided by law.

Chapter VII – Language

Article 13. This Constitution shall be promulgated in English and Spanish and shall be translated into territorial languages. Its English and Spanish drafts shall both be authoritative, and any conflict between them shall be resolved by recourse to the English draft.

Title I on Preliminary Provisions

Chapter I – Citizenship

Article 14. The following are citizens of the Philippines:

  1. Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this Constitution;
  2. Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines; and
  3. Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

Article 15. Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth or those who, in accordance with law, reacquire such citizenship. Those born of Filipino mothers who elect Filipino citizenship shall be deemed natural-born citizens.

Article 16. Every citizen shall have the right against arbitrary deprivation of citizenship. Philippine citizenship may be lost or reacquired in the manner provided by law, provided that:

  1. No citizen of the Philippines may be deprived of his citizenship unless he becomes at the same time a citizen of another state by his consent, or be denied the right to change his nationality except in times of war;
  2. Citizens of the Philippines who marry aliens shall retain their citizenship, unless by other acts or omissions they are deemed, under the law, to have renounced it; and
  3. Decrees of naturalization shall be final and unassailable two years after their date of promulgation by competent authority.

The foregoing notwithstanding, dual citizenship may be allowed under conditions set by law, provided that, in pursuance of a treaty with another state, a person who has been a citizen also of the other state from birth, and who has his permanent domicile there, shall forfeit Philippine citizenship at or after the age of eighteen. The law may further provide that, upon the declaration of a state of war between the Philippines and a foreign country, persons who are citizens of both must immediately manifest their renunciation of citizenship in the hostile state.

Chapter II – Rights

Article 17. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Article 18. No human being shall be denied recognition as a person under the law. The State shall protect the right of every human being to physical, mental, and moral integrity, and shall ensure that no person shall be subjected to torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment.

Article 19. Nobody can enter the place of residence of any person without his consent, except in urgent cases of fire, flood, earthquake or any similar danger, or of unlawful aggression coming from within, or in order to help any person who therein asks for help.

Other than the cases mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, residences, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under solemn affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

The search of papers and effects shall only be executed in daytime, and always be made in the presence of the person concerned or any member of his family and, in their absence, of two witnesses from the same neighborhood.

However, should a delinquent caught in fraganti and pursued by the authorities through their agents take refuge in his place of residence, these agents can enter therein for the sole purpose of carrying out the arrest. Should the delinquent seek refuge in another person’s residence, permission must be first obtained from its owner.

Article 20. The privacy of individuals shall be inviolable. However, upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law, a correspondence may be withheld, and whatever message sent may be opened in the presence of the defendant.

Article 21. Any evidence obtained in violation of Articles 19 and 20 shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.

Any warrant to arrest, to search a place of residence and to withhold correspondence must be duly justified. Should the warrant lack this requisite, or when the motives on which such warrant has been based are declared illegal or notoriously insufficient by a court, the person that has been imprisoned or whose imprisonment has not been ratified within the period required in Article 31, or whose place of residence has been searched, or whose correspondence has been withheld, will have the right to file for corresponding damages.

Article 22. No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of 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.

Article 23. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Any Filipino, who is in full enjoyment of his political and civil rights, cannot be prevented from leaving Philippine territory freely, nor can he be hindered from transferring his residence and properties to a foreign country, except when he is required to render military service or maintain public charges.

Article 24. The right of the people to the writ of habeas data and to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

Article 25. The right of the people to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged.

Article 26. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

Article 27. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.

Article 28. Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.

Article 29. Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferable of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means, which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.

Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Article 34 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.

The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violations of this article as well as compensation to the rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices, and their families.

Article 30. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.

Article 31. No person shall be detained to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. Any detainee shall either be set free, or be given judicial authority within the next twenty-four hours following the act of detention. Any detention shall either be rendered without effect, or be raised to imprisonment within seventy-two hours of the detainee being handed over to a competent court. The interested party shall be dully notified within the same period of whatever decision pronounced.

No person can be imprisoned except by virtue of a warrant issued by a competent court. The order through which the warrant has been pronounced shall be ratified or revised, after having heard the accused, within seventy-two hours following the act of imprisonment.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.

Article 32. The privilege of the writs of habeas corpus, habeas data, or amparo shall not be suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it.

Article 33. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies.

Article 34. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Article 35. No person shall be detained solely by reason of his political beliefs and aspirations.

No involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

Article 36. Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhumane punishment inflicted. No person shall be subjected to any penalty greater than imprisonment beyond twelve years or its equivalent punishment, except upon conviction by competent civil court for specific act constituting a crime committed with malicious intent.

Capital punishment shall never be imposed for any crime.

The employment of physical, psychological, or degrading punishment against any prisoner or detainee or the use of substandard or inadequate penal facilities under subhuman conditions shall be dealt with by law.

Article 37. No person shall be imprisoned for debt or non-payment of a poll tax.

Article 38. No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. If a law and an ordinance punish an act, conviction or acquittal under either shall constitute a bar to another prosecution for the same act.

Article 39. No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted, and no person shall be detained solely by reason of his religious, ideological, political, or other beliefs.

Article 40. No limitation in the extent or application of the rights in this chapter shall be permitted except insofar as this Constitution expressly allows. A foreign national within the Philippines shall exercise the rights provided in this chapter to the same extent as a Philippine citizen, except insofar as they directly relate to political and economic acts limited by express provision of law.

Article 41. The rights under this chapter shall be enforceable against the State, its organs, and its officers, and as the law provides, against private parties; provided that, even without statutory provision, the rights guaranteed under Articles 17, 18, 36, 37, and 38 shall in all cases be enforceable against private persons and constitute grounds for civil liability.

Chapter III – Duties

Article 42. It shall be the duty of the citizen to be loyal to the Republic of the Philippines and to honor the Philippine flag, to defend the State and contribute to its development and welfare, to uphold the Constitution and obey the laws, pay taxes, and to cooperate with the duly constituted authorities in the attainment and maintenance of the rule of law and of a peaceful, just, humane and orderly society.

Article 43. The rights of the individual impose upon him the correlative duty to exercise them responsibly and with due regard for the rights of others.

Article 44. Citizens and the State shall at all times respect the life and dignity of every human person and uphold human rights.

Article 45. Citizens shall exercise their right to a balanced and healthful ecology, and contribute to the maintenance of a clean, enjoyable and sustainable environment.

Article 46. It shall be the duty of every citizen to engage in gainful work and to work well to assure himself and his family a life worthy of human dignity.

Article 47. Citizens shall participate actively in public and civic affairs, and contribute to good governance, honesty and integrity in the public service and the vitality and viability of democracy.

Chapter IV – Suffrage

Article 48. Suffrage may be exercised by all citizens of the Philippines who are not otherwise disqualified by law, who are at least eighteen years of age, and who shall have resided in the Philippines for at least one year and in the place where they propose to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election. No other substantive requirement shall be imposed on the exercise of suffrage.

Article 49. The State shall provide a system for securing the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot as well as a system for absentee voting by qualified Filipinos abroad. It shall also a procedure for the disabled to vote without the assistance of other persons. Until then, they shall be allowed to vote under existing laws and such rules as the Commission on Elections may promulgate to protect the secrecy of the ballot.

Chapter I – The National Assembly

Article 50. Legislative power shall be vested in a unicameral National Assembly, except to the extent as otherwise provided in Articles 76 and 77 of this Constitution.

Article 51. The National Assembly shall be composed of as many members as may be provided by law, three-fourths of whom shall be District Representatives elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and one-fourth of whom shall be Party-list Representatives, who shall be chosen by the political parties on the basis of proportional representation according to the votes each party obtained in the preceding elections.

Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory. Each legislative district and each city with a population of at least two hundred thousand, and each province, shall have at least one District Representative.

Within three years following the return of every census, which shall be conducted at least once every ten years, the National Assembly shall pass a law to reapportion the legislative districts based on the standards provided in this article.

Article 52. Voters shall cast one vote for their candidate in the legislative district and another vote for the political party of their choice. No names of candidates shall appear on the party-list portion of the ballot, but shall instead indicate a brief official statement of the principles and proposed policies and program of government of the different political parties.

In legislative districts where only one candidate qualified for the election, the latter must receive the approval of the majority of the entire votes cast in an approval system of voting for the same to be declared duly elected, otherwise a failure of election must be declared. In legislative districts where two candidates qualified for the election, the candidate who received the highest number of votes must be declared duly elected, and in case of tie, a failure of election must be declared. In legislative districts where three or more candidates qualified for the election, the candidate who received the majority of the entire votes cast in a preferential or alternative system of voting must be declared duly elected, otherwise a failure of election must be declared. In case of a failure of election, an extraordinary election must be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law.

The seats in the National Assembly that are reserved to Party-list Representatives shall be allocated to political parties proportionally to the number of votes each party received in the party-list portion of the ballot. The quota of votes required to win a seat shall be determined by the formula: (V / (S + 1)) + 1, where V = total number of valid party-list votes, and S = total number of seats to be filled. To allocate seats, the number of valid party-list votes for each party shall be divided by the quota, resulting in an integer and a fractional remainder; each party shall first be allocated a number of seats equal to the integer; parties shall then be ranked on the basis of the fractional remainders, and the parties with the largest remainders shall each be allocated an additional seat until all the seats have been allocated.

Only a political party that receives at least two per centum of the total valid party votes cast shall be entitled to the share in the distribution of party-list seats. However, a party that receives fewer votes shall still be entitled to keep any legislative district seats that it wins. No cap or ceiling shall be set on the allocation of seats to any single party, nor shall the allocation of seats be limited to any particular type of party.

Party-list Representatives shall be proclaimed by the Commission on Elections based on their ranking in the list submitted by the respective parties in accordance with Article 165, provided that any candidate, who has been duly elected in a legislative district, shall be crossed off the list and replaced with the next candidate down.

Members of the National Assembly shall represent the entire Nation, and not only the voters who elected them. They shall not receive any imperative mandate from their voters.

Article 53. No person shall be a member of the National Assembly unless he is a citizen of the Philippines, is a member of an accredited political party, is a member of no clergy or similar religious dignitary as forbidden by Article 6, and, on the day of the election, is at least twenty-five years of age, and, except Party-list Representatives, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of election.

Article 54. The office of Representatives shall be for a term of five years, which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election.

Unless otherwise provided by law, the ordinary election of the members of the National Assembly shall be held on the second Monday of May and every four years thereafter.

In case the National Assembly is dissolved, the President of the Republic shall call an extraordinary election on the date set by the President of the Council of Government to be held not earlier than forty-five days nor later than sixty days from the date of the dissolution of the National Assembly. In the new National Assembly, the members shall serve for a term of four years beginning from the time the President of the Council of Government convokes the National Assembly, which shall not be later than twenty days immediately following the elections.

In case any vacancy arises among the District Representatives, an extraordinary election may be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but the Representative thus elected shall serve only for the unexpired term.

In case of vacancy in seats reserved for Party-list Representatives, the party concerned shall automatically fill the vacancy with the next Representative on their list submitted under Article 165, who shall serve for the unexpired term. If the list is exhausted, the party concerned shall submit additional candidates to the list.

Article 55. The National Assembly shall convene once every year on the fourth Monday of July for its ordinary session, unless a different date is fixed by law, and shall continue to be in session for such number of days as it may determine until thirty days before the opening of its next regular session, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. It may recess for periods not exceeding thirty days each, and not more than ninety days during the year. The Permanent Commission may call an extraordinary session at any time.

Article 56. In its first session, the National Assembly shall elect its President by a majority vote of all its members from among themselves. It shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary. The President of the Assembly, once elected, shall preside over sessions of the National Assembly and shall continue in office at the pleasure of the National Assembly, but until such election has been made the National Assembly shall be presided by the Father of the Assembly, who is the oldest and longest-serving member of the National Assembly. The election of the President of the Council of Government shall precede all other business following the election of the President of the National Assembly.

At least one-third of the members of the National Assembly shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel the attendance of absent members in a manner, and under such penalties, as the National Assembly may provide. Provided, however, that at least a majority of the members of the National Assembly shall constitute a quorum for voting.

The National Assembly may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds of all its members, suspend or expel a member. A penalty of suspension, when imposed, shall not exceed sixty days.

The National Assembly shall keep and publish a Journal of its proceedings, excepting such parts as may, in its judgment, affect national security; and the yeas and nays on any question shall, at the request of one-fifth of the members present, be entered in the Journal.

Article 57. The salaries of the President of the National Assembly and its members shall be determined by law. No increase in compensation shall take effect until after the expiration of the full term of all its members approving such increase.

Article 58. All members of the National Assembly shall, upon assumption of office, make a full disclosure of their financial and business interests. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office. They shall notify the National Assembly of a potential conflict of interest that may arise from the filing of a proposed legislation of which they are authors.

Article 59. The records and books of accounts of the National Assembly shall be preserved and be open to the public in accordance with law, and such books shall be audited by the Commission on Audit which shall publish annually an itemized list of amounts paid to and expenses incurred for each Representative.

Article 60. No member of the National Assembly shall hold any other office or employment in the Government, or any of its subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, including government-owned or -controlled corporations or their subsidiaries, during his term without forfeiting his seat except that of President or Secretary of the Council of Government. Neither shall a Representative be appointed to any office that may have been created or the emoluments thereof increased during the term for which he was elected.

Article 61. No member of the National Assembly shall, during his tenure, directly or indirectly practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be interested financially in any contract with, or in any franchise or special privilege granted by the Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality, including any government-owned or –controlled corporations, or their subsidiaries. He shall not intervene in any matter before any office of the Government for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on account of his office.

Article 62. A member of the National Assembly shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the National Assembly is in session. No Representative shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the National Assembly or in any of its committees.

Article 63. No money shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.

Article 64. The President of the Council of Government shall submit to the National Assembly within thirty days from the opening of each regular session, as the basis of the general appropriations bill, a budget of receipts based on existing and proposed revenue measures, and of expenditures. The form, content, and manner of preparation of the budget shall be prescribed by law.

No provision or enactment shall be embraced in the general appropriations bill unless it relates specifically to some particular appropriation therein. Any such provision or enactment shall be limited in its operation to the appropriation to which it relates.

The procedure in approving appropriations for the National Assembly shall strictly follow the procedure for approving appropriations for other secretariats and agencies.

If by the end of the fiscal year, the National Assembly shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriation law for the preceding fiscal year shall remain in force until the general appropriations bill shall have been passed by the National Assembly.

Article 65. A special appropriation bill shall specify the purpose for which it is intended, and be supported by funds, actually available as certified by the National Treasurer, or to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposal.

Article 66. No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations. However, the President of the Republic, the President of the Council of Government, the President of the National Assembly, the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, and the heads of constitutional commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general or special appropriations law for their respective offices, from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.

Discretionary funds appropriated for particular officials shall be disbursed only for the public purposes to be supported by appropriate vouchers, and subject to each guideline as may be prescribed by law.

Article 67. The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The National Assembly shall evolve a progressive system of taxation.

Article 68. The National Assembly may, by law, authorize the President of the Council of Government to fix, within specified limits and subject to such limitations and restrictions as it may impose, tariff rates, import and export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues, and other duties or imposts, within the framework of the national development program of the Government.

Article 69. All money collected on any tax levied for a special purpose shall be treated as a special fund and paid out for such purpose only. If the purpose for which a special fund was created has been fulfilled or abandoned, any balance shall be transferred to the general funds of the Government.

Article 70. No law granting any tax exemption shall be passed without the concurrence of a majority of all Representatives.

Charitable institutions, churches and parsonages or convents, mosques, nonprofit cemeteries, and all lands, buildings, and improvements actually, directly and exclusively used for religious, charitable, or educational purposes shall be exempt from taxation.

No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit or support of any sect, church, denomination and sectarian institution, or any system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, other religious teacher, or dignitary as such except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Article 71. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by a majority of all members of the National Assembly.

Article 72. The National Assembly, by a vote of two-thirds of its members, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.

In times of war or other national emergency, the National Assembly may by law authorize the President of the Council of Government, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as the law may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the National Assembly, such powers shall cease upon its next adjournment.

Article 73. No law shall be passed increasing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Justice as provided in this Constitution, without its advice and concurrence.

Article 74. The rights of legitimate institutions of indigenous, tribal, or native nobility shall be protected, provided that no law granting a new hereditary title of royalty or nobility shall be enacted.

Conspicuous services rendered by citizens of the Republic may be rewarded in accordance with the Honors Code of the Philippines.

Article 75. No bill except those of local application shall be calendared without the prior recommendation of the Council of Government.

No bill shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies in its final form have been distributed to the members of the National Assembly three days before its passage, except when the President of the Council of Government certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.

Every bill passed by the National Assembly shall embrace only one subject matter, which shall be expressed in its title.

Every bill passed by the National Assembly shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President of the Council of Government. If the President of the Council of Government approves the same, he shall forward it to the Council of State for promulgation by the President of the Republic. The President of the Republic shall act on every bill forwarded to him within twenty days after the date of receipt thereof. If within this period the President of the Republic should fail to promulgate it, he shall return same to the National Assembly with his reasons for the return. If repassed by the National Assembly by two-thirds of its members present in quorum, the Council of Government shall promulgate it within ten days, with a manifestation of its non-conformity with the President of the Republic.

The promulgation of laws shall be made by publishing them in the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, and shall have force of law not more than thirty days following such publication.

Article 76. Where a Bill has been passed by the National Assembly, one-third of the members of the National Assembly may within three weekdays from the final passing of the Bill request of the President of the National Assembly that the Bill be subjected to a Referendum. Such request shall be made in writing and signed by the Representatives making the request.

Except in the instance mentioned in Paragraph 7 of this article, no Bill which may be subjected to a Referendum under Paragraph 6 shall be promulgated by the President of the Republic before the expiration of the time limit mentioned in Paragraph 1, or before a Referendum requested as aforesaid has take place.

Where a Referendum on a Bill has been requested the National Assembly may within a period of five weekdays from the final passing of the Bill resolve that the Bill shall be withdrawn.

Where the National Assembly has made no resolution in accordance with Paragraph 3, notice to the effect that the Bill will be put to a Referendum shall without delay be given to the President of the Council of Government, who shall then cause the Bill to be published together with a statement that a Referendum will be held. The Referendum shall be held in accordance with the decision of the President of the Council of Government not less than twelve and not more than eighteen weekdays after the publication of the Bill.

At the Referendum votes shall be cast for or against the Bill. For the Bill to be rejected a majority of the electors taking part in the voting, however, not less than thirty per centum of all persons entitled to vote, shall have voted against the Bill.

Finance Bills, Supplementary Appropriation Bills, Provisional Appropriation Bills, Government Loan Bills, Civil Servants (Amendment) Bills, Salaries and Pensions Bills, Naturalization Bills, Expropriation Bills, Taxation (Direct and Indirect) Bills, as well as Bills introduced for the purpose of discharging existing treaty obligations shall not be subject to a decision by Referendum. Amendments of this Constitution shall be governed by the rules laid down in Title X of this Constitution.

In an emergency, a Bill that may be subjected to a Referendum may be promulgated by the President of the Republic immediately after it has been passed, provided that the Bill contains a provision to that effect. Where under the rules of Paragraph 1, one-third of the members of the National Assembly request a Referendum on the Bill or on the Act which has been promulgated by the President of the Republic, such Referendum shall be held in accordance with the above rules. Where the act is rejected by the Referendum, an announcement to that effect shall be made by the President of the Council of Government without undue delay and not later than fourteen days after the Referendum was held. From the date of such announcement the Act shall become ineffective.

The National Assembly shall, as early as possible, provide for rules for Referenda, including the extent to which Referenda shall be held in an autonomous territory, and the exceptions therefrom.

Article 77. The people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof passed by the National Assembly or a local legislative body after the registration of a petition signed by at least ten per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters thereof.

Article 78. The National Assembly or any of its committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The dignity and rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.

Article 79. There shall be a question hour as often as its rules may provide during which the President of the Council of Government or any Secretary of the same, upon their own initiative or as may be required by the National Assembly, can appear before and be heard to answer questions and interpellations by members of the National Assembly on any matter pertaining to the Government or its Secretariats. Written questions shall be submitted to the President of the National Assembly at least three days before their scheduled appearance. Interpellations shall not be limited to written questions, but may cover related matters. The agenda shall specify the subjects of the question hour. When the security of the state or the public interest so requires, and the President of the Council of Government so states in writing, the appearance shall be conducted in executive session.

Article 80. The National Assembly may withdraw its confidence from the President of the Council of Government only by electing a successor by a majority vote of its members. No motion for the election of such successor shall be debated and voted upon until after the lapse of three days from the submittal of such motion.

The President of the Council of Government or any member of the National Assembly may request for a popular vote of confidence from the National Assembly on fundamental issue or a general declaration of program or policy which must be voted upon after seventy-two hours have elapsed from its submission. If the vote of confidence is not carried by the majority of the members, the President of the Republic upon written advice of the President of the Council of Government shall dissolve the National Assembly not earlier than three days nor later than ten days from receipt of the advice, and call for an election. However, no dissolution of the National Assembly or vote of confidence shall take place within one year immediately preceding or following a general election.

Article 81. In case of dissolution of the National Assembly or the termination of its regular term, the Council of Government and its incumbent President shall continue to conduct the affairs of Government until the new National Assembly is convoked by its incumbent President and a new President of the Council of Government is elected and qualified.

Article 82. Within thirty days after the National Assembly shall have been organized with the election of its President, the Electoral Tribunal shall be constituted, which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the members of the National Assembly, and the sole corporation responsible for sponsoring the nomination of candidates for Vice President of the Republic. The Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine members, three of whom shall be Ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice to be designated by its President, three to be chosen by the majority party, and three to be chosen by the minority party from their respective members in the National Assembly. A majority vote of all its members shall decide which of the three Ministers shall be its president. The Electoral Tribunal shall promulgate its own rules of procedures. The decision of the Electoral Tribunal is final and not subject to any appeal in or review by the Supreme Court of Justice.

Article 83. Within thirty days after the National Assembly shall have been organized with the election of its President, the Commission on Appointments shall be constituted consisting of the President of the National Assembly, as ex-officio President, and not more than thirty-six members elected by the National Assembly on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties represented therein. No member of the Council of Government shall be elected into the Commission on Appointments.

Article 84. The Commission on Appointments shall meet only when the National Assembly is in session. The President of the Commission on Appointments shall act on all appointments submitted to it within thirty session days of the National Assembly. The Commission on Appointments shall rule by a majority vote of all its members, The President of the Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie. The rules of the Commission shall be approved by the National Assembly.

Chapter II – The Permanent Commission

Article 85. The National Assembly, one day before the ordinary period of sessions is officially closed, shall elect eleven of its members on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties represented therein to constitute the Permanent Commission during the period that it is in recess. No member of the Council of Government shall be elected into the Permanent Commission.

Article 86. The Permanent Commission shall designate its President in its first session, and shall thereafter meet whenever convened by its President. The Permanent Commission shall rule by a majority vote of all its members. The President of the Permanent Commission shall not vote, except in case of a tie. The Permanent Commission shall promulgate its own rules of procedures.

Article 87. The Permanent Commission in the absence of the National Assembly, shall be empowered to:

  1. Substitute for the National Assembly in the exercise of its powers, except in the power of creating and passing laws or votes of confidence;
  2. Declare whether or not there is sufficient cause to take legal action against the President of the Republic, the President of the Council of Government, the Secretaries of Government, the Members of the National Assembly, the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, or the Ministers of the Supreme Court in cases provided for in this Constitution, and convene the National Assembly in extraordinary sessions when the Tribunal of Justice must be constituted; and
  3. Act on matters that have remained unresolved by the National Assembly in order for them to be taken into consideration, and convene the National Assembly in extraordinary sessions when the exigency of the unresolved matter so requires.

Title III on Legislative Power

Chapter I – Common Provisions

Article 88. Executive power resides in the President of the Republic, who shall exercise it only upon the direction of the Council of Government and the binding advice of its president.

Article 89. The administration of the particular interests of barangays, municipalities, cities, provinces, autonomous territories, and the State shall be entrusted respectively to their respective assemblies and councils in accordance with law, and shall be based on the broadest decentralization and autonomy of administration.

Chapter II – The President of the Republic

Article 90. The President of the Republic, as the Head of State, symbolizes the sovereignty of the people and the unity and solidarity of the nation with its ethnic, linguistic, cultural, social and economic diversities. The civilian control of the military is vested in the President of the Republic as the Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and in this capacity he shall be entitled to wear the uniform of Captain-General.

Article 91. The President of the Republic shall not be elected, but shall serve for a single term of seven years, or until he resigns or becomes incapacitated to discharge the duties of the Presidency, commencing from the date he ascends from the position of Vice President of the Republic into the office of the Presidency immediately upon its vacancy.

Article 92. The election of the Vice President of the Republic shall be held not earlier than sixty days nor later than ninety days from the date of the vacancy of the Vice Presidency. The President of the National Assembly shall fix the day of election and shall notify it in writing at least twenty days in advance to all the members of the Electoral Assembly, which is composed of members of the National Assembly and all the members of the assemblies of autonomous territories voting together as one body.

The Vice President of the Republic shall be elected from among three qualified candidates jointly nominated by the majority and minority parties together through the Electoral Tribunal. No person shall qualify for election as Vice President unless he:

  1. Is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines;
  2. Is at least sixty years of age on the day of election;
  3. Is a registered voter and resident of the Philippines for a period of not less than ten years immediately preceding the date of election;
  4. As required by Article 6, is a member of no clergy, whether as a priest, preacher, minister, other religious teacher, or dignitary as such;
  5. Is a member of no political party or coalition for a period of not less than six months immediately preceding the date of election;
  6. Is a well-accomplished person of sound mind with years of experience as a noted and recognized leader and expert in his field;
  7. Has had his nomination sponsored unanimously by all the members of the Electoral Tribunal; and
  8. Has consented to the nomination in writing.

The election of the Vice President of the Republic shall be held not later than ninety days from the date of vacancy, and not more than thirty days after the Electoral Tribunal has publicized its list of the three candidates for the Vice Presidency. There shall be no electioneering campaigns for the Vice Presidency.

The Vice President shall be elected from among the three qualified candidates by direct vote of the people. The candidate who received the majority of the entire votes cast in a preferential or alternative system of voting must be declared duly elected, and in the case of tie the President of the Republic shall cast the final vote.

Article 93. On assuming office, the Vice President shall make the following solemn Affirmation in writing before the Council of State:

“I do solemnly affirm that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, and will continue to do so when I become the President of the Republic of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every person, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation.”

Two identical originals of the Affirmation shall be executed, one of which shall be handed over to the National Assembly to be preserved in its archives, and the other be filed in the National Archives of the Philippines.

Article 94. The President and Vice President of the Republic shall be politically neutral, shall not become members of any political party or coalition, and shall forfeit their right to exercise suffrage, except in the instance mentioned in Paragraph 3 of Article 92.

Article 95. The President and Vice President of the Republic shall each have an official residence. The salaries and emoluments of the President and Vice President of the Republic shall for each be determined by law and shall not be increased nor decreased during their tenure.

 Article 96. The offices of the President and Vice President of the Republic shall enjoy fiscal independence. Appropriations for the said offices shall be periodically increased by as much as the projected rate of inflation for the current fiscal year and shall not, under any situation, be decreased below the amount appropriated for the previous year. After approval of the budget by the National Assembly, the amounts so appropriated shall be automatically and regularly released.

Article 97. The President and Vice President of the Republic shall each be subject to the provisions of Articles 60 and 61 of this Constitution.

Article 98. The President of the Republic shall address the National Assembly at the opening of its ordinary session. He may also address messages to the National Assembly or appear before it any other time.

Article 99. The President of the Republic shall appoint the President of the Council of Government within three days following the latter’s election by the National Assembly.

Article 100. The President of the Republic shall act on behalf of the Republic in international affairs. Provided that without consent of the National Assembly the President of the Republic shall not undertake any act whereby the territory of the Republic will be increased or decreased, nor shall he enter into any obligation which for fulfillment requires the concurrence of the National Assembly, or which otherwise is of major importance; nor shall the President of the Republic, except with the consent of the National Assembly, terminate any international treaty entered into with the consent of the National Assembly.

Except for purposes of defense against an armed attack upon the Republic or Philippine forces the President of the Republic shall not use military force against any foreign state without the consent of the National Assembly. Any measure that the President of the Republic may take in pursuance of this provision shall immediately be submitted to the National Assembly, or to the Permanent Commission if the National Assembly is not in session.

Article 101. The President of the Republic shall receive the annual reports of the Supreme Court of Justice on the activities of the Judiciary within thirty days of the opening of the National Assembly. The President of the Republic shall also receive the annual reports of the Constitutional Commissions.

Article 102. The President of the Republic shall accredit ambassadors and special envoys and receive ambassadors and diplomatic envoys duly accredited to the Republic of the Philippines. He shall also appoint all officers and employees in his office in accordance with the Civil Service Law.

Article 103. The President of the Republic, upon the binding advice of the President of the Council of Government and whenever it becomes necessary, may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion, rebellion or imminent danger thereof, upon the advice of the President of the Council of Government and when the public safety requires it, he or she may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writs of habeas corpus, habeas data, or amparo, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the writs of habeas corpus, habeas data, or amparo, the President of the Council of Government shall submit a report in person or in writing to the National Assembly. The National Assembly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Representatives, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President of the Republic or the President of the Council of Government.

Upon the initiative of the President of the Council of Government and approved by the President of the Republic, the National Assembly may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the National Assembly, if the invasion, rebellion or imminent danger thereof shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Permanent Commission shall, following such proclamation or suspension, substitute for the National Assembly if not in session, and shall convene within twelve hours. The Supreme Court of Justice may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writs or extension thereof, and must release its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or local legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ. The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion. During the suspension of the privilege of the writs, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged or released within the period required in Article 31.

Article 104. Upon the binding advice of the President of the Council of Government, and not without such advice, the President of the Republic shall also exercise the following powers and functions:

  1. Declare a state of war or national emergency;
  2. Convene the National Assembly following the election of its members;
  3. Dissolve the National Assembly when the Government loses a vote of confidence;
  4. Call the National Assembly to an extraordinary session with the concurrence of the Permanent Commission;
  5. Promulgate all laws, treaties and international agreements;
  6. Appoint the regular members of the Judicial and Bar Council;
  7. Appoint the Ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice;
  8. Appoint the Chairman and Members of the Constitutional Commissions; and
  9. Appoint the Chief of Staff and the heads of all the armed services.

Article 105. Except in cases of impeachment, or as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the President of the Republic, upon the recommendation of the President of the Council of Government, may grant pardon, and, after conviction by final judgment, grant reprieves, commutations, and remit fines and forfeitures. He shall, upon the recommendation of the President of the Council of Government, have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the Representatives in the National Assembly.

Article 106. The President of the Republic may, in the event of his illness or absence, delegate temporarily some or all his duties to the Vice President of the Republic. Temporary delegation of all duties shall not exceed three months without bringing into question in the National Assembly the incapacity of the President of the Republic. If the President of the Republic is judged by the National Assembly to be incapacitated, he or she shall vacate the Presidency and the Vice President shall ascend into the office of the Presidency.

Article 107. If the both the Presidency and the Vice Presidency of the Republic is vacant, the functions of an interim President of the Republic shall be exercised by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice whose office shall be taken over by one of the other Ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice in accordance with law. The interim President of the Republic shall have the same powers, functions, and limitations as the regular President of the Republic, but shall only serve until the regular Vice President has been elected and ascended into the position of President, after which he shall return to being a Minister of the Supreme Court pursuant to his previous appointment.

Chapter III – The Council of State

Article 108. The members of the Council of Government shall form the Council of State, in which the Vice President of the Republic shall have a seat when he has been elected. The Council of State shall be presided over by the President of the Republic.

Article 109. All Bills and important government measures shall be discussed in the Council of State. However, if the President of the Republic should be prevented from holding a Council of State he may entrust the discussion of a matter to the Council of Government. The vote of each Secretary shall be entered in a Journal, and any question shall be decided by a majority of votes. The President of the Council of Government shall submit the Journal, signed by the Secretaries present, to the President of the Republic, who shall decide whether he will immediately consent to the recommendations of the Council of Government, or return same in accordance with this Constitution.

Chapter IV – The Council of Government

Article 110. The President of the Council of Government is the Head of Government of the Republic of the Philippines and shall have the assistance of the Secretaries of the same Council.

Article 111. The President of the Council of Government shall be elected by the National Assembly by secret ballot and a majority vote of all its members from among themselves and appointed by the President of the Republic. By a system of elimination and subsequent secret voting, the one receiving the highest number of votes, with a majority, shall be elected President of the Council of Government and appointed within three days by the President of the Republic.

Article 112. The President of the Council of Government shall form the Council of Government by appointing the Vice President who shall head a secretariat, and the Secretaries who shall be the heads of the secretariats, at least three-fourths of who shall come from the National Assembly. They may be removed at the discretion of the President of the Council of Government.

The President of the Council of Government shall also appoint the career Permanent Secretary for each secretariat who shall be the chief administrator of the secretariat. The Permanent Secretary shall be appointed under the Career Civil Service rules and shall enjoy tenure of office unless removed for cause.

Husband and wife, parent and child or two siblings may never sit at the same time in the Council of Government.

Article 113. Before they enter on the execution of their office, the President, Vice President, and the other Secretaries of the Council of Government shall make the following solemn Affirmation in writing before the Council of State:

“I do solemnly affirm that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as (name of position) of the Republic of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every person, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation.”

Two identical originals of the Affirmation shall be executed, one of which shall be handed over to the National Assembly to be preserved in its archives, and the other be filed in the National Archives of the Philippines.

Article 114. The President of the Council of Government shall have an official residence. The salaries and emoluments of the President and the Secretaries of the Council of Government shall be determined by law and shall not be increased nor decreased during their tenure. The President of the Council of Government shall receive an annual salary as that of the President of the Republic.

Article 115. Members of the Council of Government shall be subject to the provisions of Articles 60 and 61 of this Constitution.

Article 116. The President of the Council of Government may resign from his position in a written notice to the President of the Republic. The Vice President of the Council of Government or any other member thereof may tender his or her resignation in a written notice to the President of the Council of Government without vacating his seat in the National Assembly.

Article 117. The Council of Government and its President shall be responsible to the National Assembly for the program of government and shall determine the guidelines of national policy. The President of the Council of Government shall, at the beginning of each regular session of the National Assembly and from time to time thereafter, present the program of government and recommend for the consideration of the National Assembly such measures he may deem necessary and proper.

Article 118. The President of the Council of Government shall have control of all secretariats, bureaus, and offices. He shall have supervision and administration over autonomous territories, local governments, and all of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed.

Article 119. Two months immediately before the next regular elections and up to the end of his term, the President of the Council of Government shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.

Article 120. The President of the Council of Government shall, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments, recommend to the President of the Republic the appointment of the Ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice and the magistrates of lower collegiate courts, the Ombudsman and his deputies, the Chairman and Members of the constitutional commissions, the Chairman and Members of the independent constitutional bodies, Ambassadors, Chiefs of Mission and Consuls-General, the Chief of Staff, the Vice Chief of Staff, and the commanders of the major services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the officers of the Philippine National Police of equivalent rank and grade, and all other officers of the Government whose appointments may be subject for confirmation as provided in this Constitution or by law.

The President of the Council of Government shall also recommend to the President of the Republic the appointment of the heads of the bureaus and offices, other public secretaries and consuls, the officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, the officers of the Philippine National Police from the rank of senior superintendent, and all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided by law, and those whom he may be authorized by law to appoint. The National Assembly may, by law, vest the appointment of other officers lower in rank in the heads of secretariats, courts agencies, commissions, or boards.

The President of the Council of Government shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the National Assembly, whether voluntary or compulsory, but such appointments shall be effective only until concurrence by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of National Assembly.

Article 121. The President of the Council of Government may contract or guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines with the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. The Monetary Board shall, within thirty days from the end of every quarter of the calendar year, submit to the National Assembly a complete report of its decisions on applications for loans to be contracted or guaranteed by the Government or government-owned or -controlled corporations which would have the effect of increasing the foreign debt and containing other matters provided by law.

Title IV on Executive Power

Title V on Judicial Power

Article 122. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court of Justice and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

Article 123. The National Assembly shall have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts but may not deprive the Supreme Court of Justice of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Article 126. No law shall be passed reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines the security of tenure of its members.

Article 124. The Judiciary shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Appropriations for the Judiciary may not be reduced by the National Assembly below the amount appropriated for the previous year and, after approval, shall be automatically and regularly released.

Article 125. The Supreme Court of Justice shall be composed of fifteen Ministers appointed by the President of the Republic upon the binding advice of the President of the Council of Government and subject to the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. The Supreme Court of Justice, working in a collegiate way, shall appoint its President for a single term of three years. The Supreme Court of Justice may sit en banc or in its discretion, in division of three, five, or seven Ministers. Except in cases described in Article 107, any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from such vacancy.

All cases involving the constitutionality of a treaty, international or executive agreement which shall be heard by the Supreme Court of Justice en banc, and all other cases which under the Rules of Court are required to be heard en banc, including those involving the constitutionality, application, or operation of presidential decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations, shall be decided with the concurrence of two thirds of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon.

Cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the deliberations in the case and voted thereon, and in no case, without the concurrence of at least three of such Members. When the required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en banc: Provided, that no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the court in a decision rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by a vote of two thirds of all the Members.

Article 126. The Supreme Court of Justice shall have the following powers:

  1. Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus, habeas data, and amparo.
  2. Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:
    1. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question.
    2. All cases involving the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, or toll, or any penalty imposed in relation thereto.
    3. All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue.
    4. All criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.
    5. All cases in which only an error or question of law is involved.
  3. Assign temporarily judges of lower courts to other stations as public interest may require. Such temporary assignment shall not exceed six months without the consent of the judge concerned.
  4. Order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice.
  5. Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi‐judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court of Justice.
  6. Appoint all officials and employees of the Judiciary in accordance with the Civil Service Law.

Article 127. The Supreme Court of Justice, through the Office of the Court Administrator, shall have administrative supervision over all lower courts.

Article 128. No person shall be appointed Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice or magistrate of any collegiate court unless he is a citizen of the Philippines. A Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice must be at least forty years of age and must have been for fifteen years or more a magistrate or judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.

The National Assembly shall prescribe the qualifications of magistrates and judges of lower courts, but no person may be appointed magistrate or judge unless he is a citizen of the Philippines and a member of the Philippine Bar.

A member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence. No member of the Judiciary shall become a member of any political party or coalition.

Article 129. A Judicial and Bar Council shall be composed of seven members: a retired Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice as President, with two representatives from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, two professors of law, and two representatives from the private sector as members.

The members of the Council shall be appointed by the President of the Republic upon the binding advice of the President of the Council of Government and confirmed by the Commission on Appointments for a term of five years without reappointment.

The Council shall enjoy fiscal autonomy and its approved annual appropriation shall be automatically and regularly released.

The Council shall have the following principal powers and functions:

  1. Recommend appointees to all collegiate courts and lower courts;
  2. Discipline magistrates and judges of the said courts, or order their dismissal by a majority vote of all the members of the council; and
  3. Perform other powers and functions as may be authorized by law.

Article 130. The decision of the Judicial and Bar Council, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers as provided in the preceding article, shall be appealable on certiorari to the Supreme Court of Justice.

Article 131. The President of the Council of Government shall appoint magistrates of all collegiate courts and judges of lower courts from among the list submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council within ninety days from the submission of the list. Such appointment needs no confirmation.

Article 132. The salary of the President and Ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice, magistrates of collegiate courts, and judges of lower courts shall be fixed by law. During their continuance in office, their salary shall not be decreased and upon retirement, they shall all be covered by a uniform retirement plan prescribed by law.

Article 133. The members of the Supreme Court of Justice, magistrates of collegiate courts, and judges of lower courts shall hold office during good behavior until they reach the age of seventy years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their office.

Article 134. The members of the Supreme Court of Justice and of other courts established by law shall not be designated to any agency performing quasi‐judicial or administrative functions.

Article 135. The conclusions of the Supreme Court of Justice in any case submitted to it for decision en banc or in division shall be reached in consultation before the case is assigned to a member for the writing of the opinion of the Court. A certification to this effect signed by its President shall be issued and a copy shall be attached to the record of the case and served upon the parties. Any members who took no part, dissented, or abstained from a decision or resolution must state the reason. The same requirements shall be observed by all collegiate and lower courts.

Article 136. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the legal basis for the refusal or denial.

Article 137. All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be decided or resolved within twelve months from the date of submission for the Supreme Court of Justice, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court of Justice, six months for all collegiate courts, and three months for all other lower courts.

A case or matter shall be deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court itself.

Upon the expiration of the corresponding period, a certification to this effect signed by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice or the presiding Minister shall forthwith be issued and a copy of which shall be attached to the record of the case or matter, and served upon the parties. The certification shall state why a decision or resolution has not been rendered or issued within said period. The unjustified failure to render a decision or resolution within the mandatory periods may be a ground for the impeachment of the Members of the Supreme Court of Justice or the imposition of sanctions, including removal, against a collegiate court magistrate.

Despite the expiration of the applicable mandatory period, the court, without prejudice to such responsibility as may have been incurred as a consequence, thereof, shall decide or resolve the case or matter submitted to the court for determination, without further delay.

Article 138. The Supreme Court of Justice shall, within thirty days from the opening of each regular session of the National Assembly, submit to the President of the Council of Government and the National Assembly an annual report on the operations and activities of the Judiciary.

Chapter I – Common Provisions

Article 139. The Constitutional Commissions, which shall be independent, are the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, the Commission on Audit, and the Rights Enforcement Commission.

Article 140. No member of a Constitutional Commission shall, during his tenure, hold any other office or employment. Neither shall he engage in the practice of any profession or in the active management or control of any business which in any way may be affected by the functions of his office, nor shall he be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract with, or in any franchise or privilege granted by the Government, any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.

Article 141. The salary of the Chairman and the Members shall be fixed by law and shall not be decreased during their tenure.

Article 142. The Constitutional Commissions shall appoint their officials and employees in accordance with law.

Article 143. The Commissions shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Their approved annual appropriations shall be automatically and regularly released.

Article 144. Each Commission en banc may promulgate its own rules concerning pleadings and practice before it or before any of its offices. Such rules however shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights.

Article 145. Each Commission shall decide by a majority vote of all its Members any case or matter brought before it within sixty days. A case or matter is deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the Commission or its rules. Unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law, any decision, order, or ruling of each Commission may be brought to the Court of Appeals on certiorari by the aggrieved party within thirty days from receipt of a copy.

Article 146. Each Commission shall perform such other functions as may be provided law.

Chapter II – The Civil Service Commission

Article 147. The civil service shall be administered by the Civil Service Commission composed of a Chairman and two Members who shall be citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, with proven capacity for public administration, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the elections immediately preceding their appointment.

The Chairman and the Members shall be appointed by the President of the Republic upon the binding advice of the President of the Council of Government and with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. Of those first appointed, the Chairman shall hold office for seven years, a Member for five years, and another Member for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.

Article 148. The Civil Service Commission, as the central personnel agency of the Government, shall establish a career service and adopt measures to promote efficiency, integrity, and morale in the civil service. It shall strengthen the merit and rewards system for all levels and ranks.

The civil service shall embrace all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations.

Article 149. All public officers and employees and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines shall make a solemn affirmation in writing to uphold and defend this Constitution.

Article 150. Appointments in the civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness to be determined by competitive examinations. In exceptional cases pertaining to positions which are policy-determining or highly technical, merit and fitness must be based on passing specialized examinations, if any, given for such purpose.

Civil servants shall enjoy performance-based security of tenure. No officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for failure to meet performance standards set by the Civil Service Commission or for other causes provided by law.

No officer or employee in the civil service shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political campaign.

The right to self-organization shall not be denied to Government employees.

Article 151. The National Assembly shall provide measures to ensure efficient and faithful delivery of public service in Government.

Article 152. No candidate who has lost in any election shall, within one year after such election, be appointed to any office in the Government or any government-owned or -controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.

Article 153. No elective official shall be eligible for appointment or designation in any capacity to any public office or position during his tenure.

Unless otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, no appointive official shall hold any other office or employment in the Government or any of its subdivision, agency or instrumentality, including government-owned or -controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.

Article 154. No elective or appointive public officer or employee shall receive additional, double, or indirect compensation, unless specifically authorized by law, nor accept without the consent of the National Assembly, any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind from any foreign government.

Pensions or gratuities shall not be considered as additional, double, or indirect compensation.

Article 155. The National Assembly shall provide for the standardization of compensation of Government officials and employees, including those in government-owned or -controlled corporations, and their subsidiaries, taking into account the nature of the responsibilities pertaining to, and the qualifications required for their positions.

Chapter III – The Commission on Elections

Article 156. There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and four Members who shall be citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, must not have been members of a political party or coalition for a period of not less than six months, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding elections. However, a majority of the Members, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

The Chairman and the Members shall be appointed by the President of the Republic upon the binding advice of the President of the Council of Government and with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years and two Members for five years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.

Article 157. The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions:

  1. Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall except all contests relating to the elections, returns, and qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials which shall be within the original jurisdiction of the regional trial courts. Those involving elective barangay officials shall be within the original jurisdiction of the city or municipal trial courts.
  2. Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and inspectors, and registration of voters.
  3. Deputize, with the concurrence of the President of the Council of Government, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.
  4. Accredit, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government and assume party responsibilities and accountability in governance; and accredit citizens’ arms of the Commission on Elections. Religious denominations and sects shall not be registered. Those 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 foreign government shall likewise be refused registration.
  5. File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or exclusion of voters, investigate, and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.
  6. Recommend to the National Assembly effective measures to minimize election spending, including limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies.
  7. Recommend to the President of the Council of Government the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to its directive, order, or decision.
  8. Submit to the President of the Republic, the President of the Council of Government and the National Assembly a comprehensive report on the conduct of each election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.

Article 158. The Commission on Elections shall promulgate its rules of procedure in order to expedite disposition of election cases, within its administrative jurisdiction.

Article 159. The Commission may, during the election period, supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchises or permits for the operation of transportation and other public utilities, media of communication or information, all grants, special privileges, or concessions granted by the Government or any of its subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, including any government-owned or -controlled corporation or its subsidiary. Such supervision or regulation shall aim to ensure equal opportunity and equal rates for public information campaigns and forums among candidates in connection with the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.

Article 160. No pardon, amnesty, parole, or suspension of sentence for violation of election laws, rules, and regulations shall be granted without the favorable recommendation of the Commission.

Article 161. Unless otherwise fixed by the Commission in special cases, the election period shall commence ninety days before the day of election and shall end thirty days after.

Article 162. Bona fide candidates for any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination.

Article 163. Funds certified by the Commission as necessary to defray the expenses for holding ordinary and extraordinary elections, plebiscites, initiatives, referenda, and recalls, shall be provided in the ordinary or extraordinary appropriations and, once approved, shall be released automatically upon certification by the Chairman of the Commission.

Article 164. The National Assembly, upon the recommendation of the Commission on Elections, shall by law:

  1. Promote the development of a party system in which various interests and sectors in society, except the religious sector, shall be represented, including women, labor, the poor, peasants, indigenous peoples, persons with disability and the youth;
  2. Encourage the development of two major political parties to ensure that a majority can assume responsibility and accountability in governance; and
  3. Provide financial assistance to the political parties on the basis of their share of the votes cast for the political parties in the previous election.

Article 165. Political parties shall be accredited by the Commission on Elections, which shall ensure that the political party has duly adopted its program and platform of government before every election. Furthermore:

  1. Every accredited political party shall submit to the Commission on Elections not later than forty-five days before election a list of not less than ten party-list candidates, at least half of whom are participating in legislative district elections, from which Party-list Representatives shall be chosen in case it obtains the required number of votes;
  2. Every accredited political party shall observe fair, honest, and democratic processes in nominating, selecting, and ranking their party-list candidates in the said list;
  3. Every accredited political party shall ensure the integrity, loyalty, and discipline of their members; and
  4. Every accredited political party shall publicly account for the sources and use of their funds and for their assets.

Article 166. The two dominant political parties shall be represented in the voters’ registration boards, boards of election inspectors, boards of canvassers, and similar bodies. Other political parties shall be entitled to appoint poll watchers in accordance with law.

Article 167. Any elective official who leaves his political party before the end of the term shall forfeit his seat.

Chapter IV – The Commission on Audit

Article 168. There shall be a Commission on Audit composed of a Chairman and two Members, who shall be citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, certified public accountants with not less than ten years of auditing experience, or members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years, and must not have been members of a political party or coalition for a period of not less than six months, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the elections immediately preceding their appointment. At no time shall all Members of the Commission belong to the same profession.

The Chairman and the Members shall be appointed by the President of the Republic upon the binding advice of the President of the Council of Government and with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, the Chairman shall hold office for seven years, one Member for five years, and the other Member for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired portion of the term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity.

Article 169. The Commission on Audit shall have the power, authority, and duty to examine, audit, and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to, the Government, or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations with original charters, and on a post-audit basis:

  1. Constitutional bodies, commissions and offices that have been granted fiscal autonomy under this Constitution;
  2. Autonomous state colleges and universities;
  3. Other government-owned or -controlled corporations and their subsidiaries; and
  4. Such non-governmental entities receiving subsidy or equity, directly or indirectly, from or through the Government, which are required by law or the granting institution to submit to such audit as a condition of subsidy or equity.

However, where the internal control system of the audited agencies is inadequate, the Commission may adopt such measures, including temporary or special pre-audit, as are necessary and appropriate to correct the deficiencies. It shall keep the general accounts of the Government and, for such period as may be provided by law, preserve the vouchers and other supporting papers pertaining thereto.

The Commission shall have exclusive authority, subject to the limitations in this Title, to define the scope of its audit and examination, establish the techniques and methods required, and promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures, or uses of Government funds and properties.

Article 170. No law shall be passed exempting any entity of the Government or its subsidiary in any guise whatever, or any investment of public funds, from the jurisdiction of the Commission on Audit.

Article 171. The Commission shall submit to the President of the Republic, the President of the Council of Government, and the National Assembly, within the time fixed by law, an annual report covering the financial condition and operation of the Government, its subdivisions, agencies, and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and non-governmental entities subject to its audit, and recommend measures necessary to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. It shall submit such other reports as may be required by law.

Chapter V – The Rights Enforcement Commission

Article 172. The Commission on Human Rights is hereby reconstituted as the Rights Enforcement Commission, to be composed of a Chairman and four Members. It shall be tasked with the protection of civil and political rights and the enforcement of the laws of armed conflict.

Article 173. The Members of the Rights Enforcement Commission shall be citizens of the Philippines, and at the time of their appointment, at least forty years old, or recognized probity and independence, members of the Philippine Bar, and for ten years or more a judge or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines, and must not have been members of a political party or coalition for a period of not less than six months, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the elections immediately preceding their appointment.

Article 174. The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President of the Republic upon the binding advice of the President of the Council of Government and with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of twelve years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, the Chairman shall hold office for twelve years, one Commissioner for nine years, two for six years, and the last for three years. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for the unexpired portion of the term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity. No more than one commissioner may, under any circumstance, be a military reservist, a retired general or flag officer of the armed forces, or a retired member of the police.

Article 175. The Rights Enforcement Commission shall investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, any violations of civil and political rights, and of the laws of armed conflict, by any public or private entity within or, subject to the applicable norms of diplomatic relations, outside the Philippines. It shall exercise all powers necessary and incidental to this function, including: the issuance of temporary protective orders, effective for ninety days, for the physical protection of parties or the maintenance of status quo ante, including release of prisoners or detainees to its custody, which shall not, unless otherwise provided by law, include the suspension of legitimate operations without the consent of the Supreme Court of Justice; the issuance of regulations providing for legal measures to protect the human rights of all persons within the Philippines and of Filipinos residing abroad and the safeguarding the rights and privileges of protected persons under humanitarian law, and to ensure compliance by all combatants with the laws of armed conflict; and the provision for preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights or rights under the laws of armed conflict have been violated or need protection.

Article 176. The Commission may directly file the appropriate criminal, administrative, or other proceedings in competent tribunals, including, upon a finding of four Commissioners that all available remedies within the Philippines are ineffective, international bodies.