THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES
I. The Constitution
A constitution may be defined in different ways depending upon
one's attitude or point of view. They may be defined as:
1.) English Point of View
A constitution is "the body of those written or unwritten fun-
damental laws which regulate the most important rights of the
higher magistrates and the most important essential privileges
of the subjects."
2.) American and Filipino Point of View
A constitution may be defined as "a written instrument by
which the fundamental powers of the government are established,
limited, and defined, and by which those powers are disturbed
among several branches for their more safe and useful exercise
for the benefit of the body."
In a more general way, a constitution may be defined as the
fundamental law according to which the government of the state
is organized and agreeably to which the relations of the
individuals or moral persons to the community are determined."
II. Concepts of Constitution
At present there are two recognized concepts of the constitution
1.) American or The Written Constitution
a.) Generally the Americans conceive of a constitution as
something that must be written, yet this does not mean that
the working or operation of the American government is
based entirely on the provisions of such written constitution.
b.) A constitution is the supreme law of the land which must
serve as the basis of the acts of all the different branches
and officials in the government.
2.) English or The Unwritten Constitution
a.) This means that it is a product of the gradual
political growth and development, changing slowly according
to the demands of the times.
b.) A constitution is a mere formal law because its
provisions are not superior to the acts of the legislature or
of the parliament.
III. Classification of Constitutions
Depending upon their point of view, various authorities have
different ways of classifying the constitutions. The
constitutions may be classified as:
1.) According to the degree of popular participation or the type
of government that they provide, they may be classified as
democratic, aristocratic, oligarchic, or autocratic. From this
point of view the Philippine Constitution may be classified as
2.) According to the procedure of amending them, they may be
classified as flexible or rigid. The Philippine Constitution may
be classified as rigid.
3.) According to their form, they may be classified as written
or unwritten. The Philippine Constitution may be classified as
4.) According to Sir Henry Maine, constitutions may be
a.) Historical and Revolutionary
Those constitutions which develop gradually according to the
experiences, customs, and traditions of the people.
b.) A Priori
Those constitutions which are founded on speculative assumptions
remote from the experiences of the people
5.) According to their origin, they may be:
a.) Evolved, like the English Constitution, which is a product
of growth or of a long period of development.
b.) Enacted, like the constitution of the United States, which
was drafted by the deliberate act of the representatives of
c.) Granted, like the constitution of Japan of 1889, which the
ruling prince or monarch decreed to his subjects.
IV Contents and Characteristics of a Written Constitution
Generally, written constitutions must consist of the following:
2.) Provisions outlining or defining the organization,
form, and distribution of the powers and limitations of
the functions of the government.
3.) The Bill of Rights which enumerates the civil and
political rights of the people.
4.) Provisions prescribing the procedure of amendment.
A good written constitution must have the following
A constitution must be broad in its scope because
outlines the organization of the government for
whole state. A statement of provisions and functions of
government, and of the relations between the
body and the governed, requires a comprehensive
A constitution must be brief because it is not the place
in which the details of organization should be set forth.
Some constitutions have been marred by the inclusion of pure
The constitution must be definite. In a statement of principles
of underlying the essential nature of a state any vagueness
which may lead to opposing interpretations of essential
features may cause incalculable harm. Civil war and the disruption
of the state may conceivably follow from ambiguous expressions
in a constitution.