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We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a
Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and
secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth,
justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.

National Territory
Summary: Article I states the scope and extent of the country's territory, including the internal waters; and terrestrial,
fluvial and aerial domains. Furthermore, the waters around, between, and connecting the islands of the Philippines form
part of the country's internal waters (based on the Archipelagic Doctrine).

Declaration of Principles and State Policies

Summary: Article II contains 28 sections divided into two parts. The first part enumerates the principles of the State such as the
democratic and republican nature of the Philippine State; the supremacy of civilian authority over the military; the people's duty
to defend the State; separation of Church and State; and renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy. While the
second part stipulates the State policies such as the promotion of an independent foreign policy; recognition of the youth's and
women's role in nation-building; promotion of a comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform; and the promotion of
social justice.

Bill of Rights

Summary: Article III recognizes the individual rights of the Filipino people and guarantees its protection against abuses. Included
in the bill of rights are: due process of law; equal protection of the laws; protection against unreasonable searches and seizures;
right to privacy of communication and correspondence; and the right to free speech, expression and to peaceably assemble. The
specific rights of the accused is likewise presented, such as; right to bail, right to criminal due process, right to speedy
disposition of cases, right against self-incrimination, non-imprisonment for non payment of debt or a poll tax, and right against
double jeopardy. It further prohibits the enactment of an ex post facto law or a bill of attainder.


Summary: Article IV enumerates the conditions of being citizens of the Philippines and the manner of acquiring and losing
Philippine citizenship. It also provides for the constitutional definition of “natural-born” citizen and the retention of Philippine
citizenship of those who marry aliens unless they have renounced it.

Summary: Article V stipulates the qualifications of the Filipinos who have the right to vote. No literacy, property, or other
substantive requirement is imposed on the exercise of suffrage. The Congress is tasked to provide a system to protect the
ballots, a system of overseas absentee voting, and a procedure for the disabled and illiterates to vote without the assistance of
other persons.

Legislative Department

Summary: Article VI provides for the establishment of a bicameral legislature, its composition, terms of office, powers and
functions as the legislative branch of the government. Under this Article, the people can also exercise legislative powers
through a system of initiative and referendum. The members of the Senate, or the Upper house, are elected at large by the
qualified voters of the Philippines and are to serve for six years with a maximum of two terms. While there are two kinds of
members of the House of Representatives or the Lower House of Congress, namely, the representatives elected by district
and those elected through the party-list system. The term of office of the members of the lower house is shorter than the
Senate. Each member of the House of Representatives is elected for a term of three years with a maximum of three terms.
The powers of Congress include the passage of bills, levy taxes, approve appropriation, declare a state of war, and confirm
presidential appointments through the Commission of Appointments.

Executive Department

Summary: Article VII stipulates the qualifications, duties and functions of the President and Vice-President. It expressly
states that the executive power is vested in the President of the Philippines. The President and the Vice-President are
elected by direct vote of the qualified voters of the Philippines for a six-year term. While the President is not qualified for re-
election, the vice-president can serve two (2) consecutive terms. This article stipulates that the President is the head of
state, the chief executive of government, and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. However, certain protections
are declared against abuses of executive power such as the prohibition against practice of any other profession, prohibition
against appointment of spouse and relatives to certain positions in government and limitation on the declaration of martial
law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus to a period not exceeding 60 days.

Judicial Department

Summary: Article VIII provides for the composition, powers and functions of the judiciary. The judicial power is vested in
one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. Composed of the Chief Justice and 14 Associate
Justices, the Supreme Court has administrative supervision over all courts and its personnel. Among the notable powers of
the Supreme Court are its exercise of original jurisdiction on cases involving ambassadors, public ministers and consuls;
review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm judgments or decisions of lower courts; rule on the constitutionality of laws and
treaties; and appoint officials and employees of the judiciary. Furthermore, the members of the Supreme Court and the
judges of lower courts are appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar
Council (JBC). They must be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and must be at least forty years of age. They will hold
office hold office during good behavior until the age of 70 years or become incapacitated to discharge the duties of their
office. The JBC, which is created in this article, is under the supervision of the Supreme Court and has the principal function
of nominating appointments to the judiciary.
Constitutional Commissions

Summary: Article IX stipulates the creation of three independent constitutional commissions such as, the Civil Service
Commission (CSC), the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), and the Commission on Audit (COA). Each commission enjoys
fiscal autonomy, appoints their officials and employees in accordance with law, and is composed of commissioners
appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments. The Civil Service Commission is the
central personnel agency of the government and establishes a career service based on merit and fitness. The Commission
on Elections, on the other hand, enforces and administers all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election,
plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall. Lastly, the Commission on Audit examines, audits, and settles all accounts
pertaining to the funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to the government.

Local Government

Summary: Article X provides for a decentralized local government administration through the various territorial and political
subdivisions such as, the autonomous regions, provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. This article further
mandates Congress to enact a local government code for a more responsive and accountable local government structure,
and an organic act for the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras.

Accountability of Public Officers

Summary: Article XI states that public office is a public trust. This article enumerates the officials that may be impeached,
the grounds for impeachment, and the rules of impeachment. The House of Representatives initiates all impeachment
cases, while the Senate conducts the trial and decides on all impeachment cases. This article also provides for the creation
of special judicial institutions as instruments of public accountability namely, the Sandiganbayan as the anti-graft court, the
Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

National Economy and Patrimony

Summary: Article XII declares the aims of the State for a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth;
sustainable development and industrialization; and full employment of its citizens. All natural resources except agricultural
lands are owned by the State. It stipulates the limitations on the exploration, development and utilization of these natural
resources by Filipino citizens, private corporations or associations, and foreign-owned corporations. Congress is mandated
to establish an independent economic and planning agency and an independent central monetary authority. Section 17
grants the State the power to take over or direct the operation of any privately-owned public utility or business affected
with public interest in times of national emergency.

Article XIII
Social Justice and Human Rights

Summary: Article XIII declares that the State shall promote social justice, agrarian and natural resources reform, urban land
reform and housing; protect labor; recognize the rights of every citizen and people's organization, and adopt an integrated
health development program. It also mandates Congress to enact a law creating an independent Commission on Human
Rights, with the responsibility of investigating cases of human rights violation.
Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports

Summary: Article XIV declares the principles of the State on education, language, science and technology, arts and culture, and
sports. On education, the State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education. This article also mandates
that education shall be accessible to all. On language, this article states that Filipino is the the national language of the
Philippines. Filipino shall be used as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational
system. Furthermore, Congress is mandated to establish a national language commission. On science and technology, priority is
given on research and development, incentives are provided to science students, researchers, scientists and gifted citizens to
encourage scientific research. On arts and culture, the State shall promote the Philippine national culture and shall preserve,
and develop the cultures, traditions and institutions of the indigenous cultural communities. Lastly on sports, the State shall
promote physical education and different sports activities to foster self-discipline, teamwork, and excellence.

The Family

Summary: Article XV recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. The constitutional definition of marriage
is found herein. It further provides for specific provisions to protect the rights of spouses, children, family and family
associations. The duty of the family and the State to care for the elderly is likewise set forth in this article.

General Provisions

Summary: Article XVI contains provisions on twelve subjects. The design of the Philippine flag is set forth in the first section,
followed by a section on any change, by law, of the name of the country, national anthem and national seal. Section 3
hereof provides for the general rule on State's immunity from suit. The composition of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
as well as other provisions on the military such as recruitment, appointment, and retirement of soldiers and officers are
likewise found in this article. This article further provides for the establishment of a national and civilian police force. It also
stipulates general provisions on the benefits, pensions and assistance to war veterans, their spouses and orphans, as well
as to the retirees of the government and the private sectors. It is also mandated that the State shall protect the consumer
against trade malpractices, respect the freedom of speech and of the press, regulate the ownership and management of
mass media and the advertising industry. Lastly, it is stipulated that Congress may create a consultative body on
indigenous cultural communities.

Amendments or Revisions

Summary: Article XVII stipulates that any amendment to, and revision of the Constitution may be proposed by a three-
fourths vote of all the members of Congress and a constitutional convention. The people may likewise propose
amendments through an initiative of at least twelve percent of total registered voters. It further states that any amendment
or revision is not valid without a ratification by a majority of votes cast in a plebiscite.

Transitory Provisions
Summary: Article XVIII stipulates specific provisions that are temporary in nature on the first elections, the judiciary, legal
codes, international agreements, civil service and private armies. It stipulates the dates of the first elections of the
members of the Congress, the first local elections and the first regular elections for the President and Vice-President. This
article further provides for the continued enforcement of all existing laws which are consistent with this Constitution as well
as the continued exercise of jurisdiction of all courts, until otherwise provided by law. Section 24 mandates that all private
armies and other paramilitary groups outside the armed forces of the Philippines be dismantled. An important provision on
the expiration of the Military Bases Agreement in 1991 includes a declaration that no foreign military bases, troops or
facilities shall be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate. The last part hereof is
with regard to the sequestration or freeze order concerning the recovery of ill-gotten wealth.

The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines

The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines adopted by the Constitutional Commission of 1986. In Philippine Law Gazette,
vol. 9, no. 5, November 1986. Special issue. Vicente B. Foz, editor-publisher.

Executive Summary: The 1987 Constitution, composed of a preamble and 18 articles, establishes the Fifth Philippine Republic
and restores the presidential form of government. It also limits the term of office of the President to one six-year term. The
Constitution allows the President to proclaim martial law or suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period not
exceeding 60 days in the event of an invasion or rebellion. However, a majority of the members of Congress, voting jointly, may
revoke such declaration or suspension. A bicameral Congress replaces the unicameral Batasang Pambansa of the 1973
Constitution. Congress, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives, exercises legislative and non-legislative
functions. Among its most important functions is to declare a state of war. Judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court and
other lower courts established by law. The Judicial and Bar Council submits to the President a list of nominees for appointment
to the Supreme Court and to the lower courts. The Constitution creates the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao
(Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao- ARMM) and in the Cordilleras (Cordillera Autonomous Region - CAR), the Commission
on Human Rights, the Judicial and Bar Council, and the Office of the Ombudsman. The Constitution institutionalizes the
legislative power of the people through a system of initiative and referendum, and also the power to propose constitutional
amendments. The Constitution tasks Congress with the enactment of a land reform law and a local government code. Filipino is
declared as the national language. Section 25 of the Transitory Provisions prohibits the establishment of foreign military
facilities except under a new treaty duly concurred in by the Senate. Check and balance mechanisms among the three equal
branches of government are provided for.

Notes: President Corazon C. Aquino through Proclamation No. 9, issued on 23 April 1986, orders the convening of a
Constitutional Commission to draft a constitution that will replace the 1973 Constitution. The members of the Constitutional
Commission (ConCom) were appointed on 26 May 1986 and on 2 June, the ConCom, headed by Cecilia Munoz Palma,
commenced its sessions at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City. The ConCom completed their task on 12 October 1986 and
presented the draft constitution to Pres. Aquino on October 15. After a period of nationwide information campaign, a plebiscite
for its ratification was held on 2 February 1987. An overwhelming 17,059,495 voted to ratify the constitution while 5,058,714
voted against it. On 11 February 1987, the New Constitution was proclaimed ratified and in effect. On that same day, Pres.
Aquino, the other government officials, and the military pledged allegiance to the New Constitution.

Written by Judette A. Javier

Edited by Raymund G. Abejo